Matt Mahoney's Home Page
2009 Vacation - Hardrock 100

Matt Mahoney's 2009 Vacation - Part 7 - Mt. Sherman

On Fri. July 3, David, 17 (from Texas, originally Sudan and Kenya), Ryan, 34 (from Canada) and I (53, from Florida) climbed Mt. Sherman (14036 ft) and Gemini Peak (13951 ft) from Iowa Gulch (11900 ft) near Leadville. Dave has been altitude training for a month and running every day to prepare for the big race tomorrow, the Firecracker 5K in downtown Leadville. Today was the last day of his taper. His coach advised him to run only an easy 4 miles today. Well, what could be easier than 4 miles in 5 hours? This was also Dave's first 14er.

Ryan and Dave ready to go. The trail crosses the meadow below and climbs the saddle on the right between Sherman (above, in clouds) and Sheridan (right).

The start of the trail is rocky with a couple of snow patches.

Ryan towing Dave up the mountain.

Dave was somewhat intimidated by the terrain, fog, rocks, strong wind, cold, and thin air. "This is high enough. Let's go back". Of course we did not.

I was beginning to regret my decision to wear shorts and not bring gloves.

Near the summit, the trail starts to level off.

Me at a big party on the summit of Sherman, 14036 ft. I got a cellphone signal and announced our arrival on facebook and twitter.

As we headed to Gemini the weather started to clear and it got warmer, although there was still a strong wind from the west. Gemini is the further of the two humps on the right. We climbed both.

We returned across rocky (but not steep) terrain a little east of the Sherman summit and got back on the trail going down. I couldn't convince the others to climb Sheridan (ahead).

Bad news: Dave twisted an ankle coming down and was screaming in pain on the ground. Good news: one minute later he was walking again, apparently OK. He even kept dry across this stream crossing at the end. Let's hope he will be OK for the big race tomorrow.

The Aftermath (Firecracker 5K)

The climb apparently didn't hurt David too much. He finished second overall in 17:27 in the Firecracker 5K in downtown Leadville on Sat. July 4. Anton Krupicka won in 16:53. (He usually runs longer races -- he won the Leadville 100 in 2007). I was first in the 51-60 age group in 22:48 and 16th of about 110 runners. This is about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes slower than my sea level time. The first mile was downhill, so the altitude averaged only about 10,000 ft. The temperature at the 9:00 AM start was 56 F, sunny and dry.

All of the overall and age group winners got identical medals donated by a wrestling club. But what can you expect for a $10 entry fee?

The results were not online last year and I wouldn't hold my breath this year. (The air is too thin). So here are some photos of the results board. page1 page2

Afterward there was a parade along Harrison street, the same route as the finish of the 5K (with a slight downhill to make it look good).

To part 8