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Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Post Date:  10/27/2007
Date Climbed:   10/27/2007
Posted By:  firsttracks

 Holy Cross - North Ridge - 10/26/2007   

I wanted to climb Holy Cross before the road closed for the winter, so I thought I‘d give it a go on Friday, October 26. I drove up from New Mexico on Thursday night, arriving at the trailhead after midnight. Tigiwon Road had a fair amount of snow, but was still passable for my 4WD (Isuzu Rodeo).

I set my alarm for 4:45 and was on the trail just after 5am.

The trail to Halfmoon Pass has some dry spots...

... but in general is covered in snow requiring snowshoes.

After a while, Halfmoon Pass and Notch Mountain will come into view.

At the pass, I spent a fair amount of time trying to find evidence of the trail. You‘ll need to be close to Notch Mountain, looking down on the rock formations when you‘re in the right spot:

I contoured around Notch Mountain, heading through the trees towards the switchbacks. Eventually, Mt. of the Holy Cross comes into view.


Here‘s a good pictures of Mt. of the Holy Cross from the trail.

I hit the switchbacks, and found them alternating between dirt and snow. (I took off my snowshoes for the switchbacks, and didn‘t need them again until I was climbing through the trees on the North Ridge.)


I followed the trail through the drainage and eventually crossed the creek.


I climbed out of the drainage and onto the ridge. The trail had patches of dirt and snow.

The trail enters the trees, and I needed snowshoes again. I continued to climb the ridge until I hit treeline.

I continued up the snowfield, encountering some deep drifts of snow. Even with snowshoes, I sank in deep in spots. The trick is to stay towards the rocks, as you can see in this picture. On the right side, you‘ll see the first big cairn. This was the end of my snowshoe climb.

Right now, I highly recommend leaving your snowshoes at this first big cairn. The trail above is rocky, and snowshoes are a burden. Instead, the goal is to avoid touching snow (and post-holing), and hop from rock to rock.

I continued up the ridge, hopping from rock to rock. This picture is a typical view of the "trail" you‘ll encounter on the upper ridge.

Looking back on the ridge, you can see the current conditions.

I got to the intersection of the Angelica Couloir, and took this picture of the remaining climb to the summit.

After a few more minutes, I was on the summit.

It was about 9:10am, so the overall summit time was 4:10. I enjoyed the views, took a quick summit video (see my myspace page), and then started retracing my steps. Round-trip time was 8 hours flat.

I also took pictures of Halo Ridge and the Notch Mountain Shelter. If anyone wants to see pics of Halo Ridge for an upcoming climb, please let me know, and I‘ll email pics to you.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

nice TR     02/05/2011 00:22
hello from a fellow Los Alamos mountain-lover. Looked like a beautiful day for a walk in the snow. Now if only we can get enough snow down here to start skiing...

Steve Knapp

Nice and snowy     10/28/2007 01:02
Great late season climb of Holy Cross, I enjoyed reading it. You took some good photos too. I like how much snow is up there now, hopefully more to come soon. You made a quick day out of it, esp with snow to deal with.


Impressive !     11/30/2010 17:28
Wow, given the snow conditions and the stops to remove and put on your snowshoes, 8 hours is truly an impressive time. That's quicker than most do it without snow. Good job and great pics !


NICE!     11/30/2010 17:28
That's faster than I made it during the summer months and I thought I was in decent shape back then. Apparently not.

Great job and great report.


Thanks for the comments     10/29/2007 14:34
Thanks for the comments, everyone. It really was a great day out there. I hope to have many more like it this winter, hopefully with skis instead of snowshoes.

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