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Mt. Massive
Southwest Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Ski/Board: Advanced, D6 / R3 / III  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:N. Halfmoon Creek
Start:10,500 feet
Summit:14,421 feet
Total Gain:3,950 feet
RT Length:7.25 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:3/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:290 reports
Cell Signal:18 reports
Sheriff:Lake: 719-486-1249
Forest:San Isabel
Wilderness:Mount Massive
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

From U.S. 24 just south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado 300. Drive 0.7 mile, turn left onto County Road 11 and continue another 1.2 miles before turning right onto the Halfmoon Creek road. Reset your trip odometer and follow the Halfmoon Creek dirt road for 5.3 miles to reach the Mt. Massive parking area on the right. The road above this point becomes more difficult so low-clearance or 2WD vehicles should definitely park at the Mt. Massive trailhead. Continue to 7.3 miles and keep straight at a junction. Now the road gets more difficult, requiring 4WD with good clearance. Overcome the last 0.5 mile to reach the small, marked trailhead on the right. There's parking for about 8-10 vehicles at or near the trailhead.

Route

Taken from Mt. Elbert, 1 shows most of the route. From the trailhead ( 2), walk through the forest on the great trail for 1.25 miles. Leave the forest and weave through bushes to reach a more-open area at 11,200'. Massive's southwest slopes can be seen after leaving the forest - 3. Follow the trail to the other side of a meadow to reach a trail junction at 11,200' - 4 and 5. The main trail continues west toward North Halfmoon lakes. Turn right and hike up through trees and a small boulder field, near 11,300' - 6. Reach another, larger boulder field near 11,700' ( 8) where the trail can be a bit more difficult to follow as it weaves up through the rocks - 7. Near 11,900', the trail heads up to the right (northeast) as it exits the boulder field under steeper terrain. Near 12,200', reach gentle terrain and follow the trail northeast toward a rock pile - 8. As you approach the pointed rock pile , you can see much of the route up to the left. Continue all the way to the rock pile at 12,300' - 9.

Pass the rock pile and hike north over a small hill where you will regain your view of the route ahead. - 10. Continue toward more difficult terrain up to the left - 11. Your next goal is to climb north/northwest to gain a ridge that intersects the summit ridge. If there's snow on the slopes, take a close look at 10 to determine the general location of the trail. Follow the trail as it zigzags toward the ridge - 12, 13 and 14. Continue up, up and up as you weave through rocks - 15. Above 14,000', the switchbacks get closer together and the trail reaches a notch before turning right toward the summit ridge - 16. Continue northeast to reach the "top" of this ridge, near 14,200. Walk up and around a corner where the summit ridge comes into view - 17.

Drop slightly to reach a notch and a signed (hopefully) junction where the East Slopes trail intersects your trail - 18. Past the junction, stay right of the ridge crest and weave up through the rocks to reach easier terrain on the ridge crest, near 14,300' - 19 and 20. Gain a false summit where you can finally see the summit - 21. Drop to a saddle and continue to the top - 22 and 23.

Skiing?

To ski back to the SW Slopes, drop east off the summit: 24, 25, 26
Above the saddle with "South Massive," drop south onto the SW Slopes: 27, 28

Notes

IMPORTANT: This route enters the Mount Massive Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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