Mt Sherman 14,036’ – Southwest Ridge from Fourmile Creek

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Difficulty: 
Class 2 

Summit Elevation: 
14,036 feet 

Trailhead:
11,950 feet 

Elevation Gain: 
2,100′ 

Round-trip Length: 
5.25 miles 

Climbers: Rick Crandall; Shan Stuart; Laura Welch and Emme         August 10, 2010

Mt. Sherman is a nice 14er, not too aggressive, but with a surprise punch on top of its Southwest Ridge approach to the summit – gale force winds!

Mt. Sherman - Southwest Ridge from Fourmile Creek

We over-nighted in Fairplay, which I’ve written about before – delightful town, historic district of restored western buildings from 1890’s villages around Colorado.

We set out at 6am betting on good weather as a break from the daily afternoon rains caused by the July monsoons coming up from Arizona. We got to the trailhead at 6:55am after a few miles of off-roading, some of which was described as “harsh,” but seemed OK for our 4Runner. This area was clearly the reputed center of gold, silver and zinc mining as there are many relic mines and buildings adding to the charm of the hike.

We parked at a closed gate just before the “Dauntless Mine” at 11,950’.

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Shan and Rick at the trailhead, 7am. It was cold, below freezing even though August 10th!
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Laura at the mouth of the Dauntless mine at 12,300’

We hiked up the old mining road towards our first mine, The Dauntless.

Later we actually saw a guy digging in the stream with a spade looking for gold remnants in the outflow.

Most of the route is shown below. The Hilltop Mine at 13,000’ is prominent on the way.

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We hiked into the morning sun, which helped to warm us. Little did we know the intensity of the wind we’d encounter once up on the ridge.

At 13,000’ we detoured to see the Hilltop Mine – not much left and not a structure you’d want to inspect from the inside.

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Once up on the saddle between Mt. Sheridan (a 13er) and Mt. Sherman, the route got steeper with plenty of scree, but it was stable and not hard to walk on – except maybe for Emme, but she showed no signs of distress, quite the opposite actually.

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On the saddle and heading to the ridge, the first hint of strong wind showed up as you can see from Emme’s fur.

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Above 13,400’ the ridge narrows and gets increasingly rocky. The wind got absolutely fierce, definitely gale force (i.e. above 32 mph) with gusts much higher.

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Navigating the Rocky Ridge

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The remaining hike comes into view – some Class 2 action that was a bit trickier than it looks due to the high winds and frost on the rocks making them slippery underfoot. This is the crux of the climb.

We then ascended to the south end of the long summit ridge, all at about 14,000’

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Near the summit looking down on the route.

On the summit of Mt. Sherman, 14,036’

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Summit Mt. Sherman, 14,036’ at 9:50 am, 3 hours from trailhead.

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Ricks Spot
Latitude:39.22498 Longitude:-106.17012
GPS location Date/Time:08/10/2010 09:52:47 MDT
Message:Rick’s SPOT Check. We’re going for Mt. Sherman 14er in South Park we’re OK

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Great views from the summit.

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Rick about to head down from the summit.

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