Friday evening after climbing Davis Face near Buena Vista we drove up the Tigiwon road towards the Halfmoon Trailhead for Mount of the Holy Cross and camped at this nice little spot in the national forest about a mile from the trailhead. We also managed to find some relatively dry firewood from an unoccupied campsite nearby.
George and Courtney had already hiked in that afternoon to a high camp while Sam and Sarah would join us at camp later Friday night.
The weather forecast called for early rain and/or snow showers and a 60 percent chance of rain or snow in the afternoon. We left early in hopes of beating the weather. Starting our hike at 5:07am
Pretty bitchin sunrise.
Badass alpenglow on Mount Jackson (13,670') across the way. The mostly-hidden east couloir is reported to be a stellar snow climb. We also noticed the south slopes would be a fine ski right about now.
First view of Mount of the Holy Cross. Allison would ascend the long ridge (north ridge) in the left of the photo while Bill, Daniel, Sam, Sarah and I went to climb the Holy Cross Couloir (not visible in this photo). We would meet at the summit.
Daniel takes on the spindly bridge across East Cross Creek. The last log was a wobbler so Bill and I hauled a new log from a nearby abandoned cabin and beefed it up. Sam and Bill took off their boots and waded across to show their manly-ness. From here, Allison headed up solo on the north ridge (and met George and Courtney just below the summit on their descent). The rest of us headed up to the Bowl of Tears Lake.
The namesake notch of Notch Mountain illuminated.
Swampy ponds reflection.
Sarah cruising some snow in the drainage just below Bowl of Tears
Bowl of Tears. Kinda salty.
From the Bowl of Tears we headed up the slopes to the north of the Holy Cross Couloir and then entered the couloir at about 12,900'
Our first view of the couloir. It was in fine shape despites a huge runnel down the middle. The runnel was more like a luge course.
Climbers near the top of the couloir. Sam nearly caught up with the lower climber “because he had [Sam's] red helmet.” :-)
We entered the couloir at about 9:00am. About 10 minutes before that Allison had radioed to us that she had reached the summit. It had taken her 3:34 to get there from the trailhead--obviously she was flying.
Sarah and Sam enjoying the pre-kicked steps.
Daniel and Bill were enjoying the really-kicked-in steps.
Sam on a tear trying to catch the other climber.
A good view down the couloir with the left arm of the cross showing.
The angle steepened just a bit near the top but overall it was casual and just fun snow climbing. It took us all 40 minutes to climb the 1,100' vertical of snow in the couloir.
Allison graciously waited for an hour on the summit for us so we could take this photo. This summit marked my “2x 14ers” completion. I have now climbed all of Colorado's 14ers at least twice.
Mount of the Holy Cross, 14,005', 7/4/2009, 9:43 am. Happy Fourth of July!
Group photo action. Me, Allison, Daniel, Bill, Sarah and Sam. As is obvious, the weather forecast was WAY off!
Super fast snow cruising on the descent. Daniel and Sam chose to glissade the snow route, Angelica, while Allison, Bill, Sarah and I descended the north ridge route.
Re-crossing East Cross Creek. Bill and I waded in the creek to beef up the new log we had placed there earlier. Not so spindly anymore.
The descent was a friendly and fast hike back. Even the climb back up to Halfmoon Pass was straight forward and not nearly as bad as some have made it out to be.
Back at the trailhead. 12 miles, 5,600 vertical feet climbed and 8 hours, 21 minutes.
Blurry photo of our sweet camp. Bill has recently acquired a nice pole and tarp car camping setup.
It seems either the forest service or the CO highway department doesn't have a spell checker. It should read “Tigiwon”.