Mt. of the Holy Cross  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-18, By: LePistoir
Info: If not completely buried, the skintrack is now there. Be careful stepping off it though because you will go to the bottom, even with skins/snowshoes. There are patches of bulletproof crust as well. I skinned from Hwy 24 on snowmobile packed road with some skintrack shortcuts. The rest of the way to Cross creek was generally fine as long as I could stay on the old snowshoe track. From camp, the old tracks helped all the way to treeline. I stashed skis there but might recommend using flotation (ski crampons necessary) all the way to the turn from flat ridge to summit pyramid at 13430'. There is a mostly continous strip of snow at the edge of the ridge that provides relatively smooth and navigable terrain vs the rock hopping or postholing at random intervals of the snow-covered trail. The speed of descending on skis completely justifies the handful of times you need to dismount to portage over a break in the snowcover. Skiing down from half-moon pass was generally settled pow or mixed crusts and took about 15 minutes. The skins are necessary for the first mile of road back toward the highway, but from there, it was just a long, long schuss down the road. Thanks to all who packed the road and trail before me this winter. 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-03, By: arnavxv
Info: Attempted Holy Cross, wanted to do as a two night trip. Pulled a sled on 01/01 to the end of Tigwon Rd. Only the first half mile or so had snowmobile traffic. After that I was following a skin track, and soon starting 9,500' I was breaking trail. Camped a quarter mile down the holy cross trail. Next morning when I woke up, someone had come during the night and broken a trail to a bit past half moon pass, very grateful. I soon followed that, but at around 11,200ish after the pass. the trail that was broken went in a different direction from the trail. I followed it for half a mile downhill before realizing, and turned around. I then started to travel on the proper summer trail (shorter mileage, less gain), until I reached a few sketchy avy slopes I would have to cross from about 11,100' to 10,800'. I then realized the other climber took the detour to avoid these slopes (also see his trip report little while ago). At this point, I had done too much backtracking and even if I had went for Holy Cross, I wouldn't have had enough water to make the return trip. I turned around, packed up camp, and sledded back to tigwon rd. Thankfully, now about half the road was snowmobile packed. Also, snow was terrible. You're postholing to your knees in snowshoes because with every step the weak layer collapses. 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-03, By: Will_E
Info: Summitted Holy Cross today. The snowmobiles are not running all the way to the trailhead, and the Tigiwon House is closed and locked. The snowmobile track went up the road about 4 miles. From there, there was a track from a camper that was pulling a sled. I started without snowshoes, but eventually (I think around mile 6) put them on. From the start of the TH, there was a short trench to where the aforementioned camper was set up. I trenched beyond that point, much of the snow was very deep. I trenched to the right just before the trail heads left beyond Half Moon Pass, to avoid the avy danger there. I don't always make a great trench, but this one's quality work. I was in snowshoes well past treeline. From there to the final ridge it was a bit annoying, there's a lot of snow up high, and not a lot of rocks poking through, so a fair amount of postholing. 
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Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-08, By: pcj127
Info: Conditions as described in previous post 11/5. Storm blew in by the afternoon and evening, should be at least a few new inches of snow above treeline by Sunday. 
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Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-05, By: RWSchaffer
Info: Snow covers much of the trail, but it is generally only a few inches deep. Spikes were very useful for the climb to Half Moon Pass, which is well packed, and occasionally useful thereafter. Gaiters were useful for deeper pockets, mid-calf, above timberline. Floatation would have been useless. Existing tracks follow the summer trail faithfully for about a mile beyond the creek crossing. Then they begin to loose the trail, with several tracks taking separate routes to the ridge crest. Once on the ridge crest, most tracks again follow the summer trail (pictured). Most but not quite all of the summer trail has at least one boot track on it, though it will take some care to determine which boot track to follow. 
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Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-15, By: jasongraves99
Info: Not enough snow to need microspikes or an axe. It was cold and windy as balls though 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-30, By: Rex_Grant
Info: Trail was dry and clear of snow the entire way up. Very windy and a little smoky/hazy on top but still stunning vistas. Route finding is pretty difficult once you get to the very top but even off trail, the rock field is pretty manageable (even with a dog). That 1K of elevation gain on the way back tho... There were several dispersed campsites along the road up. Slept in my car about a mile from the TH but there were plenty of folks sleeping in their cars at the TH. 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: cvbuffs
Info: Windy day to get to the top, but no snow or traction needed. Trail is in great condition with nearly no route finding needed up until the very top, which becomes a bit of a choose your own adventure scramble if you happen to lose the trail for a minute. But there are well marked posts to guide you. There is a stream if you need water for the final ~2.75 mile climb back up the pass and to the lot to wrap up the day. The final 1000+ ft of climbing after the end of an already long hike is a slog, but should take most people around 45 minutes to reach the top of the pass, and from there it's all downhill. Roughly 6 hours round trip. 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-24, By: peterlarson13
Info: Minimal/no snow. Route was clearly marked. 
1
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-20, By: seayachter
Info: Dry all around, definitely summer conditions. Windy and cold on the summit. This is a great route/peak, could be my favorite in the Sawatch. 
 
