Stacy and I climbed our first 14er! YAY!
I’ve been wanting to climb a 14er for a while. Zach refuses to go with me. It doesn’t sound like fun for him. So, a few weeks ago I decided to see if Stacy would be interested in being my climbing partner. She said yes and we started thinking about a date and what we would need to do to prepare. Until Friday we were torn between several mountains, but finally came to the conclusion that we were going to climb Mt. Sherman…..mainly for the mines that are near by.
On Friday evening we went to bed early (by 9PM) and woke up at 4:15. We were in the car and on our way by 5:15. I’m thinking we got to our parking spot around 7:30. We parked where we did, because the road started getting really rough and there was a car pulled off just a bit behind us. We later learned that they had a flat tire and that is why they pulled off so early. I also had to go pee so bad that we weren’t going to make it down the rest of the road. 🙂 Luckily we parked right by some bushes that gave me the perfect chance to go pee and Stacy decided it was a good idea too. Then we started walking down the road. A few feet away from the car I realized that I forgot to set the watch and we didn’t take a “starting” photo.
So we had to get that done right away. You can see Mt. Sherman above Stacy’s head. To the left and up of my head is Mt. Sheridan, a 13er that shares a saddle with Sherman.
We basically parked a mile away from the actual starting point of the trail. As you can see from the picture…..it was a long ways.
I mumbled and complained about it a bit along the way, but really, the road is not built for passenger cars and I suppose it is better safe than sorry. I would have hated to have to call Zach and get him to drive up and help us out.
As we walked along the road, we were pretty comfortable. I had a hoodie on, long sleeve T-shirt on, a long sleeve temperature controlling shirt, some cotton work out pants, hiking socks, both my ankles wrapped (again, better safe, than sorry) and then my shoes. Stacy on the other hand had a rain/fleece jacket on (with hood), a hoodie on, a beenie, a long sleeve T-shirt, a short sleeve moisture control shirt, three pairs of pants, hiking socks, her shoes, and gloves. I gave her crap later for being the only one on the mountain dressed for winter when others were wearing shorts.
When we got to the point where everyone else parked, I was starting to sweat and wanted to take my hoodie off, so we stopped briefly and took off layers.
This photo of Stacy is after she shed a jacket, see it laying on the ground, and she still look dress for winter. 🙂
Shortly after this location is a locked gate to keep people from driving any further. We continued our walk and came to the Dauntless Mine (or something like that).
I guess this area was very popular mining area in the late 1880’s. We pass two mines during our hike which I guess was the producer of silver, gold and zinc. One website said they brought in the equivilent of $9 millions dollar today.
I’m really glad they’ve kept the mining structures in place and that we are free to go up to them. Of course, most people are respectful enough to just look, and investigate without disturbing the structures, but some have insisted on walking around and carving their names and dates into the wood. Anyway, here are the photos from the first mine.
Haha….I guess there were quite a few at this first mine. 🙂 We continued walking. It really wasn’t all that exciting. But we did have a few good laughs. At one point, we pulled out the video camera to document what we are doing and what we’ve already done. We put it back in Stacy’s bag……and somehow used up the rest of the DVD. We took a bit of longer route than the girls ahead of us, because it was flatter and we decided we needed a bit of flat walking. And as miserable as we look, we weren’t at all.
When we got to the next mine, Hilltop Mine, we sat down to refresh a bit and look at the map. We were about halfway to the summit by that point and decided to dig out the grapes and I ate my PB & J sandwich as we started walking again.
Up until this point, it has been pretty rocky, but from here on out it is ALL rock. Stacy notices that the trail is marked by little piles of rocks and this becomes a source of happiness. She starts taking photos of the rock piles, which with rocks behind them are not as easy to see in the pictures as they are in real life. I see this pile and tell Stacy it’s the perfect one for her to get her photo with.
We finally get up to the “top,” or better called the saddle between Sherman and Sheridan, and are at the first point where we can see the other side of the mountain. This is towards Leadville and you can vaguely see the mountains through the smog in the distance.
