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Mount Massive - Standard Route - 5 members in 9 triplogs have rated this an average 4.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jul 21 2017
LindaAnn
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 Guides 22
 Routes 359
 Photos 2,325
 Triplogs 952

39 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2017
LindaAnn
Hiking13.82 Miles 4,627 AEG
Hiking13.82 Miles   8 Hrs   36 Mns   1.98 mph
4,627 ft AEG   1 Hour   38 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Massive was first on my list for Colorado. I got to the trailhead at 4:30am, and it was nearly full. The first hour or so of the hike was with a headlamp. I took a quick snack break just after turning off the CT onto the Massive trail, and by then it was light enough to put the headlamp away. I made my way sloooowly uphill, taking a few more breaks along the way. Perfect weather afforded lots of picture taking opportunities at each break. Finally at the saddle, the ridge walk the rest of the way to the top was my favorite section. There were two groups of people coming down, but nobody else. I got to the summit just after 9:00am, and had it all to myself for 45 minutes. As I was leaving, a group of 3 women showed up, having started from the North Half Moon side. I chatted with them for a minute, then headed back down. Downhill felt like a breeze, and the weather stayed perfect until the last mile or so, then there was some rain/hail, but it was shortlived. Water and flowers everywhere along nearly the entire trail. Hardly any people on the trail, which was nice, and more women than men.
Named place
Named place
North Halfmoon Lakes
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
Jul 17 2017
rvcarter
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 Guides 33
 Routes 304
 Photos 2,146
 Triplogs 236

73 male
 Joined Mar 27 2008
 tucson, az
Mount Massive via Halfmoon LakesSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2017
rvcarter
Hiking12.82 Miles 4,190 AEG
Hiking12.82 Miles   9 Hrs   22 Mns   1.49 mph
4,190 ft AEG      46 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Not many people try to climb Mount Massive from what 14ers.com calls the “Southwest Slopes Route”. It starts from the North Halfmoon Lakes Trailhead on what is marked on my National Geographic Map (Aspen Independence Pass, #127) as the North Halfmoon Trail #1485. Following #1485 northwest 2.7 miles will lead you to the North Halfmoon Lakes.
About 1.6 miles in on #1485, the trail leading to Mount Massive takes off to the right and goes up, up, up a steep, sometimes boulder strewn slope with many, many switchbacks to the top. The point of departure is at a sign shown in my photos. However, the sign merely says “Mount Massive Trail 1451”, with no mention of trail #1485 or indication which route leads where. Luckily, I had a GPS route I had downloaded from 14ers.com which indicated that I should turn right and up the slope. This point is the only question mark over the entire trip, and could cause some hikers without a map or GPS some confusion.
I did some exploring on the internet and found the Forest Service Environmental Assessment (FONSI issued May 7, 2003) which contains an evaluation of various Mount Massive climbing activities and their impacts. The significant increase in hiker interest to bag 14ers had caused several social trails to develop with consequent environmental impacts such as increased erosion. Part of the preferred action to address these impacts was to “stabilize the climbing routes from the North Halfmoon Lakes Trail to the Summit of Mount Massive from the south side of the mountain”. So, they built a single ridgeline route which blocked all other routes to and from the top. That route is referred to by the Forest Service in the EA as Forest Development Trail #1451, and sometimes as the North Halfmoon West Route.
On the day I did this hike, I mistakenly stayed on #1485 toward the lakes and within a hundred yards or so, came to an area that had been subjected to a snow avalanche which obliterated the trail. My GPS by that time told me that I was off the trail to the top, so I bushwhacked a bit to intersect the trail up. I hope the pictures I posted and the information presented here will help others avoid this same mistake. It’s an easy mistake to make; three others behind me a few hundred yards did the same thing.
This may the longest, continuous steep climb I’ve done in Colorado. Here is the heartbreaking part. When I got to the saddle where this route joins with the standard East Route # 1487, about a half mile from the peak (and 170 feet below the summit), the thunder over on Mount Elbert to the south kicked up. As I recovered with some food, the thunder got worse and clouds got blacker. I could see it raining there. The last half mile looked to be some class 3, and I didn’t want to get caught out there, so I pulled the plug and headed down the East Route. I figured to live and hike another day, but didn’t want to tackle the severe down slope on the way I came up. At that point, I was just anxious to get below the tree line. I scooted down to about 13,000 feet and thought I had a few minutes to eat something (it was then approaching 2:00 p.m.). After a few bites, here came the hail. After a few minutes of hail came sleet, then snow, then just rain. I didn’t even have time to get my pack covered, but did manage to get my raincoat on. I was totally drenched within minutes. Luckily the lightning held off till I got to the tree line. I didn’t get a chance to finish my lunch till about 4:00 p.m.
So, I completed the loop up from North Halfmoon Trailhead and down to the Mount Massive Trailhead (at the point the Colorado Trail crosses CR 110), and included the road between the THs to boot. I won’t soon forget this day. My wife asked me the next day if I was going to try another 14er. I told her “I’m done for this year”.
Culture
Culture
Memorial
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
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Jul 10 2016
DallinW
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 Guides 1
 Routes 105
 Photos 1,740
 Triplogs 228

