Upper left corner climber graphic Upper right corner climber graphic
Mount Massive
Page title underline graphic
14,421 feet

» » » »

Early Saturday morning, August 7th 2004, Suzy and I started up Mount Massive from the Mount Massive Trailhead. We had considered either the East Ridge or the Southeast Ridge Route, but the weather forecast wasn't that good, and afternoon storm activity was almost certain, so we chose the easier and faster East Slopes Route for this ascent. After a long easy hike below and along timberline, Massive finally came into view. Having done this Mountain from the west years ago, ascending the West Slopes and descending the Southwest Slopes which were both annoyingly steep, the East Slopes Route was looking a whole lot more enjoyable.

Mount Massive, as seen from the East Slopes Route

Just up from the saddle now, I took this shot looking northwest up the ridge, with only about 400 vertical feet to go. The weather had been great up until now, but the clouds sneaking over the ridge from the west were going to change that soon enough.

Mount Massive, viewed from the saddle between Massive and South Massive

Standing at the summit, I looked back at the wanna-be storm that had just hit us. This was just the first of many weak clouds that would hit through-out the rest of the day. The serious wet stuff held off until after we were back down to the trailhead though, but we were glad to have avoided the ridge routes anyway.

Standing on top of Mount Massive, looking back at South Massive and Point 13,630, and the small storm that just blew over

On our way back down to the saddle, this view of the Southeast Ridge had me wishing the weather forecast had been a little better. I would have really liked ascending this route. While coming up this ridge shortens the total distance by about a mile, it also adds nearly 600 feet to the total elevation gain for the day.

Looking down at Point 13,630 and the East Ridge, as we descended down to the saddle between Massive and South Massive

Looking more to the south now, there's Mount Elbert (the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains) just coming out of the shadow of the passing storm, and La Plata Peak further back and to the right.

Looking south toward Mount Elbert and La Plata Peak, while descending down to the saddle between Massive and South Massive

Zooming in for a better look at La Plata Peak gives a great view of its cool North Face with the classic, two mile long, Ellingwood Ridge extending out in front.

The North Face of La Plata Peak, as seen from Mount Massive

As an after thought, still fairly close to the summit, I turned to get this shot, with Massive Green down the ridge to the northwest of the summit.

From just south of Mount Massive’s summit, looking back towards the summit and Massive Green, just down the ridge, north of the summit

Back to timberline, with four miles ahead, visions of microbrews danced in my head. I love the alpine beauty at this altitude.

Descending back down to timberline on Mount Massive’s East Slopes Route

On our way home from an early spring hiking trip to the Colorado National Monument and the Black Canyon, April 2006, Suzy and I stopped periodically to get some shots of the peak conditions along the Sawatch Range. This shot of Mount Massive was my favorite of the series.

Early spring view from the road southeast of Mount Massive - April, 2006

Mount Massive Area Topo Map

Area Guide Books

Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs

Colorado's Fourteeners: Companion Map Package with Cdrom and Map

A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners

The Colorado Mountain Club Pocket Guide to the Colorado 14ers

Dawson's Guide To Colorado's Fourteeners - Vol 1

Click for Leadville, Colorado Forecast