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False Trail & Successful Summit on Mount Sherman
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By maroonhawk
Sep 3, 2013

Hey all,

For Labor Day this year, I volunteered to take my friend up his first fourteener; I had climbed 14 before this, but hadn't climbed Mount Sherman and heard it was a fairly easy climb, so I decided we'd climb it. In order to avoid crowds, we took the non-standard Western approach from Iowa Gulch. We left Greeley, CO at around 4:30am, got to the trailhead at about 7:30, and started hiking what looked like the trail to the summit. It wasn't marked (actually, there were no signs up there of any sort) but it was a very obvious trail leading from the very obvious parking lot at the end of the road, so we naturally assumed that was it.

Well, as it turns out, the trail we took did not, in fact, lead to the summit; actually, it just traversed along the side of the mountain facing the parking lot and dead-ended after a few miles! We went a few tentative hundred years or so off into the VERY steep scree field beyond the dead end to see if we could find the trail again, but no such luck, and the scree field was freaking my friend out, so we returned to the dead end.

I had cell service, and used it to look up the trail info on 14ers.com (the website I usually frequent for this stuff)...somehow, when I read it before heading out, I had completely glossed over the part that said the trail actually starts down the road from the end, and you have to take a rough Jeep road form the normal road just to get to the trail. Bear in mind that there are no signs in the area leading to the trail; the actual trail is not even visible from the road!

So we backtracked down the mountain and went to the REAL trailhead, and started at 10:30am, a full three hours later than planned and WAY later than I would've liked to have started (easily the latest I've ever started hiking a 14er). The skies were surprisingly clear for the hike; the weather forecasts I looked at said the storms would be rolling in at around 11am, but they were mostly clear....right up until we crested the Sherman-Sheridan saddle at around noon. LOTS of clouds forming in the valley below (over the standard trailhead), I estimated that I had about an hour tops before those clouds became dangerous. Better yet, everybody coming down from the summit said I had another hour or so to get to the top. My friend (who, admittedly, was going a little slow that day) was beginning to feel altitude sickness, so he decided to hang back and not summit; I decided I'd start a little ways up Sherman and see how fast I was moving, with the intent of turning back after 45 minutes or whenever I heard thunder (whichever came first), no matter how close I was to the summit.

I don't know if it was the motivation of not getting electrocuted, or my friend hanging back, or the desire to not have to turn back from a summit for the first time ever, but I hauled my rear up that mountain faster than I've ever climbed before. 1 mile, 1,000 vertical feet, something that really should've taken me the entire hour that people were saying it would take, and I made it in 29 minutes. I had just enough time to snap a few photos and re-apply sunscreen before I heard the first thunderclap, and proceeded to book it back down the mountain.

So, all in all, a mildly frustrating and exhausting day (far more exhausting than an easy 14er like Sherman should have been, but that false trail contributed a lot), but at least I made it. Fourteener #15, baby!

Oh, and to the girls we met on the false trail who told me to make this report and are the reason I signed up in the first place....Hi :-) turns out, you were right; the trail really does end!


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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Sep 3, 2013

And why should this be on a climbing site?


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By SDY
Sep 3, 2013

Worst. Story. Ever.

Started walking down something you thought was the trail...bailed. Reread the description, realized you weren't even near the trail, complained that signs didn't do every bit of the thinking for you, then made poor decisions to summit, subsequently bragging about beating extremely generous times set by "people." All this about a very easy hiking trail.



geez


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By Mike Morin
From On the Road
Sep 3, 2013
Lincoln Lake

I think they were directing you to 14ers.com.


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By Buff Johnson
Sep 3, 2013
smiley face

Separating from your partner when altitude illness sets in, not the best decision.


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By maroonhawk
Sep 4, 2013

"And why should this be on a climbing site?"

Is this not the "Trip Report" forum? Alright, I've learned my lesson.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 4, 2013
At the BRC

Well, it's usually a good idea to lurk on a forum for a while before posting, just to get an idea of how you might be received.

MP is generally a site for technical climbing, not hiking. And blindly follwing the advice of MP posters is a good way to make sure you have even more exciting adventures in the future.

I think you might find 14ers.com or summitpost a better fit for your adventures. I don't post to either though, so don't take me as an authority...lurk a while, then share.


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By maroonhawk
Sep 4, 2013

I'm actually fairly active on 14ers.com, so you're right; it's a bit closer to what I'm looking for. This is something I see now. I only came here because the people we ran into on the way up told us to post a trip report letting them know whether we made it or not (and no, they'd never heard of 14ers.com; they specifically said mountainproject.com) so I guess now that I've accomplished that, I'll revert back into lurking mode until I start doing more technical climbs, and then maybe start posting again.

Thanks.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 4, 2013
At the BRC

maroonhawk wrote:
I'm actually fairly active on 14ers.com, so you're right; it's a bit closer to what I'm looking for. This is something I see now. I only came here because the people we ran into on the way up told us to post a trip report letting them know whether we made it or not (and no, they'd never heard of 14ers.com; they specifically said mountainproject.com) so I guess now that I've accomplished that, I'll revert back into lurking mode until I start doing more technical climbs, and then maybe start posting again. Thanks.


No problem, welcome to the forum!

All those mining relics on Sherman are pretty cool.


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Sep 4, 2013
Tom-onator

Mark E Dixon wrote:
No problem, welcome to the forum!


Welcome to the forum
Welcome to the forum


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