A Linebacker in the Sawatch
Sep 25, 2009 by DJ Turner | 0 Comments
This comes from Robert Jones:
“You’ve come far pilgrim.”
“What brings ya up so high?”
“14ers, but I lost my count. No matter, weren’t many left to climb in the Sawatch.”
“Wouldn’t know what month of the year it is would ya?”
“No, I surely wouldn’t. I ‘m sorry pilgrim. September, maybe October.”
“ September maybe, I don’t believe October. Snow comes early this high.”
Well, I just had to borrow a few paraphrased lines from one of Hollywood's all-time classics. The Wayward Bottle only has 2 more remaining peaks in the Sawatch. Plus, it is nearing the end of September and snow is already on top.
Massive contains 5 summits over 14,000 feet and is simply a massive mountain. No other mountain in the lower 48 has an area greater than Massive above 14K feet.
I arrived at the trail head shortly after midnight and caught a few hours sleep and started my climb before sun-up. Here is a pic on top of Colorado’s second highest peak at 14,421 feet. If you look further back in the pic you will see North Massive…my next stop.
Here is a pic taken on North Massive looking back at Massive. The hike over to North Massive was quite enjoyable with lots of bouldering and some class 3 scramble. There was also quite a lot of snow in the couloirs already. Since I did not bring along my ice axe I had to down climb, then re-climb, and then repeat the process over on the return. My legs were appropriately tired by the time I got back to the parking lot.
This memorial was erected recently in remembrance of the 4 soldiers killed when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed on top of Mt. Massive last month during training maneuvers (click here to read the story). The memorial is signed by parents, spouses, family, and friends and is an emotional reminder of the sacrifice given by so few for the benefit of so many.