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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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Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby MRottmann » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:59 am

Looking for some feedback from those that have done both routes. A group of us (mix of people from around the country) will be attempting to summit Massive in mid September. Trying to decide which route would be best for us. Outside of the Standard route being a lot longer, I'm wondering about other differences between the trails. Is the SW slopes route significantly harder than the Standard? Would you recommend one over the other. Anything we should really be aware of related to these routes or Massive in general would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help!

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby JosephG » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:07 am

Highly recommend the SW slopes. It is more scenic and, frankly, easier than the standard route. It does gain elevation slightly more quickly, but the trade-off is more than fair given the mileage difference. It also has less elevation gain overall. The trail is easy to follow and feels more removed from civilization. You will have superb views of Mt. Oklahoma and the N. Halfmoon Lakes/Basin.

The last half-mile of the road is mildly rough, but 2WD cars can make it if you take care. Even if you can't drive the last half-mile, it still is an easy hike and remains shorter than the standard approach.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby USAKeller » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:13 am

JosephG wrote:Highly recommend the SW slopes. It is more scenic and, frankly, easier than the standard route. It does gain elevation slightly more quickly, but the trade-off is more than fair given the mileage difference. It also has less elevation gain overall. The trail is easy to follow and feels more removed from civilization. You will have superb views of Mt. Oklahoma and the N. Halfmoon Lakes/Basin.

I agree on the SW slopes route too. The standard route is just plain long, not as great of views.
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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby Phill the Thrill » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:21 am

I agree with the others on the SW slopes, as long as you have a car that can make it to the TH. I remember one spot in particular where high clearance is necessary. The trail is slightly steeper but still a walk up, and there aren't as many hikers on that route. Also, look out for the "blonde" marmots that inhabit the area.
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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby WheelerDealer » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:27 am

SW slopes all the way. And though I saw a jetta at the trailhead, there is no way I'd take a passenger car there.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby Sugar Madison » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:32 am

I was up there supporting Eric's Nolan's adventure. I was in his Forester, which was fine, but no way in hell would I take either of my cars up there (Civic and a minivan).

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby thebeave7 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:35 pm

I'm a big fan of the SW slope if you're looking for a trailed route to the top (ie not Massive Mania). Its a beautiful trail, great scenery/back drop, and efficient.
I've done the road to the TH in my Subaru Forester many times, but it'd be rough getting a low clearance car there, but possible.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby rlrjamy » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:35 pm

Another vote for the SW slopes. I did it last week and really enjoyed it.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby TravisJN » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:15 pm

OK, so here's something I've wondered before...if the Massive SW slope route is shorter than standard route and still class 2, why isn't it considered the standard route? Is it because the TH for the East Slopes (the actual standard) is a little easier to reach?

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby madbuck » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:26 pm

TravisJN wrote:OK, so here's something I've wondered before...if the Massive SW slope route is shorter than standard route and still class 2, why isn't it considered the standard route? Is it because the TH is a little easier to reach?


It's a steeper and more erosion-prone trail, and more difficult to reach with low-clearance vehicles (with less parking, IIRC).

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:40 pm

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.

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Re: Massive - Standard vs. SW Slopes Routes

Postby MountainHiker » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:42 pm

The traditional standard route has had a constructed trail much longer. The SW slopes seem to be evolving into a standard route. However, there isn’t as much parking, no outhouse, and the road is rougher. So it may be premature to declare it the standard route.
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