| Massive (Insert Pun Here)
Mt. Massive; August 25th, 2012
Before the hike:
School is back in session here at the Colorado School of Mines. Students are flocking all over the campus with talks of differential equations, times to meet for Coors Lab, and when the newest Pokèmon game will be out.
Ominous clouds hanging over campus the day before our hike
After only 4 days of being in this environment, I knew I needed to get to the mountains. Luckily, Jake, my new roommate, suggested doing Massive on Saturday. I had never done it before, and its blank space on my 14ers.com Peak Check List on the left side of the main page always annoyed me.
The night before we went out, I read the post from Mandy Veronikas on the 14ers.com Facebook page about Massive getting 3-5" of snow... Snow. In August. On the exact mountain we wanted to climb. That particular night... d'oh
I had mixed emotions seeing this
The plan was to head out Friday, camp Friday Night, hike Saturday morning and be back in Golden by 1PM. I had a fantasy football draft that was of the upmost importance to attend to online.
Ben, Jake, and I decided to head up to the North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead on Friday after class regardless of these snow reports. We eventually were on the road by 5:30. We basked in our triumph of the first week of school with a feast of Taco Bowel(Bell) and yogurt. And when I say "we," I mean I did. Unfortunately for Jake and Ben, yogurt and burritos isn't the best hiking meal...
We got to the trailhead at about 8:15 and didn't have any real problems finding the road or driving on the 4x4 trail all the way to the North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead. We used Ben's Subaru and it didn't have tooooo many problems with the 4WD road.
Camp was setup by 9, and we were all in our bags at 10. The Note from the 14ers.com route description kept popping through my head as I tried to sleep; "This is not an easy hike - from the lower meadow to the summit there's nearly 3,300' of elevation gain in 2.5 miles."
Hmmm, tough climb and predictions of snow... I wonder how this will go
The alarm woke us quite quick at 3:00AM.
We didn't get much sleep the night before, but we were suffering the effects of "Summit Fever." Lack of sleep wasn't going deter us.
We were off by 3:40 from the campsite, and walked along the road till we hit the trailhead at 3:45.
The Crew at 3:45AM
We had our head lamps on and trudged through the forest at a quick pace. Hiking in the dark for some reason really gets my adrenaline going. It makes me hike faster, and seems to make the hike shorter. Weird, but it makes night hiking a sweet adventure. And you've always got the sunrise to motivate you to the top!
We didn't have too many issues on the trail (besides the Taco Bowel and yogurt mixing from the night before. I was crop dusting Jake and Ben from 4-12. It got ugly), but got lost at about a mile into the hike because of losing the trail. Here's the picture of the rock we needed to turn up, but didn't. We searched the area for a while because we felt off the trail, but eventually followed this gap up and were back on the visible trail.
We were headed West along the trail, but needed to turn North at the rock.
After that, it was just some good ol' Sawatch Switchback time. Back and forth, back and forth. The switchbacks here were really nice though. Not too steep, and well maintained. Props to CFI
After hiking for about an hour and a half, we could start to see the sunrise creeping up. The colors were awesome and were a perfect motivator to get us to the top so we could see the real deal.
Sun rising at about 5:30
We got to a ridge that on the trail that finally peaked above Pt. 14,132(??) that allowed us to see the sunrise. The coolest thing about this sunrise was just seeing all the fog in the valley below us from the night before. It was about 40 degrees here at about 14,200'. I put the camera away with my cold sausage fingers and we proceeded up the ridge to the summit.
Sun rising at about 6:30
Sun rise on the Sawatch
Jake crossing the final ridge
We finally reached the summit at 7:00AM. The last ridge had a lot of ups and downs and had Jake and I eternally saying "This is definitely the summit right here."
It was only 35 degrees on the summit, but when we were out of the wind and soaking in the sun and views, it felt preeeettttyyyyyyy good. The views were amazing, we had the summit to ourselves, and I knew I would make it to my Fantasy Football Draft(thank God!)
Ben enjoying the chilly 35 degree summit
Our last look of the sun before heading back down
Brave and frozen summit crew
We stayed on the summit until about 8, and decided to head down. We were lucky enough to even see some snow from the dumping the night before!
I'm happy we didn't get 3-5" of snow on us, but that would have been cool to see in August
Ben climbing down the crux of the route. Probably 5.12b we were thinkin..........
Ben and Jake descending with the rest of the Sawatch in the distance
Some of the cool geology you can see along the trail
The descent was arduous, but quick. Our knees took the pain of our efforts to get down the mountain quickly. We saw about 15 people coming up the trail while we were descending(Another plus of hiking early). One guy asked us what time we left the trailhead and we told him about 4AM. He replied with "What, did you guys read the guide books or somethin??". I felt like giving THAT guy a guide book.. to my fist! (Not really. He seemed like a nice guy.)
More geology on our way out
We made it back to the car at in a quick 2 hours to arrive at 10AM. Plenty of time for the draft
After the Hike:
We made it back to Golden at 12:30 and were pretty tired. I went through with my fantasy draft (team pictured here) and we fell asleep from there. I went to bed at 6PM, woke up at 8AM this morning (8/26), and am now writing this report.
I never draft players from my real football team(Broncos). I keep the fantasy separate..
Fun route! Definitely better than doing the 13.75 miles along the Colorado Trail (I assume)
PEAK: Mt. Massive
ROUTE: Southwest Slopes along North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead
LENGTH: 8.5 miles (8 for the hike, but we camped about a quarter mile before the trailhead)
ELEVATION GAIN: 3,950' Total Gain
CLASS: Class 1 with some Class 2
TIME: 6 hour trip with an hour on the summit
5:30PM Leave Golden
8:15PM Arrive to Campsite
3:00AM Wake up
3:40AM Hike out
8:00AM Descent from Summit
10:00AM Arrive at car
12:30PM Back in Golden
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):