27 male
 Joined Feb 26 2015
 Gilbert AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 10 2016
DallinW
Hiking7.00 Miles 3,350 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
3,350 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did this as a side trip on my Colorado Trail thru-hike.

We (Me and Bradley) were going to meet a ride connection at the Colorado Trail/Massive trail JCT at 7am, but there was some miscommunication about exactly where we were meeting up for the hike. He thought the Massive TH was the meeting point, but what I ment was the CT/Massive JCT 3 miles in on the standard route. After waiting about 30 mins at the JCT we got connected via text messages and he ended up doing a hike near Independence Pass instead, while me and Bradley headed for the summit.

The hike up Massive is BEAUTIFUL. I had heard the views were slightly better than Elbert and I agree. Really they are essentially the same view, but from Massive you get better views to the North that are otherwise blocked by Massive from Elbert.

I enjoyed the light class 2 scrambling near the top, and the ridge walk. As I remember it, Elbert seemed much steeper though.

We experienced wind like I never had seen before. At a few points on the ridgeline I was legitimately concerned about safety. Nearly toppled a few times.

Saw Lee on the descent just as we reached the ridge walk. We split up near Breck but met up the night before and camped together before the Massive summit.

After the hike, my ride connection met me, Lee, and Bradley at the Massive TH and gave us a ride to Leadville.

Made it up from the CT/Massive JCT to the top in just under 2 hrs. Another 14er in the bag.

CT thru hike is going well. Feet and body are happy, a few gear hiccups that are being worked out. Averaging just above 20 miles a day at the moment.

Taking a zero tomorrow in Leadville to resupply and recoup for the stretch from Mt. Massive TH to Salida along the Colliegate West CDT/CT route, which I expect to be the most difficult part of the trail. Simultaneously excited and daunted that I still have over 300 miles (380ish if I do both sides of the Colliegate Peaks loop) left to Durango. Many more passes and ridgelines ahead!
Named place
Named place
Mount Massive
_____________________
3 archives
Sep 30 2015
iborrego
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 Triplogs 348

26 male
 Joined Oct 13 2012
 Tucson, AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2015
iborrego
Hiking14.50 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking14.50 Miles
4,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 16 2014
azdesertfather
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 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,185
 Triplogs 794

46 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2014
azdesertfather
Hiking14.72 Miles 5,087 AEG
Hiking14.72 Miles   6 Hrs   38 Mns   2.40 mph
5,087 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
THIS was an adventure. After you hear this story, you'll know why I am so thrilled to have bagged this one!

Started just before 5:30am. The first portion of Massive reminded me a lot of the top of the Huachucas, with all of the coverage of green plans like flowers and corn lilies. Didn't see anyone until I came out of the treeline at 11,700ft. An older man who had started earlier than me was hiking it on his own, and he told me he was going to the top. I passed him, and said I'd see him on top.

Things seemed to be going fairly well, for a while. By the time I reached 12,000 feet though I knew we might be in for some weather. Storm clouds (at 7am) were already really forming. By the time I hit 12,800 I was in a little trouble. Sleet quickly started up, slamming me in the face with winds so hard that I had a hard time keeping balance (keep in mind, I don't have a lot of body mass!). The thundercloud was building over Massive, and I saw one other group who as about a quarter mile ahead of me (a group of about 8 or so) start coming back down the mountain toward me. They were convinced a summit wasn't possible today.

Totally discouraged, I turned around and started jogging down. I passed the old man, who said "giving up on it?" I said "yeah, it's too dangerous to risk it." He bid me well, but kept going up. I defended 400 feet (nearly a half mile) and noticed that things were clearing up, and I decided to give it another shot. "It's not even 8am yet! Maybe it's still possible." I reached the old man again, and his words were priceless: "So, you planning on hiking this two or three times, are ya?" We talked about the weather, and noted that we only had heard one really distant clap of thunder. The group of 8 come by us and warn us as they go by, but he and I look at each other and keep heading up. I'm booking it, telling myself this is my one and only shot at this today and I've gotta give this my best shot. Storm clouds are everywhere, but they are blowing over very fast, not parking over Massive anymore.

