Colorado is one of my favorite places in the world. The natural beauty, the people, and the plethora of outdoor activities are just a few of the things I love about CO. Every summer, my family travels to mountains to tackle some of the Colorado 14ers (peaks measuring 14,000+ feet tall). So far, I've climbed 16 of them. While that number may sound impressive, I still consider myself somewhat of an amateur. From this perspective of learning, I am excited to provide route guides for climbs I have done. Hopefully if you've never climbed a 14er, these guides will either help you get an idea of what's involved and may (or may not!) persuade you to gain the summit yourself!
The first peak I want to share is Mt. Sherman. This is the climb I would highly recommend for any first time climbers. The first reason is that the trail is relatively short (5.25 mi round trip). This hike can easily be done in a morning. If you have a vehicle with high clearance, you can shave off miles by driving up the trail in your vehicle a considerable distance.
Although the hike is short, it's key to start as early as you possibly can. Colorado weather can pop up out of nowhere in the afternoon. As a goal, I try to be back down in the vehicle by 3pm. Make sure to plan accordingly (and pack proper rain gear!). With Sherman, this is no problem. From your vehicle, you will hike along an easy trail with interesting mining artifacts. This is shown in the first picture looking down from the saddle.
The hike gets a little more challenging on the switchbacks up to the saddle. Once you reach the grassy summit (shown in first group picture above), you will have a nice view both of the trail on one side and gorgeous mountains on the other. The saddle is a nice place to rest and hydrate before heading up the ridge.
Several of the action shots are of my favorite part--the ridge. This part will be scary for some who don't enjoy heights as the ridge is fairly slim. However, the exposure (sheer drop off) is not too intimidating, and it's easy to stay away from the edge. The rock scramble on the ridge and the trek with views make this part of the hike really fun without being too challenging.
Finally, you will reach a plateau leading up to the summit. This is another reason Sherman is a great peak to start with--you don't have to battle the up and downs of false summits. Once you've traversed the ridge, it's an easy walk over to the summit. This will come as a relief after sucking air reaching 13,000 feet while climbing the ridge!
Another great thing about Sherman is the large summit with great views. While it can be popular, this peak is usually not as crowded as more popular/easily accessible peaks like Quandary or Bierstadt. Once you reach the summit, sit down, relax with a PB&J, and enjoy the cloud ocean. :) The summit is a great place to scope out the clouds and see if there is any weather developing.
Hiking and backpacking is one of my favorite ways to spend a vacation, and I'm looking forward to blogging more simplified route guides! If you plan to do any of the hikes I blog about, I recommend checking out the more technical route guide at 14ers.com. The guide for Sherman can be accessed here