Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   10/08/2005
Author:  SarahT
 10/8/05 Mt. Oklahoma & Massives 5 14,000+ ft summits  

Mt. Oklahoma & Mt. Massive's 5 14,000+ ft summits (Pt. 14,169, "North Massive", "Massive Green", Mt. Massive & "South Massive")

From North Halfmoon Creek TH

On Saturday morning I drove my rental Ford Focus as far as I could toward the N. Halfmoon Creek TH. It got too rough for such a low clearance vehicle no more than half a mile before the TH. After parking the car we were hiking by about 7:30. We followed the gentle trail toward Mt. Massive until about 11,600 ft where we left the trail and headed mostly west and a little bit north uphill through the trees. We popped out above the trees just under 12,000 ft and could see the steep cliffs of Mt. Oklahoma's southeast side. We continued northwest and probably didn't take the greatest route to gain Oklahoma's east ridge. If you look at Roach's route map there is a kink around 12,700 ft. We basically unintentionally eliminated that kink, taking a straight path up to the ridge. This involved climbing up some loose dirt and scree and making one or two Class 3 moves. After gaining the gentle ridge, it took some relentlessly steep talus hopping to reach the summit. From where we parked, it had taken roughly 3:10 to get here. It was a beautiful but somewhat windy day. We took a break and checked out the ridge to Massive. I was pleased to see that most of it was snow free. I think it was around this time too that I looked at the map and decided, what the heck, we may as well hit up all of Massive's five 14,000+ ft summits that Roach mentions.

The descent off Oklahoma to the saddle went slowly. There was a good amount of slippery snow here, and mixing this with a few 3rd Class moves and some nice exposure forced us to be very cautious. Once we reached the saddle, snow was no longer a problem and we had a great time traversing this fun ridge. Although it looks pretty gnarly in spots, it is actually fairly easy and I didn't feel like it exceeded Class 3. We found that staying on the ridge crest was usually best. The rock here was very solid. The traverse took about 2 hours. Once over the ridge, the terrain really eased up and we walked leisurely over to Massive's first 14,000+ ft summit, Point 14169. The wind was really picking up here. This summit is subtle and not very exciting. However, we started to get some nice views of our next objective, North Massive, from here. After a short break we headed over to North Massive and found a party of three on top who we'd passed earlier on the trail. They claimed the nice trail they had been following suddenly petered out. Although they were trying to summit Mt. Massive, I confirmed their suspicions that they were instead on North Massive. They only had Dawson's map which didn't help them too much so I let them check out my map so they could see how to get back down to the trail. We took some pictures of each other and quickly moved on since it was getting late. It was a fun, straightforward little scramble down off North Massive and over to Massive Green. Again, we stopped only long enough to take some pictures so we'd have a chance of making it back to the car before dark. We chugged on toward the big guy himself. At this point, I really felt myself getting weaker. I think it was mostly due to the length of time I'd been climbing at high altitude. We took a short break on the summit to eat the last of our food before heading to our last objective of the day, South Massive. When we reached the Massive-South Massive saddle I just wanted to go DOWN but I told myself that since I'd come all this way already, there was no way I could pass up this last little summit. I hobbled my way up and managed to pull myself up on top of the big summit block for one last picture. Finally, time to go down! We returned to the saddle and started descending just before 5pm. I wasn't sure where the new CFI trail started so we took the same route I'd taken when I climbed Massive the first time - down the scree from the saddle. After a short time we spotted the new trail and made our way over to it. The nice switchbacks were much more pleasant than pounding straight down the mountain like I'd done the first time. We made it back to the car at 6:30pm for a total round trip time of 11 hours. We both really enjoyed this hike! What a great way to climb Mt. Massive!

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