Mountains Climbed:Mt. of the Holy Cross, 14,005'
Holy Cross Ridge, 13,381'
Pt. 13,248, 13,248'
The Adventure Begins
With just 2 peaks left to complete the Colorado 14ers and my wife being out of town for the weekend, I decided I would make a go at Holy Cross. With the forecast at 60% chance of precip on Sat in the area and 70% on Sunday, I was a bit skeptical of a summit. I decided to go anyway and keep a close eye on the weather. After work Friday afternoon, I quickly gathered my gear and the infamous Baz Agastus and headed for the hills. I got to the trailhead on Friday night and much to my surprise the entire parking lot was full and cars were parking down the sides of the road. About 20 cars back, I found a cozy little place to park my truck and go lights out for the night at around 10:30 with the alarm set for 3:45 AM. I was going to wake up and if the sky was clear, the plan was to make a go at Halo Ridge to Holy Cross. 3:45 Came way too early and I wasn't feeling it. I went back to sleep resolving to the fact that I would still get to hike the standard route. By 5:30, I was finally up. After a quick cup of coffee I was on the trail by 5:45 with my best partner.
Nearing the pass where I was about to descend for almost 1000', I got my first picture of the day.
Dropping over the ridge, I got my first view of the Mountain I was headed for and the weather was very great.
Moving in to the cross creek area, the CFI was hard at work. Thanks guys for all that you are doing down there.
Just out of the creek, I stopped for a quick sip of water, some food, and some sunscreen. My best partner was already seeming to enjoy himself.
In no time at all, we made treeline and were feeling good.
Eventually the mountain started peaking it's head out again.
Higher and higher we rose.
And the summit just kept getting closer and closer.
Baz had to keep waiting on me.
He must have known I had only brought 2 nalgenes of water for the day, so he found some rain left overs from the evening prior. I let him drink until his heart's content because I wasn't sure when the next time we would get to water again where I could pump more to fill the bottles.
3 Quick hours after starting, I made the summit at 8:45 AM and I was staring down the dry cross couloir. We hiked over to the other side and took our first break of the day as we ate some food and had some water. Realizing that it was still pretty early and the weather was looking good, I decided to make a go for Holy Cross Ridge and then re-evaluate there if I would have time to do Halo ridge or just go back the way I came.
Right near the top of the couloir, I spotted these pretty flowers.
Making my way back down the talus, towards Holy cross ridge with the Elk mountains far in the distance. There were clouds but they were moving very very slow.
In no time at all, I made the 13,831 Centennial Holy Cross ridge. I got the self portrait, drank a little more water and watched the droves of people making the summit of Holy Cross. With the weather looking as good as it was, I decided to make a go for Halo ridge. I really wanted to actually see the Cross that William H. Jackson got the famous picture of in 1873. I also was not excited about social hour on the trail or re-climbing the dreaded 1000' on the way out after cross creek. The only thing that I was worried about was that I was down to only a liter of water and I knew there wouldn't be anything on the ridge. Knowing that I do pretty well with minimal water, I decided to go for it.
Wanting to ration the water, I knew moving fast wasn't the right decision. We moved at a casual pace and decided to go over all of the small sub summits on the ridge proper. On the way, I enjoyed the beautiful green of the Tuhare lakes.
And looking back at holy cross.
Coming around, I came to what looked like it would be the biggest obstacle of the day. From the summit of Holy cross, it looked uncertain how the route would go to keep this at second class.
And the beautiful Blue bowl of tears below Notch Mountain and the shelter.
Another look back to pt. 13,768 and the Tuhare Lakes. Funny. Those are green and bowl of tears is blue.
Moving accross, the talus got a little larger. My dog that is usually awesome at scrambling got a little whiney. I checked his pads and they were ok. I think he was starting to get dehydrated so I guided him through. He doesn't ever need help but he likes to be told where to go. If I am right there and telling him it is ok, he will go. If I move on ahead, he would just wait. Normally, when he isn't dehydrated, he just finds another way.
Although we were making good progress, we still had a way to go.
I make the last hill and finally start getting my views of the Cross. Not as awesome without the snow but well worth my trip around the halo.
And the shelter... I was expecting it to be much worse for the wear but it was actually very nice. I would stay a winter night in there.
The trail was very nice over here. And while the Holy Cross trail was very nice even through the boulderfield, this was even nicer. Only problem is that it was way zig zaggy. It seemed to take forever to go down. I passed a nice guy who I had seen earlier that morning on the way up the pass and he had done Notch mountain. He offered me some water and said he had way too much. I shared half a nalgene with the dog which was awesome. About 20 minutes later, we found a little brook still above treeline in the willows and both drank until our hearts content. Baz even laid down in it for a while. The flowers were just beautiful on this side.
The walk down was easy but it seemed to take a while. Finally just after 2PM, we arrived back at the truck. In playing with some settings, I got this cool neon photo of the truck. We headed down and I had some Brew and chow at Pug Ryans in Dillon. I have wanted to go there for a while and it hadn't worked out. Eating alone was kind of lame. I then drove home in the rain back to colorado springs.
Until next time...
See you at the top!
Link to original 14ers.com Trip Report