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 Peak(s):  Mt. Sherman  -  14,036 feet
 Post Date:  03/15/2011
 Date Climbed:   03/12/2011
 Posted By:  bergsteigen

 Sastrugi Groomers   

Mt Sherman
Route: South Slopes
Mileage: 8.45
Elevation Gain: 3,063'
Vertical Ski: 3,063'
Skiers: kansas (Darrin) and me

So what do you do if you are tired of ski resorts and groomers? Time to move on to something more challenging in the backcountry. 16 months after Darrin put on skis for the first time, he skied his first 14er from the summit. Last year he skied a 13er, West Pearl Mountain, so he had some idea of what to expect. I figured Sherman would be a nice step up, as we had both seen what the SE face looked like in winter with snow. So when avy conditions meshed with the weather, we were off!

We were able to drive a little beyond the plowed winter closure, but when I started to see numerous wind drifts crossing the road, I backed up a bit and pulled over. No need to get stuck and have to dig out my truck with our avy shovels!

The morning was surprisingly warm and the skies were mostly clear as we started off, a little before 7am. Soon after we started, a group of 3 passed by us on their way up. We would be on separate routes, but it would be nice to know there were others around. Around the bend we were treated with the first nice view of the day.

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Good Morning Horshoe!

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Once up into the basin, we could see that a ski would be possible, as the winds should have left enough snow to ski on. We took a slightly different route that the one described in the south slopes, but we wanted to avoid as many rocky crossings as possible. We departed from the mining road and skinned up a nice little valley, and once around the mine to our right, we could see a narrow patch of snow that would lead up the upper basin. There would be a couple rocks in our way, but we could see a better way on the way down that we could take.

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Fourmile Creek Basin

Click for larger Pano
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Skinning up to the SW of the mine at 12,404'. We took first snow crossing on right.

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Photo Credit: Darrin
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Piecing our way through some rocks. Descent was over to the left.


Once at about 13,000' we got our first close up view of the upper face, where we had a couple choices, but all involved at least one rocky crossing. Snow coverage was adequate, but more would have been nice! We took the far right option on the way up and down.

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Spying the route up to the saddle/ridge


Skinning up the face involved a couple tricky areas of icy bullet proof snow, where I was glad I had my whippet, but wanted ski crampons. I measured the slope angle periodically along our route. Much of it was at 24, but there were a couple areas of 30-32 degrees. With an avy rating of "moderate" on Saturday, I wasn't worried in the few areas that anything could be possible.

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Skinning Up

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Valley Pano

Click for larger Pano
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The wind started to hit us pretty hard once we made the Sherman-White Ridge saddle. So we put our heads down and plugged away at the summit. Within a few feet of the top, the group of three was making their way down. The only others that made the summit on this day (as far as I know).

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Darrin topping out on summit snow drift


Photo Credit: Darrin
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Summit Pano

Click for larger Pano
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Departing group


The clouds were building and blowing in from the west, so we snapped the last couple photos, and prepared our skis for the descent. Darrin was the first to depart, as this was his first 14er ski.

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A bit windy, no?

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Better get off the summit, before that shows up!


Photo Credit: Darrin

Once off the windy upper ridge, we could take a bit more time for photos and have fun with our ski down. Even with a 20 minute break at 13K, the total time down was only 2 hours. Not bad for a skiing newbie!

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Starting down the face


Photo Credit: Darrin - Jump Turn!

Photo Credit: Darrin
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Kicking up some snow

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Photo Credit: Darrin

Photo Credit: Darrin
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The valley we skinned up as we departed the road.

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3D view of our route



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
USAKeller


Didn't see this until now!     2011-03-20 14:05:22
Awesome job to you both!! Great TR and photos Otina! Looking forward to getting out with you guys this spring!


Dancesatmoonrise


Nice     2011-03-16 22:02:12
Looks like a fun time, great photos, fun report.

Love the use of the TOPO image - you may have started something here!

Jim


Domagata

Nice Pics     2011-03-15 21:45:09
Beautiful pictures. We also summited Saturday a group of 5. We reached the upper part of the ridge just in time to see you guys drop in from the outter part of the saddle.


JohnWilliams


Great!     2011-05-09 11:48:20
Very cool!


Mindy


Wow     2012-07-17 07:18:40
Fabulous photos. I love that area. The 3D image is really cool. Congrats on the ski and thanks for sharing!



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