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Mt. Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and the third highest in the 48 states, exceeded only by California's Mt. Whitney and its near neighbor, Mt. Elbert. It's name tells all. It has five summits above 14,000 feet on a 3-mile-long ridge. Massive has more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountain in the 48 states, narrowly edging Mt. Rainier in that category. The mountain, along with Mt. Elbert, forms much of the western skyline of Leadville, which is 11 miles east and slightly north.
Mount Massive is part of the Sawatch Range with Mount Elbert. This range of mountains was formed by uplifting along the continental divide, where two tectonic plates are being pushed together. There are several glacial lakes in the wilderness area. The lower slopes of the mountain are covered in lodgepole pine forests, which gradually yield to Engelmann Spruce and Subalpine Fir. Treeline is just below 12,000 feet.
The mountain and 30,540 acres of the surrounding area were designated the Mount Massive Wilderness by Congress in 1980. Keep in mind that you have to abide by wilderness regulations while in this area. Click here for a list of the regulations.
March 21st, 2012
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