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Mt. of the Holy Cross  
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Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments  Likes, Dislikes    
2014-11-09  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: This report is probably useless for 2014 since winter really kicked in the day after we were there. However, maybe it can give a general indication of what it can be like at this time of the year. I‘m guessing it had only snowed about 6" in the two weeks prior. However conditions up high were very tough. There was snow filled in between all the boulders and talus, and once you reach the shelter it‘s pretty much all talus hopping along the ridge line for 2.5 mi. to the summit. To make matters worse because the snow was between rocks it was always soft and never wind blown so you could never count on solid steps on the snow. Traction or snowshoes would have been useless. It took us twice as long to cover the 2.5 mi. ridge as it took to climb the 5 mi. to the shelter. Brutal. Went down the North Ridge route because we wanted to get as far away from Halo Ridge as possible. Half Moon Pass (1k vertical climb) was worth not having to retrace that ridge in the semi-winter conditions. It seems to me that Halo Ridge would be easier in Summer or Winter. However it really is a long route!! Be careful descending the North Ridge route in snow (it was pretty much all snow down to about 11k ft). It‘s very easy to lose the trail. Make sure you find your way to the trail leading E over Half Moon Pass. Veer right below tree line across the fall line. If you don‘t you can end up lost in the valley where dozens of people get lost every summer. Not a good thing in the winter. 
alpinenut  2014-11-13   3   8      Edit  Delete
2014-10-24  Route: North Ridge
Info: Minimal snow or other difficulties over notch moutain pass and into East Cross creek camping area. Ran into an inch or two of snow well within the tree line ascending from east cross creek towards the north ridge but it was well-packed and the trail easily established. We lost the trail approx 11,600‘ (which after more in-depth reading I have discovered is a common mistake) and didn‘t find it again until the summit. This made the trip more arduous than it had to be by extending our scrambling time significantly. Be sure to locate the cairns further north and east on the ridge when ascending from the trees rather than advancing too far SW on to the face. TALL BOOTS OR SNOW GAITORS are a necessity unless you are willing to be miserable (I witnessed this in my hiking companion and it nearly drove her to turn around several times). Brought cramp-ons but never used. Not enough snow yet for snow shoes. The snow also makes the trail very difficult to spot in between cairns and hides deep pockets between large rocks that readily swallow your legs. Rock scrambling was preferred in our group and a hiking stick was also a great help in choosing paths. The view from the top was well-worth the arduous trek- beautiful. 
mjchelbe4549  2014-10-25   7         Edit  Delete
2014-10-18  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: Halo Ridge is snow covered from 11,000 feet up. The snow pack makes for slow going along the ridge. Rockhopping was the name of the game yesterday. Gaiters were a must and traction was brought but not used. We descended the North Ridge and had the same experience as jrs1965‘s report. 
capetrekker  2014-10-19   1   2      Edit  Delete
2014-10-18  Route: North Ridge
Info: No issue with Tigiwon Road or the trailhead. Trail had just a few spots of packed snow in the shade on the TH side of Halfmoon Pass. Same conditions on opposite side of the pass. Snow became more consistent on the opposite side of the creek while in the trees but was still packed on the trail. Above treeline the snow was more windblown and sparse leading up to the ridge. While on the ridge much of the leeward side of the trail was covered with the windblown snow while the windward side was bare (see pics). The final pitch had similar conditions with some deeper snow in the pits between the boulders. Traction/spikes and gaiters are a must now. Wintery weather is rolling in the next few days so these trail condition will change quickly... 
jrs1965  2014-10-18   4         Edit  Delete
2014-10-11  Route: North Ridge
Info: Trail was dry to top of Halfmoon Pass. Snow/ice present in a few places on the other side, as well as starting after the last campsite on the other side of creek. In morning, mud was frozen but melted and slippery in afternoon starting near treeline from the ridge. Snow got more consistent near where trail joins the ridge, and the "post holes" were over knee deep. Traction useful, winds strong and blowing snow at times. Summit covered in a couple feet of snow. 
