Start Elevation: 12,057 ft.
Sheridan Summit: 13,748 ft.
Sherman Summit: 14,036 ft.
Gemini Summit: 13,951 ft.
Distance: 7.503 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,993 ft.
Start Time: 6:47am
Sheridan Summit: 8:29am (10mins)
Sherman Summit: 9:45am (6mins)
Gemini Summit: 10:11am (1min)
Sherman Summit: 10:33am
End Time: 12:15pm
Duration: 5 hrs 28 mins
TRIP REPORTWe met Ken, Cindy, Katelyn, Matthew at 5:50am at US285 and County Rd 18 just south of Fairplay. Our hiking group was Luke, myself, Dad, and David. We drove the road into Fourmile Creek which was incredibly bumpy. We made it up to the gate at 12000 ft. which was open for some reason. We were the first car parked up at the gate. Got our entire hiking group ready to roll and it was just past 6:45am to start. We were all winded to start, and I reasoned this must be because of our 12K starting elevation. The kids were all looking good and ready to roll.
As expected there was a growing number of people showing up and starting on trail after us. We were also concerned with weather as their was a chance of rain forecasted for 9am and beyond. So far so good with the clouds. The road was pretty easy to follow despite the occasional off-shooting road or trail. I was aware from the topos of two alternate routes, one which follows an old mining road to the saddle in the middle between Sheridan and Sherman. The main route follows trail and road up to the saddle near the Sherman side. We followed this. There was the occasional shortcutting trail which seemed to be present from folks who would shortcut the switchbacks in the road. As we travelled most of our group enjoying quick side-ventures to check out the old mining equipment.
|The two boys, Luke and Matt, were doing great together|
As we ascended further on Sherman's ridge we had memories returning of the awful winds we had up here 20 years ago. We were also reminded of running trail on the crest of the ridge itself. There is now a trail cut into the right side of the ridge as you ascend which makes for fairly easy going. As the ridge began to top out it also began to get thinner. We put an adult next to each of the younger kids here just to make sure they didn't do anything unexpected. I wouldn't call it exposure so much yet through here, but one drastically catastrophic mistake could send a hiker rolling down the sides of the ridge for a good distance.
When the trail along the ridge finally levels out you think you've hit the summit but it is actually another 200 feet or so of level hiking on top to get to the true top. I grabbed video of Luke getting to this area and through some of it. David also then grabbed video of Luke as well as the others finally hitting the true summit. There was a large snowpatch just off the summit itself which the others would play in for a few moments. I am told by Denny that Luke actually slipped and slid on it for a few it before stopping himself. David and I stuck around with the others for a few photos and David even got snagged by another group to shoot their photo, and then we set off for a quick run to Gemini Peak.
The group as a whole did very well on the descent. A few small slips and slides on the steep scree and dirt but no major injury. We enjoyed working with Ken's group and helping them learn about hiking in the mountains, especially at high elevation. After doing this for 21 years now we have found we've learned an awful lot. At age 7 this year Luke is doing far better on hiking these mountains than David and I were doing in our lower teens because of the preparedness and good technique we've learned through the years.
Our exploring of the mining stuff was very little on the descent as most of the group was focused on reaching the vehicles before the big, dark, thundery cloud opened up on us. We were surprised to see a few groups still heading up towards the summit with the approaching storm. Though as we heard more thunder we're pretty sure we could see a few of them bailing up on the summit ridge.
TRACKThis track was taken with the BackCountry Navigator app on my Droid Bionic.