| Sher... Wouldda Liked to Summit Sherman
On Saturday, Jan. 27th my husband, Rick, our two dogs and I grabbed our winter gear and headed for Mt. Sherman around 6:15 a.m. The fairly quick drive flew by even as the flurries wisped past our Isuzu, Rodeo. Weather reports caused some hesitancy, but after waiting over a month to trek up a 14'er we went for it.
Upon arriving to County Rd. 18 , the weather actually seemed calm. Our two dogs, Anna and Cee-Cee were wound up and ready for adventure. Anna has climbed with us on former treks, but Cee-Cee, our newest 2 year old Viszla, was in for a big surprise.
To start, we were only able to get about ¾ the way down County Rd. 18 before the snow became too deep and powdery. We parked and walked about 1.5 miles until the road forked. Straight ahead looked the best route but the "private property" and untraversed trail threw Rick off and we headed left, following a set of snowshoe tracks (which we decided to go without). This path led us through deep snow, up to waist height at points, and eventually after an hour or so, brought us right back to the main road. Oops, I guess we should have stayed straight. With energy spent and a little frustration we wondered if it was worth the journey onward. Our only hope was the now visible gate ahead (mentioned in directions from the 14'ers site). We plowed forward.
Just after the gate there was yet another old, abandoned log cabin from mining days. We rested and fueled up, looking below at the trail to see a group of 3 other hikers in one set and further down a pair. Humph… so much for a quiet hike, especially with Kujo growling up a storm. Continuing on, we followed the spotted snow trail that might have been USAKeller's from the week prior. When we faced the last peak, we took what ended up being an incredibly steep route (again, the recommended course from last week's trip report). A storm moving in made the last part of our attempt difficult.
As we inched up the sheer wall, Cee-Cee became a bit cold and clung near Rick's side. At the top of the ridge, just around the corner from a cornice, the west wind was whipping to what seemed 50MPH. Rick said afterward, "Cee-Cee was a fart in the breeze." He had to grab her leash and Anna's tightly and in fight or flight mode turn downward to the saddle, descending on the standard trail. I peaked up to see where they went, feeling these massive gusts that felt like razorblades slashing my face. I too flew downward following the ridge and to calmer grounds on the east side. Rick was taking pictures and video with the camera but only 1 video recorded before the camera froze up from the wind chill
(We decended on this trail)
We spotted a few of the other hikers at this point, making their way up the same steep incline. We told them of the gusts and left the decision up to them. When we got lower it looked like one hiker might of kept going while the others turned back. If any of you summited, we'd love to hear a trip report. Had we not brought our dogs we may have tried to summit another route. It's a mystery if we would have made it to the top. Unfortunately we were about 500 feet short of the summit. Luckily we enjoyed a slide down part of the descend. The rest of the hike back was cold and a bit disappointing. We'll get there next time. Moral of the story- dogs aren't always up for the whipping wind of winter hikes.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):