Half Moon Complete Revolution: Elbert to Massive the Hard Way

Casco Peak from Bull Hill

Elbert/Bull Hill/Casco/Frasco/French/Champion/13736/Deer/Oklahoma/Massive Mania

Summiting both Mt. Elbert and Mount Massive – the highest and second highest peak in Colorado, in the same day is usually a big but doable day out. Trailheads for the easiest routes up are practically across the road; the trails are both rated as an easy Class 1.

I’ve done it a few times myself by making it a loop by taking the SE Slopes up Massive, down the SW Sloops down and link Elbert’s steep West Ridge route up to finally descend it’s standard NE ridge. A righteous day out. This is mostly on smooth Class 1 trail – the only time off trail is the mile you’ll be on the west ridge of Elbert for a mile.

I’ve even gone up the route to Massive from the Fish Hatchery, down SW slopes, up the West Ridge, then kept going south to Indy Pass Road and taken the Colorado Trail back to the Fish Hatchery from Twin Lakes! This adds a ton of trail miles on the Colorado trail, but just a little bit more off-trail time getting from Elbert to Bull Hill and down the road at the Golden Fleece mine.

Since I’m wild for ridgelines these days, I’m always looking to see if I can’t link disparate peaks via one – and wouldn’t you know, you can with Elbert and Massive. This route would have the majority of travel be off-trail with a ton of loose, Class 3 traverses to cross. Lots of unknowns, including a bunch of new peaks for me. It would come to around 27 miles of terrain to cross – perfect! As I’ve got a 50km race coming up, and I haven’t done one of those in about five years, so I need some long days on my feet!

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