It is extremely cold in this little section. The wind is blowing and it feels like snow. We take a moment to put our layers back on and get a drink. Stacy has said repeatedly that she can’t walk and drink at the same time. Luckily, the layers help and it’s not so bad. I was tempted to turn around just because of the cold. Stacy says she didn’t even notice. Who would with all those clothes?
Then we continue on towards the summit. It still seems like it is a long ways away.
We come to this pile of rocks, where the trail is not apparent, and I ask, “I wonder where we are suppose to go.”
“Well, I think the only way is up,” Stacy replied.
What do you think?
This next photo is from the top of that pile of rocks. This is the ridge to the summit and it still a steady uphill climb.
Nothing much happens along this way. We talk about the fact that we are almost there and that almost everyone we talked to about this adventure was negative. It’s so irritating when you are really excited about something and no one can be positive about it. We were never under the assumption that it was going to be easy, but comments about how when don’t know what we are getting into and we could die, really weren’t helpful. In fact, it makes us not want to tell people and then if something did happen and we needed to be rescued, who would know? Gosh, that was a bit of a tangent. Sorry.
Then we got to the top.
Stacy really had to pee at this point, so we found a rock pit. There were tons built up, almost like picnic tables at a park. I sat and rested, took some self-portraits, tried to call Zach and started in on lunch, as Stacy wandered around trying to find a private spot. I looked at my watch and it had taken us 3 hours and 25 minutes to get to this point.
View from our rock pit….including our feet.
Me eating my sandwich.
As we ate lunch, we decided we needed a video of us at the summit. We’d accidentally used the entire DVD we’d brought to record the trip on the inside of Stacy’s backpack. So, we had to use Stacy’s digital camera, which has the movie capability. This is our overly excited, oxygen deprived attempt at a summit video.
Then we continued lunch and I told Stacy she should get a shot of the mountains to the north as they were the clearest to see and we were still higher than they were. So, she tried to take the shot, but……had forgotten to switch back to photo mode. This is what she got.
In case you can’t hear too well, I say, “I’ve got buggers stuck to my nose.” Stacy laughs and realizes she’s been recording and turns it off. I immediately turn to her and say, “you just got that on video, didn’t you?” She nods. And laughter ensues. I laugh so hard I almost choke on my grape, Stacy keeps yelling at me to breathe and I start crying. It was a very funny sight and I’m sure everyone around us could hear our antics, but didn’t quite know what was going on.
We finally packed up our stuff and signed the registry.
This is to the east, where we started from.
And this is the trail back down the mountain, or the one we came up, however you’d like to think about it.
A different view of the mountain we just climbed.
And finally, we made it back to the gate…..still have a mile to go and now we both really, really have to pee. At least we stayed hydrated and didn’t get altitude sickness.
After this last photo was taken we began walking really, really fast. The road isn’t as steep as the rest of the trail and we knew there were good bathroom spots near the car. Up near the gate, there are no bushes big enough to pee behind. As we get closer to the car, the bushes get bigger and thicker, but there is a drop down on the other side of them. We’ve already taken the time to get out the TP, tear off some for each of us and get the bag to dispose of it out, now we just need the place. Finally, I see a little opening that isn’t a drop off and I go for it, we get to a fork and Stacy goes one way and I go the other and oh, man…..did we feel good. 🙂
We get to the car, get it turned around and start heading down the road and I finally remember to look at my watch: 6 hours 35 minutes. Pretty good for some first timers. 🙂
We were both pretty sore by the time we got back to the house. But Zach fixed us spaghetti dinner and Mom came over to eat with us and share in the stories.
Zach gave my legs a massage as we watched an episode of Big Love and then I passed out. I slept for twelve hours last night, but now I don’t just hurt like I did last night. In fact, I just have muscle soreness like a really big workout and that was to be expected. It was the headache and my hip hurting and my legs just throbbing even when I didn’t move that was killing me last night.
But today, with a smile on my face, I can say I climbed a 14er and I’ll do it again!
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