| Mt Sherman via Iowa Gulch
What an amazing day to hike a 14er. To be honest, I wasn't totally sure what I was getting into. To hike a 14er in November. Am I crazy or what??
The Plan. I had Friday off after Thanksgiving, the weather looked great. Let's do it!! My buddy Chris and I met up and headed to Leadville on Friday morning. I've done a lot of research on Mt Sherman and decided this would be a excellent winter climb. From Iowa Gulch, it was only 4.5 miles RT. A good hike and from what I could tell, the route was free of any avalanche danger. I know, its steeper from the Iowa Gulch side, but we were up for the challenge.
The road to the trail head had a light covering of snow. It wasn't fresh, probably windblown snow from several days ago. No problem driving in my 4x4 all the way to the turnaround -parking lot. We made it to the trail head around 9am. A late start, but no worries about the weather.
I'll never make this mistake again. I figured it was about 3/4 mile hike across the lower skirt of Mt Sherman to the Sherman-Sheridan gulley. With firm snow under our feet, we decided to leave our snowshoes in the car. Easy going, but a tough hike back.
Once we made it to the gulley, we were glad to see solid ground, free of ice and snow. The hike up the gulley was fairly easy, we stayed on rocky ground, treading lightly. Although it was straight up it was forgiving. Kinda fun to see the old fashioned telegraph poles.
At last, the Sherman-Sheridan saddle.
At the top, I peered down the valley into South Park, with Antero and Eleven Mile Reservoirs in the distance. All that remained was the final push up the ridge to the summit.
I was glad to feel hard packed snow under my feet. Blue sunny skies - not a cloud to be had! The wind picked up, but nothing overbearing. Breezy, but this was to be expected at 14,000 ft. Some 20 minutes later and we made it to the top!
At the summit, it was fun to talk with some folks who climb by the way of Leavick. We talked for about 20 minutes and then it was time to get going. The hike back to the saddle was quick. Then it was slidding on my butt down most of the gulley. We were making great time only 1 hour had passed and we made it down the to Sherman skirt and pending snow field.
What a chore! With the truck in sight, it was frustrating to post-hole all the way back aross the snowfield. With every step, I thought of the snowshoes that we left in the car. This was definitely the hardest part of the entire climb. O well, next time, Ill have my snowshoes!!!
Climb Time 2:45 minutes going up and 2 hours to climb down. Sorry for the poor photos!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):