Intro/Stats"Tabor Pk" (13282')
October 18, 2011
9 miles RT, 4700' gain
From Tabor Creek TH (10400')
Participants: Anna & Kevin
I was hoping to squeeze in a few more 13ers before another storm makes the slowshoes a requirement, so a trip to Indy Pass was in order. Snotel showed very little snow in the area as an Indian summer lingers, so I decided to take advantage of it and visit the magnificent Tabor Creek drainage. This area is accessible June-Oct, and there was a good chance the eye candy would be well above average for the Sawatch. The area is actually closer in character to the Elks as it is fairly rugged. I was back here a few years ago for the Truro group and the views did not disappoint.
The Truro Traverse:
Anna was enjoying a two week vacation from her teaching job and decided to join me for this one. I arrived late evening and was surprised how rutted up the Lincoln Creek road was. I got a Maxima up this road a few years ago, but not sure I could now! I was surprised to see some fresh snow from a storm during the day and it appeared that it snowed more than forecasted.
Worth the Price of Admission
We set out around 7:15 up the gentle Tabor Creek trail. The only steep part is within the first half mile or so, then it mellows out nicely, climbing only 1000' in a little over 2 miles to where we left the trail at 11400'. We followed the stream that drains Tabor Lake on the north side and the bushwacking was steep but straightforward. There was quite a bit more new snow up here than expected, but still not quite enough to need snowshoes. We popped out on a flat area below the lake and the views were gorgeous on a pristine fall day.
West Truro and the base of the east ridge of Tabor:
We then headed up a headwall that brought us to the lake, urged on by the magnificent northeast face of Tabor.
The standard route on Tabor is up a scree gully above the lake to the narrow north ridge. It looks like we're going to get in a snow climb in Oct! The views from Tabor Lake did not disappoint as the fresh snow surrounded it. The lake wasn't frozen, but not for long!
We both did not bring axes or traction because we were not expecting much snow, but the snow was mellow and soft enough to get by with poles.
Coulour climb in Oct!
We could still feel the scree under the shallow snow but conditions improved for kicking steps higher up as we neared the saddle.
The north ridge:
Looking down to Tabor Lake from near the top of the couloir:
We angled left out of the couloir when the angle relented and were presented with a cool view of the north ridge, which is easier than it looks, going at mostly class 2 with a few 3rd class moves with snow.
The aesthetic north ridge:
The ridge would be pretty straightforward in summer, but snow makes things a bit more intimidating with some big exposure on the east side. The west side is not near as exposed though. We took out time up the ridge and pretty much stayed on the crest at all times. There was a bit of frost on the rocks higher up, but the footing was very good and the rock was pretty solid.
Steeper part near the summit:
We topped out around 11:15 and enjoyed the views on this spectacular fall day. It seems like the scenery is magnified a ton when the mountains are accented by early season snows. It's a lot better eye candy than the middle of the summer! The descent actually seemed easier than the climb, probably because we got used to the snowy exposure.
Descending from the summit:
The plunge stepping down the couloir was expedious and fun, but the snow was too shallow for glissading. We followed our tracks down to the trail, then contoured through some willows to the other side of the drainage for a shot at Unnamed 13090.
Dropping off the ridge:
Tabor from the valley floor:
We weaved our way up through the willows and Anna decided to call it a day as she had a headache. We would meet up at the trailhead. Most people don't combine these 2 peaks because it's a steep scree slog of 1500 feet in about half a mile up 13090's west slopes. The snow kept it in place to some extent, but the snow was also very hard. With only poles, I stayed on the slick grass and annoying scree. I ended up on the right side of the gully and went straight up to the summit as the terrain gave way to annoying talus near the summit.
Gully climb to 13090:
The Tellurium/Tabor traverse:
I decided to descend climbers left of the gully as it was not as steep and the snow was easy to plunge step down. I contoured back to the ascent track and the short hike out was very enjoyable and quick, far shorter than most slogs in the snow! I got back around 4:15. The Sawatch does have some ruggedness to it if you look hard enough!
Tabor from 13090: