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Mount Sherman

snow South Slope
Difficulty Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Easy 
Ski/Board: Novice, D3 / R2 / II  
Risk FactorsExposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start11,100 feet
Summit14,043 feet
Total Gain3,100 feet
RT Length8.5 miles
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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This route should only be climbed with consolidated, stable snow, usually in spring or early summer. In mid-winter, many snow routes have frequent risk of avalanche.


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.


This route is recommended in winter or spring when snow coverage is adequate. Park at the winter closure (usually near 10,900', a mile below the Leavick mine) or drive higher when the road is open. Continue up the road to 11,700' where you have great view of Sherman and the general route - 1. In 2, locate a narrow drainage that hits the right side of the road. This is the bottom of the drainage that runs between Sherman and White Ridge, and much of it will be followed during the ascent. Bypass the rugged bottom of the drainage by walking about 100 yards further up the road to a corner where the road turns left. Why leave the road here? Well, bypassing the lower portion of the drainage puts you on easier terrain and avoids some areas that may contain dangerous snowpack. The bypassed portion has been shown in yellow on Topo Map #2.

At 12,000', leave the corner of the road and hike north up onto a small slope ( 3) and across a small basin - 4. There are several ways to hike through this area, but your goal is to head north to intersect the drainage near 12,400'. After ascending a couple of the small slopes, the drainage appears - 5. Continue north by hiking directly up the drainage or on the left side. Near 12,500', Sherman comes back into view and the route up the drainage is fairly obvious - 6. The route turns slightly northwest as you approach the South Slope - 7. Taken from Mt. Sheridan (13,748'), 8 is a different view of the entire South Slope. Above 12,800', the terrain becomes a bit steeper as you climb north below the northwest end of the Mt. Sherman-White Ridge saddle - 9. Follow a wide, shallow gully that may or may not have continuous snow up to the saddle - 10 and 11. Near the top of the gully (13,600'), angle slightly to the right to pass under some steeper terrain up to your left. 12 looks back on the route after reaching the top of the gully.

Taken from White Ridge, 13 shows the remaining route to the summit that is not visible from the route. Just continue north and then northwest up the remaining slope above 13,800' - 14. 15 looks southeast back toward White Ridge and the top of the route. Hit the summit ridge and walk over to the summit - 16 and 17.

In Winter

This is usually the safest way to climb Sherman in winter but you must still be wary of small, avalanche-prone slopes as you ascend the drainage. Also, when approaching the gully below the Sherman-White Ridge saddle, be careful to avoid possible avalanche danger to your right, on White's southwest slopes.


This is an excellent route if you intend to ski Sherman. It avoids having to climb the snow slope below the Sheridan-Sherman saddle and provides a more direct line to the summit. Also, if the upper South Slope has good snow coverage ( 18), a ski off of the summit can be more rewarding. The drainage route provides some of the most continuous skiing on Sherman and leads right back to the road.


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