Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  07/25/2010
Date Climbed:   07/24/2010
Author:  greenwok
 Holy Cross...Holy Cairns! [Part I of II]  

Mt of the Holy Cross July 24, 2010
Summit Elevation: 14,005 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 10,320 feet
Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
Round-trip Length: 11.50 miles
Trailhead: Half Moon (Tigiwon)
Cimbers: Kent (greenwok), Michael (MWB), Doug
Time: Depart TH 4:20 AM, Summit - Doug 8:40 AM, Michael 9:20 AM, Kent 10:30 AM Depart Summit 11:00 AM, Return TH 3:05 PM

After monitoring weather all week to include NOAA as well as Holy Cross web cams, we were delighted to see the "Snow Showers" drop out of the forecast, and the low pressure push further south in the state (sorry about that those who had plans for hikes in the San Jauns). To that point I was greeted by a message from Lisa (tridehiker) Friday indicating she and Annie had plans to hike the Crestones however the weather down south was forcing them to scrap those plans and look for an alternate hike, and asked if they could join. I welcomed that and they made their plans to drive up from Telluride, and meet us.

Doug, Michael and I departed Colorado Springs Friday shortly after 5PM, and after a pit stop at Chipotle were on our way out Hwy 24, took 9 into Breck then on up to I-70 into Vail. Unloaded the gear and made a late-night stroll through Vail Village - they have really made a great deal of progress on redevelopment of the Village and I look forward to a retrun trip just to hang out in Vail for a weekend.

Hitting the rack just before midnight, the 2:30 AM alarm came quickly, and we were on the road by 3AM to make our way to the Holy Cross Half Moon Trail Head ~ 1hr away. There were plenty of cars along Tigiwon Road already so we knew we would have plenty of company on the hike. We met Lisa and Annie, suited up, and were on the trail at 4:20 AM or as Michael likes to say "Dark-Thirty"

We were blessed with a blue bird day weather wise - calm to very light winds, mild temps, and mostly clear skies turning only slightly cloudy by mid-day!

> Start Early i.e. 3AM-4AM it is a long hike
> Consider camping at Tigiwon Creek the night before and even the night after - that ~900 ft of elevation gain on the way out is every bit as "unpleasant" as Bill indicates in the Route Notes...and then some! I was telling myself that since I have climbed the Manitou Springs Incline a number of times, and it being 2,000 ft elev over 1 mi, I can certainly handle 900 ft of gain! Well it's a bit different after summitting Holy Cross!

All said this was the most beautiful 14er hike thus far, and also the most difficult. It is a big hike!

With that, I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Enjoy the gallery!

At the Trail Head L-R: Doug, Michael, Kent (Thanks for the photo Lisa!)

What the forest looks like at 4:20 AM!




Holy Cross just before dawn

Alpenglow on Holy Cross

We met Jay, John, Joe, and Doug #2 en route - L-R: Jay, John, Joe, Kent, Doug C, Michael (Doug #2 taking photo)

View of Holy Cross summit from the Ridge

View of the final pitch to Holy Cross summit from the ridge

If you look very closely you can see climbers on the ridge and summit - they appear as small as ants

Holy Cross Summit L-R: Doug, Michael, Kent

For Kevin!

Kevin Hayne Memorial Card I was holding

Looking down onto the Bowl of Tears

The Elk Range in the distance from Holy Cross Summit

The Gore Range from Holy Cross Summit - Rumor is Al invented this about the time he invented the internet!

Grays and Torreys Peaks in the distance from Holy Cross Summit

Views from Holy Cross Summit

A look back at the Talus boulders we had to navigate all the way from the ridge to the summit!

Kent on the ridge with Bowl of Tears backdrop

Cornice on the ridge

Views along our descent

Hikers enjoying lunch out on the point!

Our descent...

Our descent....

Our descent...

Our descent...

Alpine Flowers at peak bloom!

Alpine Flowers

To continue see Holy Cross...Holy Cairns (Part II)

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Great Day - great weather
07/26/2010 00:42
Greenwok - enjoyed your review! You passed me and my buddy just at the final incline around 9 am. You guys were a bit quicker! I was particularly impressed with your memorial to Kevin Hayne. My youngest son goes to the High School he attended.

What a great day of weather for a long hike!


Beautiful Day on Holy Cross!
07/26/2010 02:01
Nice work Kent! Brings back some very fond memories from my Holy Cross trip last August. The color of the water in the Bowl of Tears is amazing. Looking forward to hiking together before the summer season is over.


Looks like you guys had a great time.
07/26/2010 04:12
Thanks for posting your report and pictures of your day. You've got some really nice photos...and now memories of a beautiful area.


Great seeing you guys up there!
07/28/2010 14:31
Kent - We ran into you guys on the summit. We had about 20 guys from Band of Brothers men's ministry summiting that day. Thanks for taking the time to add to the Kevin Hayne memorial. What an amazing day that God gave us on the 24th on top of Mt of the Holy Cross!


re: Great seeing you guys up there!
07/28/2010 18:07
@bandofbrothersomaha - Indeed I remember! Thanks for connecting. It truly was a beautiful day. Drop me a PM as I get to Omaha every trip likely Sep. KG

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