#4 Mt. Sherman: The Start of Summer

#4 Mt. Sherman

The summer had begun. I completed junior year of college, started a new job and was eager to begin my first summer mission - solo. Coming off my first “big” ski season, I felt physically prepared, but under prepared with equipment. The forecast was outstanding - bluebird and sunny; however, I was concerned with a big snowfield that I’d might have to posthole through.

Mt. Sherman - June 2021

I was stoked! I was feeling light and nimble after leaving my ski gear at home; however, my next challenge was using my five-year-old Nike running shoes to climb this mountain with snow. I was preparing for the worst postholes of my life or for the possibility of sliding down the mountain unable to self-arrest with my pole. Oh yea? Have I mentioned that I did not own climbing pants yet? I was rocking high ski socks, shorts and trekking poles. I felt like a euro trail runner in shorts.

I parked at 11,000’, after a slow drive down the bumpy dirt road, and began my charge up the mountain.

The view looking back on the road to the trailhead. I parked just around the bend.

I was over prepared mentally for what was ahead. I passed two groups on the initial climb up into the upper basin. I was roughly 15 minutes in before I hit my first snow crossing. 

The snowfields that lied ahead

My first step in, I went straight to my knee. I repeated the action and went to my ankle. I thought the next 15 steps were going to be a nightmare, but to my surprise the small refreeze after my second step was able to hold my body weight. I carefully scurried a crossed and was on my way.

I made it to the upper basin after another short 400-foot steep hill climb, sheded a layer and planned my route up to the ridge. To the left (the actual trail), lead to a long snow crossing that was already baking in the sun. I said, “screw it” and went right instead to a path that I was estimating to be around 10 steps. I quickly arrived to the frozen over foot holes of my peers. I weighted my poles and carefully placed each foot to match the existing foot step. 

The snow crossing

I gingerly crossed this snow hoping that my Nikes would not cause me to take a 500 foot slide into the rocks below. Afterward was not much better, it was thick loose gravel until I gained the ridge. 

It was smooth sailing once I gained the ridge.

View of the remaining ridge to the summit

The views of the summit were decent. I thought the views off of Castle Peak were far superior.

Views to the north of the Mosquito/Tenmile range

Views to the west of the the Sawatch range and of Leadville.

After I soaked in the views, I remembered that I had to walk down. I was not very excited to start my descent on foot. I ended up jogging at times. I contemplating glissading down the snowfields, but did not bring an ice axe to control my speed. I ended up shoe-skiing as much as I could.

The view back down the ridge.

I made it down relatively quickly, just stopping a few times to take some photos of the abandoned mines.

The abandoned mining shack reminded me of the morning of Democrat - glad this time I had day light on my side.

Another photo of the mine with the valley below

To my surprise, Sherman took me little to no effort and I was a great beginner trail. I was stoked to be outside in the sunshine and was already planning my next 14er!

My Strava below:


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