Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Notch Mtn  -  13,237 feet
PT 13,248  -  13,248 feet
PT 13,374  -  13,374 feet
PT 13,832  -  13,832 feet
Post Date:  10/23/2008
Modified:  10/24/2008
Date Climbed:   10/17/2008
Posted By:  Pappy

 Holy Cross - via Halo Ridge  

Peaks: Holy Cross (14,005 ft)
Notch Mountain South (13,224 ft)
PT 13,248
PT 13,373
PT 13,831

Date Climbed: 10-17-08
Trailhead: Half Moon (Tigiwon)
Route: Halo Ridge
Total Mileage: 13.5 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 5,357 ft
Class 2+

10-16-08 Walt arrived at the Half Moon Campground late afternoon. We pitched camp and had a relaxing evening by the campfire shooting the breeze.

10-17-08 By 7:00am we were on our way up the Fall Creek/ Notch Mountain Trail. The trail gradually ascends up the Fall Creek drainage. At the base of Notch Mountain the trail steepens and a grundle (30+) of switchbacks begin up to the Notch Mountain Shelter.

A couple of lakes in the upper Fall Creek drainage below the switchbacks.

The elusive pika soaking up some rays!

At the top of the switchbacks you reach the Notch Mountain shelter with a great view of Holy Cross

From the shelter we took a short side detour to the south summit of Notch Mountain. Unfortunaltey we did not have rope and other gear needed to make the descent into the notch and back up to the north summit. From what we could see it looked class 5.

Notch Mountain North (13,237 ft), 13 feet higher than the south summit.

Holy Cross from Notch Mountain south.

From Notch Mountain we hiked back to the shelter and onward to PT. 13,248.

Bowl of Tears.

Looking back on PT13,248.

Route to PT13,373

Route to PT13,831


Tuhare Lakes

Upper Tuhare Lake

View of Holy Cross from PT13,831


View from Holy Cross summit to the west.

View from north from Holy Cross Summit. Route in red follows the ridge to the valley bottom, very rocky and somewhat a miserable descent with a little snow.

We descended via the north ridge of Holy Cross and tied into the Half Moon trail, up and over halfmoon pass, and back to Half Moon Campground. We arrived back at the truck at about 5:30pm.

View north into Cross Creek (Patricia Lake) and Halfmoon Pass from Holy Cross Summit. The blue line represents a very rough estimate of where the trail is located.

The descent from Holy Cross was the least enjoyable part of the hike due to a few inches of snow making the rock hopping a bit tedious. If someone hadn't broken trail up already through the snow from the bottom of East Cross Creek, finding the trail below treeline would have been a chore coming down. The trek around Halo Ridge was exceptional and highly recommend it. We took our time and enjoyed the vistas along the way.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

10/24/2008 08:49
Very nice report, and pics! Even after my ugly experience on Holy Cross this summer (see my TR), these pics make me want to go back and do the Halo Ridge...and that says a lot!


It‘s Worth It!!
10/24/2008 13:38
Thanks! I remember reading your TR over the summer, our trip was much less eventful. Having done Halo Ridge and come out the standard route, Halo Ridge it much more scenic and enjoyable in comparison. It‘s well worth going back for!! It would be a long haul of bouldering and rock hopping for the pups though.

Wish I lived in CO

10/24/2008 13:55
I was fortunate like you and had great weather when I was there in July. Makes you appreciate it reading the misfortunes of others (though that makes a more a dramatic story!, but that‘s OK I‘ll take great weather anytime). Anyway, I especially enjoyed your pic of HC from S. Notch.


Great & useful report!
10/24/2008 15:18
Pappy: Thanks for posting, a good read and the section-by-section photos were great. A few questions if you have a minute: The terrain looks more 2+ than 3/4, do you agree? There doesen‘t seem to be any real exposure, or am I off on that? I know there‘s not much snow there now, but any sense that the approach up to Notch Mountain has any avalanche potential? I was thinking of trying this as a winter ascent so your report was great and timely. Many thanks,


More tidbits
10/24/2008 15:29
There was only 2-4 inches of fresh snow up the Notch Mtn trail in places. Mostly in the trail itself. No avalanche potential as of the 17th. I would agree on the 2+ with no needed exposure.

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