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Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby colokeith » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:46 pm

SchralpTheGnar wrote:When I did the SW slopes route I remember it being much more difficult, we got into class 3\4 terrain, loose rocks on slabby cliffs, I'm positive we were off route because we had no idea where we were going. However, when I did the standard route it had much easier route finding.


I would not be put off by this. SW Slopes is a well defined easy to follow route. There is a section of maybe 400 vertical feet of scrambling where there is not a clearly marked route, This section is above 13K, and I believe it is after the two routes join up. There was some areas where you could do some class 3 stuff if you chose to, however, the main route runs directly parallel, and is marked with cairns / well worn trail

The SW slopes route was a fun, rewarding hike with lots of wildlife and beautiful views. It is steep, but not overly difficult.

Consider spending the night somewhere in the half moon area. It has som quality camping.
To climb is to push yourself in a way you might not normally imagine is possible. If your stamina, skill, and luck are sound you will get to stand on top. ... I realized that with climbing, I'd found something that nourished my soul and could forge me into a better version myself - Jim Davidson

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby madbuck » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:55 pm

SchralpTheGnar wrote:When I did the SW slopes route I remember it being much more difficult, we got into class 3\4 terrain, loose rocks on slabby cliffs, I'm positive we were off route because we had no idea where we were going. However, when I did the standard route it had much easier route finding.


Same here, we did it early June in a normal snow year, and the SW slopes trail was covered in a snowfield (I thought it would have been more melted due to aspect, but I guess that's also why those snowfields are a popular ski descent) without the sort of trench that would have been packed on other routes. We ended up to the climber's right in some pretty loose junk similar to what you're describing. Manageable, but my wife was not a fan.
It's a lesson that's oft-repeated: time-of-year and conditions certainly impact the route difficulty.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby joshbrink » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:13 pm

To the OP. When are you planning on being on Massive?
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news”
― John Muir

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby MRottmann » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:06 am

Thanks to everyone for their helpful responses. Very much appreciated.

Your responses went along with what I was thinking. SW Slopes are steeper, but the shorter distance makes up for it. With our group, I think the shorter distance is the way to go. Sounds like the scenery is better too. Looking forward to attempting the SW Slope route. We'll have to assess the trailhead once we get out there and see what type of vehicles we are able to get. We'll hike the extra distance if we have to.

In response to the last poster, we are planning on hiking Massive on either Saturday, September 15 or Monday, September 17. We're also attempting LaPlata. We're staying in the Leadville area. Just not sure of the order yet.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby mkrier » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:18 am

SW slopes are the way too go. I did Massive about a month ago and the standard route seemed really crowded, where we only came across 2 groups on are way up.

The trail is pretty easy to follow, not too steep or too difficult.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby IkeB » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:20 am

I did the sw slopes on Monday. Great route, I highly recommend it. Saw quite a few goats up there as well.

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