| They really do exiat
First off I would like to thank everyone that put in their two cents about what route I should take my wife up Massive on. After reading your thoughts ( and well to admit it... being lazy) I decided to take her up the S.W. Slopes. I figured I would rather suffer through steeper terrain, than hike an extra 5 plus miles. And besides I needed to test the new X- Terra on some 4WD roads.
The 4WD road up to the trailhead was not too bad for a faint-hearted 4 wheeler such as myself. The only sketchy part was the last 1/2 mile, just past Forest Road 110J. I really wanted to try the creek crossing at the trailhead, but luckily my wife has better judgment than myself.
The SW slopes turned out to be a great choice. The views were incredible the entire way up and down. Once the trail begins to climb after the first mile, it climbs constantly until you begin the traverse to the summit on Massive's east side. However, the trail is great. Neither if us felt as if we were going to die due to steepness at any point; it was just steady upward progress. While the trail is in great shape it did offer some challenge in picking our way through the boulders, as everything blended in. We had to keep a sharp eye out to stay on trail.
My favorite part of the trail was crossing over to the Massive's east side, and traversing to the summit. The views along the top of the ridge, of Massive's steep west side, were breath taking. We passed one group coming back from the summit as we traversed the ridge, then meet 1 other couple at the summit, who were on their way out. We had the summit to ourselves for 30 minutes.
One disappointment was that someone had left a Frisbee on the summit. While their intention was good (it was a gift for whomever found it), I looked at it as trash, which someone would have to remove (which I did). I am sure the group of "youngsters" that came up after us would have really enjoyed the find, but I could not help but thinking it as defacing the peak somehow. "Take only photographs, leave only footprints".
While prepping for this climb I had read comments about the white marmots on Massive. I began to think these were in the realm of snipe hunts. So you can imagine my surprise when my wife actually spotted one, sunning on a rock right next to another brown marmot. They do exists!! I have the picture and video to prove it.
The hike down was a little more challenging than we had imagined. Stepping down through the boulders, beat our knees up pretty bad, even with the use of trekking poles. We were both happy to get back down to the flats.
For those of you attempting this route, bring up a small bottle of Marker's Mark whiskey. You will know what to do with it when you get there.