The plan was to climb Tabeguache via Roach's North Slopes route, from Browns Lake. This requires a fairly long approach hike up Browns Creek after crossing over from the Little Browns Creek drainage which houses the trailhead. I started hiking at 4:20am with my headlamp and favorable weather. As the guidebooks indicate, you have to pay attention at trail junctions to get into the correct drainage, but this was very elementary route-finding.
Unfortunately, there were cattle grazing in the valley. Cow shit was a common trail feature, and a couple times I had to wait for cattle to clear the trail before I could continue hiking. I'm not sure that the cattle were completely docile either, especially with calves around.
I reached the lake a little before 7am. Unfortunately, I really wasn't into the summit push by that point. First, I just wasn't feeling quite right physically. Second, I wasn't really into it mentally. Finally, actually seeing the route made me realize just what a scree and talus slog it was going to be; there is still almost 3000 vertical from the lake. I kept going past the lake and made a half-assed attempt to find a crossing of the creek, but didn't get any closer to Tabeguache than that.
Well, OK, now what? At this point you are in the realm of 4WD roads that cross over from nearby Mount Antero. I decided that since I didn't want to complete the 15 mile/5300ft arduous ascent of Tabeguache, maybe I would hike a few more miles up the road and concentrate more on photography than peak bagging, and at least I would get some exercise from the long hike.
I ended up hiking all the way up to a major road junction on a shoulder at about 13000ft and about 9-10 miles from the trailhead. On the way back down, I chatted with a couple of locals who said that the Forest Service was considering closing the north side route(s) due to significant erosion, so in retrospect I guess maybe it a good thing I stayed off the route.
I had a pleasant hike back down until the cattle avoidance sections, and then a pleasant hike back to my car after that.
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File last modified: 28 December 2004