Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,005 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2009
Modified:  08/24/2009
Date Climbed:   08/22/2009
Author:  randalmartin
 Birthday on Holy Cross   

Key statistics

Summit Elevation: 14,005 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 10,320 feet
Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
Round-trip Length: 11.50 miles
Trailhead: Half Moon (Tigiwon)

What an amazing mountain! What an amazing birthday!

After doing a string of mostly Class 1 and occasional Class 2 stuff the last two years, Holy Cross was a step up in difficulty but best of all was a major step up in beauty. I can't think of any better way to spend my 45th birthday.

I drove up Friday from Castle Rock and arrived at the TH around 7pm. My original plan like many others was to hike over Half Moon Pass and down to East Cross Creek to camp. However, given the late hour and fading sunlight I elected to camp just past the top of Half Moon Pass. It was a spectacular setting. I quickly made camp and crawled into bed around 8:45 as the last remnants of the sunset were fading away. Such abundant peace and quiet and within 15 minutes of laying down I watched a shooting star overhead. I took it as a omen of a great day to come.

I was up and on the trail at 6:10am.

As you descend into Cross Creek the views of Holy Cross come into view and I must say that is about the most awe inspiring views I have ever seen. It nearly moves you to tears.

Unfortunately this is the best my disposable camera would do in the early morning light as I descended to Cross Creek.


I made good time across the valley and up onto the ridge. This is where the boulder hopping begins and progress became a bit slower. All along you are continuously rewarded with a bigger and bigger picture of Holy Cross. So many peaks you climb don't afford the ability to actually see the peak your climbing. Holy Cross is a wonderful exception. Not only do you see the peak but you have a tremendous vantage point.

At treeline on the ridge Holy Cross just comes into view. Followed by successively closer and more impressive views.





This is a picture down one of several couliers that you pass along the ridge.


Looking up the final upper ridge. My 45 year old body is complaining a bit at this point.


Summit picture. What a reward!


My friend Murray with a nice summit backdrop.


Murray pointing to Lake Patricia as we descend the ridge.


Another summit picture looking down the north ridge


On the climb out from Cross Creek to Half Moon Pass you are rewarded with stunning final views.


And a panorama of the entire valley.


Some other random comments and observations.

My climbing partner was Murray Fisher. He left the TH (didn't camp the night before) at 7:00 am and was on the summit around 9:40am. Props to Murray, your stamina amazes me.

Passed a family today that included a dad carrying his infant son along with water, infant formula and other stuff. This guy was an Ox. I mean that was a lot of weight to carry up that mountain. I didn't see him on the descent but cannot imagine carrying that kind of weight while boulder hopping coming down.

Met another lady from Edwards, CO that was celebrating her birthday as well. Her boyfriend had packed in Wine, Port and a Fondu kit for their celebration at their campsite that evening. Sorry I didn't get your names. You guys were great to visit with. I hope you enjoyed the good food and wine last night.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

08/24/2009 02:26
It was nice running into you and Murray up there. Scott and I were the other stewards behind you two. You couldn‘t have asked for better birthday-climbing weather! - Eric


08/24/2009 16:46
Thanks Eric and Scott, good to see you guys again!

scott goldberg

Happy Birthday!
01/24/2013 15:47
Nice to meet you and Murray, we had a great time up on the mountain. And hey, my 54 year old body is still complaining today!


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