Peak(s):  Dyer Mtn  -  13,855 feet
Gemini Pk  -  13,951 feet
White Ridge  -  13,684 feet
Mt. Sherman  -  14,036 feet
Sheridan, Mt  -  13,748 feet
Date Posted:  07/12/2020
Date Climbed:   07/11/2020
Author:  daway8
 Dyer to Sheridan via White Ridge  

I'd been pondering this loop for a while and was determined to come back for Dyer since backing out on doing the Dyer-Gemini ridge this past winter. With a rare rain-free Saturday in the forecast I finally made it happen. This is basically a modified version of the Sherman Grand Slam of which I have seen a couple people post differing versions of.

I'll highlight a few key points of interest for this variation and touch on the main points along the route.

Route: Iowa Gulch - Dyer (Southeast Slopes) - Gemini (both twins) - White Ridge - Sherman - Sheridan - Iowa Gulch (via Sherman West Slopes route)

Total distance: 9.7mi

Total elevation gain: 4,217ft (according to GPX tracks - didn't verify)

Included in this report will be:

  • Tidbits on each section under large bolded section headers for each peak
  • My times
20335_35
Pano of much of the route as taken from Sheridan. Dyer on extreme left then the Gemini twins and Sherman with White Ridge way, way off to the right.


Intro/Overview

So after some brief excitement the night before (see my SOS post in the forum) I finally got some sleep and went ahead and started the trek at a quarter till 4 in the morning, just in case the weather forecast turned out to be wrong.

20335_01
Looking back towards the Iowa Gulch trailhead while hiking under the light of the stars and a half moon.
20335_02
Looking up towards the Dyer-Gemini ridge.


There was a half moon that was bright enough that I left my headlamp off most of the time.

20335_03
Moon shadow - amazing how much detail even a half moon can bring out...


Much of the route up Dyer (Southeast Slopes) follows an old mining road (lots of those in the Iowa Gulch). Upon leaving the road you'll find yourself more or less following the S shape curve of the GPX tracks if you simply stick to where the slopes are the least steep.

It's over 1,700 ft of gain in less than a mile and half so it's a decent incline to get you warmed up but it's by far the largest single elevation gain of this entire route so once you're up you just have to deal with the all day roller coaster.

20335_42
Elevation profile of the day's hike. The gain is heavily front loaded but still plenty of ups and downs along the way.


Dyer

The bulk of the way up Dyer is just a glorified hill but it takes on a little more character near the top.

20335_04
Sun about to rise behind the Dyer-Gemini ridge.
20335_05
Dyer takes on a more mountainous look near the top.
20335_06
Rock features near the top of Dyer.
20335_08
View from Dyer.


20335_09
Sunrise from Dyer looking over to Gemini.


The down climb to the ridge still had a small snowfield partly blocking it but it was trivial to go over or could have been circled around with a little extra work.

20335_10
There was one tiny little section of snow still to cross to get down to the saddle.
20335_11
The small field was large enough to be a bother to circle around but small enough at the short section (left) to be easily crossed.


Dyer-Gemini Ridge

I had trouble finding much detail about this ridge when I had researched it earlier - that's one of the reasons I backed out this winter after reaching Gemini and seeing the snow come to a perfect peak atop the ridge with huge, steep snow slopes on either side.

But now I can say this is a trivial class 2 ridge and although it does become somewhat narrow in the thinnest points closest to Gemini, it's never remotely like a knife edge, well unless you come in winter... (I might be a little more willing to try this ridge next winter now that I've seen how trivial it is when dry but I might still be a little uneasy if the snow had turned it into a Knife Edge again).

20335_07
View from Dyer to Gemini. All the snow on the ridge was off to the side.
20335_13
View from Dyer-Gemini ridge down into Iowa Gulch. I now see the old mining road above the cliffs on the west face of Sherman...
20335_12
Part of the Dyer-Gemini ridge looking up to the Gemini twins.
20335_14
On the ridge looking back to Dyer.


Gemini

On my first visit to the region I mostly ignored the younger brother so this time I made sure to go up both the twins. Only the eastern, bigger brother is listed on the map but when you consider the name Gemini and see them from the right angle (or even look on the elevation profile) you'll see there are two humps here - though the western twin is more like a series of little humps (I wasn't 100% positive which was the high point so I just hiked over them all).

20335_15
Heading up to the Gemini twins.
20335_18
View from Gemini back across the ridge to Dyer.
20335_16
On Gemini II (the unlabeled forgotten twin) looking over to big brother Gemini I
20335_17
View from Gemini I to the abnormal twin - more like an adjacent series of humps than a real twin.


White Ridge

Much of this entire region is just barren rocks but there are a few patches of green on the long trek over to White Ridge. There were a few tiny frozen streams glistening in the morning sun from yesterday's snow melt that had frozen overnight.

