Holy Cross Hike

Colorado 14er peak questions, condition requests and other info.
theblackmetalmcgrath
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Holy Cross Hike

Postby theblackmetalmcgrath » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:19 am

Hi,

I am planning a trip to hike Holy cross during the week of june 20th to the 28th, or somewhere in there. The idea is to drive from Chicago, stay with family in Denver, then head out to camp the night before, hike, and return either that day or the next. This is a trip I've had in mind for a while now and I want to make sure I have my bases covered. What I'm looking for is where to camp/park, what to expect, do's and don'ts, maybe directions, what weather conditions to expect, whatever. I appreciate the help.

CM
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gsliva
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby gsliva » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:24 am

Read the trip reports with dates near the time you are coming. Be careful leaving valuables in your car at the trailhead. Have a great time.
Live for the Climb and the search for commitment.
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Jim Davies
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:25 am

Tigiwon road is usually closed for elk calving until late June or early July. You might call the Forest Service in Minturn at (970) 827-5715 and ask them about this year's schedule before you make any plans.

edit: Search shows it's opening this year on the 20th, so you should be OK.

The only camping at the trailhead is in the FS campground. We found a nice roadside spot less than a mile below the trailhead last summer. There's a fair amount of free camping along the road, just not right at the end, so you'll have to drive up in the morning if you're planning to do it as a dayhike.

The other big thing about the standard route: pay close attention when you break timberline on the ridge, and look back at where you came from periodically. A lot of people get lost on the way down at this point. Finding the trail is a bit tricky here, and hikers will stray off to the left sometimes and wind up going down Cross Creek instead of connecting with the Halfmoon Pass trail.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall β€” it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
theblackmetalmcgrath
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby theblackmetalmcgrath » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:40 am

Awesome thanks, driving in the morning to the trail head isn't an issue. Am I going to run into parking issues? As far as camping goes, can you just grab a spot along the road? I hiked Bierstadt in 2007 and saw campers and their cars off to the side of Guenella on the way up. What do I need to know about camp fires? Basically, I'm driving from chicago (with one overnight stop along the way) and I don't want any surprises, i.e. closed roads, DNR restrictions, or be otherwise caught up by something and look like an idiot flat lander that didn't prepare.
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Jim Davies
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:42 am

Unless the rules have changed, you'll be able to camp along the road, or in the pay campground at the TH (although it fill up fast). Parking at the trailhead gets crowded, but cars can park along the sides of the road for a long way down, so you'll just have to walk further if you show up later.

The campsite we used had a fire ring. Barring a dry month of June, you should be able to have a campfire.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall β€” it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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rickinco123
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby rickinco123 » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:52 am

Since you are going close to the longest days of the year I would recommend doing what I did, grab dinner the evening before, hike in and on the trail, you have until at least 9pm to hike!. Bivy and wake up early the next morning. This will make your day more enjoyable IMHO and parking will not be an issue in the afternoon.

Have fun and remember mosquito repellent and/or netting. Halfmoon drainage is a black cloud of mosquitoes unless its really windy.
theblackmetalmcgrath
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby theblackmetalmcgrath » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:13 am

We're planning on camping the night before as close to the trail head as we can get and getting up early to drive to the trail head. How far between the two is it about? Also, what should our schedule look like as far as what time to get going and how long its going to take. I apologize for the machine gun of questions.
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2giqs
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby 2giqs » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:32 am

I agree with the previous post: hike in to East Cross Creek the night before. Will knock 3 miles off your summit day hike.

Afterflying in from the east coast that morning, took me nearly 2 hours to hike from the TH to the East Cross Creek campsites. I departed the campsite at 0530 the next morning and arrived at the summit at 0900. Departed the summit at 0930, back at campsite at 1300. Departed campsite at 1400 and arrived back at the TH at 1600.

My rental minivan handled the narrow approach road okay. Few rought spots. Drove mostly 20 mph.
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killingcokes
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby killingcokes » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:49 am

It's been raining in the afternoons. So start early to avoid lightning hazard and getting wet. I don't know how fast you hike so I can't tell you what time to start but plan on being off the summit by noonish.
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Chicago Transplant
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby Chicago Transplant » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:10 am

The campsites along the road are spread out, there are some close to the trailhead and some a little farther. It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to drive from any of the roadside campsites to the trailhead. The trailhead parking can fill up, but usually if I am there by 6am I can get a spot. You probably will want to start even earlier than that though to avoid afternoon rain/thunderstorms. I don't know your pace, but expect this hike to be over 12hrs round trip for most "flatlanders".

Also, just to summarize the "regulations" in the area for you (seeing as you asked, thanks by the way)...

The Tigiwon Road opens on June 20th

If you camp along the road campfires are okay, but they are not allowed in the East Cross Creek drainage if you hike in.

The full list of regulations in Holy Cross Wilderness can be found here:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/recreation/wilderness/holycross/index.shtml

Have fun and be safe.
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Phill the Thrill
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Re: Holy Cross Hike

Postby Phill the Thrill » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:21 pm

I agree that backpacking in the evening before to East Cross Creek is a good way to go. There are some nice camping spots and fresh water there and it shortens what is otherwise a very long day. Remember that when you return to East Cross Creek you still have to climb back over Half Moon Pass, with 3 miles and 1,000 ft. elevation gain remaining. So if you're going to do this in one day, start very early, like 5 am.
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