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Mount Sherman

 Southwest Ridge
Difficulty Class 1 
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
 
Start12,000 feet
Summit14,043 feet
Total Gain2,100 feet starting at the 12,000-foot gate
2,850 feet starting at Leavick Site
3,100 feet starting at the 11,100-foot winter closure
RT Length5.25 miles starting at the 12,000-foot gate
8.5 miles starting at Leavick Site
10.5 miles starting at the 11,100-foot winter closure
AuthorBillMiddlebrook
Last UpdatedAug 2023
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Trailhead

From Fairplay, drive just over a mile south on U.S. 285 and turn right onto County Road 18. Drive 10 miles to reach the Leavick site, at 11,250'. There's a large parking area on the left after you pass the buildings. If you'd like to drive higher, the road is usually in good enough shape for most vehicles. At 12 miles and 12,000', reach the trailhead at a gate and small parking area. If the parking is full, there are pull-offs down the road.

Route

From your parking spot, hike up the road and pass the gate at 12,000' - 1. Continue to the Dauntless Mine at 12,300' - 2. Near 12,500', turn right at a junction and stay on the main road - 3. Walk east and then north as the road passes a pond and crosses a large flat area below the Hilltop Mine - 4. Follow the road ( 5) and, at 12,800', turn left as you approach the upper mine area - 6. Now on a flat area near 12,900', you can see the saddle between Mt. Sheridan and Mt. Sherman ahead - 7. Stay on the road until it passes a gray-colored gravel pile. Shortly after, look for cairns and a trail that leaves the mine area and heads toward the slope below the saddle - 8. Follow the cairned trail as it switchbacks toward the left side of the saddle. In early summer, you may have to maneuver past sections of snow along this pitch - look for cairns and try to stay on the defined trail - 9.

When you reach the 13,150-foot saddle , turn right to see Sherman's southwest ridge - 10. The start of the ridge appears to have several trail options but try to stay on the cairned trail and start up the ridge - 11. For the first few hundred feet, follow the right side of the ridge - 12. Near 13,600', regain the ridge crest at a notch and continue along the ridge crest - 13. The remaining ridge hike quickly comes into view as you reach the most difficult portion - a narrowing ridge with somewhat loose rock on the trail - 14 and 15. Continue to the final pitch along the ridge ( 16) and ascend to the south end of the Sherman's summit ridge - 17. Walk another 0.2 miles to reach the true summit - 18. On your descent, be sure to stay on the same route and avoid the temptation to take a shortcut to the Hilltop Mine area - 19.

Notes

When dry, the road can be driven to 11,800' by most good-clearance passenger cars.
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