Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  01/27/2008
Date Climbed:   01/26/2008
Author:  Layne Bracy

 The Fellowship of Mt Massive  

Mount Massive, 14421‘
Fish Hatchery TH, 9620‘
Kevin Baker, Layne Bracy, Jason Heine, Kevin Kovach, Todd Kovach, Dan Meyers, Keith Miller, Steve Mueller, Travis Valentine

Spindrift high on Massive

When Keith suggested a winter attempt on Mt Massive, I will admit to much doubt about our chances for success. But, as the date drew near, everything was falling into place. We had signed on a large trench crew; the weather looked favorable; and, the piece de resistance - Ken Nolan suggested that he might break the trail earlier in the morning!

Arriving at the trailhead, I was delighted to find Ken‘s 4runner and two other vehicles not belonging to our party! We geared up in 10F weather and started down the trail at 6:45am. In a quarter mile, we turned right off the snowy road, following snowshoe tracks. Chances for success now seemed high - the trail was well-packed.

Following the trench

In the first hour, the Kovachs fell behind. They would persevere to treeline before turning around. The rest of us moved along the Highline Trail, crossing the Colorado Trail, and entering an open flat. From here, the route ascended steeply, and we passed two hikers. Finally, we emerged from the trees.

Above treeline

The upper mountain

Wind became a factor now, but more unpleasant than an actual threat to the summit bid. We kept snowshoes on longer than needed, finally caching them. Lower on the ridge, we had stayed to the ridgeline when a bypass below was in order. So, in the last 1000‘, I decided to stray south onto the face. Ultimately, it was a poor choice, and I paid for it with some postholing.

Within striking distance

Kevin Baker summitted first, at 1:35pm, and by 2:15pm, six tired climbers were lounging on the summit.

Travis at the top

While we waited, Kevin and I let our OCD shine through, walking to a southern outcrop to make sure it wasn‘t higher.

The true summit from the south

Mt Elbert looking dry

The party of 2 had turned back at 13400‘, but Keith was determined, summitting alone at perhaps 3pm. We returned without incident, all using headlamps by the end as we followed the track out.

View down the east ridge

Early in the approach, I realized we would probably not see Ken‘s group to thank them. We never did. But that is another story ....

GPS track, courtesy Kevin Baker

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Kevin Baker

Thanks for the invite!
02/05/2011 00:22
Thanks for writing up the report, Layne. I am sure glad I decided to come, because the weather was about as good as it gets in January. Here are my pics from the day:


Congrats to all
01/28/2008 04:38
I know what Kevin means when he talks about ”not bad for January.” Long, cold day; great pictures.


Nice Job!
11/30/2010 17:28
Seven people on the summit of massive in winter. That's great! It sounds like alot of people worked hard together to get this done. That's a Good use if this forum.

PS: Nice Views.


congratulations layne!
01/30/2008 04:58
great job getting a group that size to a challenging summit in january. are you still considering columbia later this winter? keep up the good work my friend!


Layne Bracy

Thanks, everyone!
01/30/2008 05:42
Yes, I was pleased we got most of us up.

Jamie, nice job going back-to-back this weekend! Columbia would be as good as any - not sure yet when I‘ll get out again. I‘ll be in touch.


Thanks for the break
01/30/2008 17:12
Great trip report. My friend and I were the other 2 hikers you guys saw. We made it up to 13,400 before deciding to turn around due to time, low energy, and high winds.

Again, thanks a million to Ken for breaking the trail. We wouldn‘t have been able to get as high as we did without that.

Layne Bracy

01/30/2008 20:35
Bixley, glad you guys had a good outing. This was Steve‘s 16th winter 14er, and he said it was the hardest he‘s done! Good to know there are a bunch of easier ones out there.


01/30/2008 23:57
alright, i‘ll keep an ear open just in case. i have every other weekend off along with either monday or wednesday during the week. hopefully we can work something out.



10/22/2008 10:35
Congrats on tagging Massive in the winter, Layne! This bad-boy has been on my list for awhile now. I‘m quite surprised to see Elbert that bare. I wonder if your trench is still in place after this recent storm.
Did you organize this trip yourself?
Great pics!

Layne Bracy

Thanks, Kiefer!
01/31/2008 07:06
I did a fair bit of the organizing, but Keith gets credit for the idea, and he recruited about half the party. Kevin recruited Steve, who has the most winter experience.
I suspect several inches of snow have fallen since, but the trench is probably still present. You might contact Steve Gladbach - he may go up there soon to find it.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.