Holy Cross with ascent and descent of the Angelica Couloir
Backpacked in 6/23/10 from Halfmoon trailhead
Summitted and backpacked out 6/24/10
After having fun with our snow climb of Castle last weekend, we wanted to get in another snow climb before things melted out too much. Holy Cross looked good, so we decided to try the Angelica Couloir (our first Steep Snow climb).
We took alot of bug repellant, expecting mosquitoes--yes, there were plenty of mosquitoes, but their numbers paled in comparison to what we experienced in the Sierras 2 years ago.
We decided to do a backpack, as we hadn't done Holy Cross before and wanted to do some recon to find the Angelica trail. The Halfmoon trail was mostly dry on our pack in to the campsites.
Views of Holy Cross from the trail.
I took sandals for the crossing, while Ben kept his hiking boots dry.
You can keep your feet dry, if you are careful.
We took a left turn just after the creek crossing to start the approach to Angelica.
Angelica approach goes left and standard route goes right.
There is a second, smaller crossing at the far side of the beaver pond. Once again, I used sandals and Ben managed to keep his boots dry.
The trail was faint in places, but for the most part we didn't have too much trouble. We took alot of pictures of the trail (although the lighting wasn't the best) and could put together a more thorough route description if anyone is interested. Generally though, our route can be seen in the following photos:
We tried two different routes to see which we liked better (red going up and cyan going down). We both preferred the red route.
The snow was nice and firm in the early morning, making for a fun climb. We had crampons, ice axes, and helmets and were glad to have them. We didn't take many photos going up, but have pictures from our trip down the Angelica. Pictures looking back up the Angelica.
Towards the very top, the snow had melted out, leaving loose scree behind. We were much happier on the snow.
It was a beautiful day to be on the summit.
Ben did a little scrambing and took this photo looking down the Holy Cross Couloir:
Beginning our descent of the Angelica (carefully navigating the scree to where the snow starts). During our descent, a rock fell--it missed us but we were glad to be wearing our helmets (the rock was very quiet as it careened down the snow).
The couloir was too steep for us to feel comfortable glissading, so we downclimbed most of it.
Beginning the downclimb. The snow was a bit softer but was still solid enough for a safe downclimb. We glissaded the lower part of the couloir.
We were pleased by how solid the snow was, even on the way down. We didn't post-hole until we got to the lower snowfields (where we had originally put on our crampons), and we could easily avoid those snowfields on the scree.
We hiked back to our campsite, packed up our stuff and backpacked out. Another beautiful day!