Hikers: Darrin (kansas) and me
Route: North Ridge: Standard
Elevation Gain: 5.6K'
There are good reasons to repeat a peak or trail. One is bad weather. The first time I hiked Holy Cross, I backpacked in, at night, in the rain. The next day it was cloudy. The only view I got of the peak, came in the afternoon as I was backpacking out over Half Moon Pass. A decade ago, I vowed I would come back. I dislike summits in the clouds.
The night before, the weather was showing signs of being cloudy. Some rain was predicted. I certainly didn't want to have to come back a third time, on the same route! But as we awoke early on Saturday morning, to the hustle of a very busy and crowded holiday weekend trailhead parking lot, the weather looked passable. There were clouds, but they were higher and not continuous.
As we made our way up Half Moon Pass, the sunrise treated us to a spectacular view of the Gore Range.
Sunrise through the clouds over the Gore Range
Turning the corner on Half Moon Pass, I get my first real good view of our objective for the day. It was fun to watch the sunrise change the way the peak looked. Darrin had to bite his tongue on all the frequent stops. At least on this trail, most of the scenic views happen early and late, with a lot of slogging up a steep slope inbetween.
Dawn pano from Half Moon Pass
First light on summit
Some flowers on the lower slopes break up the monotony of the rocks. The trail up the ridge is quite good in spots, but then disappears with a boulder crossing. Quite a bit of scouting for the next trail segment, as we make our way up the ridge. The higher we get, the better views of the rugged north face.
morning glow on the flowers
The rocky north face
Just a bit of snow on the ridge
Flowers along the trail
View from the notch
Upon reaching the summit, we are presented with a mass of humanity. More people than I remember from last time I was here. But with the big weekend, the extra traffic was expected. We met a few people from various parts of the country. We managed to find a semi quiet part of the summit to snack and take a few photos.
Party on the Summit
Gore Range Pano
The descent, re-ascent of Half Moon Pass and descent to trailhead go fairly quickly is the hot sun. Of course, we have a BBQ waiting with burgers, brats and poblano peppers... so why delay?
Some other peaks in the region
Our state flower
Only downside to the day: We get a call from a climbing partner for the next day, that Castle Creek Rd is closed due to bear activity! The call came after we had effectively smoked ourselves and truck in yummy BBQ smells. Not wanting to deal with the "what-ifs" or becoming bear meat-sicles, we decide on something a bit out of our way for the next days' hike: San Luis...