Mt Massive 14421

19 Aug 2001 - by Andrew White

Route: East Slope - Grade II, Class 2 from Mt. Massive TH., along the Colorado Trail

Miles/Elev.: 13.4/4,400'

This was one of my better high peak trip leads. Everyone managed to get to the top, and back in great time. I gave trip credit to one member, for reaching the false summit, because an abrupt change in the weather forced them head down before traversing the last 100 yards. We had to make a quick down climb on the ridge, back to the saddle. It was one of those scary fast moving, electrostatic, cloud masses that drops styrofoam pellets(gropple) and makes your wet hair buzz. I unknowingly grasped the shaft of my aluminum skipole and got a real kicker. But, minutes later, it passed on. The sky was mostly cloudy all day. After two previous attempts, I am glad I finally got this one done. If your looking for a cardio climb conditioner -- this is a good one. Otherwise, do the backside routes if you're just peak bagging.

I took my GPX 12 along, with the route programmed into it from my TOPO!(r) software. Really didn't need it. Good trail all the way. All the waypoints I plotted were within 20 feet of the actual land features (i.e., stream crossings, trail bends, benchmarks). A couple interesting things of note, though. First, the Colorado/Mt Massive Trail junction showed up .05 miles (~250') ahead of schedule. That is, on the trail, south of the expected waypoint. After proceeding up the Mt Massive Trail, the course jogged back north and then west to the expected bearing. So - I beg to ask:

Did someone move the trail junction?

Secondly, the summit elevation was 14,472', according to my GPS receiver. Since I am still new at using this really cool toy, I cannot defend its accuracy in regard to reading the right elevation. I took an earlier reading, near BM 12,466', and got 12,490'. I was actually about 20-30' below the BM. Any useful thoughts on this? I would like to know if anybody else has climbed Massive and got similar numbers. How about other summits? This is all I have to say!


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