Mt. Sherman and the White Ridge

May 19, 2007
Mt. Sherman — 14,036′ — Mosquito Range, Colorado Rockies
Start — Four Mile Creek trailhead
Descent — via the White Ridge

My friend Clark is on a casual mission to conquer all the 14ers in a lifetime. He doesn’t ski or board, but Old Style and I accompanied him with our sticks for a spring summit of Mt. Sherman. All the beta I’ve found on Mt. Sherman refer to it as a boring mound of rock that is a good “beginner climb” with very little ski possibility. Regardless, I was determined to not only find a great ski line, but also ascend the mountain the most difficult way possible.

We set off from the trailhead about 6:30 and the sun was already getting very hot!
View of the summit from near the start of the climb

It was very obvious that there are NO continous lines off the summit from Sherman, but immediately east of the summit (an area called “The White Ridge” I saw a few possibilities.

Looking at the south face of the White Ridge.

The longest and steepest looking lines are near the middle of the pic, but they didn’t look like they would go. As we kept hiking I started to dial in on the far left line, which was flatter and shorter, but had the only obvious drop in from the top.

At the base of Sherman’s south face I stowed the board on my pack and started to bootpack up the snow covered face. I was able to stay in snow for most of the ascent, save for a few rocksections (extremely loose skree all the way up, this mountain would be a bitch in the summer!)

Looking straight up my ascent route. Most of the rock was avoidable except for this part

I was able to kickstep through most of the climb in my soft boots. However, after the last rock section seen above, I encountered some strangely solid snow. As I kicked harder and harder into the bulletproof layer, my toes began to feel the pain of impact. I ended up using my ice-axe in vertical mode, and pulled myself up the 30 feet or so of solid snow until I found something soft again.

The author finally on the ridge

My comrades awaited me when I finally reached the ridge, and we made it to the summit within minutes. We split up from here as Clark made his way back down the standard route, and Brian and myself heading down the southeast ridge to the White Ridge.

Brian, Clark, and myself on the summit. I think that is either Massive or Elbert in the background

From the summit, we made it through the GFC to the top of our line within seconds. I dropped in first, and was able to ride most of the way down before coming to a tight rocky section that i had to sideslip.

The author descending the line, pic taken by Clark up on the west ridge of Sherman

Brian followed me but made a wrong turn after the crux (he went left instead of right) at the rocks and had to hike back up to get out.

Brian sideslipping at the crux

Looking back up at our line (in red)

We made it back to the truck much earlier than Clark, who hiked down, so we cracked a few brews and set up a nice little kicker and hit it a few times under the bluebird afternoon sky.


Hitting the kicker

On the way out, I took a shot at Horseshoe, just to the southwest of Sherman. Look at those lines! Add a few more to my pending list!

Scoping the lines on Horseshoe Mountain

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