Mt. Sherman (Mosquito Range) – Standard Southwest Ridge from Fourmile Creek (Class 2)
- Attempted 7/4/16
- 5.25 miles round trip
- 2.5 hrs RT
- Easy 14er (Class 2)
- +2,100′ net elevation gain (14,036) – From 12,000 ft gate
- Sunblock (at that elevation, you’ll feel the sun)
- Tech shell (you will want a shell to protect you from the wind)
- Nanopuff jacket (always layer when attempting a 14er)
- Headlamp (you’ll have to be starting this hike earlier than most 14ers)
- Light gloves (for climbing and warmth)
- Hiking poles (save the knees!)
- Lunch and lots of snacks – I mean LOTS
- Lots of water! I can’t express how much you will want.
Per our annual tradition of a July the 4th fourteener, we decided to attempt Sherman because we had a bbq to attend at 1pm. We left Arvada around 5:30am, arriving at the TH around 7:30am. We had a fit group with us, so we knew the late start wouldn’t be a problem for us. It was definitely light out by the time we got there. There were lots of people on the trail already, but we ended up passing many groups. Don’t even get me started about how many groups were ascending when we left the summit – ridiculously busy! Like a freaking human train!
Anyway, we had a brisk pace knowing we wanted to make a bbq. We started past the 12,000 ft gate and quickly passed a mining shack (common on this mtn). After a quick restroom break 30 mins into the hike, we went around a bend where the summit of Sherman came into view. It wasn’t intimidating, but it didn’t look quick either. Spoiler alert, it was WAY easier than it looks from the bottom.
Once you pass the lake, there was snow on the trail, so we hiked up what looked like the most established route in the snow, eventually finding our way back to the trail. We were eyeing the glissading trails on this slope, which I will come back to later. On the ascent up the ridge, you can see where the trail coming up the backside of sherman is. If you want to eliminate some time with the crowds, the back side might be for you, but it’ll be a far drive around the mountain range to reach it. It will have a bit of route finding from what we heard at the summit. If you are looking to knock Sherman off your list – like I was – take the standard route. If you want to enjoy it a bit more, I’d take the back side up.
The ascent only had a couple steep sections that kicked my butt a bit. Admittedly, it was the first 14er of the season, but there are a couple short section where it is steep. Other than that, it is a very mellow ridge to go up. If you are looking to bring a newbie on a 14er, this might not be a bad one because of how easy it is, yet better views than Quandry or Greys/Torreys, in my opinion.
The summit was super flat. It would have been hard to tell where the true summit was if it wasn’t for a pole with the ledger stuck in the side of the trail. There is a wind shelter here. The views weren’t bad, actually, because you could see a lot of the Northern Sawatch Range mtns (Elbert, Massive, etc.) with snow still on the peaks. I think if you wanna check this off your list, now is the time.
We summited in 1.5 hrs and decided to only hang out for 15 mins at the summit. Taking obligatory pics with an American flag, listening to “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons. You know how that goes. We decided to take a jog down the mtn to save time. It was actually nice to run on, because it had enough switchbacks to slow down and the trail was packed down enough that I wasn’t too worried about rolling my ankle.
It probably took us 20 minutes to get down to the slope with the glissading, where many other parties were partaking. Kevin ended up giving his hiking poles to Josh and I, but then went down without taking anything to slow himself with. Needless to say, this resulted in him having too much speed at the end and hitting some rocks. With a nice battle scar, he survived no problem, nothing some dirty snow couldn’t fix (lol)! Josh and I were a bit more graceful on the glissade, and it was super fun, I would highly recommend carrying a hiking pole to get down the slope! An ice ax would be overkill, for sure.
After this, it was probably another 15 minute job down the mtn to the parking lot. I was pretty tired, but it was well worth it! Overall, the decent was about 45 minutes, bringing the entire trip down to 2.5 hrs RT.
Overall, this was better than I expected, but I admittedly didn’t have much of any expectation going in. This was one that I needed to check off my list, and we happened to need a quick 14er to get back for the bbq. I’d say to save this for a time when you need a quick 14er, because it’ll be more enjoyable knowing you can do the drive and mtn in about 6 hours total.