December 10, 2006

Mt. Sherman

Yesterday Dane and I hiked up and skied down Mt. Sherman. Mt. Sherman is known as being the easiest 14er in Colorado, however, the conditions yesterday made it a bit of a challenge nonetheless.

The day started out with me realizing I forgot my climbing skins, which meant I would have to hike up, carrying my skis instead of skiing up, unless I could improvise some skins. The photo below shows my attempt, which worked well on lower angle slopes. I was able to complete the approach using this setup.

Much of the hike up was over rocks anyway, so the climbing skin issue turned out to not be too problematic. The only problem it really presented was the fact that the skis on my back acted as a parachute during the entire hike up. When we neared the summit ridge we were both nearly blown off the mountain, so we ditched our skis and snowboard for the final summit push. The following video is of Dane leaning into the wind shortly after we gained the summit ridge.

This was the most brutal weather for a bluebird day I have ever witnessed. Much of the climb was into this wind, making the ascent much more strenuous than it needed to be. We took a few photos at the summit before beginning our rapid retreat back to a more sane weather scenario.

We were able to ski about 2/3 of the way back to the car by linking up the most continuous patches of snow we could find. The video below shows the beginning of Dane's run.

. . . and a good shot of me throwing some snow

The car-to-car trip took a total of about 6 hours. Overall it was a fantastic trip with some exciting weather.

On the drive out from the trailhead, we passed several people out cutting Christmas trees. Dane and I thought this looked like a good idea, but we didn't have a saw. However, we did have a towstrap. We were both aware from past experiences that alpine trees are surprisingly stout. Knowing this, we picked a nice, small 5' tree near the edge of the road. Shifting the 4-Runner into 4-low and slowly driving away, the tree held its ground with an impressive resolve.

As a final effort, I put some slack in the towstrap and drove away, more quickly this time. As the strap became taught, the 4-Runner came to an abrupt stop. Upon questioning Dane, who was outside the vehicle watching, I found out that the tree didn't even budge. Not wanting to damage my truck, we left the tree and drove home with Dane saying something to the affect that in the future, he'll feel much more comfortable using small trees as climbing anchors.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Damn, I am jealous of those turns and that fluffy, fluffy snow.