Here it is race week and we should be resting but there's too much to see and do here. Today was a bluebird day and it was too nice to pass up the opportunity to bag a 14er. Never having been that high before I figured this would be a great way to acclimate to the high altitudes of Leadville. Mike snuck out early to meet an old friend to bag their own 14er, Mt. Quandary at 14,265. Joe and I slept in late and took advantage of the breakfast and carbo loaded again with waffles, etc.. After breakfast we grabbed some lunch to have at the summit and headed out to Mt. Sherman, just outside of Leadville at an elevation of 14,036. Luckily we were able to drive quite a ways up and could start at 12,000 but still there would be a 2,000 ft climb in 2.25 miles. On the drive up there are a number of old abandoned mines and interesting landscapes and of course incredible views. There are no signs but a website at 14ers.com has great directions and pics to find the way. The sun felt warm but there was a wind humming through and we knew it could be cranking on top so we packed some warmer clothes. Once on the trail there was a slight downhill, a small stream crossing then up, up, up. We were able to run some of it then it became more of a power hike. Lots of loose rock and steep climbing made the calves burn a bit but the elevation factor seemed to be fine. By the time we got half way up, the wind was really blowing up through the pass. We decided to layer up which included hats and gloves. Other hikers were wearing full winter attire. It was a power hike up most of the way from there, went through a knifes edge and then came to the final accent, a nice runnable trail to the summit. Yes, running along at 14,000 ft. At the summit the wind seemed to die off and the views were just incredible. Mt. Sherman, 14,036, my first 14er! We found a nice rock wall on the back side and sat down to enjoy lunch while acclimating. We probably hung out for a good half hour before descending. On the top we found a memorial stone from some hiker who must have died back in 2005, a bit spookie. Descending was certainly easier but there were a lot of loose rock so I had to be a bit careful as my ankle is still tender. Time up was about 1:07, coming down was 40 minutes or so for the 4.5 mile round trip adventure. Another great training run!
Mike had a great hike too and met up with some rather large critters.