Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/10/2018
Date Climbed:   09/09/2018
Author:  Aramis
 Holy Cross take 2   

Well, after last week's ignominous failure to even find the right trailhead, and having no plans for the weekend, I was definitely motivated on Fri to try again. I had already taken Monday off under the theory that I was going to try again, but by Sunday I wasn't feeling motivated until some grad school friends posted Mt Whitney summit picks on Sunday. Just the kick in the butt I needed to actually get moving. Also, the main point of this TR is to provide info about the shelter.

I got packed up again and headed out. All the way out the drive was beautiful, with leaves turning all over the place. Now is a great time if leaf peeping is your thing. Here's a pick from along Tigiwon Road.
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There were definitely fewer issues than last weekend, except for still being significantly out of shape and leaving Denver around 3pm. I got there with sun still out up, so this time time I found the right trailhead. It's literally just 10 ft from the main parking area, you can stand and see signage for both at the same time. So, hooray for not starting at 5:30am.
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You'll see this sign within maybe 50 ft of the parking lot. If you don't, abandon hope all ye who would do Halo Ridge. Or, you know, go find the right trailhead.
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Now, remember where I said I left Denver around 3? This is what that translates to: night hiking. I was almost three miles up the Fall Creek trail when I suddenly reached the signage indicating I was headed where I want to go. Going right/uphill at this sign, I learned that I truly do not like night hiking, especially not when it's over 2 miles up scree-filled switch backs.

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I took a picture of the route on the way down after counting 32 switchbacks from the shelter. It's sort of amazing I didn't turn an ankle. Can't believe I did that in the dark, from this point it's over a mile and a half uphill to the shelter and another 8 or so switchbacks/turns downward to the Fall Creek-Notch Mountain trail junction.
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When I was arranging my pack before leaving the parking lot, a nice family emerged from the trailhead, having spend their day summitting Notch. They let me know that the shelter was definitely not padlocked, and that the latch mechanism is a little finicky. Here's some picks showing why. To open it, you have to push the piece on the outside inward then upward to raise an arm over a little chisel edge piece of metal in the door frame that completes the latch.
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Here's the interior of the shelter in daylight. As you can see, it's very spartan. I had opted to bring a relatively light summer weight bag and wear all my layers, and dang was I wishing I had a decent pad and my 0-degree bag. There's no weatherstripping on the door or insulation in the walls, so the insulation value you get out of this setup is R-ukiddingme! Good luck to the trio saying there Mon tonight...

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I got basically no sleep, but after sunup while waiting for it to warm up a bit, I investigated the four benches and ended up getting a nap of ~30 min on one of the two not chained to the walls. That's almost a much as I got overnight since sleeping at 13k was a novel experience but not particularly restful. I'm also super curious as to what was removed, as there's a big panel of much newer cement near the window. I was also super curious how I didn't know my jetboil fuel canister was empty - no hot food for me this trip.

The view in the morning was fantastic, so I went out and took a pano while waiting for it to warm up.
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So yeah, still didn't summit. I turned back after PT 13248 because I'm just not in shape to spend over 3 miles above 13k yet.

On the drive out I got as far as the Tigiwon Community House before starting to plan round 3...




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