July  2009:

Climbing some 14,000 footers in Colorado Part 2
Mount Of The Holy Cross (14,005 feet)
Our next 14,000 footer was going to be Mount of the Holy Cross. Having seen this mountain many
times while skiing Vail, we were interested in climbing this beautiful mountain. On July 20, 2009, we
loaded up the car with tent, sleeping bags, pads, etc. and drove via Vail and Minturn to the Halfmoon
Trailhead at 10,320 feet. The last 8 miles we drove up Tigiwon Road, a dirt road which was in pretty
good condition. We arrived at the trailhead around noon. Hiked up to the Halfmoon Pass at 11,640
feet in about an hour and then down to the East Cross Creek where there are numerous tentsites. We
found one to our liking, pitched our tent and made friends with thousands of mosquitoes. Later in the
afternoon, while Marc took a nap in the tent, Patrick and I climbed up some more from the
campground to enjoy spectacular views of the backbowls of Vail.
In the evening, we made a
little fire to warm us up
and get rid of the
mosquitoes during dinner
and then Patrick spent the
coldest night of his
life...these Texans!
There were great views from the top and I studied the Halo Ridge hike, something I want to do in the
future. We left the summit of Holy Cross at 11:15 am. Patrick was struggling again through the talus
slopes and it took us two and a half hours to get back to the campground. We disassembled the tent,
had a late lunch and then loaded up our backpacks and started the hike back to our car.
We were fast now as we did not take any more pictures. Only 50 minutes back up to Halfmoon Pass
and another 45 minutes to the trailhead. Fitting end to our Holy Cross tour was the concert of Queen
Nation at the Vail amphitheatre which we watched that night. A must for an old Queen fan like me!
Having teenagers who don't get their butts out of bed in the morning, we started a little later than I
wanted, but we were on the trail at 7:40 am. First we had to hike out of the East Cross Creek Valley
and then we were on the north ridge of Holy Cross. There was a lot of talus to "climb" through. After
having climbed up the north ridge, there was a small flat part which lead to the steep last talus slope to
the summit. Here, Marc went ahead and I stayed with Patrick who was struggling a bit with climbing
over all those rocks. It took us pretty much 3 hours to get to the top of the mountain from camp,
Marc a little less.