| The Fellowship of Mt Massive
Mount Massive, 14421‘
Fish Hatchery TH, 9620‘
Kevin Baker, Layne Bracy, Jason Heine, Kevin Kovach, Todd Kovach, Dan Meyers, Keith Miller, Steve Mueller, Travis Valentine
Spindrift high on Massive
When Keith suggested a winter attempt on Mt Massive, I will admit to much doubt about our chances for success. But, as the date drew near, everything was falling into place. We had signed on a large trench crew; the weather looked favorable; and, the piece de resistance - Ken Nolan suggested that he might break the trail earlier in the morning!
Arriving at the trailhead, I was delighted to find Ken‘s 4runner and two other vehicles not belonging to our party! We geared up in 10F weather and started down the trail at 6:45am. In a quarter mile, we turned right off the snowy road, following snowshoe tracks. Chances for success now seemed high - the trail was well-packed.
Following the trench
In the first hour, the Kovachs fell behind. They would persevere to treeline before turning around. The rest of us moved along the Highline Trail, crossing the Colorado Trail, and entering an open flat. From here, the route ascended steeply, and we passed two hikers. Finally, we emerged from the trees.
The upper mountain
Wind became a factor now, but more unpleasant than an actual threat to the summit bid. We kept snowshoes on longer than needed, finally caching them. Lower on the ridge, we had stayed to the ridgeline when a bypass below was in order. So, in the last 1000‘, I decided to stray south onto the face. Ultimately, it was a poor choice, and I paid for it with some postholing.
Within striking distance
Kevin Baker summitted first, at 1:35pm, and by 2:15pm, six tired climbers were lounging on the summit.
Travis at the top
While we waited, Kevin and I let our OCD shine through, walking to a southern outcrop to make sure it wasn‘t higher.
The true summit from the south
Mt Elbert looking dry
The party of 2 had turned back at 13400‘, but Keith was determined, summitting alone at perhaps 3pm. We returned without incident, all using headlamps by the end as we followed the track out.
View down the east ridge
Early in the approach, I realized we would probably not see Ken‘s group to thank them. We never did. But that is another story ....
GPS track, courtesy Kevin Baker
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