emgordon  2014-10-12   0   1      Edit  Delete
2014-09-07  Route: North Ridge
Info: Superb hiking conditions throughout the standard route. There were no mosquitoes at the creek (cold weather may have killed them off?), although I didn‘t camp and was just a through-hiker. A rain/graupel storm gathered north of the peak on my ascent, but hearing no thunder and seeing no cloud height build-up, I pressed on, vowing to turn around at the first sound of thunder. On the summit, more graupel fell, but then the skies cleared for a gorgeously clear summit experience. On the descent, rain clouds gathered and rained, but there was no thunder or lightning. I noticed a few aspen leaves changing to yellow (less than 1% of them), and suspect that the next two weekends will have beautiful color. 
trinkner  2014-09-08   0         Edit  Delete
2014-07-08  Route: Cross Couloir
Info: Filled with runnels, but still climbable. Mostly writing this to warn anyone camping around East Cross Creek that the mosquitos are awful. They are the worst I‘ve ever seen in Colorado. I did not camp but even as doing this as a day hike, I was happy to have pants and a shell. I wore the shell while ascending East Cross Creek just to keep them off me. 
MatB  2014-07-09   0   2   1   Edit  Delete
2014-07-04  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: halo is also perfect. Bits of snow on halo and north ridge, but not much. People - make an effort to cut thru the few remaining snow banks out there and don‘t walk ‘around‘ a little mound of snow. Packed parking lot today, but really not many people on the summit. Great 4th! 
ulvetano  2014-07-04   4      1   Edit  Delete
2014-07-01  Route: North Ridge
Info: The road to the trail head is in fine condition. It took me about 40min to drive, but Im cautious on the dirt roads in the dark. The creek is running high at the crossing. I had to get one boot wet, but if you have hiking poles or excellent balance you should be fine crossing on the log and rocks. Mosquitoes will attack you around the creek so move fast and bring insect repellant. Only a few small snow fields/patches remain just below treeline and then heading up to the ridge that are easily avoided. 
GoCards79  2014-07-03   3      1   Edit  Delete
2014-06-28  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: Ascended Halo Ridge and descended the standard north ridge. Snow patches are few, small, and are not too much of a hindrance. Spikes not needed at all. The most snow is still just below treeline on the north ridge route but it is easy enough to navigate around and through. Plenty of mosquitoes in the valley around East Cross Creek. 
Tony1  2014-06-30   0         Edit  Delete
2014-06-21  Route: North Ridge
Info: - Some small snow patches on the west side of Half Moon Pass - No snow on the steep descent from the northwest side of Notch Mtn and down into East Cross Creek - No snow near the creek or in the camp sites - From the creek to tree line on the north ridge, there are a bunch of deep snow patches on the last few hundred feet before reaching tree line - Above the trees, there are a few snow patches along the trail on the way up to 13k. Some made it hard to follow the trail but in daylight the higher cairns should be visible - Not much snow along the upper ridge - No snow above the 13,400-foot corner or on the remaining talus to the summit Sorry, only the one photo because I went up the standard route in the dark and came down the Cross Couloir route. 
BillMiddlebrook  2014-06-22   1   5      Edit  Delete
2014-06-21  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: Summited Holy Cross via Halo Ridge. No ice axes were necessary. There is some snow from the very beginning of the Fall Creek Trail, which was soft even at 6 am yesterday, but the route finding is still relatively easy. Once above treeline, most snowfields were easily circumvented, or easy to cross. We descended the standard route. There is still a fair amount of snow left just below half moon pass, and in the region between 11,200 and 12,200, but in both cases, someone who knows where they‘re going has already been there and the footprints through the snow stay with the trail pretty well. 
bbass11  2014-06-22   0      1   Edit  Delete
2014-06-21  Route: Cross Couloir
Info: Skied the Cross Couloir today and its in pretty bad shape for skiing; Plenty of snow but full of sun cups and runnels. After the exit, I was able to cross to a large snow field and link turns down through smaller ones to reach the lake but, again, full of sun cups. If youre looking to climb the Cross (and not ski), its certainly in good shape for a crampon climb. However, the slog in/out of East Cross Creek is ugly right now because of many areas of collapsable snow below tree line. Diabolical. 
