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Massive & North May 29

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Massive & North May 29

Postby James Scott » Fri May 15, 2009 10:21 pm

I'm thinking of doing Massive and North Massive from the East Slopes on May 29. A couple questions:
1. Am I safe in assuming that I won't need any snow gear on that date. I'm sure to encounter plenty of snow, and I'll bring gators, but how likely is the trail to be pounded down?
2. How long is the traverse to North Massive? Will it be especially tricky with snow at that time? What do I need to know for this attempt?
Thanks in advance!
"Some climb... to get to Terrapin."

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby clemsonmtneer » Fri May 15, 2009 11:15 pm

A couple of us are attempting Massive on Sunday, and we're taking the West Slopes route from Halfmoon Creek TH that reaches the saddle between Massive and North Massive, so I will let you know what the snow conditions are like. I'm not sure exactly how far North Massive is from Massive, but from looking at the maps I would think no more than a mile.

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Sat May 16, 2009 7:13 am

clemsonmtneer wrote:A couple of us are attempting Massive on Sunday, and we're taking the West Slopes route from Halfmoon Creek TH that reaches the saddle between Massive and North Massive, so I will let you know what the snow conditions are like. I'm not sure exactly how far North Massive is from Massive, but from looking at the maps I would think no more than a mile.

Please post conditions here or PM me also. And please, please, please take lots of pics! :)
My partner and I are going to attempt the "Tour" on Sunday the 31st, following Aubrey's route (without the detour for 14,169). :wink:
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepor ... m=tripmain

James, not sure what your weekend plans are, but if you could, I'd certainly appreciate an update on Saturday. We're probably going to leave Saturday eve and stay up in Buena Vista.

Good luck to you all and be safe!
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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby clemsonmtneer » Sat May 16, 2009 8:13 am

I usually take lots of pictures, so I'll try to highlight important parts of the route. I'll definitely give you guys an update on conditions and hopefully have a TR posted by early next week.

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby highcomm » Sat May 16, 2009 10:54 am

I'm doing Massive (via Southwest Slope) on May 30. Will be great to get your report.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby clemsonmtneer » Sun May 17, 2009 7:35 pm

Got back a few hours ago from climbing Massive with blues311. It was an awesome day with perfect weather and amazing views, and snow conditions on the SW Slopes were surprisingly pretty good. We were originally going to do the West Slopes Route, but after the trail junction, we lost the Halfmoon Lakes Trail quickly in deep and rotten snow, so we aborted that idea and I'm glad we did because from the summit you could tell the West Slopes Route still had a ton of snow.

Even in two weeks I think you'll want to bring an ice ax, even though most of the snow crossings on the SW Slopes route weren't that long. No need for snowshoes on this route though (can't say for sure on the East Slopes). There was only one big snow slope we had to climb, and crampons were nice for this too (even tho mine broke on the way up and I had to kick step the rest of the way), but luckily the run-out for this seemed to be pretty safe. We skirted around this slope and went down a very steep and rocky hill on the way back since the snow had began to turn to slush and was steep enough that it could possibly slide. We lost the trail from time to time, but the general direction was obvious the whole was as you could see the subpeak you needed to reach, from where you then traversed about half a mile or so to the summit of Massive.

The road to North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead is clear all the way, but there's one section close to the TH that is really sketchy, you have to drive over a slickrock face with a big dip at the top and a sharp turn to the right, with a big drop off into a raging creek to the left. Even with a 4W Drive I did not enjoy or feel comfortable driving this part, and I don't think it's worth driving this short distance (about a 5 min walk from here to the TH) unless you're just a four wheel driving pro. Or maybe I'm just a big wuss. Either way I thought I should give a heads up.

As far as the East Slopes Route goes, there's a bit more snow there than on the SW Slopes, but I did see several climbers taking this route when we left the summit. There were two climbing a snow route but another big group following a trail that was snow free at least near the top. Not sure what it's like farther down, though. I've heard that the East Slopes trail below treeline can be a routefinding and post-holing nightmare when there's still lots of snow, but if I had to guess, I'd say it won't be too much of an issue two weeks from now.

Hope this helps. I'll post a full trip report this week after I go through my pictures (there are lots of them!) so hopefully you guys can get an idea of what it's like even though it's hard to predict how much snow will melt in the next two weeks. Let me know if you have any more questions and I'll do my best to answer. One more thing - the views from the summit, and the entire way up the SW Slopes, are nothing short of stunning.

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Mon May 18, 2009 8:55 am

Wow, THANKS! This is some great information! Looking forward to your trip report.

FYI: According to the snotel sites that I'd been monitoring for the Sawatch, the snow near 10,500 had been melting, consistently, at 3-4 inches/day. Most of the sites show no snow at that altitude (Ivanhoe is still reporting 12"). I'm guessing that it may be melting at a simlar rate from 11,000-treeline...if the weather continues as it has.
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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby James Scott » Mon May 18, 2009 6:39 pm

Clemsonmtneer-
Thanks so much for your info- it helps alot. I had assumed the East Slopes would be holding the least amount of snow, but it sounds like I'm wrong. I look forward to seeing your trip report.

After reading your report, my plan is changing to take the West Slopes up, hit North Massive, then Massive proper and South Massive, and then head down the South West Slopes. I could also do this in reverse, or go up and down the South West Slopes, and just do a back and forth on the ridgeline. Based on what you saw, what can you tell me and what would you recommend? I'm not too worried about how brutal the day will be- we'll probably start off Longs Peak early, like 3ish, but I don't want to get myself on some ridge with a dangerous snow slope or something. I don't have tons of experience in snow.

Thanks again!
James
"Some climb... to get to Terrapin."

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby gsliva » Mon May 18, 2009 6:52 pm

You can go to Betty Bear Hut and stage from there. Go on up to North Massive and choose your route to the true summit. I have a route that I have done from the North several times and it's easy. Bring your snowshoes and crampons but you will only need them in a few spots for safety.

Glenn
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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby clemsonmtneer » Mon May 18, 2009 8:32 pm

IHikeLikeAGirl -
You are right, there was pretty much no snow at 10,500, but around 11,200 there were still some fairly deep and rotten snow patches in the trees, but I'm guessing those will be melting quickly in the coming weeks.

James -
From what I could see, I would actually advise against doing the West Slopes Route. We could see the whole route from the summit (I took a picture so I'll post that in my TR and point it out) and it had much, much more snow than the SW Slopes or the East Slopes - pretty much the whole route was completely snowed in and both of the Halfmoon Lakes were still frozen over. Also, the Halfmoon Lakes Trail disappeared right after the trail junction into deep and rotten snow. I'll have pictures posted in the next couple of days once I can go through and reduce the file sizes so they'll fit on this site.

North Massive looks doable from Massive, but you definitely have the right idea for getting an early start as it looks like a pretty good traverse from the top of Massive - and I hate to say it but with the current conditions you'd be better off going back over Massive's summit than descending the West Slopes. We left at 4:15 am from the trailhead and summited around 10:30 but we weren't moving real fast and routefinding slowed us down some too.

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby clemsonmtneer » Tue May 19, 2009 8:17 pm

TR is up! http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepor ... m=tripmain

Also, the more I look at the pics, I don't think the snow is that bad on the East Slopes Route. Probably a little more than the SW Slopes but still very doable with an ice ax, and it looked like you could probably skirt around a lot of the snow. Again I could be wrong, but that's just what it looked like from the summit.

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Re: Massive & North May 29

Postby highcomm » Wed May 20, 2009 6:43 am

Great report! I'll be doing the Southwest Route next Wednesday or Thursday. Were you able to do any glisading on the way down?
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