| Little Wiener's Big Day
Date : 06-26-2013
Party : Solo
Route : Standard
Peaks : Mt. Massive, Massive Green, North Massive, South Massive
The goal was to wake up early, grab the wiener, and head to the Mt. Massive trail head and be hiking by 5 AM. When the alarm went off at 2:30, I must say that I was not very enthusiastic, but I grabbed the wiener and my gear and drove off into the night on the way to the Mt. Massive trail.
I rolled into the parking lot shortly before 5, got geared up, and started down the trail at 5:03 (a little late but still decent timing). The trail winds its way through the forest without much elevation gain and Huggsie was enjoying her hunting trip so far with all of the chipmunks and the birds that make for great opportunities to get to the end of her leash.
Huggsie hunting on the Colorado Trail
An hour later, we made it to the junction of the Mt. Massive trail and we made our turn.
The trail steepens slightly here and we start to pick our way up to tree line. It is really uneventful down in the forest but as you round a bend and reach the clearing, you start to get your first view of Mt. Massive.
First views of South Massive. Mt Massive is off to the right
The wiener and I both removed layers, had something to eat and drink, and were back on our way; picking our way through the willows and moving up the hill. Once we left the willows, we started to see some different wildlife, which put Huggsie back into hunting mode.
The route up to the saddle was uneventful. There is some water flowing over the trail but it isn’t very deep and you can walk through it without getting your feet wet. The entire way up, we were blessed with great views of Leadville and the valley below, as well as other nearby peaks.
Looking back towards Leadville
On the saddle, looking towards South Massive
Once on the ridge, the fun began and we picked our way higher towards the summit. Huggsie did great and did not need any assistance the entire trip. We crossed the last snowfield and gained the final few yards to the summit. We finally made the summit at 8:50, which is about 3 hours and 45 minutes from leaving the car. We both enjoyed some snacks, some water, and the views before heading north over to “North Massive”.
Zoomed in on the Bells
The trip over to North Massive was a lot faster than I expected and after crossing over Massive Green
and making our way over to the northern most peak of the Massive group. We made our way up the ridge and found ourselves on the summit shortly thereafter, proud of getting in these sub-peaks!
On top of North Massive
We did not stay on the summit long and started making our way back south to grab South Massive.
We made it back to the Massive-South Massive saddle in very good time (it helped that Huggsie was seeing marmots) and before we knew it, we were making our way up to the South Massive sub-peak.
On the saddle, looking back at Massive from South Massive
South Massive summit block
The hike up was very fast and pretty easy so we topped out on South Massive at 10:38. We relaxed on the top for a bit, took some pictures, ate some food, and then started our descent back to the car.
As we made our way back down to the car, the temperature started to go up and by the time we made it to tree line, I had to shed another layer.
Mt Massive from during the descent
The descent was nice and fast with a easy trail to follow and by the time you are in the forest (and more so when you reach the Colorado Trail) the trail flattens out and it is a nice easy walk back to the car.
Heading towards the car
This was my second trip solo and I have to say that I enjoyed it even more than the first one. I was able to relax, get in the zone, and set my pace without worrying about others or keeping up! It was a very nice day up on the mountain and I only saw one other group of hikers while on the descent. I guess doing a popular Sawatch mountain on a Wednesday offers you some solitude and keeps you away from the weekend crowds. All in all, Mt. Massive is a nice hike and although it’s a little long (especially when adding the three extra peaks), it ranks up there with one of the most pleasant hikes I have done yet.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):