Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/11/2007
Date Climbed:   09/09/2007
Author:  Sourdough

 Holy Cross - North Ridge (Half Moon TH)  

This is more of a spot report than a trip report because others have already documented the climb in detail with excellent pictures.

The directions to the trailhead are accurate and easy to follow.

Passenger cars have no difficulty in negotiating the road. There is a latrine at the TH.

Kristina, my firefighter daughter, and I arrived at Half Moon TH in the early evening. We were surprised to find the campground empty. We set up our tent, feasted on MREs for dinner and went to bed early. Sunday morning we struck the tent, had our oatmeal and parked in the TH lot.

By 0550 hours we were on the trail under headlamp illumination. The trail is clear and obvious so headlamps were sufficient. After summiting Half Moon Pass, we were treated to the spectacular sight of Holy Cross in the first light of day. This is the most picturesque mountain I have seen, bumping Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak from Humboldt out of the top spot.
At East Cross Creek (the last place to pump water on the ascent and descent), continue on the trail perpendicular to the creek, not the one to the left that parallels the creek. From the end of the trail (about 11,600 feet) we stayed close to the ridge on the way up. Holy Cross was beautiful as we approached.
The trail is sporadic from there on up. Vistas off the mountain were stunning. Here‘s Lake Patricia.
Here is one of the Tuhare Lakes to the south.
We made the mistake of drifting too far to the west of the ridge on the descent. Having the GPS waypoints of the big cairns helped us get back off the ridge without problem. Hiking up to Half Moon Pass was not bad.
Hiking times
Ascent: 4:20 at a steady pace.
Descent: 3:30.
This was a spectacular hike, fitting for the last of the season and to complete my ascents of the Sawatch Range peaks. Although it was a long day‘s hike, I prefer the way we did it rather than backpacking our tent and sleeping gear into camp at East Creek. Taking that extra weight twice over Half Moon Pass would not have been pleasant.
Bottom Line: I will take friends on this hike again.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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