Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: September 15,2000
This was the first of six 14ers that my friend Duane and I bagged during six wonderful days in September 2000. Actually, Duane did 7 because he successfully summitted Shavano on this same day, whereas I was not doing quite as well with the altitude and am not as strong a hiker as he is. We arrived in the area at around noon and had little time to climb. Our intent was to do both Tabeguache and Shavano in one day. We had driven from sea level the day before, so had not had a chance to acclimatize. However we believed the two peaks could be accomplished regardless. The climb went well but I struggled with the altitude somewhat, and Duane left me on the summit of Tabeguache to attempt Shavano. I watched him get on Shavano's summit ridge, then turned around and carefully made my way down the talus, not wanting to make a mistake in my slightly woozy condition. By taking my time, which I wouldn't have been able to do if I had joined Duane, I successfully negotiated all that talus, keeping a watch for my friend to reappear above me. The sun was getting quite low as I dropped down from the ridge toward Jennings Creek, and by the time I arrived at the vehicle it was nearing twilight. I was marginally worried about Duane because of the possibility of a navigational error in his haste to get down. Just as it became too dark to walk with a flashlight, out of the trees walked Duane, much to my joy. He is a very strong hiker, especially for a 50-year-old, and he once again accomplished what I didn't think he could do.