| Mt. Massive SW Slopes
After an unsuccessful trip up Belford the prior day due to the extreme cold and wind, we were determined have a successful summit of Massive. We had long decided to do the SW Slopes route, assuming it would not only be the more challenging but would also provide the best views and scenery. After another stop at the Provin' Grounds Coffee and Bakery Shop (highly recommended!) in Leadville we were on our way to the North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead.
Great view of Massive from Hwy. 24, south of Leadville.
Not wanting to take a chance with the road, we parked about a ½ mile short of the trailhead and walked the short distance up to the official starting point. At 8:30 AM we were on our way. The Massive group included folks from TX, KS, NM, CO, MN and NY.
After an easy and enjoyable 1¼ mile walk through the forest, it was time to get serious and begin the long trip to the summit. The right turn off the main trail was very well marked and we were on our way.
The views behind us were spectacular.
As we moved up the mountain, many sections of the trail were covered with snow. We did our best, following the footprints of those in front of us.
Once again the views to the south were something else. This hike was all we expected.
Good shot of Gene and Mike as they make their way up the snow covered trail.
We work ourselves up to the ridge with Massive's summit hidden in the distance.
Looking back towards Elbert and LaPlata.
Working our way along the ridge, headed to the summit.
Couple of summit photos.
On our way down, still on the ridge.
At around 4 PM we make it back to the cars, about 8 hours after we had left.
As advertised, "this is not an easy hike - from the lower meadow to the summit there's nearly 3,300' of elevation gain in 2.5 miles" but it is a thoroughly beautiful, challenging and enjoyable hike. A must do!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):