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2009 Vacation - Hardrock 100

Matt Mahoney's 2009 Vacation - Part 8 - Mt. Massive

On July 6, 2009 I climbed Mt. Massive, 14421 ft. This is the second highest mountain in Colorado after Mt. Elbert.

Mt. Massive is that big thing you see in Leadville when you look to the west.

I climbed the most popular route, which starts on the Colorado Trail where it crosses Halfmoon Road, 14 miles from Leadville and 1/2 mile past the Mt. Elbert trailhead. Right after leaving the parking area you enter the Mt. Massive wilderness. You fill out a free hiking permit tag here. The trailhead is 10050 ft. The round trip hike is 13.6 miles with 4450 ft of elevation gain. I started at about 8:45 AM.

The trail goes north and climbs gently to 11260 ft at mile 3.3 where you take a left and go up the east side of the mountain. (This view is looking back).

Near treeline the summit comes into view. The trail climbs into the saddle between South Massive on the left and Massive on the right.

Near the saddle at 13900 ft I caught up to two climbers, John and Kevin.

At the saddle the mountains to the west come into view.

South Massive, 14132 ft.

Mt. Massive, 14421 ft, looking north from the saddle. This is our goal.

About half way up from the saddle, the trail (looking back here) joins a trail that climbs the west side and comes over the ridge. (We came up the lower trail).

The trail on the west side is very steep. It comes up this couloir.

The summit is the high point just left of center in the photo. There are two climbers on the ridge near the summit.

I reached the summit in 3 hours and 5 minutes. View looking south. Mt. Elbert is in the center, behind the high point on the ridge. The rounded mountain on the right is La Plata.

Kevin took my picture on the summit. John was feeling too lightheaded to climb above the saddle. Somebody had left a flag here. This view is looking north. There are three subpeaks avove 14000 ft on the north ridge, but I didn't climb them.

View looking northwest. The white spot on the horizon just left of center is Mt. Snowmass.

Returning from the summit.

Somehow I ended up crossing two snowfields above the saddle. During the ascent I managed to go around them.

In the second snowfield I was postholing up to my crotch.

Turquoise Lake looking northeast from about 12500 ft. The gray stripe at the bottom is a dam.

View southeast from near treeline (11800 ft). Below the saddle the trail was very good (class 1). There has been some recent trailwork including a new section through the willows so I had no trouble keeping my feet dry.

The descent took about 2 1/2 hours.

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