Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  01/10/2021
Date Climbed:   08/06/2020
Author:  yrastorza
 "I am the Tortoise...Coo coo ca-choo"   

A couple of qualifiers to start: I'm 61, live in Florida, and have a few orthopedic issues. This was the 2nd time up HC via the North Ridge. Our 1st hike was 3 years ago on 7/8/2017 when my wife, son, daughter, and sister opted to overnight at the campground at East Cross Creek.

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Now, having done both a 2-day hike & making it in a day; my preference is not to camp. We were not used to sleeping in a tent. Having 5 people in a 4-man tent and lugging the cargo up and back was not fun.

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It did make for a fun evening; my son set up his hammock, although fires are not allowed it was nice to relax in the forest that evening. Despite the fact that none of us got much sleep, we didn't start as early as we would of liked. Leaving our ten up, we left the camp for HC.

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The shade of the forest was nice but soon gone as we trudged up the North Ridge. Having a slower pace, I sent my 2 kids & sister ahead and they made the summit just as we were coming into the traverse before the final scramble. My wife & I opted to forgo the final 500 feet and turned back.

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We arrived at the camp, all tired and took a rest before we packed up our gear and endured the switchbacks with a heavy pack and the afternoon sun.

Fast forward 3 years and I have the feeling that my clock is ticking. We woke around 2:30am, arrived at the trailhead and started our hike around 4am. The dirt road was longer than I remembered and more than once, wondered if we had missed the turn.

The hike to Half Moon pass was nice, the weather crisp sky full of dark clouds and it started raining as we reached the top of the pass. As we descended into campground the weather cleared. It was a slow and steady slog up out of the forest and the longest part was along the ridge where the trails goes from dirt & rocks to scree and then a boulder field.

Truly beautiful views throughout and it is a treat to look down into the Bowl of Tears. I stashed my pack at the bottom of the scramble and we made our way up through an only sometimes discernible route. It was encouraging to see the many cairns. There are 3 that are quite distinguished; larger than the others and built around a large, seemingly stained, log. I took it as a favorable sign, encouraging me that we had made it this far and the summit was near.

As we were nearing the top we questioned those descending about a route and they confirmed what I had read on this site, that it is better not to waste time route-finding, but just to carefully make our way up.

It was a special joy for me to reach the top; definitely a sense of relief, accomplishment, and even more special to achieve this together with my wife.


We spent about 30 minutes at the top talking with a group of 3 gals from Houston, taking in panorama, and having a bite to eat. Each part of the downward journey seemed longer than we had remembered coming up. The most remarkable part was once we here half way through the forest, before East Cross Creek, we were approached by a mountain goat. I had never seen one that was below tree line. This was a curious fellow and followed us, coming within 20 feet, for half an hour as we descended.

Once we made the campground, we rested a bit before the hike out. The switchbacks were not as bad as I had anticipated, likely because I kept rejoicing that I did not have a heavy pack on my back. We made it back to the car by 6pm

It was a long (14 hours!) but fulfilling day and a sort of completion by summiting on our 2nd hike of HC.

I realize that in my title I changed the Beatle lyric to that from the Paul Simon tune. But since "Goo goo g'joob" is meant to be an epithet for Humpty Dumpty & "Koo Koo Kachoo" has the more optimistic connotation of "everything is good", it was a better fit.

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Comments or Questions

01/16/2021 06:32
And special kudos to your wife! What a sweet summit kiss!

HC is one of my favorite peaks for a variety of reasons, and I think only a few other 14ers match the overall beauty and scenery it offers. The last time I was there was in 2015 when I was 65 so you still have time to climb it again. ;>) But if you ever do get the opportunity, I would recommend going up the east side to the Notch shelter first. The sight of HC across the basin at dawn is simply breathtaking!


Nice job!
01/15/2021 13:38
Holy Cross is a special peak, I am glad you were able to enjoy it with your wife. As stated by MtnHub the trip to Notch shelter is indeed phenomenal and worth a visit sometime!

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