Route: North Ridge - Halo Ridge Loop
Posted On: 2020-09-20, By: lvlivingston
Info: Wow... this one is underrated. We hiked from the Half Moon Trailhead on Friday afternoon around 3pm to the camping sites. It's about 4 miles to the campground area. The sites are in amazing condition and the water is flowing in the creek to refill your bladder. It's perfect to start the North Ridge trail for the 15 mile loop. We started hiking from the campground at 3am Saturday morning and reached the summit around 7:30am. A few clouds, but mostly under the stars and very little wind. From the summit, we could see the Halo Ridge and couldn't resist. While the route description says it's three 13ers, mentally, you should prepare for 6 more "ascents" if you stick to the top of the ridge. It's definitely more easy class 3 scrambling most of the Halo Ridge, but extremely safe in good conditions with only 2 short 3 foot strips that are truly "exposed" and only 6 feet wide. No snow, avoidable snow the entire way! We did the counterclockwise direction, and would definitely recommend it because of the location of the campground, and the ability to rest for longer at the end of the loops push with the gorgeous cross panorama at the Lightning Shelter's grassy lounge area. The 30 switchbacks on the way down are in amazing conditions (thank you trail crew!!) and the last 5 miles were a piece of cake as 99% of it is downhill. Would love to do this hike again in the other direction maybe during wildflower season. Also, we didn't see any mountain spiders, so no stress Enjoy!! 
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: GiveMeMtns
Info: Hiked on 9/18/2020. No snow on the trail, but I always carry microspikes in case. A fellow hiker pointed out that the yellow tree posts show the general way to descend down (very helpful!). Needed much more water than I usually do. 
 
Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: climbskiyogi
Info: Took the North Ridge up and Halo Ridge down. No snow up to the summit of Holy Cross, and just a little bit of snow along Halo Ridge - but easily avoidable. Took plenty of breaks and clocked in right under 12 hours RT. Make sure you have plenty of time & good weather. Bring lots of sunscreen & water for the ridge! My dog did this one with me but like someone else reported, you'll need to be mindful of the lines you take to protect their paws. Only saw 2 other people on the ridge & a few people on the way up to MHC. Beautiful day! 
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Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-13, By: Will_E
Info: Did the Halo ridge loop, not much snow, and what is there isn't hard to get around. Also did unnamed bicentennial 13,748, same deal, easily avoidable snow. 
4
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-12, By: salmanalsaif
Info: Vast majority of people I saw Saturday 9/12 did not have any traction whatsoever. I wore a single microspike at the beginning of the intermediate descent (~1.5 miles from the TH) just to quicken the pace early morning (shaded areas). On the way back that ice was mostly gone. May benefit from traction near the summit for descent, but I wouldn't stress it too much. I went without it much of the day, and felt I could get away without it if I wanted. Perfect day for a hike, went all the way with a running t-shirt and light hiking pants (in hindsight tights/running shorts would've worked if one can tough out the early shaded miles). Forecast said a high of 45 degrees, light breeze, felt a touch warmer. Road to TH is clear (ranger said people are not supposed to park on the side of the road near the TH, although no signs say otherwise so just keep that in mind). 
 
Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-08, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Up Halo Ridge down standard North Ridge. Great trail the whole way and easy to follow in the dark to the shelter. Long day and scrambling along the ridge. Steep up Pt. 13,373 (2nd bump on ridge) - pick your line and go - followed by the fun false summits of HCR. Easy to get over to MHC from HCR. Plenty of people on a Sunday of a holiday weekend on the 14er summit. Didn't see anyone until the saddle between HCR and MHC. Down standard North Ridge was uneventful but great trail with lots of cairns. 1k gain back up Half Moon Pass was a slog. 
2
 
Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-08, By: sailingstar22
Info: ***This report is from prior to the forecasted snow. We did the standard route up (3:45hr) and Halo Ridge (5:15hr) down. There is not a trail, but the route is very straightforward (just follow the ridge); BUT, I want to caution on a few fronts - 1) it takes a long time and is very slow going (even for astute boulderers) despite the fact you can see the entire route from the start and finish; 2) Be mindful of incoming weather, the ridge offers few places to duck out 3) dogs can do this route, but it's a long day: bring tons of water (4-5L), do careful route finding for them, and be mindful of their paw pads. 
1
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-26, By: beau730
Info: The entire route up until the last quarter mile was easily followed and well maintained. The last quarter mile is all scrambling and can be done slowly and surely. Only saw 6 people the whole day. The smoke from the fires wasn't too bad either 
6
 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-23, By: laffycaffi
Info: We intended on taking the standard route, but accidentally ended up on Halo Ridge. At 2.5 miles up I had to drop a deuce in the woods and my buddy Jim went around the corner to wait, looked at his GPS and realized we were headed the wrong direction. we figured we could have stayed on the trail but didn't want to make any more careless assumptions so we went back, adding 5+ miles to our journey. Pretty demoralizing. Ended up for 17.65 miles instead of 12 RT. The trail however is incredibly cairned with these gigantic 6 foot high cairns. Youd have to be a real dumby to get off course. Kudos to who ever built them all. The trail is almost too manicured up to the final pitch. Everything is solid. Nothing sketchy here. Everyone mentions that you must regain 1000 vertical feet on your way back. I dont know what the big deal is. It seriously only felt like 980 vertical feet, but whatever. ;) Overall a great day on the trails. I was glad I brought a water filtration pump. 2L wasn't enough for me and I'm traditionally a pretty light drinker. The creek before that final 1000ft ascent on our way back was happily utilized. 
3
 
Route: Halo Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-22, By: GordoByrn
Info: You can see smoke forecasts here: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WestCentralColorado We also used OpenSummit.Com map overlay to see surface smoke actual and forecast. Route description very helpful. I'd echo the advice about water and allowing plenty of time. Left the TH at 4:10am and had second breakfast at the Notch Shelter at 7am. Didn't leave Holy Cross Summit until a bit after 11am. I ran two different GPS tracks (Garmin, InReach) and both had the ridge considerably longer (+1.5M) than the NatGeo map. So allow plenty of time and be sure of the weather forecast/conditions. Rained a lot the night before so perhaps that's why there were not that many spiders out. We'd expected more based on the route description. We both felt like a nap when we arrived at East Cross Creek but we pushed onward. The out-and-back would have been too much for us so glad we did the loop. Loop clocked at 14.5M for us. https://www.strava.com/activities/3946780322 g 
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