| Tour of Massive - 14ers.com people are the best!
Just as an FYI, I picked up a new video camera this Winter. It is a Sony HDR-CX7. I learned that Sony does not provide warranty coverage for hard drives taken higher than 9k feet. The camera is palm size, light weight , uses an 8GB memory card and takes AVCHD-HD video and 6.1 megapixel still images even while shooting video. I LOVE IT! As you will see, I learned that battery life is shorter (need to carry a backup).
The morning started early, leaving Superior at 3:25 a.m. The drive uneventful but noticed more snow than expected on the trip. I arrived at the Halfmoon Creek trailhead at 5:30 a.m. I geared up which took a few minutes and left at around 5:45 a.m.
I had decided to do the East route since I did not have 4WD and wanted to test my conditioning from the Spring.
I was surprised how much light there was at 5:30 a.m. My first item left behind was the headlamp.
The trip on the Colorado Trail was great. There was fog in the valley between Leadville and Buena Vista and nearly full moon over Elbert.
More photos of the gradual slope of the Colorado trail as you climb out of the valley. Great trail, gentle slope, minimal snow until near treeline.
The second stream crossing but similar to the earlier one. Take your time, select the steps and move across.
Trail above treeline. The trail early is a mix of frozen and mud. The longer we go the more mud I am sure it will be. At this point there is little snow and easy navigation.
There is a substantial snow field above the trees. Early morning the snow was consolidated and easy to cross. Since I did not return this way I am not sure of the conditions but based on the Southwest side I am assuming this snow field started to thaw.
Leadville to the East.
Holy Cross Wilderness.
Summit ridge crossing the easy slope.
First Ptarmigan sighting.
Summit ridge and a view of the gentle slope to that ridge. The trail moves to the saddle on the left.
Near the saddle. with a view of the snow field below summit ridge. Glissade tracks in the snowfield make for an easy exit from the ridge.
Rock portion of the summit ridge.
On the summit ridge. This rock formation was skirted on a snow field just below the ridge. It is an easy traverse following the glissade tracks to the ridge. Snow was stable at around 9:30 when I crossed the section.
Snowmass from the summit ridge.
Bells and Pyramid from the summit ridge.
View to the South. LaPlata I think. A ton of snow off to the west from here to the Elks.
King of the summit ridge!
This is the point where my battery died so I do not have any pictures of the Southwest trail. Hokey_jim had some nice ones in a TR. On the summit I met up with Solo+1. Great guy who agreed to drop down the SW route (which he had come up) and drop me at my car. We had a wonderful conversation moving down the SW side. It is steeper, more scree and more snow covering larger sections of the trail.
As we descended, sometimes off the trail, I was taught a lesson. Never, ever let your guard down. Given the amount of snow and run-off the ground is soft. I took a step on a patch of ground and it went away tossing me downhill. One broken thumb, a couple of puncture wounds, a few scraps and bumps later I came to a stop against a large boulder.
Lesson: No matter how seeming simple a mountain is it can bite you in a flash.
Thanks you, Thank you, Thank you - Solo+1. Not only is he a great guy but patiently helped me navigate down with a sore body.
By the way, the 4WD road does have a couple of wicked sections.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):