Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  08/07/2013
Date Climbed:   08/03/2013
Author:  SJones
 wrong turn SW slopes route  

I've never blogged about a hike before, but I thought I would this time so that others can avoid the mistake we made taking the SW slopes route to Mt. Massive. We parked and camped below the last 0.5 mile of AWD road to the N. Halfmoon Creek trailhead the night before. We left the car at 4:30 a.m. using headlamps. When we reached the meadow at 11,200, we continued to follow what looked like a well marked trail, although we both glanced to the right at one point where a big boulder with a crevice on the side could have been an option. We decided that couldn't be the trail since the dirt trail to the left was so obvious. That left turn led us into the willows where various trails crisscrossed and all invariably ended up at stream crossings. We backtracked to the spot where we made the decision and tried again (the left, obvious trail). This time, on our backtracking, we headed up a small hill to a trail that we could see now that the light was coming up. Erroneously heading back on that trail, we crossed over the big rock we had decided was not the trail. We then met up with Al, from Idaho (hi Al!) and discovered that we were completely turned around. We turned around, proceeded by taking the right turn, over the crevice in the boulder, and shortly found the well marked, signed trail junction towards Mt. Massive. This blunder added about 30 min to our hike. The rest of the hike went without incident, and we enjoyed Al's company most of the way. It was a beautiful day, as can be seen in the shots I took at the top. We reached the summit around 10, spent about a half hour on top. We were back at the trailhead around 2 p.m. and the first drops of rain were hitting our car as we reached it. A word of caution, the trail junction is so well marked, yet can be completely missed if you don't take that right turn at the boulder. Sorry I don't have a picture of it.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/19/2013 19:17
It happens to the best of us! Glad you made it all the way up. We were there the very next day. Oh, and with your photos- I think Twin Lakes/Turquoise Lake are in the 2nd picture. The 1st picture looks more like it could be Clear Creek Res.

Idaho Yeti

14ers Adventure
10/03/2013 21:51
Susan, I enjoyed your and Julie's company on the climb! By the way, I did get my triple the next day, Missouri, Belford, and Oxford in 14.5 hrs. Love the Col 14ers!


10/07/2013 18:04
Great job, Al! Julie and I enjoyed hiking with you as well. Thanks for the solar charge on top, so I could get our picture! Julie and I are going to hike Missouri and Oxford next year. We've both done Belford, but apparently we will be repeating that to get to each of those two. Not sure I want to do all 3, if it took you 14.5, it's going to take me 20 hrs! Have fun planning next summer's adventures.

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