Being early October, weather is starting to become more of a factor. I had been keeping an eye on the snow conditions, and with time on the non-winter season running out, Ashley and I decided to head up.
We decided to tackle the peak from Iowa Gulch, which is one of the "non-standard" 14er routes up. Originally I had toyed with the idea of looping in 13er Dyer Mountain which is one of the ranked Colorado Centennial peaks (highest hundred peaks) and running the ridge over to Mount Sherman, but at the last minute I scrapped the plan, which turned out to be for the best.
The Iowa Gulch route ascends pretty much directly up a gully on the west side of the saddle of Mount Sherman and 13er Mount Sheridan. At the saddle, the route joins up with the standard trail and runs the ridge to Mount Sherman. It's a short/steep 2.5 miles or so from where we parked the truck in Iowa Gulch(~12,000 feet) to the summit. This would be our 11th Colorado 14er peak.
Click here for a map of our route. We followed #2 up to the saddle, and then #1 to the summit.
Click here for the 14ers description of the route.
Elevation gain: ~2100 feet
Trip length: 5 miles
|Parking on the side of the road at the end of Iowa Gulch. Directly ahead is unranked 13er, Gemini Peak. To the right is part of the long Mount Sherman ridge. There are lots of mining operations around here.|
|Getting ready to go, our route would take us through the meadow and then up and left between 13er Mount Sheridan (center) and the base of Mount Sherman.|
|The view back from the gully we are climbing up. You can see the road we drove into Iowa Gulch on.|
|Another view back from the gully. 13er Dyer Mountain is present in the center.|
|Looking directly up the gully towards the saddle between Mount Sherman and 13er Mount Sheridan.|
|A look at Mount Sheridan from the gully.|
|The wind was already brutal, blowing west to east with sustained tenacity.|
|Moving further up the gully to the saddle as the sun starts to peak over the ridge in the east.|
|Once we reach the saddle, the wind picks up even more. This is looking south down the saddle. Mount Sheridan would be off to the right, and in the distance is another 13er, Horseshoe Mountain.|
|From the saddle, looking east at the trail/mining roads from the "standard" 14er route. A few people were climbing from this direction today. Unranked 13er White Ridge is on the left.|
|A closeup of the mining shacks to the east along the standard 14er approach.|
|Looking back to Mount Sheridan. We came up the gully between this peak and where we stand.|
From here to the peak along the ridge, the wind was so brutal we didn't take any pictures. There were a couple sections that I actually held onto Ashley's pack since we were both struggling a little bit with the sustained wind and powerful gusts.
|Obligatory summit shot from the only other person on the top when we arrived! 14ers Mount Massive (distant right, third highest peak in the lower 48) and Mount Elbert (distant left, Colorado High Point, 2nd highest in the lower 48) are behind us.|
|Looking back south down the Mount Sherman ridge and Mount Sheridan. In the distance are a bunch of 14ers in the Sawatch Range.|
|West to the Sawatch Range and 14ers Mount Elbert (just left of center)|
|View west to the Sawatch Range with Iowa Gulch and my truck far below. Mount Elbert is on the far left of the distance ridge, and Mount Massive is on the right (aptly named).|
|Looking Northwest from the summit. Dyer Mountain is on the left. Far left in the distance you can see 14er Mount Holy Cross. On the right in the smattering of peaks are 14ers Mount Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron and Quandary as well as a number of 13ers.|
|Looking back south along the summit to 13ers Mount Sheridan and Horseshoe Mountain in the foreground. The peak on the right just above the hiker is 14er Huron Peak. To the left of Huron is Missouri Mountain, Mount Oxford and Mount Harvard (4th highest peak in the lower 48) behind it with the snow gullies. Further left is in the Sawatch Range is Mount Princeton, Yale and the southern tail end of the Sawatch 14ers.|
|Ashley at the summit.|
|Looking northeast at the south side of Grays Peak and Torreys Peak (center distance).|
|Looking west again to Mount Elbert (just right of center). On the far left is 14er La Plata Peak.|
|Mount Elbert on the left and Mount Massive on the right. Behind them you can even see Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells.|
|Looking back down the windy ridge to Mount Sheridan and our descent.|
|The wind wasn't letting up at all, so we made our way down the ridge to the saddle and started down the gully. Looking back up at Mount Sheridan and the wind blowing some snow around.|
|Back down into Iowa Gulch.|
|Another look up the gully at Mount Sheridan.|
|Again, looking back up the gully to the saddle of Mount Sherman and Mount Sheridan.|
|And down in the meadow, some flora shots.|
|Lots of Autumn colors around still.|
|But they are disappearing quickly.|
|Looking up into the Iowa Amphitheater at the top of the gulch.|
|Looking back at the entrance to the gully we just descended, in between the ridge line and Mount Sheridan.|
|A cloud over the southern peak of Dyer Mountain.|
|Back to Mount Sheridan and the lower ridge of Mount Sherman.|
|Looking back down the road out of Iowa Gulch, directly at Mount Massive in the distance.|
|More Iowa Gulch pictures.|
|Clouds blocking the sun over Mount Sheridan. Maybe my favorite shot of the day.|
|And another of the meadow.|
|On the drive out, admiring the scenery.|
|And a final shot of Mount Elbert.|