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Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Post Date:  08/04/2009
Date Climbed:   07/31/2009
Posted By:  LIV


 Holy Cross - Holy Moly   

Al, Lon and I decided to attempt Mt. of the Holy Cross on Friday and were meeting more friends for Harvard on Saturday.

I called Al at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning – needing to leave about that time in the morning from Denver, but I think neither of us was ready to go quite yet. I left home about 1:40 or so to meet him at the trailhead of Mt. of the Holy Cross.

We kept in touch all the way via cell phone, and driving up the 8 mile dirt road from Minturn, I was very glad we still got cell service and I kept in contact with Al. The road was very rough and just kept going and going. Finally, we reached the trailhead and started off up Half Moon Pass at exactly 5:00 a.m.

Half Moon Pass looking east before sunrise.
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Sunrise still on the east side of the pass.
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Our first view of the mountain from the top of Half Moon Pass.
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It took us until 6:30 to get over the pass and down into the drainage to Cross Creek.

Once we passed the creek, we met a few other hikers on our way up to the ridgeline. We trekked through the trees and finally started to gain the ridge.

Doesn't look that far, and they are still smiling.
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It was freezing that day (probably one of the coldest days on a 14er that I've had since February). It had snowed up there the day before and everything was wet. It was very difficult to walk on the wet scree, talus and boulders, and every step was precarious.

Finally, we reached the summit amid clouds and an approaching storm. It was about 9:30 a.m.

We took a few summit shots and started down.
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Looking down one of the couloirs.
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Starting down the ridge.
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Once we were back on the ridge, it started hailing.

Lon covering his ears – too funny - the hail hurt!!
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Then it started raining – buckets!

Looking back at the mountain.
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The lightening didn't start until we were in the trees, but there were some pretty close strikes. There were still hikers on the mountain after us, and I bet they were pooping their pants.

Back down at Cross Creek, we knew we had to climb again to treeline up the pass, but we were really happy when the rain and hail stopped.

Al taking a break coming back up Half Moon Pass. Can't believe he was still smiling, as I was cussing, saying "Al, make it stop!!!"
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We finally made it back to the car and some well-deserved beers about 3:00 p.m.

Looking back from Half Moon Pass.
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All in all, this mountain wasn't quite as hard as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, I was tired when I got back. I wasn't looking forward to another 5:00 a.m. start up Harvard the next day. Lonnie, the lucky kid, slept the entire drive down to Buena Vista.



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