Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 5, 2009
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Fall, Winter


Jeff and I decided late in the week to join a gathering of members to hike Mount Massive via the Southwest Slopes route. Driving from Denver, we missed the rendezvous in Leadville but met instead at the trailhead. There were seven of us: Jeff, Mike, Britt, Eric, Wes, Steve, and myself. And Cooper the Mountaineering Dog.

Good weather

Temperature at the trailhead was around 10F, 15 degrees warmer than expected. We started at dawn. Below timberline, the trail meanders through the forest. Here there was a thin layer of sugary powder; while some folks left their snowshoes in their vehicles, I brought mine but hardly needed them. As we emerged from treeline, the morning sun offered incredible views of the surrounding peaks.

Moonsetunknown rock at moonset
Alpine Morninganother view
Mountainsidelooking towards the southwest slopes route
On the Trailemerging from timberline

Beautiful day

At this point the trail steepens considerably (although we opted to climb more steeply where there was snow cover)--our route gained 3,200' in 1.5 miles. Most of our ascent we bathed in sunshine and gorged on the stunning alpine vistas. Wind was minimal. The snow higher up was reasonably well-consolidated and this we navigated easily.

Alpine Morning No. 2incredible views
Alpine Morning No. 3
Mountainside No. 2
The Gangtaking a rest
Mountainside No. 3nice day for a hike!
Mount ElbertMount Elbert
Alpine Panoramaalpine panorama
Screetackling some loose rock
Alpine Morning No. 4more views
Winter Peaks
South MassiveSouth Massive

The summit

I had not researched this route beforehand, so around 11:30 I was pleasantly surprised to reach a nice class-2/3 ridge leading to the summit. An hour later the whole group, including Cooper the Mountaineering Dog, stood jubilantly on the peak. Here the winds picked up and the skies began to gray. We took some photos and started back down.

Summit Ridge No. 1the summit ridge
Summit Ridge No. 2the summit is the far left hump in this photo
Valleya view east from the ridge
Looking Back on the Summit Ridgelooking back on the ridge
Almost-there CelebrationJeff celebrating.. or threatening?
Final Pushthe party nears the summit
Summit Party(L-R) Britt, Mike, Jeff, Wes, Eric (standing), Steve

Rapid descent

There were many steep, well-packed snowfields which offered excellent glissading opportunities, and this was the primary means of descent for most of the group. A few hours later all of us had arrived back at the trailhead.

Glissading: Detaila closer look
Glissading Trackmy route
Elbert Afternoonview of Elbert on the descent
Alpine Descent
Icefallneat ice formations near treeline


Round-trip for the group was about 8 hours at 5 up and 3 down.


Had a great time. Thanks guys!

GPS Track
Elevation Profile


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Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.