Mount Massive

Photo of Mount Massive

Photo by Terrill Thompson

Details

Elevation (feet): 14,428
Elevation (meters): 4,398
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sawatch Range
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.1872
Longitude: -106.475
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1874
First successful climber(s): H. Gannett
Nearest major airport: Denver Int or Eagle Cnty Reg
Convenient Center: Leadville, Colorado

Description

The official elevations of many of the Colorado 14'ers have gone up between five and seven feet, according to a 2001 adjustment by the USGS. As a result the summit elevation of Mt. Massive is up from 14,421' to 14,428'. That adjustment did not change any of the following information.

Mount Massive is the 2nd highest mountain in Colorado, 3rd highest in the US outside of Alaska (behind Mt Whitney, CA & Mt Elbert, CO). It is truly a massive mountain, rising to a broad three mile summit crest, which holds five points over 14,000 feet. Massive has more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountain in the 48 contiguous states, narrowly edging Mt. Rainier in that category. The mountain, along with Mt. Elbert Colorado's highest(14,440'), forms much of the western skyline of Leadville, which is 11 miles east and slightly north.

Like most of the 14'ers in the Sawatch Range, Mt Massive is not as well known or as photographed as Colorado's Maroon Bells, Mt Sneffels, or Longs Pk, neither does it display the jagged ridges of these. Still its impressive stature demands the respect and appreciation of any who have the fortune to climb it, photograph it, admire it from the top of surrounding peaks.

The popular notion is that Mt. Massive is not a deadly or even particularly dangerous climb. However, it is a huge mountain that is often taken for granted. Generally, on Mt. Massive it snows in all months of the year, is quite windy, and during summer months the threat of severe lightning and thunder storms is an everyday danger. Any climbers should take these possible conditions into account before starting out. The books all say this is an easy mountain to climb, but be prepared for anything the day you attempt it.

Thanks to Jeremy Rhoades for contributing to this description. (View history)