Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  10/15/2010
Date Climbed:   10/14/2010
Author:  shaunster_co
 Mt of the Holy Cross - Snow and ice on talus  

Was a bluebird day on 10/14/10. Left the Half Moon camping area at 4:30am via the Half Moon Pass standard route. Began seeing snow (aside that in the shaded trees along parts of the trail near Cross Creek) at around timberline. The snow increased as I pushed up the talus. By twilight I was at the last large cairn in the talus just before the Angelica Coulier. I made summit at exactly 9:32am. I could see Maroon Bells and Sopris, as well as Elbert & Massive from the summit. A pica shared my enthusiasm for spotting all the other peaks. Picas have a way of chiming in their two cents when you solo summit.

Due to the snow melting and conditions I opted to return via the Halo Ridge route. I will say that the north & east sides of the ranked 13ers along that route are tricky to navigate right now. There is just enough snow on parts of them to make the talus hop a real pain. Just past PT 13373 the cornices have begun to form - take caution on these. I post holed through them which was an exercise in 'unfun'. The trickiest talus was at PT 13243. Ice has formed over the whole extent and navigating the large boulders was yet again 'unfun'.

Mountain goats spotted right after PT 13373 that gracefully descended into the Bowl of Tears like it was nothing.

The route from Notch shelter down to Fall Creek TH is dry and nice. I would say this is a faster route (than Half Moon) right now since it gets more sun on the shoulder season snow. Decided to stay at Notch Shelter until nightfall and made the final descent. I have to say - those new JetBoils are amazing. Even at 13k+ while at the shelter and made a quick cup of hot stuff in under a minute. The new model that just came out has much improved! Had a cup of java at the shelter and watched the sun go down beyond Holy Cross. Only thing that was missing was someone to share it with. Hypoxia hit me on the traverse across Halo Ridge. It is not like hopping talus in the warmer months - almost all the rocks had snow and ice. You could easily twist an ankle or worse right now. Especially if you are carrying a pack full of gear - which you better be this time of year up there. ;)

This is a fast trip report, but wanted to give a quick update and photos for anyone heading out this weekend to scan around for James Nelson. I would not recommend the Halo Ridge route unless you are an experienced hiker. There is excessive ice and snow in the talus that can make this route sketchy at best. Best to all of you headed out this weekend to that area!


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

10/16/2010 00:47
Thanks for the update

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