1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

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Dtallz
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1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by Dtallz » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:45 pm

Hello, a couple of us guys (mid 30s, average shape!) would like to try and accomplish our first 14er summit on Saturday and are looking at Mount Massive. Recent trip reports seem to report that there isn’t too much snow yet (looks like that may change Saturday night!) and we have lots of gear and feel we are ready for the challenge. However, it’s still cold, the end of October and very dark hiking leaving early, we would be recently coming into the altitude the day before, and this would be our first 14er.

We are looking for any feedback as we have been told that this might not be the best idea. Any tips you can provide (or warnings) would be appreciated. Another option may be Mt. Bierstadt otherwise- so curious if you would highly recommend one over the other this time of year.

Thank you.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by CaptCO » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:47 pm

I’d wait and go back with microspikes when it’s less windy

“Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 32. Windy, with a west wind 30 to 35 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph.”

This is coming from someone who almost got blown off a 13er this month with half as bad forecasted winds
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by Dtallz » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:53 pm

Thank you! We have our microspikes packed but didn’t look into the wind forecast. We will take a much closer look at that.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by CaptCO » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:55 pm

No problem. Keep in mind that the forecasts are unpredictable on the winds most of the time, and there’s a chance it’ll gust 20-30mph more
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by Dignus » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:00 pm

Mt. Bierstadt is closed right now due to the fires. Quandary or Sherman would be a slightly better option for your first 14er than Massive, but like CaptCO said the winds might make this weekend miserable on all peaks, even if you do a climb with minimal exposure. Certainly still doable but be prepared. That being said I'm hoping to get out this weekend so if you're really eager to go I'd be happy to tag along.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by cottonmountaineering » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:04 pm

i would avoid high elevations saturday with the weather system coming in, gusts up to 60mph forecasted for mt massive
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by teamdonkey » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:22 pm

Your timing isn't the best. Impending weather, wind forecast, and you just arriving at altitude isn't a great combination for your first 14er. Which isn't to say you can't or shouldn't do it. If you guys go as planned, please be careful and don't be afraid to turn around if things aren't going your way. I would make a plan to honestly assess and discuss conditions (both the weather and yourselves) about a half mile after tree line.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by Ptglhs » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:28 pm

I'm agreeing with the other posters on this thread. We don't know when the weather will hit, and you don't know how fast you will be hiking. Days are pretty short right now and the last thing you want is to be above Treeline, in the fading light, exhausted, getting knocked around by the wind, and then the snow start falling. Sherman or quandary would be better goals if you just had to do a 14er. Those are a lot shorter so they're easier to do, and turn around when on them.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by greenonion » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:33 pm

Ptglhs wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:28 pm
I'm agreeing with the other posters on this thread. We don't know when the weather will hit, and you don't know how fast you will be hiking. Days are pretty short right now and the last thing you want is to be above Treeline, in the fading light, exhausted, getting knocked around by the wind, and then the snow start falling. Sherman or quandary would be better goals if you just had to do a 14er. Those are a lot shorter so they're easier to do, and turn around when on them.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by Dtallz » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:56 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses and feedback - it is much appreciated as we evaluate our plans.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by mtree » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:50 pm

Weather forecasts can be sketchy...especially wind forecasts. Who knows what you'll encounter going up Massive? And it depends on your route. That said, if you're just coming from out of state the altitude can have a huge impact on your speed and endurance. Start SUPER early. As in 5-6am at the latest. It will be cold. And if there is wind it will be real cold. Dress accordingly. Bring gear to cover every inch of skin. Prepare as if you're hiking in the middle of January at night!

I have no idea what kind of hiking shape any of you are in, but don't push the envelope. The margin for error this time of year is mighty slim. Mt. Massive isn't an ideal first 14er. It has some real challenges regardless of which route you choose.

My understanding is the Mt. Bierstadt trailhead at the top of Guanella Pass is still open for hiking. At least that hike is far less committing even though high winds are almost a certainty. That's just typical Bierstadt. Choose wisely, grasshopper.
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Re: 1st 14er - Mount Massive on Saturday HELP!

Post by HikesInGeologicTime » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:25 pm

CaptCO wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:55 pm
No problem. Keep in mind that the forecasts are unpredictable on the winds most of the time, and there’s a chance it’ll gust 20-30mph more
Yep. Buddy and I took the Black Cloud trail to S. Elbert last week, where I elected not to go on to Massive's next-door neighbor Elbert proper with him* because the forecasted wind speeds of "only" ~20 mph with 30 mph gusts were pushing us both to one side once we hit the ridgeline. He said he had to crawl along parts of the ridge between S. Elbert and Elbert because of how strong the winds were there.

*To OP and any other new hikers reading this: No, it is *not* a good idea to split the group up - watch just about any horror movie for a general idea of why :p - but this one is a well-marked Class 1/2 trail that leads to a well-trafficked summit, the wind was the only adverse condition present, we had plenty of daylight left, and we made contingency plans. But take the anecdotal evidence about the wind for what it's worth, and otherwise do as I say and not as I do!
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