Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  01/02/2011
Modified:  01/22/2011
Date Climbed:   07/17/2010
Author:  jagfoot04
 The unexpected journey to the Mt Massive Summit  

Greetings again Peak Baggers! Another late report from the summer time. After my fail on Mt Princeton two weeks before I was a little perturbed about even looking at another 14er again. That's not entirely possible since my summer camp job has a hike done that overlooks a beautiful panoramic of Pike National Forest north of Pikes Peak and has a very nice view of Pike.

It was towards the end of the week and I was ready to unwind. Some other staff had planned a hike around the Mosquito Range, but at the time I was not very interested. I basically told myself I was going to go into town, get some food and provisions for the weekend and head out west. I did not plan anything further than that. As I scurried up Hwy 24 I found a place to relax called Turquoise Lake but the campground which had abundant spots was completely full. I ended up disperse camping along the Mt Holy Cross Wilderness Rd near the lake and heard park rangers talking about Mt Massive and all the climbers looking to conquer it the next day. As I set up camp that night I made the decision to go for the climb the next day even though I told myself I did not want to climb that weekend.

I woke up the next morning surprisingly early around 5 am. I packed up and left, but then started to get turned around heading up north through Mt Holy Cross Wilderness Road which my 2WD truck is really not built for. I found my way back and head to Halfmoon Creek Campground and passed also the trailhead for Mt Elbert. Since I decided on Massive I went further to that trailhead. Around 7:30 I was ready to go up the trail. This is also another area that has a permit that they want you to sign by the trailhead. It is not too binding and seems to just be gathering information. The beginning of the trail started to ascend quickly but then flattened out for about an hour walk. Image
Trail was flat for most of the first hour with little ascent
Unfortunately I am also a little paranoid and saw bear track and bear scratches on trees, but trekked along anyway. Later on I met up with a father and daughter and told them that and the father just rolled his eyes. I think I need to get over past encounters I had when I visited CO around high school. The trail is very well defined and has many signs directing where to go which look brand new. There are also beautiful views from game fields which show off the mountain range. Image
View from the trail into an opening
There are also other trails with the brand new looking signs in front of them that are being blocked off most likely through the efforts of CFI. Image
A look back at some of the signs
The funny thing that caught my eye also on the way up was the very large pile of cairns. Image
five foot tall cairns
Much bigger than the seven rock pile up of cairns on Mt Princeton via Grouse. Looking up to the summit I knew that I was close and my first summit was coming soon. Image
A look at the summit
Eventually I huffed and puffed my way to the saddle and got a beautiful view of the western Sawatch Range. I felt really glad to tell passerbys and others I had talked to that this was my first 14er summit. Image
Myself at the summit
I was also equally happy to relax on the top of the mountain and look at all of the beautiful creation around me. Image
A view towards the West
Overall this trip was very successful. By 14er standards it was "congested" in that I would pass probably one person every 10 minutes. Honestly I don't think that is too bad. It surprised me that Colorado's #2 in elevation Peak really was not super difficult. This is a trip I would recommend for hikers of just about any range of experience. For the future since I now know the location of one of the trailheads for Mt Elbert right next to Mt Massive I will definitely be looking into the highest point in Colorado for the near future.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Very cool...
01/03/2011 04:41
Congrats on your 1st 14er. I hiked my first (Elbert) 2 weeks after you were there. Already counting the days before heading back this summer for more.


01/04/2011 14:37
Congrats on that first 14er. And welcome!

Wish I lived in CO

01/05/2011 13:28
Lots of information on this site! Trailhead info, driving directions, routes, maps, etc. Take advantage and climb on!


01/05/2011 17:36
Yeah I will be looking more into this info when I attempt more climbs. It's funny how my three climbs I did last summer were without any of these. I am hopefully gonna be back in CO for the summer. I am seeking redemption for my first climb that failed on Princeton. I think I will still try the Grouse Trailhead. I just need to make sure I am back in shape before I attempt it. Christmas Dinners don't help...

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