Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/11/2009
Date Climbed:   08/28/2009
Author:  wooDave
 7 Days in the Holy Cross Wilderness, part I  

Having moved to colorado two months ago, I was ready for my first 14er attempt. Adam flew out from New York with only a couple days to acclimate. Our first trip would be an ambitious one. Seven days hiking a loop around Mount of the Holy Cross followed by a summit attempt over halo ridge. We planned to start at the cross creek trailhead, hike 14 miles over two days to fancy pass, swing around holy cross city ghost town, then hike along the seven sisters lakes over fall creek pass, followed by a night at 13,000 feet at the Notch Mountain Shelter. The next morning we would hike along halo ridge to the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross, camping the last night in the cross creek valley before hiking out over half moon pass on our last day back to Tigiwon Road.

Camping along Tigiwon Road the night before our departure. This was our our puppy Toby's first time in a tent. Next year he will be able to come along for an entire trip-

Starting off along the cross creek trail, packs stuffed full-

Our first glimpse of the holy cross summit, hoping to be on top 5 days later-

The next day we hiked by Reeds Meadow, stopping along the river for a break-



The first two days were mostly along rolling terrain without any big climbs, but we were exhausted from the altititude. Looking up at Holy Cross Ridge several thousand feet above us, we had our doubts if we could make it up there-

The trail eventually opens up into a broad valley which we got a great view of as we climbed into the basin below fancy pass

Exhausted and somewhat nauseous from the altitude we set up camp in a sheltered knoll below fancy pass at 12,000 feet

The view from just outside our tent-

Filtering water nearby

Heading up towards fancy pass the next morning

The view from the top of the pass in a light drizzle

Hiking down the other side of the pass towards fancy lake

Still some nice wildflowers around-

Fancy Lake

After a relaxed lunch break we hiked down to Holy Cross City where we fought off a couple of jeep riders and found shelter during a brief thunder and hail storm-
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We then walked on down the jeep trail, searching for the hunky dory trail head (which was unmarked and not at the location our map indicated.)

Hiking up the fall creek trail

Camp set up near the first of the seven sisters lakes

Adam looking for a good fishing spot

Continuing the next morning by the seven sisters lakes
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Hiking along the meadow below Fall Creek Pass

Taking a break above Lake Constantine

That night we camped near the notch mountain trailhead, doubling back the next morning to filter enough water for two days above treeline. As we began our hike up notch mountain we came across two small streams near treeline. If we had known there was water available there we would have camped nearby, but we didn't want to risk running low on water higher up.

Looking up towards the summit of notch mountain
Higher up, a view of a couple of unnamed lakes

We had expected the 2300 vertical feet climb to take the better part of the day, but apparently we had acclimated somewhat to the elevation by this point and arrived at the shelter by 11:30
The amazing view of holy cross from the shelter
We spent the afternoon hanging out with the crazy pikas-

We were hoping that we might get a close up view of a thunderstorm from the lightening rod protected shelter, but it remained sunny throughout the afternoon.

Later that evening we went for a hike along the notch mountain ridge. Note to self- always carry an extra camera battery when going on a sunset hike. I did manage to get this nice shot looking back at the shelter-

The next morning we woke up to watch the sunrise from 13,224 feet. The haze from the western wild fires made for some spectacular color.

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Halo ridge traverse continued in next trip report...

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Very nice!
09/12/2009 09:54
What a great, relaxed trip around that beautiful area! It made me want to go do more exploring up there...which says a lot, considering the tribulations I endured last time I was up there!

Gotta ask...what‘d you do with the dog while you hiked??


09/13/2009 11:04
my wife took the dog back to denver and then picked us up at the end. Sounds like your guys had a rough trip. i would give it another go, its worth spending a couple nights out there and taking it slow.


Great Report
10/30/2012 21:11
That picture of the Pika is insane! Great pictures all around. Good work

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