Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  07/12/2010
Date Climbed:   07/10/2010
Author:  jfrenzen

 Holy Cross-Halo Ridge  

I am a 14er newbie, and this was my first attempt. We had a group of 7 guys, several who have climbed many 14ers in Colorado. I was naive to say the least.

We left at 4am from the Fall River trailhead. We hiked for about 2 hours using our headlamps, and enjoying the rather easy trail. The sunrise was beautiful.

We counted 44 switchbacks up Notch Mountain. They became tiresome, but still not overly strenuous. The nice weather and amazing sunrise was motivating.

Notch Mountain shelter in about 3 hours from the trailhead. The end of the pleasantries.

Because this was in store. The trail ends, there are very few cairns and it is miles and miles of bouldering ahead. Three 13K peaks stand in the way of the base of Mt. Holy Cross....the last before Holy Cross is a mere 169 feet shy of being a 14er itself. *TIP* Do NOT feel the need to summit each of these. You can cut over and avoid the actual summit of these, which is definitely shorter and much less strenuous. Good shoes with firm sole and ankle support is a must here. One wrong step = broken ankle and puts you in severe trouble.

The back side of point #3 along the journey.....felt great to finally get to the base of the summit we came for.


Took us 7 hours and 15 minutes to summit taking the Halo Ridge route.

If you go back down the North Ridge route, STAY TO THE RIGHT. I had read that before, and it came into play in our group as well. The rain came in like clockwork at 12:30ish, but wasn't too bad. The last 1000 foot climb wasn't too bad, but after 12 hours of hiking any uphill trails were unwelcomed.

Took us a total of 13:26 for the total trip. A very, very, very long, tough day for a first timer. However, I felt the thrill of victory and am planning my next trip.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Very Nice pictures
07/14/2010 00:51
That picture of the Notch Mountain Shelter is probably the best I have ever seen of it. Perfect morning light. The second picture is really nice as well, taken from a nice perspective.

Honestly after doing this route on your FIRST 14er I think you will likely be pretty underwhelmed by the effort required on most others.


Thank you.
07/14/2010 13:56
Thanks Randal....I really liked that photo of the shelter too.

I‘ve heard a lot of comparisons between Holy Cross and I‘ve got that on my list in the future, but first I think I‘m gonna tackle some of the ”easier” and less intimidating routes.


End of Pleasantries is Right!
07/27/2010 14:46
Thanks for the TR. We did Longs this past Saturday and then the Halo-Ridge route on MHC on Sunday, only in the opposite direction that you did. Getting to the summit of MHC was pretty straight-forward, but our expectations were not properly set for the amount of boulder hopping (2-3 hours) that we had to get through after that. It was Ponderous (with a capital ”P”), to say the least.
Although mileage and our times were almost identical between Longs Keyhole route and this route, this just seemed much longer. The views were pretty, but we couldn't enjoy them much because we had to focus so much on the getting through the boulders and it took longer than we expected and we were getting worried about storms. Maybe time will mellow my feelings about the Halo Ridge route, but suffice to say, it's not on my list of favorite routes.

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