| Halfway done...
My friend, Mikaela, and I had been longing to do Holy Cross for over two years now, and finally got around to it. Holy Cross is my 27th 14er (half of the standard count 54, to justify the title of this trip report), and Mikaela's 20th. This is also my first trip report.
We chose to backpack in to East Cross Creek to lessen the strain of one long day, and left Denver Friday the 24th at 1:50. We stopped quickly in Vail for Subway and gas and made it to the trail head by 4:00. My '94 Subaru Legacy had no problems on the Tigiwon road. We were on the trail by 4:15, with our rain gear on, as the predicted Friday afternoon storms were already starting to sprinkle. It turns out we missed most of the rain, and the sprinkles at the start of our hike were the worst that we would encounter.
We made it to the top of Halfmoon Pass by 5:15, to be greeted by some nice rumblings of thunder.
From the top of Halfmoon Pass on the way in We hustled down to the switchbacks and made it to the first campsite by 6:00. We ended up at site 4 at 6:10. We set up camp, ate our Subway, and hung our food (advised by some nice gentlemen in Campsite 3). We were asleep by 7:30 (yes, we're early birds).
The pleasant sound of the alarm sounded at 3:45, and after packing some food and grabbing breakfast, we hit the trail by headlamp at 4:30. Both of us enjoy hiking by headlamp and generally do this with any 14er. Through the rest of tree line wasn't that bad, and we were above the trees by 5:10. From there, we could see some headlamps coming over the pass, and assumed they could see us as well. We were slightly slower from here on that we would have liked to be, as Mikaela wasn't feeling well and we were both quite cold. We had just reached the flat part of the ridge before the final push to the summit by sunrise at 6:40.
hints of sunrise
finally, the sun! After that it was all or nothing. We actually found several trail segments and cairns on the final ridge, much to our surprise. Both of us found it easier than part of the lower ridge where we lost the trail (which may have been because of the dark). I summited at 7:26, Mikaela was about ten minutes behind. After several summit shots, water, and food, we headed off the mountain at 8.
Summit shot to the west. Still a little hazy but better than last weekend!
my summit shot, before Mikaela arrived
just a little cold
the traditional Which wich picture
looking south towards the Collegiates
We ran into the owners of the headlamps we had seen over the ridge at the bottom of the final ridge, exchanged some words and kept on our way. We got a little off trail around 12,500 but there were enough people on the actual trail we just made our way back towards them. We were at our campsite at 9:45, broke camp, ate some more food and began the hike out at 10:30. We made good time up the switchbacks, but underestimated the length of the gentle incline from the top of the switchbacks to the top of the pass, which we were at by 11:30. We took a minute or two to talk with the kind gentlemen who had advised us to hang our food the night before.
looking back to Holy Cross on our way out.
We were at the car at 12:20 and on our way a little after 12:30. We debated heading over to try Princeton on Sunday, but after stopping for caffeine and lunch, we both decided we were too tired and it wasn't worth it. The mountain wasn't going anywhere.
Overall, we had tons of fun, checked a major peak off our list, and would definitely recommend the backpack in to attempt Holy Cross!
Also, sorry about the un-rotated pictures. I forgot to rotate them before I uploaded
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):