BillMiddlebrook  2014-06-21   8   1   2   Edit  Delete
2014-06-14  Route: North Ridge
Info: This might not be worth much, but in case anyone is planning on heading up this week before the road opens, Tigiwon is clear to the TH. Then, on the East Cross Creek Trail, the trail is mostly clear to the top of Half Moon Pass (maybe 10 snow patches to walk around or step in someone else‘s tracks. From the top of the pass, things get more tricky. On the descent to Half Moon camp, there is a large mix of rock and snow. The trail is hard to follow, and while snowshoes would seemingly be helpful, the snow patches are intermittent and the classic spring problem of "do i just keep putting them on then taking them off?" is very present. My partner and I didn‘t get past the camp, it was a long day by itself (11 miles, 3500 vert. with packs of mtneering gear and skis for the Cross. We were toast and route finding to the base of the Cross in the dark through snow drifts at 2 am after going to bed only 2 hours earlier seemed like too much for us. 
happymtnclimber  2014-06-16   0   1      Edit  Delete
2013-10-21  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: Light snow over pretty defined/packed trail increasing from a dusting at the Fall Creek trailhead to 3-5" fresh at the Notch Creek trail cutoff. Nothing remarkable from Notch Creek cutoff to the two streams near the base of the meadow, apparently because Tony1 had done the hard work of breaking the trail. Still, new snow and fresh unpacked snow over lightly broken trail increased to the base of the meadow, then things got entertaining and tuckering as snow depth increased to about knee length near the top of the meadow and the base of the talus switchbacks up to the Notch Mtn. shelter. Microspikes provided adequate traction on the semi-broken trail, but snowshoes would have been more appropriate/less effort, esp. with packs. Feeling a bit under-geared footwear wise and leg-weary, we abandoned our initial plan to camp near the Notch Mtn. shelter and attempt a morning summit and just camped near the top of the meadow/talus switchback base and hiked out the morning of 10/21. Wind-blown drifts across the meadow below the talus switchbacks meant occasionally breaking through the trail about crotch-deep in some places. 
saksail  2013-10-21   0   3      Edit  Delete
2013-10-20  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: Prepare for more than just having to deal with some snow. Bring lots of energy and determination with a great weather day if you plan on doing Halo Ridge. Snow is about an average of 1 foot deep past the turnoff for the Notch Mountain trail. Lots of soft snow filling the spaces in between the talus on the ridge, so there will be no moving quickly if you care about your ankles. My buddy and I turned around at PT 13248 so Im not sure of the details of route conditions past that point, but from afar it looked the same as what is already stated. 
Tony1  2013-10-20   0         Edit  Delete
2013-10-09  Route: North Ridge
Info: Snow and ice on the trail from the creek to the summit ridge, then clear to the summit. Micro spikes were helpful as the trail was quite slick. Trail is very muddy. Colors around Vail are at their peak! Semi-truck (yes that‘s right a semi-truck) got stuck on the road to the trail head causing a 2.5 hour delay getting home. He got lost and took a wrong turn then jack knifed blocking the whole road! 
mrschaible  2013-10-10   1         Edit  Delete
2013-10-08  Route: North Ridge
Info: Calm, sunny day on the mountain. Snow on most of ridge. Slick in spots, but did not use the packed micro-spikes. May be helpful for some. Snow was soft on the descent and quite a few muddy spots on the latter three miles of trail. 
waynebp  2013-10-09   0   1      Edit  Delete
2013-10-05  Route: North Ridge
Info: Healthy coat of snow from ~11,000‘ up. Trail is easy to follow from the trailhead to treeline. From there, I‘m sorry to say, our tracks wandered a bit. Made it to ~13,000‘ before heading back down. Snow is loosely packed, generally mid-calf or less, with plenty of talus sticking out. Not sure how much good crampons or snowshoes would be until it‘s denser. Aspens were glorious! 
speach  2013-10-08   0   1      Edit  Delete
2013-08-17  Route: Halo Ridge
Info: There hasn‘t been a conditions report for august so i figured i‘d add one. The trail is completely clear up halo ridge and the north ridge, no ice from any of the recent monsoon storms. 
mtn_nut  2013-08-17   0         Edit  Delete

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