| Mt. of the Holy Cross - a Glorious Day!
July 24, 2010
Mt of the Holy Cross ascent – 14,005
North Ridge standard route
11.5 mile round trip
Trailhead elevation – 10,320
Departure from trailhead – 7:15 am
Return to trailhead – 3:00 pm
Band of Brothers Network men hiking were: bandofbrothersomaha (dave), Dave Brummond, Mike Reinhart, Robert Foster,Louie Sabarini, Corey Langford, Jayce Patterson,Terry Niemoth, Keith Goerl, Jon Steckelberg, Roger Theimer,Darin Kennedy, Nick Otten, Ty Reil, Dave Hoppen, Dan Hoppen, Mike Rueschoff
Band of Brothers Network (www.bandofbrothersusa.net) has, for the last five years, brought many men out to Colorado to experience 14ers hiking in an excursion that is called Peak Challenge.
The optional hike this year was Mt of the Holy Cross on Saturday, July 24th and the whole group hike of Mt Sherman was set for July 25th. We had 17 guys that took the challenge of hiking Mt of the Holy Cross this year and have approximately 95 men hike Mt Sherman on July 25th.
Woke up around 4:15 am at our group campground (Windy Point) on the shores of Lake Dillon and got everyone ready to roll at about 4:45 am or so.We drove through the early morning darkness to cross Vail Pass and take Hwy 24 south to the Tigiwon road. Rather bumpy ride for 8 miles up the dirt road, but we managed to get there around 6:30 am or so on a fine Saturday morning. The lot was already full, but parking down the road a bit was fine with us.
Everyone made their pit stop at the pit toilet. We unfortunately had one guy that threw up his cookies as we unloaded and did not know if he would make it. Fortunately, he is quite a trooper (and a pastor) and regrouped quite well to make the hike. We had a time of prayer at the trailhead and then set off. A few of our guys had never hiked a 14er before and we had warned them to take it slow, as this trip was a long one and one with some good elevation gain (5,600 ft).
It took a while for everyone to get their legs under them and find their pace. We moved pretty quickly up to the Notch Mountain pass and shedded some layers as the sun came out. There was not a cloud in the sky and the weather forecast for the day was perfect.
As we moved around the bend of Notch Mountain, we caught sight of Mt of the Holy Cross in all its splendor. I have hiked may 14ers and I think the Mt of the Holy Cross is one of the most rugged and majestic of all the 14ers in Colorado.
Can you imagine what the geological survey teams of the 1870's must have thought as they trekked deep into the Rockies and came across Mt of the Holy Cross? The Hayden geological survey team spent some time mapping out the Colorado Rockies and other locales from 1870 to 1878. Along with them at that time was a young photographer (later to become a famous photographer) William Henry Jackson. The photographs that Jackson brought back to the people on the East Coast was a catalyst in introducing much of the population to the existence and phenomena of the western landscape. It helped shape Manifest Destiny and certainly gave greater insight to the general public about what lay ahead of them in the West. His photo entitled "Mt of the Holy Cross" taken in the 1870-1878 time period is a famous early look at the wild American West. That picture now resides in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. I just so happened to be in DC on vacation with my family before Peak Challenge. We visited the museum and talked to the staff. The photo was there, but it was in archives and was not presently being displayed. I really wished we could have seen the photo, but was glad for the journey that my kids had in tracking it down.
Guys were feeling good as we made our way down quickly into the valley and cross the creek. Passed a troop of Boy Scouts and their leader who estimated that us "flatlanders" had more than 3 hours left to the summit. I estimated that we would get there sooner than that and turned out to be correct.
Some decent hiking ensued as we came out of the valley and moved above treeline. The cairns were numerous and it was easy to spot the trail. Some of the cairns were really spectacular. In Scotland, it is traditional to carry a stone up from the bottom of the hill to place on a cairn. The size of cairns grew as a result. An old Scots Gaelic blessing is "Cuiridh mi clach air do chŕrn" which means 'I'll put a stone on your cairn'. In the Old Testament, as the people of Israel crossed the Jordan River, it is noted in Joshua 4 that the 12 tribes of Israel each brought stones to build a cairn... a marker and memorial... to remember what God had done for them. We added stones to as many cairns as we could on our way up.
Got to the top of the ridgeline before the final ascent up the final pitch. A fair amount of folks moving up the mountain ahead of us. The view looking down into the Angelica Couloir was amazing.
Pushed hard up the final stretch and before you know it, Dave Brummond, Nick Otten and I were on top of Mt of the Holy Cross! I believe the time was right at about 11:00 am. Mt of the Holy Cross has an incredible panorama and we walked around enjoying that for quite some time. Signed the 14er sheet and talked to some guys up there (greenwok). They were taking some photos for the Kevin Hayne memorial. You guys rock and it was good to see you up there!
We waited as our group became to summit. By about 12:30 pm or so, all but three guys had made it to the top. One of our guys had just driven from Omaha the night before and got in at 2 am , so we knew that he may not make it. The other two had great hikes, but had some physical ailments that kept them from summiting.
Made it back to the trailhead around 3 pm and most of the group was back before 3:45 pm.
Fabulous day to revel in the awe and wonder of God's creation!
Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street – William Blake
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):