Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  07/17/2006
Date Climbed:   07/15/2006
Author:  JasonF

 Tour de Massive from Mt. Massive TH  

Took a little tour of the big M the "old fashioned way", as they used to say on the Smith Barney commercials- & I definitely earned the miles, some great Class 3 experience & also a few minor aches. Here‘s a brief summary of the hike:

Start on CO Trail at the Mt. Massive TH - 2:15AM
Junction with Mt. Massive Trail - 3:15AM
Saddle between Mt. Massive & South Massive - 5:30AM
Mt. Massive Summit - 6:15AM
Break 15 minutes to enjoy the sunrise
Massive Green Summit - 7:10AM
North Massive Summit - approx 8:30 (I kinda lost track of time coming thru the Class 3 pinnacle section)
Pt 14169 - approx 9:00AM
South Massive Summit - 11:00 AM
Start descent - 11:15AM
Back to Mt. Massive TH - 1:45PM

This trip as a prep for Longs Peak, which I will attempt later this summer. I used a headlamp until I reached tree line & then the 3/4 moon provided sufficient light for the nice trail. Leadville was beautiful at night and I also got to see the International Space Station, which was lit up on the eastern horizon prior to sunrise.

This was my first Class 3 experience (west side of pinnacles) and while it is not nearly as long as the Longs Peak section it did require a fair amount of route selection and had a few spots with decent exposure. One thing I did learn with Class 3 is to make sure you look up while climbing - I bonked the top of my head on a boulder.

Even more exciting than the Class 3 work was the kickstepping (and finger punching?) that I did on the snow-filled couloir at the eastern side of the pinnacles. I didn‘t feel like coming back thru the west side on my return and I noticed footprints thru the snow while on Massive Green. Unfortunately the snow had warmed up enough that the existing footprints were not suitable (at least 1/4 of the way thru this route when I was already committed). I wouldn‘t recommend this for the faint of heart as I was up a 45 degree slope with rock below.

Neither Bill nor Gerry Roach address the mileage & elevation for this route but I‘m guessing it was around 17-18 miles & 5500 feet in elevation (if anyone has better info please let me know).

I was going to start at the Windsor Lake TH however I was not comfortable with the route finding up to the Continental Divide at the lake during the middle of the night. There are also several lakes in this area & I didn‘t want to start off with wet feet.

Here are some pics of the trip:

Sunrise near the summit of Mt. Massive with Turquoise Lake in view

Upper route to Mt. Massive summit above saddle with S. Massive

North Massive & the pinnacles from Massive Green

Mt. Elbert & La Plata Peak to the south

Continental Divide with trail down to the Windsor Lake TH

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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