| Spiced-up Sherman
I wanted to finish off the Tenmile/Mosquitos with a bang, but the standard route up Sherman doesn't really fit that description. So I decided to try another route with a few 13ers and some climbing.
I've been meaning to try this route since seeing it in Roach's Thirteeners, but was a little deterred by other sources saying it was very underrated at class 3. I decided to just go for it, figuring I could always drop way down on the south side if the ridge got too nasty.
I parked 2.3 miles up Lake County 2B, at the foot of Dyer Amphitheater and headed north. The first section was cross-country on tundra with increasing amounts of talus. There is a stout-looking headwall at the foot of the plateau, but there are several easy ways over/through it. The subsequent plateau alternates between swampy/willowy and rocky. There are several lines up to the saddle over fairly stable, blocky talus.
View from 2B.
Closer view of the headwall.
View back down the gulch from the plateau.
Heading toward the West Dyer/Dyer saddle (left) with the west ridge of Dyer looming.
View from saddle, looking at West Sheridan Mtn.
At the saddle, I took a left and made the quick trek up to West Dyer Mountain. Good views of the Massive massif and Leadville.
Back down at the saddle, the west ridge of Dyer looked pretty imposing. The jagged towers hovered in such a way that the ridge looked a lot more steep and hairy than it really was (I was trying to get a good picture of it, but the sun was rising right behind it). The first hundred feet or so is just class 2, but it quickly turns more serious.
The first tower, pretty easy.
The scenery soon thereafter.
The tower in the background (above) scared me on first sight. I reached the bottom and started up on climber's left and it just kept getting steeper and more exposed. Finally, self-preservation kicked in and I descended it and headed around to the south side of the ridge. Things were more mellow over there. The exposure wasn't quite as huge, and I was able to get away with only short sections of class 4.
This is a good example of most of the class 3 climbing.
View back down the ridge
Eventually, some deep gullies started cutting into the ridge. Since I was slightly on the side of the ridge, this made for a lot of backtracking and elevation loss. But staying on the ridge crest probably would've required a ton of class 4 to get through the notches.
A representative view of the gullies. This stuff was loose and annoying.
The climbing finally eased at about 13600'. From there it was just a scramble over a few false summits to the actual summit of Dyer Mountain.
Looking back at the last tower.
Looking ahead to the summit of Dyer.
From the summit, Gemini and Sherman finally come into view across the Iowa Amphitheater.
Now that the adrenaline wasn't pumping quite so much, I looked forward to the ridge walk over Gemini to Sherman. Gemini is really just a pimple on the ridge, but it gives a nice alternate view of Sherman. From there to Sherman, it's a pleasant 200' of elevation gain over the gradually rounded ridge.
Dyer from Sherman.
The view down Sherman's west face.
Instead of going back over Dyer for a second date with that ridge, I just circled the ridge back northwest and descended into Iowa Amphitheater. A word of warning: descending from the Dyer/Sherman saddle too soon will land you in some death-defying, steep scree slopes. There is a VERY faint trail that leads off the saddle (west of its low point) that meanders a few hundred feet down the western side of the amphitheater on a less-steep angle.
The saddle with the turnoff marked. Recommended if you want to avoid...
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