Mt. Sherman - By far the easiest of the 14er - Leadville, CO
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
If you are looking for a simple first hike with 14er bragging rights, Mt. Sherman is a good one to choose. It is possible to park as high as 12,000 feet, with the goal to get to 14,028 feet and about 5.3 miles RT. Again a local favourite and suggested by a friend. This was part of the tribe's attempt to do back to back 14er. The prior day we had successfully made the summit of Gray's peak, with with tired legs Mt. Sherman seemed like a nice low mileage option. Given our previous days hike upto Gray's, the body was well acclimatized and Mt Sherman did not feel that much of a tough one.
We got lost a bit trying to find the road to the trailhead, and ended in a bit of detour. Follow the directions from Fairplay, if you drive south just one mile on 285, take the County Road 18 (Fourmile Creek Road) and drive about 10 miles to the base, fairly open space to park. You will see the gate right in front and the trail starting from there. You will witness an old abandoned mine, apparently Sherman mine produced 10 million ounces of silver in the late sixties.
The initial section on the trail is fairly flat, you need to zigzag your way through the switchbacks towards the summit. Trail is well maintained and easy to follow. At the saddle stay to the right on the Mt. Sherman's southwest ridge, the route on the left is less steeper but will add some additional miles to the RT. Once you are at around 13,000 ft it becomes fairly rocky. The difficult part of the route is at about 13,500 ft, on the ridge where its a bit of a scramble on the rocks. This part is also a bit exposed hence careful footing is really important on this section. Only about 5 ft wide, this section will give a view of what class 2 can be, this section is a bit scary with a steep fall. Once you cross this section, the summit is well within sight a short distance away.
Learnings from the tribe - Easy to get dehydrated on the exposed mountain at elevation, ensure enough liquid intake, before, during and after the hike!!!