Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/03/2007
Date Climbed:   09/01/2007
Author:  nomad

 Holy Cross Standard route  

Trip Report Mt. Holy Cross
08/30/07 – 09/01/07

Before I start this TR I want all of you to know I have never written a TR, hell I never wrote a book report, I always copied of the cute girl next to me! So bear with my ignorance and lack of professional terms.

Started vacation at 6am, drove from Omaha, Ne to Salina , ks. To meet up with MtNelson. We had a bite to eat and headed west to Denver, MtNelson wanted to make a deposit at the REI, what a place! I could drop some extra money at in a hurry there! He bought a new GPS and we headed to Minturn. We found Tigiwon Rd. and drove up to the trailhead, We decided to camp at the Half Moon Campground, it was getting late and we were tired of the road at this point. Pitched our tents and paid the $10.00, had a hard time sleeping, the first day at altitude of any sort makes it tough for me (I left at 1250 ft).

Woke up from what little sleep I had at 4am, we had decided we were going to spend the day getting acclimated and getting a few short hikes in. We made breakfast and a couple of backpackers across from us asked if we could follow them down to the first trailhead and shuttle them back, they were doing a three day trip and wanted their car at the lower TH. We broke camp and one of them followed us down, we pulled into the TH and the truck died! Now mtnelson has put 269k on his beloved Chevy that is in darn good shape and we were at a loss as to what happened and how we were going to salvage this to still be able to make the stroll up the hill. After several hours on the phone mtnelson had it set so a friend from Wichita was coming in to trailer the truck home, now we had to figure out how we were getting around for the weekend. We were put in touch with Hertz rental car in Gypsum. We were quoted a fee of $470. (This included a $100 delivery charge to the TH) for the cheapest car over the weekend. Things were not going well at this point! After several more phone calls mtnelson opted for this option. As he was on the phone with them the guy (Scott) put him on hold and came on to say he was waiving the $100 fee and after moving the delivery to Omaha, he gave it to mtnelson for $270. Normally I would not think to put this in any sort of a TR, but as a businessman that hears customer complaints, this guy did a damn good job of making sure I use Hertz when I travel! He picked us up, took us to Gypsum and we were treated excellent by Debra at the desk as well, after a couple of technicalities we were back in business, I headed us back to the TH and we beat feet for Half Moon Pass before dark. We found a campsite in the tree line just over the pass, we opted to camp there so we wouldn't have to hump tents and sleeping bags back up the famed switchbacks on the return route. We were scheduled to meet Ne_Dad, (who was heading in from Omaha) at 4:30 to start for Holy Cross, I slept like a rock.

Woke up at 4am no sign of Ne_Dad at 4:30, we packed up some day gear and killed a little time and decided to head down to Cross Creek , Ne_Dad caught up to us a few minutes later and we headed down the switch backs, excellent views, trail is is great condition as I was heading down, I was contemplating how "good" this was going to feel on my return! There were still many spots left to camp which surprised me this late into Labor day weekend.We filtered water at the bridge and started up the trail. I was sucking wind in about 10 minutes, we had to make frequent stops to get air and keep in mind we were only at 10,500! The going up was slow and taxing on my flatlander lungs, we broke treeline and could clearly see cairns marking the way, there were plenty of Marmots and other fast movers in the rocks watching my progress (or lack of), I wonder how many of them are running odds on who makes it as we go by? We had a small bite to eat and continued up, around 13k mtnelson was not feeling well and starting to slow up, he then made the decision to return, I offered to return with him and He assured me he would be fine and off he went with a couple of meeting points discussed for us on the return, there was enough traffic that any issues on the trail would be noticed fairly early. Ne_Dad and I started up the boulders and I started feeling real good, the summit was in sight and we were motivated to make it, we were concerned about a few clouds that were drifting in, not thunderheads at this point but enough to keep a close eye on it. We had decided that if we seen any indicators that the weather was going to change for the worse, we would head down immediately, Ne_Dad was chased off Longs after getting smacked by hail 10 years ago and remembers the feeling well. We made a push for the last 500 feet and I looked around and realized we were on the summit. What an incredible view!

During Desert Storm I lost a friend in my Scout platoon that was KIA, Sgt David Douthit, he was from Alaska; he used to tell me stories of how beautiful it was on the peaks and in the wilderness, this was the bug that was planted by him, I promised the ones in my crew that gather at my house each year that I would log him in at the summit and get a photo of our flag on top.

After the 10 minutes on the summit we started heading down, the boulder hopping was taking its toll on Ne_Dad and me. We stopped and had a bite to eat and the rain clouds were gathering, I could make out a few people coming down and hope they had the speed in them to get down in time. We reached treeline and stopped for a break and ran into Hamid. Hamid was a pleasant addition to our group, we were tired and his bright approach was motivating for me. We gradually made our way down to the creek, at this point we stopped for a water refill/treatment and made ready for the last climb of the trip. We started our climb back up the switch backs, they were actually a bit refreshing after the descent and the toll it took on our knees. After a few hundred feet the refreshing climb was now more laborious. We arrived at our camp site, met mtnelson who was happily awaiting us, he looked much better, we broke camp and headed down Half Moon Pass and arrived at the TH tired but happy.

I must say this was a beautiful hike, make sure you have a good pair of shoes/boots and plenty of water. A must do hike.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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