Sherman was a great day hike on Saturday, May 28, 2011. The first of the season for us and we were all itching to get on the trail. We had a team of eight from University of Colorado Hospital and we met around 6:30 at a lower campsite at the side of Colorado 18. We carpooled up to the farthest reachable point by 4x4, about 350 yards prior to the Leavick Mine site. If you see snow on the road it is probably unpassable--I got my Pilot stuck on Friday night, if in doubt, dont try it, it's not fun.
The hike up from the Leavick sight was ripe with snowfields covering the road and an ample amount of postholing. one from our group wore snowshoews to try to tamp down the snow prior to the others walking behind, but that only worked for awhile. As we approached treeline, the snow was colder and firmer.
There are two cornices to beware of: the Western one which is visible as soon as you can see Mt Sheridan, and another cornice East of this the view of which is occluded by the Hilltop Mine and the hill it sits upon. We avoided the potential run-out pattern for each of these cornices by walking up snowfields beneath the Dauntless and Hilltop Mines and veering to the right after the Hilltop Mine on a self-made snow ascent. This ascent worked well (especially with Microspikes and an ice axe--or good poles) until we were transitioning to patches of scree just prior to achieving the saddle ridge on Sherman's West side.
From that ridge while facing 75+ mph winds, we scrambled East across four false summits to the actual summit of Mount Sherman. 6 out of our 8 made the ridge, 3 out of 6 made the summit. We snapped a few quick shots despite the fierce wind and got off the top.
The amount of wind loaded snow along the ridge (new cornice-ing) is significant and should be taken very seriously and avoided both on the ascent and the descent. We scrambled through some scree to ensure we avoided the cornice ridges. Then we were treated to excellent glissading down the primary descent from the ridge and a little bit more after the miner's hut.
The hike out was fairly standard though slightly slower due to extra effort to avoid post-holing, or dealing with our self made post-holes. Getting back to the Leavick Mine was sweet and the day was a great success.
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Stuck friday night shy of leavick--dont try this at home.