Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  08/08/2011
Date Climbed:   08/06/2011
Author:  gonzalj
 Massive - Southwest Slopes  

Well, my friends Ian, Christian and I camped right by the 4wd SW slopes TH on Friday night and woke up early saturday morning just after 5 am to pack up the tents and start hiking at 6. The drive up on Friday definitely was not bad and can be done by almost any kind of stock SUV or truck. The first part of the hike was pretty nice and easy. It was smooth sailing all the way to the point where the trail turns to the right after 1.25 miles from the main halfmoon trail to the steep massive trail. At that point after turning right onto the steep trail that crosses the 2 boulder fields from 11,300 up to 12,000 it provided a good challenge for the lungs, but after the boulder field even though the trail was somewhat steep, it was nice to be dealing with a trail rather than big rocks or boulders and also very cool to see one of the infamous massive albino marmots. After about 13,200 reaching the last steep & rocky trail up to the summit ridge, the level of extertion was definitely a good amount combatting foot placement around the rocks and the overall challenge of the altitude, but was definitely compensated by some awesome views of elbert, la plata and the elk 14ers and then once we reached the summit ridge just above 14K, it was a nice gradual elevation rise with awesome views all the way to the summit. On the way down, foot place was very important all way from the summit ridge down through the boulder field. By this point in time, my legs and ankles are really feeling it and by the time I reached the boulder field from 12K down to 11,300 I found myself saying a few choices words, but reaching the last flat 1.25 miles down back to the car was one of the greatest feelings. The last mile felt like it took longer than it was supposed to, but overall it was at least nice to end on a very mellow slope and get back to the car. Massive was definitely one of the most challenging 14ers I've done so far (yale and la plata were a little more difficult), but in general going down worked me with the steepness of the grade and dealing with a lot of rocks ensured careful foot placement was key, but overall awesome hike and very rewarding. Our round trip time was 7 hours (I'm in general a slower hiker that takes numerous rest/water breaks - and the breakdown was 4 hours up and 3 down), but even though the physical challenge is a very good one, the reward of the summit was very well worth it.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Slow Moving Fun Seeker

08/10/2011 19:25
I had a nearly identical experience on the same trail last year. Only I had more than just a few choice words on the way down. The final approach to the ridge top and the summit ridge itself were pretty sweet I think. Nice photos!


08/10/2011 19:58
Yeah, I can definitely understand the feeling about a few choice words and the fact that my legs and ankles were practically screaming at me. Although those views from the summit & summit ridge all made it worth it.


Good stuff !!!
08/26/2011 21:47
Thanks fo rthe breakdown timeline-wise. I'll be there this Sunday.


Good Stuff
08/26/2011 22:33
Enjoy your hike on Sunday. It will definitely test you, but is also very rewarding.


camping near trailhead
09/04/2011 03:53
You mentioned that you camped at the trailhead. We are hiking next weekend and are hoping to camp along the trail Friday night. Are there places to camp along the first mile of the SW trail where friends would be able to find us Saturday morning if they drive up to meet us? Thanks for your input.


Massive camping
09/04/2011 21:26

Basically we drove up right to the TH mid afternoon the day before our hike and just camped right next to it. Literally right before the sign for the TH, there is an small field that also serves as part of the parking lot there and just camped in the midst of the trees 10 yards from the start of the TH. There aren't a lot of spots there, but there are a decent amount so I would recommend arriving there in the afternoon. When we were there, I want to say that there were around 5 other parties camping right around that area.

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