Ascent of Mount Sherman on 2017-03-26

Climber: Dan Hildebrand

Date:Sunday, March 26, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Sherman
    Elevation:14036 ft / 4278 m

Ascent Trip Report

After hitting Elbert on Saturday, my girlfriend and I crashed in Leadville and prepped to revisit Sherman's West Slopes approach. The West Slopes from Iowa gulch is good bit longer in the winter, but we had a bone to pick since we attempted this route with a group in late January, ran into a few snags and didn't summit. With a bunch of fresh snow sitting around on our last attempt, our group nearly set-off an avalanche above the trail, spent way too long working our way around the dangerous region, scrambled up to 13,500 or so and realized that the wind was 3-4x more brutal than forecast.

Armed with a better route, low avalanche danger and a thirst for revenge, we left our car at the turn off for 2B (which is closed in winter) and started down the road. There was a little fresh snow, but for the most part the road has enough foot/winter vehicle traffic to be pleasantly packed. Getting to the Iowa amphitheater doesn't seem to take too long (coming back to the car is different story!) and then you have to make some decisions. The summer trail starts from the end of the road, which sweeps to the north. In winter, it's not really worth following the road all the way, so we cut across towards the saddle in between Sherman and Sheridan. The summer trail runs kinda high toward the gully, right under the steep slopes of Sherman, and that's where our group ran into avi danger last time around. While the conditions were very different, we worked out way up the gully, taking advantage of the exposed rocks and much smaller snow pack there. Better safe than sorry!

The rest of the hike was pretty boring, we found and followed the trail (mostly) all the way to the summit, had a gaze around and then trudged back to the car. In an unfortunate struck of laziness, we decided to walk through the valley instead of heading back up to the road on our return trip, which was an exciting game of "post holing vs. floating on crust" the whole way. The total hike was around 11 miles and 3000-something feet of elevation gain.
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