My first 14er of 2013 was Mt Sherman at 14,036 feet. This is not considered a difficult climb, but nonetheless, another 14er checked off the list and a good time to break in my new Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX boots. I have had them out a few times now and am impressed so far. A friend and I left early and headed out U.S. 285 towards Fairplay for the trail head. When we turned off county road 18, I saw something just in front of my headlights. I backed up from the turn, hit the spotlights and two enormous bull elk were standing there to greet us with steam coming from their nostrils. After they gave us the go ahead, we continued on up the dirt road for 10 miles and had a brief encounter with some deeper snow than was expected. After a little digging, we pressed on to the trail head.
The weather was not supposed to cooperate so we were trying to beat the incoming snowstorm. The clouds began to build with brief flurries here and there and the trail became more snow-covered as we headed up. We had to break trail up a fairly steep snowbank, which we both looked forward to glissading down on the way back. Once we made it to the top of the ridge, we continued up to a small saddle where we ate some lunch and added a few clothing layers. With about 200 vertical feet to go, the cloud deck fell and the wind let loose. We made it to the summit in just enough time to snap a few pics and head down. One of the pics was a little motivation for Mom, who just had back surgery. Hang in there Mom!!