Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mt Sherman Summit 7.19.10

We took our annual July trip out to Colorado yet again this July although this time it was different. We had our new baby (5 months old) with us. It made the drive slow and difficult but Nina was a champ for sure. We once again made home base Breckenridge as I believe it is the perfect summer vacation stop for people like me (great food, mountain biking, close to 14ers and not so terribly far in coming from Wisconsin.) We hit Des Moines on Friday night, Denver on Saturday night and then Breckenridge on Sunday afternoon and we lazed about. I don't know if it was the altitude, the bad diet, the 100+ temps on the way out or the constant stopping, crying and jumping from front to back seat on the drive out but none of us felt great when we got there which turned our plans from hiking Grays and Torreys together to me getting up on Monday and seeing how things felt.

I got up early but just lazed around with Nina while Jess slept. But I got anxious and finally by 7:30 I decided that I'd kick myself if I didn't climb Sherman today. It'd be the last summit I'd need for the Mosquito/Ten Mile range so if we did decide to go somewhere that wasn't Breckenridge next time it wouldn't be a glaring hole on my 14er map. I told Jess I was going, jumped in the car and headed out. Decided if there was an open parking spot in front of Starbucks I'd stop (mmm…iced caramel soy coffee) and headed towards Hoosier pass. It was slow going due to my late start and some construction (and I was kind of nervous) but soon enough I was through Fairplay and on the gravel road towards the trailhead. Sherman has the benefit of having a very high trailhead at around 12,000 feet which meant less vertical by foot and more by Toyota. My Avalon made it all the way (there is a question as to if 2WD cars can make it up there and it took like 2-3 slow but aggressive moves but no problem!) Here's where I started before putting on my gear. The beginning of the hike is still on the road however until you get to some sweet mining ruins and the road is basically a double track. Here I missed the turn despite there being a big arrow of rocks and went about a quarter mile before turning around and going the right way (my way would've made it but it appeared to go way out of the way.) Awesome. The climb was very tough for me however. I don't think I was acclimated enough but when you start at 10k feet it seems that your body acclimates as you hike. Starting so high was a rough adjustment. I felt like I was making bad time but still passed 20 or so people on the way to the top so that helped the pride even though my legs, heart and lungs all hurt despite not feeling like I was giving much effort. Everyone says how easy Sherman is but Mt Democrat (which I did last summer) seemed far easier to me. I crossed a snow field that most people were avoiding because it seemed like the fastest easiest way up the side.

Sherman is known for mining and the ruins did not disappoint. The sites were awesome and interrupted the grey talus that littered my view in almost every direction. But once you get to the saddle between Sherman and Sheridan the views open up and I remembered why I climb mountains in the first place. Of course looking up to a false summit isn't the best view once you climbed that you could see the final pitch to the top.

False Summit:It looks pretty extreme from this vantage point but it was pretty wide and had a very good route to the top:That was the slowest part though; it was windy and a little steeper. But there were lots of people ahead of me and I know from my bike racing days if I see someone ahead of me I need to catch and pass them. Finally I summited, around 2 hours after I started. I am the Shermanator! Someone even had a sign with the elevation on it that made it seem even more extreme to my friends back in Wisconsin! :) There were 5 or 6 people up there when I got there but before long there were a good 15 people and a yellow lab: The views were amazing, Pikes and South Park to the South:Elbert, Massive, Leadville and the Sawatch range to the west: The DeCaLiBro and Quandary to the north and Gray and Torreys to the northwest. Also got probably the best view of South Park. The top was perfectly peaceful with a great mix of people. I decided I had to do at least 3 summits this vacation as I had 3 different flavors of Mountain Dew! Opted for the Dew Distortion on this one however because of me forcing some altitude early into our trip: The way down always sucks for me, I always underestimate how much I don't like it. The beginning was fun and I made quick work. That brown dot is the 4 story mining ruin seen from above on my way down: Saw 3 more dogs on the way up (one of which was on her 20th different 14er, impressive.) I brought hiking poles with but decided not to use them until I turned my ankle (I have bad ankles and it was only a matter of time.) Of course I turned each one (and never did get the poles out). I turned them after the hard part too, in unlikely spots where I was worried more about speed and less about the rocks. Oh well, they've been turned so many times that I can walk it off most of the time, and these were both very minor. I did get some different views of mining ruins and found the sun to be perfect for a B&W shot of this gem:

It still took well over an hour to get down and the last trudge on dirt road seemingly took forever but I made it to my car. I set my GPS on my car and opened up the car. Rocked a piss and then I was off. The road down was pretty smooth but once I got back to pavement I realized my GPS was still on my car when I left. Oops. Since it likely fell off into the road and got run over it the fall alone didn't shatter it, I let my GPS go which was a bummer since it was the only one I brought for the trip so no more GPS on my bike rides or other hikes. Here's the Garmin to top of Sherman before meeting it's untimely demise two hours later:I posted on the forums and ColoradoLawDobe found the pieces of it in the road (clearly run over) and sent me the pieces, time to call Garmin, I was just riding along and my GPS exploded…or maybe they have some discount replacement.

It didn't take me long after getting back to Breck to realize I wasn't 100% yet. My head hurt, my stomach ached and I had no energy. It basically took Mt Yale off of my calendar for the week (we stayed 5 nights so it was tight to begin with) and pushed Grays and Torreys back another day. But I was very happy for getting this one off of my list. It was the second easiest 14er I've done (Democrat is easier and I am guessing if you just did Lincoln it would be about as easy) but was so very hard anyways. This was my 7th official 14er summit (Cameron doesn't count even though I loved it) and had some of the best weather and views I've ever partaken in.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds amazing! I have never hiked anything like that before. Though I'm sorry you weren't feeling too well.

    Gorgeous b/w photo of the mining ruins!