With the group gone, I'm now leading the way up the mountain. When I get to the col, or saddle near the top, though, this mountain goat teenager comes charging past me. I drop my pack for the last 500 foot of climbing, and don't mess with the crampons. There is snow and ice, but not enough to stop me. The first stretch from the col to the peak is on the side of the ridgeline away from the wind, but for the second half as I am on the other side, the wind is whipping me like nobody's business. I kept booking it and made it at 9:30...second to the top, behind skinny teenage mountain goat kid.

I stayed on the top only 10 minutes, knowing I'm playing with fate. Even though there still has been no more thunder or even rain, storm clouds were everywhere. I'm the first down, and there are two dozen who are coming up as I make my way back to the col. Past the col, for about a mile I run into three dozen more people, then I'm by myself the rest of the way to the bottom. I met the old man as I reached the col and my backpack, patted him on the back and told him thanks for the added encouragement to keep on it.

There was some wildlife on the trip, but not a lot. One animal (I want to find out what it was!) looked like an oversized squirrel, brown with black eyes. It was about 2 feet long and probably weighed about as much as a medium-sized dog. Saw another one of these on Mt. Evans, later that afternoon. Only drank about three-fourths of a liter for the day. Cell phone signals good, like Elbert, all the way (except about a mile near each trailhead).
Named place
Named place
Mount Massive
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Jun 23 2013
hhwolf14
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 Photos 832
 Triplogs 173

41 female
 Joined Oct 13 2007
 Loveland, CO
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jun 23 2013
hhwolf14
Hiking13.60 Miles 4,800 AEG
Hiking13.60 Miles
4,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Trail in great shape, wildflowers in season. Some snow at top of ridgeline still. Beautiful!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Aug 27 2012
BobP
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 Guides 2
 Routes 183
 Photos 3,861
 Triplogs 2,279

57 male
 Joined Feb 26 2008
 Scottsdale, AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 27 2012
BobP
Hiking7.80 Miles 3,888 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles
3,888 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was my 2nd favorite hike of my trip and of all my CO hiking. It is my favorite trail since the other one was more of a route(canyon). The trail meanders along water and then before you know it you are at the meadow. I little later you can go straight or take the newer trail which I took. It seems to get more traffic. Its a great trail that was thought out well and I'm sure a lot of hard work went into building it. Through the rockslide they built steps and it had sidewalls. The switchbacks turn to the natural lay of the land most of the time. Pikas, and marmots were abundant and I did see one goat. Never saw another soul until I descended. I saw 3 groups of 3 coming up the newer trail and saw one group of 3 on the main trail. I took my time going up and descended quickly. 4 hours up totally enjoying and milking my last hike and an 1 and 1/2 down racing to lunch by the water and then drove a ways down to finish the morning off with a Brown Ale from Upslope. Enjoyed the freezing cold water and then headed to the airport with an extra 1/2 hour to spare.
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot
Named place
Named place
Mount Massive
_____________________
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If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP
Sep 04 2010
imike
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 Guides 253
 Photos 6,930
 Triplogs 2,467

69 male
 Joined Nov 05 2008
 Cloudcroft, NM
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2010
imike
Hiking4.50 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles
1,100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
cheetah262
interesting drive to the upper trailhead... not nearly so bad as the road to the upper th on Elbert. Beautiful area, lots of folks out early hitting the peaks.
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Jul 07 2007
Jim_H
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 Guides 55
 Routes 46
 Photos 7,738
 Triplogs 1,629

40 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Mount Massive - Standard RouteSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 07 2007
Jim_H
Hiking6.80 Miles 4,800 AEG
Hiking6.80 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   0.91 mph
4,800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The day after I did Elbert, I went up Massive. The hike is a little harder, and has some much steeper, but minor class 2/3 at the top. It is class 3, but its so short you probably wouldn't notice it. Anyway, The trail is long and level to start, passing through spruce and fir for about 3 miles before the spur off of the Colorado Trail (which is the Mt Massive trail) is met. That trail ascends quickly to the tundra and leads you up to the summit of MT Massive. Massive is much rockier than Elbert, but it still has its fair share of alpine vegetation and furry little creatures to look at. Another good 14er to do, summit elevation: 14,420'.
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Society's constraints are stifling! The only way to hike is fully nude!
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.7 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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