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 Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
 Post Date:  08/15/2011
 Date Climbed:   08/09/2011
 Posted By:  pioletski

 Skiing the Halo   


Skiing and Mushroom Hunting in the HCW



First, the disclaimer. TR purists and 14er nazis may as well skip this one. We not only didn't summit, we didn't even make a goal of it - the purpose of this TR is to entertain, and to show some pictures of HC from lesser-known angles. We were looking for the best ski run remaining in the area. Potential targets included the Cross, the Angelica, the Teardrop, and a nice couloir that drops from the southernmost part of the Halo Ridge to the Bowl of Tears. The latter looked to be the best.

The difficulty with Holy Cross this year is that Tigiwon Road is closed for logging. Fortunately one is still allowed up it on a mountain bike. The loggers have some fearsome looking machinery, but they were friendly and seemed to be having a good time, with the truck drivers stopping to pick raspberries along the road, so we didn't feel like we were in anyone's way.

We employed the now-traditional baby trailers to carry our gear up the road. This is easier that riding with a full pack, but not by much. Here's Pioletski at the trailhead:

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Photo: Gerlinde


Grant arriving:

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Gerlinde ready to go:

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We hiked over Half Moon Pass and were greeted by the north face of Holy Cross. Right away we crossed Angelica off the list...

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Approaching the Lake Patricia bench, we got a little off route and were rewarded with a patch of chanterelles. (Sorry, I'm not at liberty to say exactly where. Besides, we picked it clean.) We watched the moonrise...

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... and the sunset...

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... and barely had daylight to set up camp.

The next morning was clear and perfect. Gerlinde's breakfast was also perfect, being Belgian:

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We waded through fields of wildflowers...

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... and scrambled over boulders and talus, approaching the Bowl of Tears:

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From our perspective the Cross looked melted out just below the horizontal arm; besides, the snow looked runneled and rough, so we crossed it off as well.

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At the Bowl of Tears, our chosen run hove into view:

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We also had a good look up toward the Teardrop Couloir, which looked a little sparse:

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A closer look at our couloir. (If anyone knows its name I'd be interested to hear it.) The snowfield continues behind the moraine to looker's right, down to a tiny lake at the valley floor.

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Southeast side of Holy Cross. I bet there is a fun Class 3/4 ascent to be done somewhere up there:

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Grant hiking up on nice firm corn snow:

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And myself. By this time Gerlinde had decided that she just wasn't feeling it today and headed back to camp:

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Views on the ascent included Gray's and Torrey's over the shoulder of Notch Mountain:

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The Bowl of Tears and the Gore Range:

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And from the ridge (l to r), Pacific, Atlantic and Fletcher behind Point 13,373:

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There were also some tempting-looking lines in the next valley to the south, past the Tuhare Lakes. Gerlinde calls these the Seven Sisters. I know that a chain of lakes yet another valley south has that name - again, if anyone cares to weigh in with some HCW geography, I'm all ears:

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Self-timer shot on the Halo Ridge...

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and then it was time to ski!

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Photo: Grant


Sunshine and perfect corn snow...

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Photo: Grant


... made it totally worth a 2 day hike for one run!

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We were able to ski about 900 vertical feet...

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... before the pond skimming started. Earlier in the season you could probably stay to skier's right and drop all the way to the Bowl of Tears.

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So we looked back up at our tracks...

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... noticed someone's artistic statement on the shore of the Bowl...

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... and tiptoed through the tulips once again.

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By this time it was rather late (but not too late for picking wild mushrooms). As Gerlinde observed, all this effort is worth it for a sack of chanterelles, even if you don't ski!

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Thanks for reading, and Grant and Gerlinde, thanks for coming out to play!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (6)
rickinco123



Nice Tracks!     2011-08-15 15:17:45
May I ask approximately where you found the Chantrelles?


telerina13

Where oh where?     2011-08-15 16:59:40
MMMM...rickinco123, mushrooms ought to be found by pure luck or shear determination. We can give you a tip though-they are in the Holy Cross Wilderness!
Thanks honey for another adventure and happy anniversary. Maybe surfing next year hein.


Carl


Wow     2011-08-16 09:22:55
Can't believe you went all the way in there just to see what you could find. I'm impressed. Glad it worked out well for you three. And I agree, towing a trailer is only marginally easier than riding with a pack.


pioletski


Hey Carl -     2011-08-16 12:16:56
actually I knew that couloir was in, it's visible from the Lion's Head rock in Minturn. Just didn't know what else was skiable. Congrats on Mont Blanc btw.

@rickinco123 - sorry bud, I'd lose my girlfriend if I told you any closer than in the HCW. Get out and look around though, it's looking like another good year.


Dancesatmoonrise


Unending Spring...     2011-08-17 23:27:21
A true die-hard, my friend!

Yes, take the poor girl surfing next year, would ya?



lodgling


August turns     2011-10-04 09:56:51
Nice August turns pioletski and friends! I caught a glimpse of the cross this weekend and thought I'd see if anyone had been up there recently. Wouldntchaknowit pioletski's been up for some hard earned turns. Great stuff. Photo 18 is great recon -- I'd love to get a larger copy if you would . . .



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