| Mt. Sherman from Four Mile Creek/Leavick
I'll preface my trip report by saying that I like to look at these trip reports for recent, and sometimes, more detailed information that the Routes may offer. I also like to check seasonal reports (fall, summer, spring.) I always print the Route to carry with me. I then try to add some photos to add to the detail. I'll also add some "dog friendly" information.
My goal for this summit was to hit a relatively close 14er, with a reasonable roundtrip effort so that I could return home in time for a family event Saturday afternoon. I left home near Monument at 3:45am (yes, I am a morning person.) I went 24 via Woodland Park to 9 and Fairplay (almost as you turn south on 285 for ¼ mile and never get into Fairplay).
I departed the Leavick site at about 5:50am-about 45 minutes before sunrise. It was not easy to see the surroundings so I parked behind another 14ers.com member car from Kansas .
This is the last you will see of trees on this hike.
The walk along the road to the gate is as expected…a walk along the road in the dark. I played it safe parking a mile or two below the gate as I didn't want to damage my car driving further in the dark. I also was hoping to get closer to the 3,000 foot elevation gain.
By the time I did hit the gate, it was starting to lighten up. Here's a picture from the descent (more light) from the gate where most cars park .
After you turn the corner, you now see the mine up ahead. I enjoy seeing the old mines as this is part of the history of Colorado. I do keep my dog Joe close so as to avoid some open mines and other hazards. Incidentally, there is the Four Mile Creek for water as my dog prefers creeks and eating snow to a water bowl. You now see the middle part of the hike through the upper mine, Hilltop Mine.
After the Hilltop Mine, there is a large flat area where you can see the trail ahead climbing to the saddle but it may not be easy to see which trail to take in front of you.
Once on the saddle, the trail is fairly easy and well-marked.
I found on the descent, that as you climb up the ridge there are many trails. I actually ascended on the western side and descended on another path on the eastern side. They all seem to be forced to a single trail on the narrow ridge before the summit.
You can see the faint trail I descended on the right (eastern side) and hikers ascending on the left but all trails lead back to the trail on the narrow ridge.
Though narrow, the ridge was fairly easy and safe.
However, there was a frost this early in the morning, making it a bit slippery. You think you see the summit ridge but you do not.
Joe and I continued along the flat area to the summit. Now you can actually see the summit some distance along the flat top to the summit. We made it at 7:40am and had the summit to ourselves for about 30mimutes.
I found the panoramic views to be spectacular. I could see Pikes Peak to the east, Leadville, Collegiate Peaks , Mt. Massive to the west. The weather was beautiful but a wind coming over the west ridge made it a little chilly. I left the summit heading down at 8:35am making my car at 9:55am.
Looking from the saddle down on the mines and the road/trail.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):