| Great Day on MHC Halo Ridge
MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS
ASCENT ROUTE: Halo Ridge via the Fall Creek Trail
DESCENT ROUTE: Standard route over Halfmoom Pass
START TIME: 3:20 AM
SUMMIT ARRIVE: 10:00 AM
SUMMIT DEPARTURE: 11:10 AM
END TIME: 3:00 PM
CLIMBERS: "WISH I LIVED IN CO", "MTNHUB"
MtnHub and myself had been planning and anticipating this climb together for several months. I was first interested in MHC 2 years ago and increasingly wanted to climb as time went on. Mainly I wanted to climb it for what it is - a beautiful mountain, but also partly to dedicate the climb to my deceased mother-in-law Cynthia, who was a devoted Catholic Christian and the Cross Coulier reminds me of her. MtnHub had previouly summited but never got to complete the full loop due to lightning! Thus the early 3:20 am start time.
The day finally arrived! Clear skies and we hit the trail under headlamps. The halogen lamps work the best as we found out. Anyway the fall creek trail was uneventful and we took the turn to the switchbacks up Notch Mountain. After a third of the way or so up the mountainside we turned off the lamps in favor of the halfmoon overhead. Photos:
Typical trail up Notch Mountain (sorry blurry )
Sunrise as viewed looking from the Hut. No one at the hut but for some reason we couldn't get the door open after some persuasive shoulder batters onto the door. Didn't want to get violent and kick it in. Didn't see any locks or anything, probably we were just wimps. Related, never saw anyone on the ridge.
No mugshots on the summit, but here's one viewing the cross couloir - cross still there in late July!
Descending to the saddle between pts 13,248 and 13,373
Looking ahead to pt. 13,373
Looking back down on the ascent up to 13,373. MtnHub in his element scrambling up. Rocks typical of the ridge except for the flat grassy areas
Flat area between 13,373 and 13,831
One of many interesting rock formation towers along the way
Looking back at the catwalk
MtnHub taking a short breather up enroute to climbing what seemed to be about 99 false summits up to 13,831. I know the route description said three false summits, but it really did seem like 5 or 6.
Another rock formation with Halo ridge behind
Halo ridge and the false summits of 13,831 as viewed from MHC summit. We talked to a nice group of 4 climbers from Russia on the summit for 1/2 hour and then we had the summit to ourselves for 1/2 hour before departing.
Lake Patricia from the summit
A snow cornice of the ridge below the summit cone on the standard route down. Hikers can be seen on it. Use your own judgement, but I don't like the feeling of not having rock under me but only snow.
The classic summit view from below half moon. I love this view! Though we doped up with deet, the bugs that were advertised on the forum in this area of the climb were there, but not nearly as bad as indicated, especially if you keep moving.
A truly great day. Thanks MtnHub for the great company!, and thanks God for the great weather!
Long but great hike. You can't beat sunrise at the hut looking toward the cross couloir on MHC. I don't think the loop route would really be much harder than the standard up and back standard route.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):