As others have observed, the trek over to White Ridge is long - very long! There are at least a couple false summits, the first of which is a very long ways from the real one.

This is roughly a 2.5mi detour round trip for an unranked 13er - but the real beauty of this summit: being able to look down from a place of utter solitude upon the mass of cars at the Fourmile Creek trailhead!

20335_19
Frozen snow-melt going through the greenery.
20335_20
The first big hump on the way the White Ridge can be bypassed or gone over - probably about equal effort given the sloppy rock on the side.
20335_21
After lots and lots of walking it looks like you're finally getting somewhere but...
20335_22
...don't let that fool you - plenty more walking still to come.
20335_23
There were a few posts stuck in the ground along the way. This one hints you to the right to follow the crack of sunlight up the slope.

By the time you've walked the 1.25mi or so over to White Ridge you can't even really noticed the sea of humanity over on Sherman.

20335_24
White Ridge summit looking east
20335_25
White Ridge summit looking back west to Sherman (which barely stands out as a large, round, white hump from this angle).


20335_26
The crown jewel of White Ridge: looking down from solitude upon the masses at Fourmile Creek. Note also the great view of Horseshoe Mtn. (left)


But after soaking in the solitude you have to pay the price by hoofing it back another 1.25mi to Sherman. I disagree with others who say there are no bailout options from the ridge (I'm coming to see more and more how there are often all sorts of options in places where at first glance there appears to be none) but by far your easiest option (especially if coming from Iowa Gulch) is to simply return via Sherman (or Dyer if going the other direction).

There were a fair number of snow fields left on this side but they were easy to skirt through, using the smaller snow splotches as visual guideposts to line up with the openings in the snowfields.

20335_27
Getting closer to Sherman. I used a couple splotches of snow to guide me through an opening.
20335_28
Nearing the summit there is another break in the snow.


Sherman

Ahh Sherman - that much loved and much maligned peak. Much loved because it's so easy (for a 14er) but at times much maligned because that easiness attracts the masses.

After seeing not a single soul on the whole way to and from White Ridge the contrast upon summitting Sherman was somewhat jarring. I'll happily chat with a hiker or two I meet along the way but when I find myself in the middle of a crowd on a 14er it just kind of doesn't seem right somehow.

20335_29
The masses on Sherman - by the time I headed down the number of people more than doubled.
20335_30
View from Sherman over to Dyer and the Iowa Gulch.
20335_31
Compare the stream of humanity going up Sherman..
20335_32
...to the total emptiness of its nearest neighbor Sheridan.


Sheridan

After escaping the sea of humanity going up and down Sherman I went over to Sheridan and only saw a few other people the entire time going up and down it.

20335_33
View from the official summit of Sheridan to the rock pile at the far end.
20335_34
View from the far end of Sheridan back to the official summit.


The Trio Beyond

From the top of Sheridan I looked over to the next three 13ers that I was contemplating tacking on to an already long day: Peerless, Horseshoe Mountain and Finnback Knob. Peerless looked easy enough to do. Horseshoe looked like a bit more work but a fairly gentle, easy slope and Finnback Knob from this view looks like it might have a neat little ridge going out to it.

The weather was holding perfectly and I still had adequate food/liquids but after debating a while I finally decided I'd likely be too tired to enjoy those peaks if I crammed them in and since they're in such a nice, neat little package together I decided to save that trio for some future day.

20335_36
Peerless, Horseshoe Mountain, and Finnback Knob (left to right around the valley).


The Return

The return route is just a very straightforward drop to the West Slopes trail from Iowa Gulch. You can shortcut a little distance by cutting down sooner but the rock has just enough slight instability that you might get down just as fast by sticking to the trail along the ridgeline.

20335_37
Looking back at Dyer, the Gemini twins and Sherman from Sheridan.


20335_38
As you drop into Iowa Gulch there is a faint trail visible through the valley.
20335_39
Most of the trail is open like this but there are a couple tiny patches of going through the willows.
20335_40
There's a branch of the trail that comes up directly to the small Iowa Gulch parking pullout after crossing road 2 to reach 2B.
20335_41
Looking back up at the SOS cliffs in the daytime - they do look rather imposing from this angle...


My times:

3:45am start from Iowa Gulch trailhead

4:35am leave the mining road to head uphill

5:39am Dyer summit

6:46am Gemini saddle

6:52am Gemini II summit

7:02am Gemini I summit

7:20am start for White Ridge

8:23am White Ridge summit

8:42am start for Sherman

9:27am Sherman summit

9:45am leave the masses and head for Sheridan

10:11am Sherman-Sheridan saddle

10:52am Sheridan summit

11:30am Cast a wistful glance at the next three 13ers then decide to call it a day

12:25pm back at the Jeep at Iowa Gulch


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42


 Comments or Questions
ltlFish99
Nice report
07/13/2020 01:00
I really enjoyed the pictures, especially the frozen stream, and horseshoe.
Thank you.



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