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Mount Massive - Elevation 14,421 Feet

My Climb of a Colorado 14er In The Sawatch Range, Near Leadville and Twin Lakes

Mount Massive, now this is a big mountain ...
Mount Massive poses as a behemouth southwest of Leadville. It is the second tallest mountain in Colorado, only twelve feet lower than neighboring Mount Elbert. The mountain's name is fitting because this peak has the largest land mass over 14,000 feet in elevation.

Today's hike was via the North Halfmoon Trailhead. As one travels toward the Halfmoon Lakes, a trail spurs to the right and climbs Mt. Massive's southwest slope. To reach the trailhead, a 4WD high clearance vehicle is a very good idea, although I did park next to a Chrysler Sebring. Visit for directions and trail information.

Mt. Massive, CO
The view of Mount Massive from Lake County Road 10 in the afternoon, as I was driving home from today's climb.

Mount Massive
Mt. Massive is a towering landmark for those in Leadville.
Colorado Rocky Mountains
Mount Massive is right of center. This is from the summit of Mt. Elbert. (The North Halfmoon Creek River Basin can be seen in the center.)

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North Halfmoon Trail
The Hike - September 6, 2010

I woke up at 4 a.m. and was hiking by 6 a.m. from the North Halfmoon Trailhead. My first semi-decent picture was taken at the split between the North Halfmoon Trail and Mt. Massive Trail.

Mt. Massive Trail Upward I climbed on the mountain's southwest slope. Initially, trees and boulder fields are part of the scenery ...

Colorado Mountain Scenery ... but eventually I reached above timberline.

It isn't much, but I love the autumn colors way up on these mountains.

Colorado Rocky Mountains This trail gave me quite a workout. The switchbacks go on and on, and my body anguished with one "false ridge" after another. Close to the top of the ridge, I captured this stunning shot of the valley I had started in.

Mt. Elbert (left of center) and La Plata Peak (right of center) can be seen to the south.

South Massive, CO On the ridge, this is the impressive view of South Massive, an unranked 14er to the south. The elevation is 14,132 feet at the top.
Mt. Massive Hike The trail travels north and connects with the "standard route" trail that begins on the Colorado Trail.
Mt. Massive, CO Approaching Point 14,300' (right), the summit of Mt. Massive comes into view on the left.
Mt. Massive Hike I must say, I was dazzled by the views of the upper Arkansas River Valley. Although it doesn't beat Mt. Elbert in height, Mt. Massive has prettier summit views, less people and provides a better overall summit experience.

To the left is Turquoise Lake and to the right is the town of Leadville.

The Summit of Mt. Massive (alt. 14,421 feet)

It was extremely windy through much of the hike above timberline ... and it was a *cold* wind! I was bundled with all of my winter gear. Despite the sunshine, it was unhospitable enough that I did not feel like setting the tripod to capture a photo of myself. A thumbs up while wearing my glove was sufficient! :)

Mt. Massive Summit For years I have gazed at Mount Massive from Highway 24 during hundreds of trips between Leadville and Buena Vista. And now today, whenever I drive past it, I can smile knowing I have stood on top of the mountain. :)

Adjacent Photo: Facing southeast into the Arkansas River Valley. One of the Twin Lakes can be seen on the far right.

Mt. Massive Facing south toward the ridge of the main trail.
North Halfmoon Lakes Facing west, the North Halfmoon Lakes are in the foreground. So many mountains including the Elk Range can be seen way out there.

Mosquito Range

Top: I zoomed in on the Tenmile range (west of Breckenridge) and other peaks to the northeast. Torreys Peak, Grays Peak and Quandary Peak are 14ers I have climbed in the past.

Second: Facing east, I had a direct view of the Mosquito Range that I have spent a lot of time in this summer. I've climbed all of those mountains besides Dyer Mountain.

My pages from these mountains:

  • Gemini Peak and White Ridge
  • Mt. Sherman
  • Horseshoe Mountain
  • Mount Sheridan
  • Leadville, CO A closer shot of Leadville.

    Other mountains and areas in the region:

  • Quail Mountain
  • Weston Peak & Ptarmigan Peak
  • Overlook in Granite, CO
  • Twining Peak
  • Colorado Rocky Mountains One photo of glorious mountain scenery with hikers in the foreground as I descended. This was my 19th Colorado 14er ascent, and I look forward to my earning my 20th when Phil Ladden and I take on Mount Bierstadt this month. :)

    Oh so windy on the summit.

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