Sorry, we didn't take a camera this time.
Even though it was still early season, Angi and I camped on Fourmile Creek road just before the private property begins. We parked the car at the turnoff to Thompson Park Trailhead and walked a short distance to setup camp. We woke up to cold, 35 degree darkness at 4am. We made some breakfast and were in the car heading to the trailhead by 4:30, just as the sky was beginning to turn blue. After a quick stop to pump water from the creek, we continued as far as the car would take us. As it turns out, our car went as far as any SUV could. The road was gated just before the Dauntless mine at 12,000 feet.
The road continued after the gate, and we slowly hiked up the steep road. There are trails in good condition which cut the road's switchbacks, which we followed. On the approach to the Hilltop Mine (12,800') we cut up a large snowfield just to the north of the tallest building. We found our ice axes to be helpful, as the slope was probably 30-35 degrees, and in the early morning was quite icy. We continued to ascend until we were nearly to the saddle between Sheridan and Sherman. At that point we could tell there was quite a strong wind blowing over the saddle, so we sat down in the sunshine for a good break before the steeper, colder section above.
As we were packing up to continue, I shrugged my pack on to my back. I was surprised to hear something fall out! As I spun around to see what it was, I could see it was my cheap, 2 liter bottle of water. I though to my self, "It will stop, we can get it", only to see it continue to bounce further down the talus slope. I then thought "Its okay, we can go down and get it after it reaches the snowfield and slides to the bottom". Yet just then, the bottle burst and water sprayed everywhere. Although all of our water was gone, the summit was just over 1000' above, so we continued on. We certainly learned to carry more water, in separate containers.
Sherman's summit ridge looks impressive, and there is an easy trail leading to the summit. There is very little rock scrambling, and it is an easy class 2 climb to the top. However, don't be fooled by the smaller, 14,007' false summit, Sherman's summit is further north.
The summit offers tremendous views of both South Park to the east, and Mt. Massive and Leadville to the west. Unfortunately, the summit shelter was filled in with snow, but we managed to sit down and have a cold lunch at 8am. Not surprisingly, we were the first to summit, and had not seen a single person. The snowy, broad summit was impressive and quite beautiful. As we sat and ate the mountain was creating a cloud plume from the winds blowing (add warm above) up Iowa Gulch to the west. Although the view was tempting us to stay longer, the cold drove us from the top after half an hour.
The return trip to the car was generally uneventful, except we found the water bottle, and found that only the cap had broken, and there was still some water in it. We gladly drank the small amount of water remaining. We saw quite a few other hikers, indicating that the 14er season had begun. Sherman with its gentle reputation attracts many less experienced groups, some of which were wearing shorts in the cold 45 degree weather. We returned to the car at 10:30am for a total hike time of 5 hours. While we were not too terribly tired, this beautiful, gentile giant is not to be taken lightly.