Mount Sherman was just my 10th 14er, climbed during my first season of hiking. So, it's been nearly 9 years since I was up the Fourmile road. Even on that trip, I had wanted to climb some of the other high peaks and it finally happened.
My original plan, based on all the snow I saw on northeast faces last weekend, was to climb the Boudoir Couloir in Horseshoe's namesake eastern cirque. But, driving to the trailhead, it occurred to me that maybe there really wouldn't be enough snow. It was still early at the trailhead, and I couldn't identify mountains, but from what I could see of east faces, there didn't seem to be much snow. So, I reorganized my gear and decided to do the walkup route on Horseshoe and then traverse over and bag Sheridan.
From where I parked, it was less than a mile to where another decent road branches off to the left to climb up the right hand side of the basin leading up to the horseshoe-shaped cirque. This was uneventful, and when I reached the first good look at the cirque, I could see that there was almost no snow at all for the snowclimb. Leaving my snow gear in the car was one of my better decisions recently! There are mine ruins all over the place, and you pass the Peerless Mine, right below Peerless Mountain, before climbing into the saddle between Peerless and Horseshoe. The exact path you take into the saddle was not obvious, partly because of a little snowcover in the lee of the ridge. But, it doesn't really matter.
There is a climber's trail for pretty much the entire ascent up the ridge, and the route is not very steep. I reached the summit at 0703. The summit was fairly large and flat. The summit register was intact and had been placed last fall. Skies remained almost completely clear. Winds were light and I measured a temperature of 46F, which felt pretty warm for that altitude that early in the morning. The summit gives a good view of the northern Sawatch Range off to the west.
At the last minute I remembered that there is an old mining cabin just west of the summit, so I wandered over there and took a look before leaving the summit. I retraced my steps back to the saddle, and made my way steeply up Peerless Mountain. It only gains 168 feet from the saddle, so it is not a "ranked" summit. There was a bit of a climber's trail in places through the talus, but this is obviously not a very popular route. There's also nothing special to mark this summit.
It is a short saddle drop before starting the climb to Sheridan. The climb from this saddle is 600+ feet, so it took me about 25 minutes. There was some climber's trail here, but the last few hundred feet is rather steep talus. The summit as marked on the mountain is actually a bit northwest of the ridgecrest, although the high point on the map is right on the crest. This position gave a nice view of my route up Dyer Mountain from last year.
I actually did much of the 600-foot descent from Sheridan to the Sheridan-Sherman saddle on the remaining snow on the edge of the ridge crest. It was still plenty wide enough so you weren't walking out on the cornice, and was pretty solid for walking. I had to go all the way over to where the Sherman climbers were reaching the ridge because that was the only place where there wasn't steep snow overhanging the lee side. Plus, I wanted to get close to the Hilltop Mine remnants. Otherwise, one can save a few steps and drop off the ridge farther east. But, the Hilltop Mine was worth a closer look even after seeing it before and I shot some video and still photos.
I continued down the road, encountering a lot of people coming up for Sherman. The road goes right by the Dauntless Mine, which is interesting for having some of it's railroad track still intact. In fact, it looked exactly the same as it did 9 years ago, including the big puddle of water by the tracks. The big moneymaker was silver in the late 1800s, with zinc taking over from the 1890s through the 1930s, when the mines were abandoned for good.
It remained sunny, and during a heat wave you can add "getting out of the hot Sun" as another good reason to start a hike early; I didn't envy the people still on their way up. The road is steep enough to get a little help from gravity on the way down, and I reached my car at 1030. A couple minutes before, I happened to look down and found a dime on the road!
To the chronological trip index
To the Horseshoe Mountain page
To the Peerless Mountain page
To the Mount Sheridan page
File last modified: 01 January 2005