Peak(s):  Mt. Sherman  -  14,043 feet
Gemini Peak  -  13,951 feet
White Ridge  -  13,684 feet
Date Posted:  09/19/2022
Date Climbed:   09/08/2022
Author:  petal53run
 ,The NE Trio of Sherman   

The NE Trio of Sherman

Since I got a late start climbing this year, I was researching grouping multiple mountaintops into a one day hike. Knowing what limits to push, doable distance, friendly traverses, 6-7 hours timeframe and good weather makes a very long day, so pacing was the key to success. Being sensible helps too. Anyways hiking 3 spaced out mountains I can happily do, so I grouped Mt Sherman (14043), Gemini Peaks (13951) and WhiteRidge (13684), both unranked 13ers needing to be climbed at some point. Today was the day to do it.

From Fairplay via 285, DON’T take the detour, stay on 285. After 1.1 mile, turn R onto CR18. The pavement ends into a 2WD dirt road. About 10.5m, I stopped at the pulloff(pic1). I’m driving my sailors son’s car (TU) cuz my truck is not well. The last ¾ mile to the Fourmile Creek TH(12000) is very rough with pointy rocks. In this case walking the last stretch takes less time than waiting for a tow truck.

While I was lacing up my boots, another hiker, named Rick parked next to me. We traded interesting conversations as we traveled to the top of Sherman. First we reached the gate(pic2) and was greeted by Mt Sheridan glowing orange(pic3) in the sunrise. Then rounding the corner brought the familiar hillside into view. It was covered with mining ruins that once was the Dauntless Mine and Leavick Mill(pic4). This is my 3rd time on the SW side and it didn’t look like much has changed in the last 7 years. But I like hiking Sherman. The wide worn path(pic5) zigzags itself all the way to the summit and the familiar territory gives me time to reflect. Cairns are everywhere (pic6-7-8-9), easy routefinding and the Mosquito range surrounds me with the views of all the peaks I’ve climbed. Pic10 is of Sherman coming into view. Although it is a Class 2 climb, the scramble between the steep drop offs(pic11) offers enough challenge to make summiting a bragging accomplishment.

While named for 1881 civil war General William Tecumseh Sherman, what makes this 14er unique is its long flat summit. According to Roach’s 14er book, a Cessna 310 flying to Aspen during a horrific 1967 January snowstorm safely landed on Sherman’s plateau. Jimmy Williamson was the Denver Pilot whose familiarity with mountain peaks saved the crew from randomly crashing somewhere. The other identifying feature is the loose powdery scree which I believe is a sedimentary collection of sorts. Almost there(pic12) and pic13-14 of me atop the 14034 pile of white platter size rocks.

Next I followed Sherman’s N ridge toward Gemini Peaks(pic15) which was a Class 2 climb of about 3/4mile. There was no established trail so going for it was the method. Gorgeous views of Iowa Gulch(pic16), Dyer(pic17), and mountain goats(pic18) while crossing the alpine meadow(pic19). Those flowers not having frozen, have turned red to absorb more heat to stay alive(pic20). About 20 minutes after leaving Sherman, I summited Gemini Peaks(13951) (pic21-22).

Turning toward White Ridge: it was a very looooong ways and out of sight from the S because it is a very prominent mountain when on the opposite side. Rather than top Sheridan again, I took a bearing with my Silva compass from my map and eyeballed an angle to the obvious saddle(pic23) and cut across the trailless tundra toward the 3rd summit of the day. On the crest of the saddle (pic24) standing in a sea of scalloped shaped rocks, there was White Ridge, a long ways away now. The footing became more solid through the grassy areas and the rocky surface was stable enough to make the hike smoother. This was a difficult Class2 effort and routefinding was super easy because the summit pole had been visible since Sherman. Much of the sedimentary rock was intact(pic25) and pic26 is a pretty rock. In pic27, the numerous towers can be seen and carefully be navigated around on the Nside or climbers left. After one false summit after another, a path appears(pic28) and up to White Ridge(13684): pic29 with Sherman behind me and pic30 of Horseshoe.

It would have been another long walk returning via Sherman on the ascent trail so how to get down faster was the question. Looking down S of the 14er, I could see a long flat green expanse(pic31). I would assess sliding down loose rock when I reached the saddle. It was super fast getting there. Just before thinking about going back up to Sherman, I saw a path with boot prints going down the steep hill. Fourmile road was reassuringly visible. I followed the loose dirt trail to a grassy ridge(pic32). From there I hiked the tops while veering toward Horseshoe until the roofs of cars could be seen at the TH. There were lots of cables intertwined with the willows but I picked up a worn line through them(pic33), balanced on the matted trail through the outcropping, crossed the stream(pic34), connected with a worn path(pic35) and landed at the THparking lot. I helped a gentleman change his flat tire who kindly drove me back to my car.

In sum, I enjoyed hiking this NEloop. Although not technically challenging while conquering its gentle giant pitch, the 11.5m distance added the extra adrenaline to make it a satisfying adventure. The weather was perfect, the company was fun, the scenery was soothing and the 6 hours flew by. Purpose accomplished: it was a contemplative hike. However the path that I descended on was definitely a downhill route because the loose surface offered little traction and one needs to concentrate to slide safely in this section. The disappointment was not finding any USGS markers on the peaks. By going up and down the standard Class2 route, all abilities will enjoy this climb and see tons of mining reminders. Between 1968-1982, 10million ounces of silver were extracted from the lengthy underground cavern. While leaving history behind, I could see hints of yellow on the hillsides(pic36), pic37 of the old mine building, and the trees on CO18 beginning to color (pic38). Hopefully Fall will be long, pretty and amicable for climbing.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Like Sherman
09/22/2022 17:00
Mt sherman is one of my favorites, too. Willing to try the other peaks from this angle after this report.

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