Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  09/26/2010
Date Climbed:   09/25/2010
Author:  Cheeseconey
 Tough Top Mt of the Holy Cross  

Outstanding day hiking Half Moon Trail up to Mount of the Holy Cross.

Arrived at 6am in Minturn. One gas station in town opens promptly at 6am. Good place to pick up last-minute supplies and use a flush toilet before heading up to the trail head. Tigiwon road from US 24 to the trailhead is potholed, but can be driven with a passenger car with reasonable clearance. 4WD not required. Restroom available at "Community House" near the bottom of the trail (house was closed for the season) and at trailhead. Parking area at trailhead (end of the road) was nearly full (at 630am), so we expected a big crowd on the trail. However, we came across only a dozen or so parties the entire day. Camping and hunting and other trails are popular in the area.

Half Moon Trail starts around 10,000 and climbs steeply to the first ridge around 11,000, then long and not so steep back down to the creek and back to 10,000 feet. The trail is well marked in this section. Climb long and steady through the trees until breaking though treeline and look up at what you got yourself into; an unbroken field of boulders from just above treeline to the summit. Bring gloves to protect your hands. Recommend long pants for this section. Slow and steady climb to the top, following the sometimes hard to see karens (sp?) along the way. There's no route better than the other, so just pick your way up to the top.

Save some strength (and water) for the final climb out. Took us 7 hours up, 4 hours back at a good, steady pace.

PS: Great BBQ joint in Minturn. Perfect for after a hike.

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