Peak(s):  Dyer Mountain  -  13,855 feet
Gemini Peak  -  13,951 feet
White Ridge  -  13,684 feet
Mt. Sherman  -  14,043 feet
Mt. Sheridan  -  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
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.


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.

Looking back towards the Iowa Gulch trailhead while hiking under the light of the stars and a half moon.
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.

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.

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


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

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

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.

There was one tiny little section of snow still to cross to get down to the saddle.
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).

View from Dyer to Gemini. All the snow on the ridge was off to the side.
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...
Part of the Dyer-Gemini ridge looking up to the Gemini twins.
On the ridge looking back to Dyer.


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).

Heading up to the Gemini twins.
View from Gemini back across the ridge to Dyer.
On Gemini II (the unlabeled forgotten twin) looking over to big brother Gemini I
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!

Frozen snow-melt going through the greenery.
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.
After lots and lots of walking it looks like you're finally getting somewhere but...
...don't let that fool you - plenty more walking still to come.
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.

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

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.

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


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.

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

View from the official summit of Sheridan to the rock pile at the far end.
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.

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.

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

As you drop into Iowa Gulch there is a faint trail visible through the valley.
Most of the trail is open like this but there are a couple tiny patches of going through the willows.
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.
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
Nice report
07/13/2020 01:00
I really enjoyed the pictures, especially the frozen stream, and horseshoe.
Thank you.

Thanks for the beta!
08/17/2022 00:43
Used for GPX for reference this past weekend! For day for sure

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