This weekend decided to try a new twist on the 14ers climb. Did a climb of Mt Massive from the southwest route under the light of a spectacular full moon with a sunrise summit. Pulled into the trailhead approx 9:45pm on Friday night. Got the gear organized and crashed out in the car for a few hours of sleep.
Woke up at 1:10 am, ate some food, got geared up, and was on the trail approx 1:45 am. Approx 2:30 was passed on the climb by three young guys with lots of energy to spare and a great knack for finding the trail through the boulder and skree fields in the dark. Big shout outs to Erik, EJ, and Aarron(?). They all definetly earned their Trailfinding In the Dark Merit Badge. From that point on their bobbing head lamps would provide a reference for where the trail was up ahead when I would reach a junction I was not sure about. Moonlight was so bright that for much of the way, when you were not trail finding in the boulder fields you could actually see better with the headlamp off and using your moonshadow. Reached the summit ridgeline at approx 5:10. MT Massive is a very deceptive peak with a whole string of false summits all sitting on the ridge. I made it to the second to last false summit as the sun was just starting to light the skyline to the east and stopped to take some photos.
Witnessed an incredible phenomenon as the full moon was setting to the west at the exact same time the sun was breaking the skyline to the east. It was almost like the sun and moon were on the opposite ends of a cosmic teeter totter and the pivot point was the summit of Mt Massive. Watched the moon set right into the saddle of Pyramid Peak in the Elk Mountains then spun 180’ to watch the sun rise over the horizon of the Mosquito Mountain range. An hour or so after sunrise a momma mountain goat and her little baby decided to come out for some sun and watch people coming up the standard route from the east side of Mt Massive.
Below are some of the better phots from the trip. (If you click on the photo it will blow it up and give you an even better view)
|Sunset looking to the north west from the slag ponds just east of the summit of Fremont Pass. Have not been able to determine the name of the mountain in view.|
|Full moon sinking directly behind the summit of Pyramid Peak|
|Sun just breaking the ridgeline of the Mosquito range with Mt Sherman just to the left of the sun|
|Leadville and the Arkansas river valley just waking up|
|La Plata and the Ellingwood Ridge|
|First light just hitting Castle Peak and Snowmass|
|Mamma and baby mountain goats watching the hikers come up the trail|