Mt of the Holy Cross July 24, 2010
Summit Elevation: 14,005 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 10,320 feet
Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
Round-trip Length: 11.50 miles
Trailhead: Half Moon (Tigiwon)
Cimbers: Kent (greenwok), Michael (MWB), Doug
Time: Depart TH 4:20 AM, Summit - Doug 8:40 AM, Michael 9:20 AM, Kent 10:30 AM Depart Summit 11:00 AM, Return TH 3:05 PM
After monitoring weather all week to include NOAA as well as Holy Cross web cams, we were delighted to see the "Snow Showers" drop out of the forecast, and the low pressure push further south in the state (sorry about that those who had plans for hikes in the San Jauns). To that point I was greeted by a message from Lisa (tridehiker) Friday indicating she and Annie had plans to hike the Crestones however the weather down south was forcing them to scrap those plans and look for an alternate hike, and asked if they could join. I welcomed that and they made their plans to drive up from Telluride, and meet us.
Doug, Michael and I departed Colorado Springs Friday shortly after 5PM, and after a pit stop at Chipotle were on our way out Hwy 24, took 9 into Breck then on up to I-70 into Vail. Unloaded the gear and made a late-night stroll through Vail Village - they have really made a great deal of progress on redevelopment of the Village and I look forward to a retrun trip just to hang out in Vail for a weekend.
Hitting the rack just before midnight, the 2:30 AM alarm came quickly, and we were on the road by 3AM to make our way to the Holy Cross Half Moon Trail Head ~ 1hr away. There were plenty of cars along Tigiwon Road already so we knew we would have plenty of company on the hike. We met Lisa and Annie, suited up, and were on the trail at 4:20 AM or as Michael likes to say "Dark-Thirty"
We were blessed with a blue bird day weather wise - calm to very light winds, mild temps, and mostly clear skies turning only slightly cloudy by mid-day!
> Start Early i.e. 3AM-4AM it is a long hike
> Consider camping at Tigiwon Creek the night before and even the night after - that ~900 ft of elevation gain on the way out is every bit as "unpleasant" as Bill indicates in the Route Notes...and then some! I was telling myself that since I have climbed the Manitou Springs Incline a number of times, and it being 2,000 ft elev over 1 mi, I can certainly handle 900 ft of gain! Well it's a bit different after summitting Holy Cross!
All said this was the most beautiful 14er hike thus far, and also the most difficult. It is a big hike!
With that, I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Enjoy the gallery!
At the Trail Head L-R: Doug, Michael, Kent (Thanks for the photo Lisa!)
What the forest looks like at 4:20 AM!
Holy Cross just before dawn
Alpenglow on Holy Cross
We met Jay, John, Joe, and Doug #2 en route - L-R: Jay, John, Joe, Kent, Doug C, Michael (Doug #2 taking photo)
View of Holy Cross summit from the Ridge
View of the final pitch to Holy Cross summit from the ridge
If you look very closely you can see climbers on the ridge and summit - they appear as small as ants
Holy Cross Summit L-R: Doug, Michael, Kent
Kevin Hayne Memorial Card I was holding
Looking down onto the Bowl of Tears
The Elk Range in the distance from Holy Cross Summit
The Gore Range from Holy Cross Summit - Rumor is Al invented this about the time he invented the internet!
Grays and Torreys Peaks in the distance from Holy Cross Summit
Views from Holy Cross Summit
A look back at the Talus boulders we had to navigate all the way from the ridge to the summit!
Kent on the ridge with Bowl of Tears backdrop
Cornice on the ridge
Views along our descent
Hikers enjoying lunch out on the point!
Alpine Flowers at peak bloom!
To continue see Holy Cross...Holy Cairns (Part II)
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