Mountaineering – Mount of the Holy Cross, A Half Marathon Hike, CMC

CMC Group Summit Holy Cross Ridge
My CMC posse on the summit of Holy Cross Ridge (13,831)
L to R: Bobby, Jane, Clare, Fred, Marshall, and Andreas

CMC Group Summit Mt of the Holy Cross
And an hour later, here we are on Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005 ft)
L to R: Bobby, Fred, Jane, Marshall, Clare, and Andreas

On Friday, I led a Colorado Mountain Club trip on a half marathon loop hike in the Holy Cross Wilderness. With a beautiful weather forecast and an early start, we were bound to have a great day. I was excited about the trip as I had been ruminating about it for months. I was also really psyched to be on the trail with this posse; they are talented, fit, and superb mountaineers!

Our Route:
1. Departure from the Halfmoon Campground at 4:25am.
2. Started hiking south on the Fall Creek Trail at 4:40am.
3. We turned right and headed west up the Notch Mountain trail, hooking up with the Halo route at ~6:00am.
4. Arrive at Notch Mountain Shelter at 8am.
5. We continued heading south and then west to Holy Cross Ridge at 10:50am.
6. From there, we went northeast to Mount of the Holy Cross at 11:50am.
7. Then, we took the standard North Ridge route back to Halfmoon Trailhead, finishing at 4:30pm.

Mt of the Holy Cross Panorama from Notch Shelter
We hiked 13.8 miles, with 5,400 ft of gain, in 12 hours (including several long breaks).

A Gore-geous View
An hour into our hike, along the Fall Creek Trail, and we were treated to this Gore-geous sunrise!

First Stream Crossing on Fall Creek Trail
We had to navigate a couple small stream crossings. When it’s dark, this can be tricky!

Ascending Notch Mountain Switchbacks
Ascending the Notch Mountain Switchbacks. They were very pleasant and the trail was in lovely condition!

Andreas and Bobby in Notch Mountain Shelter
A fuzzy picture of Andreas and Bobby in the Notch Mountain Shelter.

Clare Reading Beta on Pt 13,248
Andreas took this great picture of me reading beta, while we were on Pt. 13,248.

Andreas and Marshall on Halo Ridge Route
Andreas and Marshall on the Halo Ridge Route. The Notch Mountain Shelter is in the background, to the left of Marshall (wearing the black top).

Foot Dangle from Halo Route
My Foot Dangle from Halo Ridge. The bowl of tears is starkly blue, about 1200 feet below me.

Clare Ascending Pt 13,373
Another cool picture of me, by Andreas, as I make my way up Pt. 13,373.

Jane and Bobby Climbing Holy Cross Ridge
Jane and Bobby working together on the final push up the Holy Cross Ridge. Everybody had fun scrambling up to the Holy Cross Ridge. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. Super fun!

Marshall Ascending Holy Cross Ridge
Marshall ascending Holy Cross Ridge. Happy trip participants; what more could a trip leader desire?!?

Holy Cross Ridge from Halo Route
Everybody climbing the last bit of Holy Cross Ridge, taken at 10:20am. If you look closely, you can see our bright parkas/backpacks which stand out among the grey piles of talus.

Mt of the Holy Cross from Holy Cross Ridge
Our next destination, Mount of the Holy Cross (taken from Holy Cross Ridge).

Notch Mountain from Holy Cross Ridge
Looking back at Notch Mountain from Holy Cross Ridge. We’ve come a long way!

Pt 13,768 from Holy Cross Ridge
The Bicentennial, Pt. 13768 from Holy Cross Ridge. I’d really like to climb this one someday! I wonder if any of those couloirs are fun?

Andreas on Top of Holy Cross Ridge
Andreas on the summit of Holy Cross Ridge. Finally, somebody else who likes to take a lot of photos!

Clare on Holy Cross Ridge Summit
And, of course, Andreas got a picture of me on Holy Cross Ridge…Yay!

Cliffs on North Side of Holy Cross Ridge
We were all impressed by the couloirs and cliffs on the north side of Holy Cross Ridge. The next picture will help you understand what I’m pointing at…

Looking Back at Holy Cross Ridge

Mt of the Holy Cross From South
The way forward, up the south side of Mt of the Holy Cross.

Clare, Marshall, and Fred on Mt of the Holy Cross
Rest Break on the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross

Navigating Cross Creek
Navigating Cross Creek. It’s easier to do this sort of thing in daylight! The mosquitos were really bad, but we were all prepared as folks from 14’ers had given fair warning.

Last View of Mt of the Holy Cross
A last view of Mt of the Holy Cross, taken from the Halfmoon Pass Trail. What an amazing hike!

Holy Cross Half Marathon CMC Trip Success
Jane and I create a Trekking Pole Arch to celebrate our success and it’s Marshall’s turn to pass through.

Happy CMC Trip Leader at Half Moon Trailhead
What a trip leader does when she gets everybody back to the Trailhead, with no injuries. And, even with a really arduous day, everybody still had a great time!

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