Holy Cross Question

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Holy Cross: Dayhike or Overnight

Dayhike standard route.
Backpack standard route.
Dayhike Halo Ridge.
Backpack Halo Ridge in hut.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby MtnHub » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:49 pm

Longs and Holy Cross are almost equal favorites of mine! Like others have already said, while each climb is quite different from the other, they are fairly equal in their endurance factor (although I would say the Halo loop is a bit more exhausting). But I would never do any other route up this beautiful mountain! I love loop hikes and this route is simply magnificent, encompassing the entire area. I also think it is best to do as a day hike, at least as a loop hike - light and fast. It would be very cumbersome to lug a heavy pack over all those boulders.

I've done it both ways, but I think starting up the Notch Mt side is the best way. It is simply stunning to be at the hut at dawn and see Holy Cross come to blaze in the morning light! It's a shame Tigiwon will be closed this summer. I'd love to go back and do it again!
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby Papillon » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:01 pm

I voted Halo Ridge in a day. I did this route in mid-July and didn't run into anyone until I came off Holy Cross Ridge (some nice centennial booty).

You've also got the shelter, the cross couloir, and an additional ranked 13er plus some alpine tarn eye candy to gaze down at. I also like the fact that it is a loop versus an out and back.

But it is a committing day. I would not want to be strung out up there if bad weather came in. There are also zero water sources until you arrive at Halfmoon Creek.

If I repeat this peak I will go Halo again. But ultimately you have to know your threshold when it comes to distance and vertical.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby Jack » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:51 pm

I climbed the standard route in snow in a day last year and it sure was a bear. The guys I was hiking with still had a really tough time, especially with the little extra elevation gain at the end which you'd have to do via Halo ridge anyway. I kind of wish that we had done Halo ridge... I've heard good things about it if you have the stamina.
My vote would be just climb it by either route whatever and no matter what it will be something of a challenge. Plus, the summit view is beautiful especially at this time of year. Exhibit A:

n32700272_30704521_8386.jpg (88.96 KiB) Viewed 682 times

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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby mountainrev » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:04 am

I cast my vote for doing standard route in a day. I did standard route up and Halo Ridge down last fall, and it was brutal. The boulder hopping, talus scrambling, and route finding on Halo Ridge nearly did me and my two partners in. It was the first time I've ever run out of water on a climb. I've done Long's twice, and found Holy Cross/Halo Ridge much more challenging.

If you're set on Halo Ridge (and it certainly does have its good points, as others have mentioned), I'd at least recommend going up that route and down the standard route, rather than how I did it. Yes, you have nearly 1,000' gain going back up Half Moon Pass, but it's a very easy trail.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby yellowstone96 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:08 am

We did it in a day last year. Camped at the TH the night before and got an early start. Not that tough of a hike IMO. Down and up both ways from and to Halfmoon sucks but outside of that it is a pretty easy hike. If Tigiwon closes this year you can do it via Holy Cross City.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby TI83plus » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:52 am

I voted for the Standard Route in one day. This is a great peak to get going early(3-4am-ish), go hard, and get rewarded with a spectacular summit finish! This is one of my very favorite 14er hikes.

That being said, if you do choose to camp below the ridge (as noted by others), the "skito's" will get ya. They're bad enough just passing through!

This was the first and only hike that I killed my 100oz camelbak. I've never been able to do that on a 14er climb before. I took my last sip rolling back into camp. I generally don't drink a lot of water on a climb, so if you do BE SURE to bring extra. Like someone else mentioned, there are few places that you can filter water.

It's a bummer that the road is closed. Hope you have a good hike though. A day is doable, but it is a long day. Best of luck...
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby Rockchalk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:25 am

My vote, for what its worth, is the Halo Ridge route in one day. A few of my buddies (Glodder et al.) and I did this route a few years ago, and to this day, it is my favorite 14er (although I've just begun and still have many others to attempt...consequently this declaration is subject to change).

I don't believe that any of us expected it to be as difficult as it was, but after a long day of gaining/losing elevation on this route, the ephemeral fatigue was well worth the lasting views, camaraderie, sense of accomplishment...you name it.

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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby DHatfield » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:33 pm

I have done it by the standard route in and out as well as the halo ridge route. Both as day hikes. I much preferred the halo ridge since you don't have to reclimb back up and over Halfmoon Pass to get back to the car and not to mention you can pick up a few 13ers in route on halo ridge route.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby Bill G » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:48 pm

Overnight is the best way to go. Tigwon Rd takes a lot longer than you think. If you camp about a half mile above Cross Creek you avoid the bugs. careful on the way down. If you don't stay to the right coming off the cornice you'll miss the trail.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby nyker » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:10 pm

One thing you should consider is acclimatization as it seems you are living at a lower elevation, like us here in NY.
You may wish to climb something else beforehand or at least plan on staying higher than 7000 ft for a night or two before your
climb which would likely make for a more pleasant ascent.

I climbed Belford and Oxford as a dayhike, then had a day to rest before Holy Cross as the last of 8 peaks we did in the week
leading up to it and I think the acclimatization really helped.

I voted for the standard route on a dayhike which was what we did. It was a long day, particularly due to the snowstorm
the night before and residual snow falling until midday. The powder covered talus made for some precarious foot
placemen and added some time on both the ascent and descent, but the views were awesome and the climb was great.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby sherpasmith » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:28 pm

While I voted for the standard route day hike, my favorite route was up the standard route up and return via the Halo. The return via Halo allows you to stay well above 13000' feet for almost the entire cirque back to the hut. And you don't have to reclimb the 1000' back up to the pass. I think both return routes are probably close in time/distance, but the views along the Halo are way better, I think. Taking the Halo route up is ....brutal. My $0.02.
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Re: Holy Cross Question

Postby stlouishiker » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:38 pm

Thanks for the input, but does anyone know when the Forest Service will decide to close the tiwigon road, either in '09 and '10

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