What a fantastic day on a mountain! Weather was perfect and the company outstanding! Oh, and 5 14ers to boot!
We all spent the night at the busy North Half Moon creek trail head. Site weren’t hard to find, but they weren’t plentiful either. At 3:30a the following morning I think we were all stirring and preparing for the day. By 4:30a we were geared up and on the trail. The morning was cool enough for a light layer, but not cold and within an hour of starting the hike, layers were being shed.
Oh-dark thirty start
Even in the dark, the trail was easy to move along and we covered the mile and a half to the sign in 45 minutes. Roach’s book indicates that people miss this turn off to Mt. Massive but these days it is very well signed:
From the sign, we traveled up the trail. And up, and up, and up reaching 14,000 feet in about 2.5 hours. At this point we left the trail and began to contour(-ish) over to South Massive. This detour took us though a boulder field, and while the going was slow, it was not difficult.
Looking towards South Massive
Contouring (-ish) to South Massive
On the other side of this saddle is the trail from the east slope.
Saddle between Massive and South Massive
Just after 8a, we were on the summit of South Massive.
South Massive Group Shot
Moving from South Massive to Mount Massive was pretty straight forward. An hour after South Massive we were on Mt. Massive.
Massive Group Shot
And, an hour later, we were on Massive Green.
Massive Green Peak Host greeting me
Then things got interesting...
The "Rock Pile"
We ran into Adam (Keystone4Me) who did some scouting around the rock pile, and did not find an easy route for him and his pup. As we approached, Britt did a quick study of the formation, and disappeared to the climbers left. Wes and I waited for a few minutes and decided that Britt wasn't coming back, and that we should attempt to follow.
Britt points the route for us.
And so we did...
Wes on the move around the Rock Pile
And eventually ended up at the base of this:
The route UP to North Massive
We went up where the hiker is coming down. The stuff was loose and ugly but we single filed our way up.
North Massive group shot
From the summit of North massive we quickly made our way to Point 14,169. From the point we then headed to the bowl to the south west to assess glissade potential.
South East Bowl
And we did.
The hike wasn't quite done with us yet though.
Wes moving through a snow field
And the scenery was spectacular!
The head/hat dips here were refreshing!
Exactly 12 hrs after starting, Britt was back at the trail head cracking open a creek chilled beer. I was about 15 minutes behind him, and Wes about 15 minutes behind me.
I'll say it again, weather was fantastic (maybe even a bit warm)! But I enjoyed this hike far more than when I did Bel-Ox a couple weeks ago.
Big thanks to Britt for sharing trip pics.