Finally got a chance to get out and enjoy Colorado this past weekend with a hike up Mt Sherman from Iowa Gulch.
We left the Air Force Academy on Sunday morning at 3:00 AM with a group of 9 for an early start at the TH. After breakfast at a great little bakery in Leadville called "City on a Hill Coffee & Espresso," we headed east to Monroe St, and then picked up Lake County Rd 2 to get out to Iowa Gulch. Co Rd 2 is paved up to the uphill left turn that takes you to the TH. From there, any loose debris and potholes are easily avoidable… just about any car should be able to negotiate it just fine.
Co Rd 2, headed to the TH
Driving just about as far as you can on this dirt road will land you at an obvious parking area (not marked however) with the trail heading down into the basin to the right of the road. It's a good trail, kind of marshy in some areas and slightly washed out in others, but we spotted the 'eraser mark' of the trail on the talus of Sherman ahead of us and began to head straight for it by 07:00.
Well defined trail below the talus
Once above the vegetation line, it's fairly intuitive to follow the Class 2 trail as it guides you along the West face in the direction of the gully below the Sherman-Sheridan saddle. As we got higher and approach the gully, there were some places where wasn't immediately obvious where the trail leads unless we were actively looking the cairns which mark it.
The trail at about 11,900'
Once in the gully however, the trail became much more obvious, it incorporates some broad switchbacks as you approach ~13,000', these come as a nice break to the legs. We grew impatient at about 12,800' and decided to follow some of the numerous social trails, which cut said switchbacks short as they lead more or less lead straight up toward the saddle in places.
Getting into the gully below the Sherman-Sheridan saddle
Once on the Sherman-Sheridan saddle, we took a break and soaked in the sun and the views before heading up the summit ridge to the West. It was surprisingly crowded up there, with hikers coming from Four Mile Creek to the east, Sheridan from the SE and others from Iowa Gulch… lots of dogs and small children were starting to make us feel weak by scampering up the trail apparently not short of breath at all!
Looking up at the summit from the Sherman-Sheridan saddle (13,100')
The trail up the ridge got interesting in some places but it was nothing our dog Buttermilk couldn't handle!
About half way up the summit ridge ~13,600'
Taking a quick break about 300' below the summit
Looking back down at the saddle and Mt Sheridan
Finally, at about 14,000', the summit ridge leveled out and we could see our objective (three poles sticking out of the rock marking the highest point on the mountain) about 200m ahead of us on the long and broad summit of Sherman. We summited at 10:30 and spent about 40 minutes taking pictures, enjoying views and, for some, taking naps in the perfect weather!
Taking a nap on the summit behind a wind-break, beautiful/warm weather!
The steaks/poles in the rock marking the summit (14,036')
Mom conquered this 14er!
Buttermilk... it only took her 14,000' of climbing to calm her down!
Though the forecast had called for a 30% chance of t-storms around 13:00, the barometric pressure was high throughout the morning and what little bit of rain that did eventually come in, didn't do so until about 16:00 when we were already on the road back toward Buena Vista ending a very rewarding hike on a beautiful Colorado day!
Buttermilk's first 14er and she's done walking!
Topo of Sherman from Iowa Gulch