Peak(s):  Mt. Sherman  -  14,036 feet
Gemini Pk  -  13,951 feet
White Ridge  -  13,684 feet
Date Posted:  04/19/2021
Date Climbed:   02/22/2021
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 Winter Sherman, Gemini and White Ridge Loop   

Winter Sherman, Gemini and White Ridge Loop

20998_14

Day of Climb: February 22nd, 2021

Trailhead: Winter Closure for Fourmile Creek

Peaks: Mt Sherman, Gemini Peak and White Ridge

Mileage and Elevation Gain: ~14.3 miles and 3600 feet of gain

I met up with my climbing partner just below 11,000 feet on county road 18. This was approximately 3 miles below the standard Fourmile Creek trailhead. He had driven about 20 feet beyond the "Don't drive pass here or you'll get stuck" sign and his Rav4 was stuck. He wasn't really being dumb. He had actually driven up this road the night before on a scouting mission and had easily reached the Leavick site further up the road. So, he was confident he could repeat that success just a few hours later and was completely wrong. The weather had warmed up significantly overnight to soften the snow, and fortunately, I was able to pull him out with a climbing rope attached to our bumpers. I preceded to get stuck as well while parking and our day was off to a rough start. After some digging we managed to free up my truck and were finally hiking up the road by 8 in the morning. We had been delayed over an hour but still felt good about the climb.

20998_02
Approaching the Leavick mine

8 am was a very late start for a winter 14er and probably the latest I've ever started any climb. This may have been to our benefit though. The storm from the night before had yet to totally clear out and the skies were now just beginning to open up as we walked pass the Leavick site and started approaching the gate at the summer trailhead. We had made quick time up the mostly snow covered road without snowshoes which were hung over our packs.

20998_01
The 12,000 foot gate at the summer trailhead.

At 12,300 feet I stopped by the Dauntless mine to put on microspikes for better traction. It was clear now that snowshoes would not be needed and we continued up the old mining road towards the SW ridge following the standard route. I had been up here a few months early and had taken the South slopes route so I wanted to try something different. Plus, we wanted to climb Mt. Sheridan on the way. We knew gaining the ridge though could be a little tricky with the current snow conditions, but we were confident in finding a safe way.

20998_03
Dauntless Mine at 12,300 feet.
20998_06
Cruising up the road
20998_05
Mt Sherman still covered in weather.

After passing the Hilltop mine we found ourselves at the base of the slope below the Sheridan-Sherman saddle. Sheridan was still completely socked in so we decided to pass on it and head directly to the summit of Mt. Sherman which looked to be clearing. With our late start that was probably a good idea anyways, and just as we feared the slope to gain the saddle did not look too friendly. We spied a rock rib off to the right and decided to shoot for that after first crossing a snow gully that we accessed to be safe (although we did cross one at a time as a precaution).

20998_04
Gaining the SW ridge of Sherman

Once safely at the Sherman-Sheridan saddle we could see the rest of the route and it looked pretty windblown. We headed up the ridge at a good pace eager to summit another winter 14er. Snow was not a factor and we were able to follow the well worn trail most of the way to the summit. Luckily, the skies cleared as we climbed the last ridge section giving us incredible views, and we topped out on Sherman in no time.

20998_07
Ridge to Sherman from saddle.
20998_09
20998_08
Just before the skies cleared. Sheridan is hidden behind me.
20998_10
The final ridge section.
20998_12
Summit view looking towards Sheridan.
20998_13
Summit buddy

We took a quick break on Sherman in a snow filled rock shelter and then headed north towards Gemini Peak. It was only about 3/4 of a mile away with approximately 200 feet of elevation lost and then another 200 feet gained. The terrain was mostly windblown with the only challenge being a short scramble to the summit. Gemini has 2 summits with the official peak being the northeast one. We pretty much just went straight up it's south face to reach it's small summit. With the skies almost completely clear now we had spectacular views in every direction.

20998_16
Gemini Peak from Sherman.
20998_15
Looking back at Sherman from a rock shelter on Gemini Peak
20998_17
Sawatch Range from Gemini
20998_19
Pennsylvania and London Mountain to the north.

Our stay on Gemini was brief. We still wanted to hit 13er White Ridge, 1.7 miles away, so we scrambled south off the summit block and strolled across a wide, wind swept open space towards the Sherman-White Ridge saddle. At the saddle we followed the gentle ridge southeast towards the White Ridge summit. It was mostly windblown with a climbers trail most of the way.

20998_18
Heading south towards the Sherman-White Ridge saddle.
20998_23
Sherman looks massive from this angle.
20998_20
Sheridan
20998_22
Easy climbing up White Ridge.
20998_21
False summit

It didn't take long to reach the summit and it was deja vu for me having just been up here a couple months ago in almost identical conditions. We were treated to some awesome views of Sherman which seemed so far away. Sheridan also looked nice and I was regretting not being more patient with the weather and climbing it as well.

20998_24
Looking back at Sherman from White Ridge summit.

We hit the White Ridge summit and then quickly turned back towards the saddle with Sherman for our descent. We could not have asked for better weather as we hiked down the ridge. White Ridge was a great addition to the day and the unique views of Sherman made it well worth it.

20998_26
Heading down the ridge towards Sherman
20998_25
20998_29
Almost back to the saddle

At the saddle, we began our descent by sidehilling to the gully coming off the South Slopes of Sherman. The gully was pretty well filled in, and we took a couple big glissades down this and then beelined back to the gate at 12,000 feet. All that was left now was the 3 mile road walk back to our cars to end another great day!

20998_27
Descending from saddle.
20998_28
Almost to Shermans South Slopes.
20998_31
Nice long glissade down this gully.
20998_30
Mt. Sheridan
20998_32
More glissading.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Altitude High

Awesome
04/19/2021 19:55
pics and report.


greenonion

No Tic Tac Toe...
04/20/2021 09:21
...on Sherm??


Will_E

No Gramps?!?!
04/21/2021 20:39
I‘m pretty sure he could handle winter Sherman.


CaptainSuburbia

Re:
04/23/2021 14:17
Altitude High - Thank you!

greenonion - tic tac toe? I had to ask someone what you meant by that lol.

Will E - Leo said the same thing. Too cold though. My cell battery died going up the ridge. That was the only time all winter that happened.



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