Preparing for a double fourteener – Mt. Shavano and Tabegauche

This weekend, we are going to bag a double fourteener. It’s not going to be easy and it will probably take between 11 and 12 hours. Let’s all say Ow! together.


OK, now with all the complaining aside, let’s take a look at some of the details.

Here’s a link to the route map … and here are the stats:

Elevation gain to Shavano: 4600′
Additional elevation gain to Tabegauche: another 1000′ for a total of 5600′

Miles: 11.25 round trip

We’ve already done Shavano once before (August, 2001). At that time, we wanted to bag Tabegauche as well, but thunder clouds were forming and we thought it safest to get back down instead. This time, we’ll hit Shavano twice and Tabegauche once, so technically we’ll have topped out on Shavano three times. Not sure if that ‘means’ anything, but Mr. Man thought it important to note, so I put it down here.

My summer hiking boots

Our plan:

Start out from the Jeep around 2:00 a.m. (groan) and try for treeline by dawn and the peak of Shavano by sunrise. (fingers crossed) Then, it’s just a couple miles to top out on Tabegauche and return back to Shavano and head back down.

I thought you might be interested in the amount of food it takes to power us through something like this. Now, neither of us are what you might call ‘big eaters’. We tend to be vegetarian and we’re light eaters, plus Mr. Man has a terrible sweet tooth. I prefer the carbs and cheese myself. I typically bag it all up in small plastic zipper bags, because we can take the next thing we want to eat, put it in the pockets of our pants and reach in for a nibble anytime we like. This is handy when it causes a delay to get your pack off your back to reach in for your next set of calories. Plus, the plastic bags are ridiculously handy for trash (sometimes we find little bits on the trail and we always try to grab them) or wet gloves or whatever. We don’t usually have a lot of trash of our own because, as I noted, I rebag all the food into the zipper bags and we re-use those as much as possible.

This is one of the bags o’ food:

bag of food for hiking

I would like to live off the CHEESE and CHOCOLATE, but that’s not a balanced diet and unfortunately, at my age, I have to be a grown up about it.

Here’s what is in each of the food bags:

– two bags of grapes (usually, we take apples, but we didn’t have any left)
– 6 cheese sticks
– a bag of trail mix: nuts, dried cherries, raisins, chocolate bits
– a brownie (for the top)

I’ll also pack a juice as I tend to get hypoglycemic and lose my vision when I run out of calories. Juice clears that right up and I prefer that to candy.

I suppose it doesn’t look like a lot of food, but we’ve never once eaten all of our food. I read recently that higher altitudes tend to kill the appetite and this is why folks who live in high altitudes, in addition to the fact that they are burning many more calories than people in lower altitudes every single minute, tend to weigh less. I can personally attest to the fact that I DO NOT feel hungry on these hikes, so it’s crucial that I remember to consume calories in small and steady bits or I’ll just pass out completely. Without warning. Ask me how I know this.

So, I’ll pack all of this stuff into this backpack:

hiking pack

And away we go tonight.

A note on the pack (don’t freak out): this is my smaller pack. When you start doing a lot of hikes like this, you get a number of different packs – those for multi-day hikes or where you are the pack mule for the family, those packs are larger.

This time, since we won’t need to take the water shoes or helmets, I can use my smaller pack.

Side note: Let me just say I cannot be more thrilled about the packs these days. Take a look at this water reservoir – it slides into an insulated pouch!

Insulated reservoir in hiking pack

This is so cool. Not only have the water reservoirs become so much more reliable over the years (they used to spring leaks all the time), but now the water stays cool even when you’re hiking in the heat. I love advancements like this. They make hiking all about the hiking and less about the PITA equipment strapped to your back. This is great equipment.

OK, back in a couple of day (we’re staying in a hotel to rest up one night after) with pictures and hopefully some video!

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!

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