Just back form a long, round-the-world trip and wanted to start the season off with a relatively easy 14er with friends and family. My daughter-in-law joined her husband (my son), me, and a flatlander friend from Maryland, looking for her 2nd overall 14er and first since having grandson numero uno during the winter. Sherman was the perfect choice and the weather was great.
We left COS at 0445 and made a quick stop at the Donut Mill for carbs before arriving at the trailhead and starting the climb at 0655, parking just below the gate with about 10 other cars at the time. It was a little breezy, but warm and I just wore two SS shirts with short pants and a hat. The others were similarly attired, or would be soon as they warmed up with the early hiking into the sunshine.
I was amazed at the amount of snow still remaining and the water gushing down from the mine shaft. Lots of folks were heading up the mountain, too, and some were heading down already, apparently having climbed early or even overnight with the gorgeous full moon. The road was easily passable in my F150 truck and really didn't need the 4WD.
We kept it slow early, but still made it to the bunkhouse quite quickly. We ascended to the southwest from there and cleared a snow field moving to the north-northeast towards the saddle between Sheridan and Sherman. The size and depth of the snowfield and the glissade paths down the field were quite impressive.
Our Maryland friend sent us along on our own as his pace slowed. He was quite confident that he'd find his way given the numbers hiking. The flowers all of the way up were very impressive, too--the most I'd seen in that valley--and the purple flowers among the rocks well above the tundra were beautiful.
We summitted in just under two hours and Andy and Joann toasted a fellow Marine friend lost in the War on the anniversary of his death with a shot of his favorite rum. We stayed quite a while taking photos of other hikers, snacking, and giving treats to the many dogs on the summit.
We hiked north along the ridgeline towards Geminit Peak. I continued on, while Andy and Joann went back to the summit of Sherman. I descended alone northeast across the snowfield and then across the meadow to Gemini and up the steep, rocky little summit to 13,951.
I hiked back to the summit of Sherman with a couple from the Denver area and then met my Maryland friend on top--happy that he'd persevered and summitted. Joann and Andy had gone down the mountain with Mousse, their giant chocolate lab, and we met them at the top of the snowfield where people were glissading. The deeply grooved chute that had been used by many looked just too dangerous. I heard from a friend that a guy had shattered his ankle at the bottom the day before and it was clear that the chute ended in rocks, so we moved further southwest along the ridge until we found a spot where another group was glissading down a great slope that flared flat at the end and seemd to pose no threat to life and limb.A crowd formed at the bottom as people and dogs slid down the mountainside to the cheers of onlookers. Here's a Youtube link to my slide and Joann's assisted in both cases by Mousse.
We continued down the mountain without incident and relaxed near the streams that bracketed the road. All in all, a great hike on a beautiful day--and mission accomplished for Joann and Bob (friend from Maryland). Next week, it's a little bigger challenge: Harvard and Columbia!.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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