Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  08/06/2011
Modified:  08/07/2011
Date Climbed:   08/05/2011
Author:  shaunster_co

 Holy Cross via Tuhare Lakes  

A friend of mine that wanted Mount of the Holy Cross and I decided to make a go of it this past week, and we spent a few days in HCW.

I have done the standard route via Half Moon, and the Halo Ridge Route (Notch Mtn) in the opposite direction twice, the second time I descended via the 'Bailout Route' just after PT13831 in to Upper Tuhare Lake. I had never done this route from Upper Tuhare ascending up. With the Tigiwon Road closure, the viable option was from Holy Cross City. I posted briefly about this route here;

When we arrived Thursday, we found that both FR 704 & FR 727 had been washed out.

Road closed as of 8/6/11

Road closed as of 8/6/11

With the roads washed out, this left the HCC 4x4 road just past the Gold Park Campground as our only option. If you take a stock 4x4 up this road, you will not come back with it.. As you can see in this pic.

Do not take a stock vehicle up HCC Road

Where the road hairpins to Holy Cross City, you will follow the trail (to the right) as seen in pic.

The road heads to HCC, you will break right here.

TH For Fall Creek Pass

Pass Hunky Dory Lake (wilderness permits are at the Wilderness boundary at Hunky Dory) and follow the trail up the Seven Sister lake chain to the top of Fall Creek Pass. From this point you can get a view of the Tuhare Lakes. We opted to descend down following the trail to the convergence of "Tuhare Lakes Trail" and set up camp in this area.
Seven Sisters Lake Chain

Seven Sisters Lake Chain

Seven Sisters Lake Chain

Looking down from the top of Fall Creek Pass toward Lake Constantine far distant

We were visited by a hare that evening exploring our equipment as we switched some gear from the larger backpacks to the smaller day packs for the trek up to Holy Cross the next morning.

Our visitor

Gear Junkie Hare

The following morning we followed the trail up to Lower Tuhare, and after some snowfields (Axe!) up to upper Tuhare Lake.

Next morning - Lower Tuhare Lake

Upper Tuhare Lake

From there you start boulder hopping until you reach the far end of Upper Tuhare - and go past it about 100 yards. From this point there is no route.

The route looking from Upper Tuhare Lake toward Cross Ridge

You will have to route find up some steep talus - much of it is loose. There is some definate Class 3 and 4. It is very easy to get in to Class 5 along the cliff bands - so do some careful route assessment. If you take your time you should be able to stay in Class 3. I would highly advise a helmet on this leg of the route.

The entire area has gotten a lot of rainfall recently. Be aware that the ground is saturated and is extremely unstable beneath the talus. Objectively, if you are hiking up - stagger yourselves encase of rockfall. We noticed entire zones that had recently slid.

The route as you approach the top toward the ridge

You will reach the ridge - just prior to PT13831 - from here on you are basically on the Halo Ridge route to MOHC.

Cross Ridge

Looking across the ridge to MOHC

We did place about a dozen cairns up the route from Tuhare. I would highly advise placing a marker where you came up - it is very deceptive going down. I would not recommend this route to anyone that is not familiar with Holy Cross, and at a minimum some varying Class 3, but if you are familiar with the area, this is a very good option and cuts several hours off the Halo Ridge route from Notch Shelter, and the standard Half Moon Pass route.

Summit poses

Summit poses

We did s'mores by the camp fire that evening, and a hike around Constantine the following day. Of course our visitor came again that night to check us out.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/07/2011 06:24
Awesome photos!! This is my favorite peak, way to capture a different side of it. Seeing the cherokee stuck makes me want to take my WRANGLER up.


08/07/2011 13:02
Nice report, shaunster_co! The Tuhares are some of the most scenic lakes I've ever experienced. Good job getting back in there!


Thank you
08/07/2011 14:21
For posting this!
Your forum post re: this route was helpful a few weeks ago, as well, and I've been meaning to tell you thanks!
A summit was not in the cards that day as the roads had just washed out and we took a fair amount of time in the early a.m. exploring and calculating mileage on alternate routes - hiking up the HC jeep road was the ONLY option. Ultimately it looked too long for a day hike, much better suited for a backpack in, as you've demonstrated. We hiked up to the Hunky Dory Lake and chilled out - very serene.
Thanks for putting this info out there!
It's a gorgeous area.
Strong work!


08/07/2011 14:56
Thanks for the kind words, yes I agree the lakes in there are just amazing! We didn’t fish – but I should have added all the lakes up there are just teaming with trout!

Sunny - I would agree, this hike really needs to be done in two days, but fortunately no matter where you camp there is eye candy everywhere. I think the hardest decision that first day was picking out the best place to camp. This is an incredible route even if one were just to follow the Fall Creek Pass Trail to the Notch Mountain Trail, and either go for a vantage view of Holy Cross, or traverse the Halo Ridge. Tuhare Lakes is worth going up to see even if you don’t go for the summit.


08/07/2011 21:11
So, what happened to the Jeep in the picture?


08/07/2011 21:20
Doc - I'm really not sure. Another jeep arrived with a winch and they were using rockbars, jacks, etc (no tires were touching - it was completely high centered on that rock). We continued on. Upon our return they were gone, so I guess they were able to free it up. I am surprised they made it as far as the did. Would to hate see the under carriage. I believe the sign at the beginning of the road states 33” tires minimum.. To give you an idea..

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