Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,427 feet
Date Posted:  08/11/2020
Date Climbed:   08/06/2020
Author:  petal53run
 Third Time is a Charm   

Third Time is a Charm

I finally summited Mt Massive. On the 1st attempt, the weather people predicted a 10% chance of rain and it rained 100% from Leadville to the TH and back to Denver. Crystal clear blue skies promised the 2nd try at the TH, but as the bunch of us left the cover of the forest trees, it was a dark gray shroud ahead. When the lightening repeatedly blazed across Massives ridgeline, we sprinted back to the TH a lot faster than we powered walked up.

When the weather report predicted good climbing conditions for day off Thursday, I was outta here for the 3rd try and at the TH 6am. Other climbers had planned the same because I parked in the overflow lot. That’s OK. It’s good to see people living their dreams again. And my truck is sick so I’m happy to drive the other vehicle to feed my wanderlust.

Powered by anticipation and a couple cups of regular coffee, I hiked up the standard route on the Colorado Trail(pic1). My Garmin is somewhere in my office so since 3 was the theme, Willow Creek needed to be crossed 3times and 3 1/2 miles seemed much longer up to the juncture than what I remembered. The Mt Massive Trail sign(pic2) was the left turn to begin the uphill climb through the forest to its peaks. From here the class 1 trail is well-defined as you wind through the willows(pic3), saw a columbine(pic4), to treeline(pic5), and the slow steady pace through the tundra and rocks(pic6), yeah, a cairn at the saddle (pic7), and finally, standing on top of Mt Massive(14421ft)(pic8). While I was in the neighborhood, I summited PT14169 with the marmot(pic9-10), then N Massive(14340ft)(pic11), and Massive Green(14300ft & some scrambling)(pic12), back to Mt Massive to share more congratulations and S Massive(14132ft &some scrambling again(pic13) and for grins, SS Massive(13631ft)(no pic, didn’t have a sign).

I descended via the standard route by turning left at the trail junction sign. Based on where I was parked, the mileage was pretty much the same either way. The gradual decline is easier on the knees than the right turn down the steeper SW route. Besides, the views of Elbert, the Mosquito & Tenmile ranges and the Arkansas River landscape were even more spectacular from the return angle. Along the Colorado Trail , it was interesting how the controlled burn a couple years ago flaked the bark on the trees and exploded the seeds from the pine cones(pic14-15). It's rejuvenating to see the bright new green pine seedlings growing.

In sum, the time passed smoothly, was easy navigation and it was a pleasant perfect light breezy day for a long climb. Everything is long about Massive and it reasons in 3s, too: about 15miles RT, an elongated mountain ridge with 5 summits plus a13er and thanking my lucky stars for a triumphant day of hiking.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
08/13/2020 08:35
I'm hoping third time is the charm for me, as well. Nearly exactly the same things happened to me both times I've attempted... glad you made it up!

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