Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Date Posted:  07/04/2016
Date Climbed:   07/03/2016
Author:  LarryM
 Mt. Massive SE Ridge   

Massive SE Ridge. Started 5:39, summited 9:35, back to the parking lot at 11:45. My Garmin recorded 12.53 miles, 5,205 vertical, and exactly 6 hours, but the actual vertical (corrected by Strava) was more like 5,132 , and the actual time about 6:05 and mileage about 12.75 (I stopped my watch about 1/4 mile early because the battery was about to die).

Why does (almost) no one do the SE Ridge route on Massive? Great for getting away from the crowds, gorgeous views, and a fantastic ridge climb.

Erich and I left from Boulder at 3 am. We had never hiked together, and I knew he was quite a bit stronger than I was. As it turned out, he was fine waiting when he had to. We wanted to make good time within my limits (we were running the runnable bits; I am slow compared to Erich but a little faster than average) because we were concerned about the weather report, which called for Thunderstorms in the afternoon and even possibly late morning.

As we drove to the trail head, our route was clearly visible in from of us - 3 sub peaks rising towards the main summit. We left eh parking lot at 5:38, starting up the Colorado trail. Roach says turn off after a mile; other sources say 1.3 miles. We split the difference and turned off at about 1.1 miles and headed up the ridge through the trees. Going was easy - there had been a lot of downed trees further back along the trail, but not where we turned.

We summited the first sub peak, Point 12,381, just over an hour into the hike. Nice view of Elbert to the south and South South Massive to the north.

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South South Massive

As others have noted, the climb up South South massive was a bit of a slog. Grassy slope but steep and long. We hit the summit of South South massive about 7:45. More spectacular views all around, and our first view of South Massive.

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Erich atop SS Massive

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South Massive from SS Massive

The ridge gets a little rougher at that point, but it wasn't as bad as it looks. Easy to keep it to class 2. Before we knew it we were on the summit of South Massive (about 8:40). From there we could see the main summit, and saw other hikers for the first time since we left the Colorado trail winding their way up the main trial.

The weather was coming in and Massive hidden in the clouds, but we decided to go for it anyway. We quickly made it to the saddle and joined the main trail.

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The Summit from South massive

At that point I started to have some energy issues - probably hadn't eaten or hydrated enough. I made my way slowly to the summit and summited at about 9:35.

We started heading down. Initially I was still feeling low energy, but some food and water gave me a second wind. We quickly made our way down the East Slopes trail, joined the Colorado trail, and headed to the Parking lot. We saw fewer other hikers than expected for a Sawatch 14er on a holiday weekend, probably because of the dodgy weather forecast. Erich, who is training for the Leadville Race Series, ran ahead with my blessing and met me again coming back up the trail for some extra mileage.

I hit the parking lot at 11:45,just over 6 hours from our start time. Weather held out the whole way; not a drop of rain.
We headed back to Boulder well satisfied with a great climb.



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