Angel of Shavano

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.61890°N / 106.2389°W
Additional Information Route Type: Basic Snow Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2, Easy Snow
Sign the Climber's Log


The Angel of Shavano is best accessed from the Blank Gulch Trailhead. This trailhead is located at 9,800 feet on Shavano's southeast side. From the U.S. 50/U.S. 285 intersection in Poncha Springs, head west on U.S. 50. Follow 50 west until the junction with Chaffee County 250. This is a dirt road located roughly a mile from the previously mentioned intersection.

Follow 250 for just over four miles before veering left onto Chaffee County 252. Drive another 3 to 3.5 miles to the trailhead. Along the way, you will pass several small intersections but always stay on the main road. This will be obvious whenever a decision is necessary. The Blank Gulch Trailhead is located at the former site of the Blank Gulch cabin. There is a stone plaque here. The beginning of the route, which follows the Colorado Trail at the start, is just to the north of the old cabin site.

Route Description

The Angel of Shavano route is 7.9 miles roundtrip with 4,430 feet of elevation gain.

From the trailhead, follow the Colorado Trail north for 5-10 minutes until the intersection with the Angel of Shavano Trail. There is a sign here indicating the way to Shavano and Tabeguache. Turn left(west) here and ascend the trail as it snakes its way between the two ridges which will eventually lead to Shavano and Esprit Point. With snow cover it is difficult to tell exactly where the trail is and where it leaves your drainage to gain Shavano's east ridge but your general direction of travel is obvious. With ample snowcover, bushwhacking is nonexistent yet this may be a minimal problem after the snow has melted.

At 11,400 feet, the route reaches the treeline. Here you momentarily swing to the south towards some rock piles and ascend a couple of 10-15 foot, steep inclines. The Angel Snowfield is now directly in front of you and commands your full attention. Hike up to the base of the Angel at 11,600 feet.

Now the fun begins! The Angel Snowfield is not a difficult or challenging climb whatsoever. It is a fun, easy snow climb which steadily climbs up Shavano at a constant 30-35 degree slope. As you climb, the view of the Arkansas River Valley behind you improves and the Sangres begin to dominant your southern panaroma. Continue up the body of the Angel to 12,900-13,000 feet where you intersect with the Angel's arms and its head. If the snow conditions are good, I'd advise you to continue up the head directly to the summit and finish your route this way. Frequently you will have wind-swept slopes higher on Shavano and if this is the case, go up the Angel's left arm to the Shavano-Esprit Point saddle at 13,400 feet. From here, take the rocky summit ridge northwest to Shavano's summit. Enjoy this small summit, it has an excellent view of the entire Sangre range.

Essential Gear

The slope on this route is easy enough to do the Angel in trekking poles and snowshoes or maybe even without either of them. With that said, make life easy on yourself and bring your crampons and the ice axe.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.


Here's what you really came for, the glissade info. This is an awesome glissade! It wasn't a real fast one but it's the longest continuous glissade I've done in Colorado. Descend from Shavano's summit to the saddle it shares with Esprit Point. This is the top of the Angel's left arm; you are now at 13,400 feet. From here, you can glissade down the entire left arm and connect with the Angel's main body. Continue down the body until its base at 11,600 feet. That's 1,800 feet of continuous glissading!! Imagine how much you just saved your knees..........