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Route: Southwest Slopes (roughly)
Start: 6 a.m.
South Massive Summit: 9:45 a.m.
Mt. Massive Summit: 10:45 a.m.
Finish: 1:30 p.m.
Side note: The road to trailhead has been drastically improved. In general, clearance is still somewhat of an issue, but the last half mile isn't as rough as it used to be, and it's now what I'd call an "easy 4WD road."
On this Memorial Day Weekend, I couldn't think of a more fitting mountain to climb than Mt. Massive:
Even though I've hiked in this valley a few times before, the views never cease to amaze me:
For the first mile or so, before the turnoff, the trail was an intermittent mix of dry dirt, streams of water, slushy snow and mud. Above 12,000 feet, most of the summer trail is still under snow:
Early in the morning, the snow was firm and perfect for cramponing:
Our first goal was South Massive (our final point to climb among Massive's five 14k+ points), so we aimed for the low point on the saddle:
Here's a look at Mt. Massive from the saddle:
Heading over to South Massive:
Me on the summit of South Massive (with Mt. Massive in the background), throwin' the "S" gang sign:
Jen on South Massive (she's not a Southside gang member):
Pan of Mt. Massive viewed from South Massive:
Climbing the slope to Massive's ridge:
Pan of Jen on Massive's ridge:
Another pan I took (North Massive is far-right):
Me on Mt. Massive's summit:
Jen on Mt. Massive's summit:
Heading back down:
Got on a steep slope but the snow was perfect for heel-plunging down:
Farther down, the snow became a real pain. It was too soft to stand on (so we postholed up to our thighs) but not firm enough to glissade down. And the surface was still frozen and chunky, so when I tried to glissade it was like sliding down a field of glass shards. Luckily, farther down, glissading ended up being awesome.
Back in the trees, there were some sloppy sections, but overall it wasn't too bad:
Rough outline of our route (photo taken from Mt. Elbert two days later):
Originally, we planned to climb La Plata the following day, but decided to make it a "rest day." So we just climbed 2,000 feet of vertical on La Plata and enjoyed the views from a nice, 12,000-foot perch:
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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