Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/06/2013
Date Climbed:   08/31/2013
Author:  LasagnaRN
 Holy Cross - Standard Route  

The best part of hiking on a holiday weekend is that your friends most likely don't have to work ... the con? Most other people are in the same boat

I'm usually a solo hiker + one awesome dog but this weekend was quite a treat with two good friends and an out of towner willing to join in some high altitude fun. I was skeptical of bringing the third as he's from sea level but some persistent reassurance had me putting that good 'ole gut feeling to the side.

We left Lakewood at about 2:30 on Friday thinking we would beat most of the holiday traffic ... enter the bane of my summer: tunnel traffic as well as scattered rain/thunder storms. About 3 hrs in we were on Tigiwon road, which is in great shape - no problem for my low clearance Forester and plenty of room for two way traffic. We camped at Halfmoon, so if backcountry is not your cup of tea this is a great alternative.

The plan was to start hiking around 5 yet somehow it took about an hour from when everyone woke up to get going, pushing us back to 5:30. We were mostly in the dark until we reached Halfmoon Pass, where we were treated to some resplendent views. Along the route there were two people doing trail maintenance ... thanks guys! The trail is in great shape and easy to follow, with giant cairns marking the way once you beat treeline. The majority of this route is either on solid ground or rather solidly placed rocks; once you gain the ridge (roughly west of the summit) it evens out giving your quads a much appreciated rest while you still gain mileage. There is some loose rock and dirt to deal with once you turn left for the summit but there are plenty of routes to get there so you can head further south for a longer yet more gradual grade if needed. At this point we were pretty tired but not so much that I couldn't take notice of the rocks ... they're pink and orange and all sorts of glorious so don't let your fatigue get the best of you!

The summit, as expected, was quite full with probably 20 or so other hikers enjoying the near-perfect weather. We probably spent around 30 min lounging around before making the trek back to camp.

As expected we arrived back to the campground around 2 pm, making for a long day of hiking. Its noted on the route report but it earns a repeat here: the 1000ft you gain on the way back over Halfmoon Pass is brutal if you have not planned accordingly. Do yourself a favor and don't deplete your energy stores summiting, you'll be paying for it later.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice report
06/21/2014 02:38
Sounds like fun. We're planning on trying the trip on 4th of July. Great pic with your pup!


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