Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
III D3 R2
A fun, easy intro to ski mountaineering with little to no avy danger during the spring season.
Hit this thing well after the rest of the lines have melted. Good fun line, and depending how much you enjoy schlepping skis, you can get a few runs in a day.
Once at the top of the "body" of the Angel (the wide section of snow that starts at treeline), you'll have a choice to make. Generally, the best option is to follow the "right arm" of the Angel (climber's right, see photos for details), which follows Mt. Shavano's east ridge. When the conditions are right, this route can hold snow all the way to the summit, and is also the most likely route for a summit ski.
The "head" of the Angel goes straight up the drainage aiming for the summit, but often dries up just short. This means having to boot up a talus slope for a few hundred feet, depending on the year.
The "left arm" will often hold snow all the way to Shavano's south ridge, but from there it's a toss-up. This choice leaves a lot of vertical gain to the summit, but in the right season might have a chance of providing a summit ski.
The general recommendation is to follow the Angel's "right arm," but there are times when the other two options are better. I climbed the "left arm" my first time on Shavano and descended the "right arm," sticking to what I'd heard. The snow was definitely better on the south ridge, leaving me with core shots and bent edges upon getting back to the "body." Choose wisely!
Access from Eastern Shavano Trailhead. See this link
for more photos and details.
Shared By: Thomas Beatty