Having survived an Advanced Microeconomics final a few days earlier (the academic equivalent of "Touching the Void"), a rag-tag group of graduate students from the University of Denver Department of Economics decided to attempt Mt. Sherman during spring break. Our party included: Stiffler_from_Denver (14ers.com member), Xander the Great, Secret Asian Man, the Man from Laredo, and myself. This was my second attempt on Mt. Sherman, although it might be a bit generous to call my first foray this past January an "attempt"; I never made it more than 25 yards from my Chevy Cobalt, which was stuck for several hours on Fourmile Road. Many thanks to Silver Heels Towing of Fairplay for getting me back onto the highway and for not making me feel like a complete jackass (despite having every reason to!).
We left from Denver at 5 a.m. and made great time on 285. We parked in the shadow of Sheep Mountain about 1.25 miles from the Leavick summer trailhead a few minutes after 7 a.m. By 7:30 our gear was on and we were starting out. The temperature was around 20 degrees. The winds were stronger than we had hoped, but manageable.
Starting out, Lamb Mountain's southwest ridge in the background.
By the time we had made it to the Leavick site, the Man from Laredo's bad back was acting up. He opted to do some leisurely snowshoeing in the Horseshoe Gulch and leave the summit for the rest of us. The remaining four of us enjoyed a nice breakfasted once we'd reached the Dauntless Mine site at 9:40: apples, cheese, salami, chocolate, tea and coffee--delicious.
The Leavick site near the summer trailhead.
Sherman's White Ridge.
By 11 we had gained the ridge connecting Mount Sheridan and Mount Sherman. The ridge had a nice cornice built up on its eastern aspect, but we easily stayed far out from underneath it.
Cornice on the connecting ridge between Sheridan and Sherman.
Looking across the corniced ridge toward Mt. Sherman.
Looking back down into Horseshoe Gulch.
Once we crossed the ridge, we stashed our snowshoes and proceeded up the rocky southwest ridge of Sherman. After a short coffee break midway up, we attained the summit at 12:45 p.m. Except for the strong winds, the weather was gorgeous. We stayed nearly a half-hour on the summit taking photos and celebrating, then started our descent at about 1:15. We could easily distinguish the following 14ers from Sherman's summit: Pikes Peak, the Decalibron peaks, Mount of the Holy Cross, Mt. Massive, Mt. Elbert, and La Plata. The 14ers of the southern Sawatch were visible as well, but it was harder for us to distinguish specific mountains.
Ascending one of Sherman's false summits.
Xander the Great and Stiffler_from_Denver at 14,007; the actual 14,036 summit of Sherman is about 125 yards ahead of them.
Gazing out at Elbert and Massive from Sherman's summit.
Stiffler_from_Denver and I bergheiling on the summit.
We detoured past the Hilltop Mine site on our descent, which was otherwise uneventful. After finding the Man from Laredo at Leavick, we were back at our vehicles by 4:15 p.m.
The camaraderie of this hike really made it enjoyable. Mount Sherman doesn't have a great deal of character, but hiking it in calendar winter with colleagues made it worthwhile.
Descending toward Mt. Sheridan.
Long-abandoned mining shack.
Taking in the Horseshoe Gulch.
A last glance back at Sheridan and Sherman.