Mt. Shavano

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Or our grand misadventures on the way to re-conquer Tabeguache.

When we awoke at the crack of dawn to do the summit the next day, the sky was filled with mist and occasional rain-- not a good sign, in an environment where people die every year from being struck by lighting.

So we hung out and waited for it to clear...

...and waited.  Finally, at 9:00 a.m., we decided to give it a shot.  This was definitely our latest peak departure time ever.

Marc was not in this shot because, like me in 2000, he was suffering from an awful case of high altitude sickness, and wisely elected not to aggravate it with a peak attempt.

For me in 2000, my sickness was an indication of how physically unprepared I was.  Marc was in good shape, but the way in which one reacts to altitude can be unpredictable.  He was feeling it from the first day, and, in hindsight, if we had just slept at a lower altitude the first night, he would probably have had a chance to catch up on his acclimation.

A shot of Kenn taken by Adam, as they waited for me on the trail just north of treeline.  You can see it's still pretty misty.

We ate a snack at this spot, and by this time had lost contact with Jim, who, as it turns out, was simply taking his time by taking video of every bit of flora along the way.

Adam and Kenn at the base of the main ascent to Shavano's peak.

I can't recall now what prompted his departure, but Kenn elected to turn back.  The weather definitely hadn't cleared, but I don't remember if there was thunder in the vicinity, or just his wise caution that had him turn back. 

I do believe we were starting to get a little bit of precipitation; hence Adam's hood going up.  Again, rain above treeline:  Generally not a good sign.

Shavano.  It would be safe to safe to say (pardon the pun) that in deciding to risk this ascent, Adam and I definitively earned the nickname of "The Dismissive Duo".  The ascent is easy enough, but don't try this at home, kids:  Those clouds foreshadow electrical activity.

Nonetheless, our philosophy was that we should be able to outrun it somehow, by climbing as quickly as possible before things got worse.

On the peak.  The remarkable thing about this photo is that the random strands of Adam's hair that are standing up are for electrostatic reasons, and not due to wind.

This naturally was where we began to get a little concerned...

So, instead of reveling in our accomplishment the way we usually would, we snapped a victory photo with our hair literally standing on end got the heck outta Dodge.

This picture is not Photoshopped.  As we headed down the hill, this is what we were looking at, which I like to call "the primordial mists of time".

About five minutes after this shot, there was a bright flash, followed quickly (~1 second) by a BOOM:  We were officially fucked.  This is the situation you don't want to be in:  sitting ducks on the bare side of a mountain at 14k feet waiting to be struck by lightning.

As we scrambled to take cover, I gauged the gravity of our situation by Adam asking me:  "Do you know CPR?"

But gradually the clouds began to lift.  Within another 30 minutes, we were off the ridge, and back on the trail, where we finally met Jim.

This was taken from our lunch spot, looking down into Salida (?). 

This friendly fella kept trying to nuzzle up to us to get a bit of our lunch from us.

Adam and I pressed on from here, leaving Jim to again document every inch of the trail, naturalist that he is.

When we got back to camp, it looked to be largely intact, and we assumed that Kenn and Marc were in the tents asleep.  We quietly had one of our lengthy conversations, before peeking into them to discover that Kenn and Marc had decamped.

We finally rejoined them at the base of the trail.  Jim, again, always in search of the most difficult path, had downclimbed past our high camp almost all the way to the truck before climbing back up to retrieve his equipment.

Here we are, with the comedy of errors safely over, Marc's altitude headache finally subsiding, and a mexican meal awaiting us in Salida.

The End