At 14,421 ft., Mt. Massive is Colorado’s second highest peak. However, the challenge in climbing this mountain is not the height or technicality, but rather the distance. It’s a nearly 14 mile roundtrip from the main trailhead.
This was my first of five 14er summits in a span of five days, so my legs were fresh. Well, sort of. I had just arrived in Leadville less than 36 hours earlier and my heart rate was still a little high with the elevation and I did do a 12 mile run the day before (couldn’t help myself).
I knew, I wanted to push the pace a bit and opted to wear my trailrunning shoes (Brooks Cascadia) rather than boots. This helped me flying along the Colorado Trail, and I reached the cut-off in 51 minutes.
Then it was finally time to go up, but things never got all too steep. In many ways this climb reminded me of Mt. Elbert (which I climbed from Twin Lakes). It’s long, high, but not too steep. The last 1.5 miles were really tough though. A strong, strong headwind slowed me to a crawl. I would take 10 steps and then turn around to get my face out of the wind.
In the end, it took me 3:07 to summit, which is still fairly quick, I believe. The views from the top were awesome as usual, especially looking west.
The descent was looooooong, especially the CT section. I couldn’t wait to get back to Leadville to rest up for the next day: La Plata Peak.
Date climbed: 6/21/10
Time: 3:07 up/2:15 down from main trailhead via CT