Mt Massive Route Guide | A Mesmerizing 14er
Mt Massive is appropriately named – it has more area above 14,000 feet than any other peak in the lower 48! It’s just across a valley from Mt Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado, and takes second place for height by a few feet. I recommend taking two days to climb this massive mountain, with a overnight stay at one of the creek crossings on its southeast slope. Here’s everything you need to know to ascend this summit, in my Mt Massive Route Guide.
Mt Massive Route Guide Fast Facts
Mt Massive Route Guide
The Mt Massive East Slopes trail is a fantastic route to hike. This Mt Massive route guide begins at the trailhead. Once parked at the parking lot, start your climb up the ridge. Start early as this lot fills quickly during the summer. You’ll soon take a hard left, passing over the ridge to your side, and begin walking along the East Slopes. There are several creek crossing, each has campsites for dispersed camping if you’re doing this as an overnight.
Once you pass the creek crossing, watch for a turn off from the trail to the left. After a half mile, you’ll finally pass treeline and see South Massive to your left and Mt Massive to the right. Work your way up the alpine slopes.
Your next goal is to hike up the steep Pt 12400. The hill is covered in willows but features a good, sturdy trail.
Once beyond the point, you see the road ahead of you. Your aim is the saddle between South Massive and Mt Massive. The route will become more rocky as you go, transitioning from grassy meadows to rocky terrain. At the saddle, you’ll take a right to head up the summit ridge.
The rocky summit ridge features some great Class 2 scrambling. You’ll pass several times from the east side of the ridge back to the west, and then back. Stick to the main trail, and be careful to avoid social trails that lead you off-track. Eventually you’ll come upon the final few feet before you step up to the summit!
Looking for more information on this route? Visit 14ers.com. I hope my Mt Massive Route Guide helped you out!
Every good mountaineer should have a topographical map with them – it’s a key part of any Mt Massive Route Guide. I recommend downloading a digital copy of this map on your phone and printing out a paper backup copy in case anything happens to your electronic copy.
Besides reading this Mt Massive Route Guide, you should check the weather forecast before you go. Here’s a dependable weather source.
Use this Mt Massive Route Guide at your own risk.
Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
About the Author: Alex Derr
Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.