| Sherman - Fourmile Creek
We started from the gate (locked) at 7:40 am. There was a bluebird flitting around nearby.
(Photo by TI, not by Sundog)
The road (and trail) alternated between clear and snow-covered; the snow was well-packed at that hour of the day.
The air was cool and mostly calm, perfect for hiking. We saw "glory holes" (pits formed by dynamite blasts) near the Dauntless mine.
Above the Hilltop mine, there was enough snow to make the route unclear, and we got off-course a bit. Later we realized we had cut right from the trail, and upward (unwittingly following the recommendation on 14ers.com). About this time we encountered a group that included Astrobassman. While ascending the fairly steep snow field, one of us discovered a lethargic hummingbird moth on the snow.
As soon as we made it onto the ridge, really powerful winds coming up from the other side hit us. I've experienced Chinook winds of eighty miles per hour and this felt about the same. The ridge itself was mostly covered with packed snow.
On the ridge we met a young couple accompanied by a black pug dog; they reported the pug was having no trouble at all covering the distance, had been just a little cold on the summit, and had summited several 14ers with them before.
We made the summit about 10 am and spent about a half hour on top,
with about ten other people. The temperature without wind chill was 40 degrees F; the wind on the summit was not as bad as lower on the ridge, but still serious. We'd not got far on the way down before we realized that on the way up we'd gone off the standard route. We also saw that a group that had gone down before us had stuck to the standard route and were now enjoying a moderate glissade from a point lower down.
We followed the standard route that far, and then followed their example.
The glissade was nice, the snow was steep enough to keep going but not packed enough or steep enough to really get to any dangerous speed.
Past the bottom of the glissade, we passed close to the Hilltop Mine ruin.
We finished in four and a half hours. The weather was great apart from the wind, starting cloudless and ending up with just scattered, tame-looking cumulus.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):