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Mt. of the Holy Cross
standard North Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Considerable  
 
Trailhead:Half Moon (Tigiwon)
Start:10,320 feet
Summit:14,005 feet
Total Gain:5,600 feet
RT Length:12.00 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:6/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:228 reports
Cell Signal:14 reports
Sheriff:Eagle: 970-479-2201
Forest:White River
Wilderness:Holy Cross
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

From Interstate 70, take Exit 171 and follow U.S. 24. Drive almost 5 miles and turn right onto the Tigiwon road. The turn is just before U.S. 24 crosses the Eagle River and starts to switchback up the hillside. The Tigiwon road is dirt and cars can usually make it to the trailhead. Drive just over 8 miles to the trailhead. More information on the Tigiwon Road (#707) can be found on the US Forest Service Motorized Vehicle Use Map for the Holy Cross Ranger District. IMPORTANT: The Tigiwon road is closed each year between November 22nd and June 21st but biking or hiking the road is allowed.

Route

The trail starts at the parking area. Fill out a Wilderness Registration Card and hike up the Half Moon trail ( 1 and 2) to reach Half Moon Pass , after 1.5 miles - 3. 13er Notch Mountain is up to your left. Cross the pass and follow the trail as it gradually descends west - 4 and 5. Near 11,300', Holy Cross and much of the north ridge route is visible to the southwest - 6. Continue over the northwest shoulder of Notch Mountain and descend toward East Cross Creek - 7, 8 and 9. After descending 1,000 feet from Half Moon Pass, reach the forest near East Cross Creek (approx. 10,700'). If you're camping in the area, please see the information sign for a map of defined camping spots - 10.

Cross the creek and follow the trail west - 11 and 12. Hike through several rocky areas ( 13) and continue south up through the forest to reach tree line near 11,700' - 14. Taken from the northeast, 15 shows much of the north ridge. Follow the trail south and southeast to reach the crest of the ridge near 12,100' - 16. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) constructed an excellent trail from here to 13,400'. It weaves through talus to reach the upper ridge but it's defined and cairned - 17, 18 and 19. When the terrain eases near 13,100', continue south along the ridge ( 20 and 21) to reach a corner near 13,400' - 22.

Turn left and continue on a less-defined trail as the terrain becomes more difficult - 23. Near 13,700', reach a notch at the top of the Angelica Couloir - 24 and 25. Without a trail, continue east up the final, rugged 300 feet ( 26) to reach the summit - 27, 28 and 29. On your return trip, you must re-gain nearly 1,000' of elevation to reach Half Moon Pass.

Notes

When descending from the summit, be sure to follow the same route back down the north ridge. Some hikers have become lost by not returning to East Cross Creek on the main trail. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Holy Cross Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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