| Dyer, Gemini, Sherman Combo
Having finished climbing all of the Tenmile/Mosquito Range 14er's on the 4th of July by doing the Decalibron (after waiting 4 years for the private property issues to be resolved), I decided to turn my attention to the 13,800+ peaks in the range.
I reluctantly woke up at 4:30 am, drove over Independence Pass, and north on Highway 24 from Glenwood Springs. Arriving at the Upper Iowa Gulch about 7:15, I was rolling up the trail soon afterwards.
The trail begins by hiking north, past an abandoned mine, into the Iowa Amphitheater on the remnants of an old 4WD road.
Trailhead and 4WD road
Gerry Roach's description in Colorado Thirteeners, describes hiking the road for 1.1 miles to some old mine buildings before climbing under some power lines on a trail to the ridge. After hiking up the road about .75 of a mile, however, I decided that an ascent of the west ridge on Dyer look preferable to a steep, cliffy climb to the ridge above the mine.
I soon noticed that I was not alone in my assessment as I saw a couple of other climbers ascending the ridge above me. After climbing somewhat steeply northwest for about another .75 of a mile on a mixture of grassy slopes, scree, and talus, I reached the ridge at approximately 13,700 feet.
Looking back into Iowa Amphitheater from the west Dyer ridge, with Mount Sherman in the background.
North towards the Dyer-Gemini Ridge from the west Dyer ridge.
Views of the Sawatch Range from the west Dyer ridge.
From here it was about .25 of a mile of climbing mixed with a couple easy (Class 2) scramble moves to reach the Dyer summit (13,855 feet).
The Summit Climb from the Ridge
Looking west towards Leadville and Turquoise Lake.
Looking north on the Tenmile Range with Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, Quandry, Clinton, Traver and other peaks visible in the distance.
The Dyer-Gemini ridge from the summit of Dyer Mountain
After spending about 5 minutes on the summit of Dyer talking with a couple from Albuquerque that had arrived just before me, I followed them as they descended .25 of a mile to the connecting ridge and began the traverse across to Gemini.
A look back at Dyer from the Dyer-Gemini saddle. Huge power lines cross this ridge here.
Looking northeast into the Sacramento Creek drainage.
Peering down into Upper Iowa Gulch from the Dyer-Gemini saddle. Mount Sheridan (13,748 feet) is in the center.
The route up the Gemini from the Dyer ridge.
View of Dyer's west ridge.
About halfway across the ridge, I overtook the couple in front of me as they stopped to remove their outer layers. I began climbing in the lead along the south side of the ridge, before traversing back left, and hiking up the steep slope before reaching the base of Gemini's summit knob. After switching back up loose talus on this knob for about 100 feet, we reached Gemini's summit at 13,951 feet.
An obligatory summit photo.
Dyer from the summit of Gemini.
The south side of 14er's Grays and Torrey's to the north.
Leaving the Gemini summit, we descended east, down the steep loose talus slope for about 100 feet to the broad Gemini-Sherman saddle. Warning: Be extra careful coming off this pitch as the rocks are exceedingly loose and I had several roll on me.
Once I reached the saddle, I felt my second wind coming on and began to hike quickly towards Sherman, across the talus and grassy tundra in front of me (bypassing Gemini's southern summit to the left). Looking back, the couple behind me had stopped to eat lunch, so I continued ahead on my own. After about 15 minutes I reached the busy Sherman summit.
Sherman's summit ridge from the Gemini-Sherman saddle
A look back at Gemini with the summit knob to the right.
Ascending the last section of the northern Sherman summit ridge.
Iowa Gulch and the trailhead from Sherman's summit. It looked like I could almost spit on my truck from here.
Way more people then I'd seen all day (and they don't even know what they missed).
After dropping my pack for a bit and eating a bit of lunch, I decided after about 10 minutes to begin the .75 mile descent towards the Sherman-Sheridan saddle. Okay, maybe the clouds building to the south had something to do with my decision not to stay on top too long.
Descending towards the Sherman-Sheridan saddle.
A look back at Sherman's summit as I headed down the Iowa Gulch trail.
Having climbed Mount Sherman from Iowa Gulch several years before, I had been dreading this section of the trail, as I had distinct memories of how steep and loose it is in sections. I took my time descending the last mile, but even still it was tedious in places and I was glad when I emerged onto grassy slopes. Hiking a bit further, I reached my truck, just as it began to drizzle.
Looking down the steep and loose section of the Iowa Gulch trail.
Looking back up Iowa Gulch as clouds build over the ridge.
The road into Iowa Gulch from low on the trail.
Wildflowers along the lower part of the trail.
A look back at Iowa Gulch.
Conclusion – This is an excellent loop in one of Colorado's premier mountain basins. I recommend it highly to anyone looking to get off the beaten path a bit, but not too far from civilization. The views from the summit of Dyer are exceptional and give you a bird's eye look at the Front, Tenmile/Mosquito, and Sawatch ranges.
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