- Holy Cross Wilderness Trip September 6-7, 2002
- Sawatch Range
Mount of the Holy CrossElevation 14,012ft. (Sept. 7, 2002) "Halfmoon Trail Head: North Ridge Trail", this trail is a class 2, that runs (12.0 miles rt. with 5,625ft. gain). What makes this trail hard is the 970ft. gain and loss as you climb from the TH up and over into East Creek. When I arrived on Friday afternoon the TH parking lot was fairly empty, but as usual at most of the Saturday hikers came into the parking lot throughout the night and morning. I left he TH earily in the morning with my head lamp. I was expecting a 9hr day with rain for a fair amount of the trip. The weather held for my entire trip except for a 15 minute shower after I passed East Creek on the way out. I made it back to the TH just as the rain was setting in again, and for what looked like for the rest of the afternoon.
|Friday||3:00PM||-leave work (I-70 to Vail, south to Minturn)|
|5:30PM||-arrive at Half Moon TH.|
|5:50AM||-arrive at Half Moon Pass|
|6:30AM||-arrive at East Creek.|
|8:35AM||-summit Mount of the Holy Cross.|
|10:40AM||-back at East Creek|
|11:25AM||-back at Half Moon Pass.|
|12:00PM||-back a the TH.|
|3:00PM||-back in Denver|
Expanding on my Holy Cross outing, on Friday night I was able to enjoy watching a dear eat the leaves off a bush while I was enjoying my own supper of a sandwich and chips. Also some birds smelled me out and gathered around my truck waiting for a handout.
Giving a little more detail to the climb, I can say that when I registered at the TH in the morning two other people had already signed in. I found out latter when I catch of to these two climbs just as they were reaching the top that they had left at 4:30AM from the parking lot. On this particular early morning head lamp climb I did not have the nice presence of moon light. The trail was easy to follow in the dark but I stumbled numerous times on the loose rocks because I could not judge there height. On the hike down in to East Creek I could see lights on in a couple of tents in the valley. Crossing East Creek was not as difficult as my previous trip 2 years earlier, as there where more stable rock step leading across the creek. Once across and on my way up the North Ridge of Holy Cross I heard the bugling of some Elk (note for those hunters, this is a wilderness area so don't get any ideas).
On the summit I was met by a very cold wind chill, as well as three other hikers. Two of them had left the TH a half an hour ahead of me and another hiker whom had back packed into East Creek the night before. A couple question marks are here for the following details, the two hikers claimed to be on a training climb for there accent of Kilimanjaro in two weeks. These two were also upset that I had made up 30 minutes on them from the parking lot. The one hiker, from East Creek, was taking handouts for water, because he seemed to have had some problem with the water bladder in in backpack and he had hiked and camped in without a water purifier. So my question are, (1) are the two hikers pulling my leg, and (2) what type of idiot backpacks into an area without a water purifier. I was even carrying my water purifier because I knew it would be a long hike.
After summiting the way back was fairly uneventful and I passed a number of hikers going up, but after 11:00 I did not pass anyone trying to summit. I make this previous statement because usually there will be some armatures which will try to summit a mountain in the afternoon when a rain and thunder storm are predicted. Although the hike out of East Creek back up to Half Moon Pass seemed to take for ever I made it with minimal effort and the hike down from the pass I could actually enjoy in the day light. Walking back down from the pass in the day light was a real pressure because not only was I not tripping, the fall colors were really pretty.
Once back at the TH and packed up I took my time down the 8 mile dirt road and enjoyed the fall colors and even stopped to take some pictures to capture the views for ever.