Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/25/2005
Modified:  10/01/2012
Date Climbed:   09/25/2005
Author:  summitbound

 Holy Cross Half Moon Pass  

My buddy from Ut and I were desperate to get one last hiking trip in before the end of the season so we decided for our last hike(s) of the year that we would do Holy Cross and Tour de' Massive. The weather man originally predicted rain for us on the first day, but as fate would have it, it was probably the two best days of weather we have ever had on our hiking trips.

For me the alarm went off at 2am a scant 4 hours after my head first hit the pillow. The drive from Parker to Minturn was uneventful, except that it seemed like Tigiwon road (dirt) up to the trail head went on forever. I met up with my buddy about a mile from the trail head where he had located a level spot to camp the night before. We downed a quick breakfast and drove up to the trailhead. The first portion of the trail winds through the trees and eventually tops out on Half Moon pass. From there we were treated to a great view of the fall colors blanketing the mountains to the west.


As we rounded the side of Half Moon pass the top of Holy Cross comes into view and it is breathtaking. As I sit here and type I am still amazed at the beauty of this mountain.


The drop into East Cross Creek was steep and with each step down my mind kept wandering to the thought of having to ascend this after a long day, oh well the beauty of the areas quickly distracted me from that thought. We spotted at least 4 tents in the valley below and ran across a couple from Boulder on their way out, they asked us to keep an eye out for their camera but we never saw it. Their packs looked heavy and while the area would certainly make a spectacular back drop for camping we were glad we were going in and out in the same day.


After crossing East Cross Creek we slowly made our way up the North ridge to tree line, at this point the ridge starts to get steep and just seemed to keep getting even steeper. We stopped about 300' from the summit and peered over into what I think was the top of angelica couloir, it looked like it might be fun in the winter.


The final push to the summit was the steepest yet and my buddy kicked it into overdrive when he saw that some younger guys were going to beat him to the summit.


He of course arrived first, I had no such burst of testosterone and worked at my own pace to the top. Once there we took our summit photos with the now standard sign, collected our summit rocks, and ate some lunch. The views were spectacular.


On the way back down we ran into search and rescue looking for a lady named Michelle. My buddy is heavily involved in SAR back in Ut so he was keen to gather some details about her and took us on a non standard route down in an attempt to help the search efforts. unfortunately we did not find anything. Our thoughts and our eyes were on the lookout for the lost hiker for the remainder of the trip out. We ran into several of her friends and relatives whom we gave our best and relayed our limited efforts to them.

The last 1,000 ft of elevation gain was not the most fun thing I have ever done but the fall colors made up for the extra effort and we reached the truck at right around 4pm, just enough time to head off to the Massive trail head for "Tour de' Massive" the next day.


Holy Cross is my favorite mountain so far and it's hard to explain the sheer beauty of the area to someone without them actually having been there.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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