#34 Holy Cross – 14,005′
Mount of the Holy Cross
Peak #34: Friday April 22, 2016.
Ski Route: Tigiwon to Halfmoon Pass to North Ridge and back down.
Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 28mi / 5,600′ plus 2,000′ with Timber sled to Summer Trailhead. From Summer TH it is 12mi RT.
Ski Partners: Roger Carter
Start Time: 6a
Reached Summit: 1230p (1/2 hour on the summit)
End Time: 5pm
Mount of the Holy Cross was like a home game for me. I got to sleep in my own bed, and was ready to enjoy the short 10 minute commute to the Tigiwon Trailhead to start the climb of the peak on Friday. With my monumental effort to get Pikes and Antero, I was pretty beat, but the mark of a true champion is having even more left in the tank.
There was more motivation that morning: the weather was turning worse for the weekend, so getting this peak done would give me a chance to rest up again. Also, the Tigiwon road is closed for 8 miles in the winter, so I had a plan. My friend Roger met me at the bottom, and my brother Jared was generous enough to pull us up the road on his Timber Sled to the summer trailhead. Wow, that saved us like 3 hours worth of slogging. After Jared got us to the summer trailhead we were cruising! By 830am we were able to make our way over Halfmoon Pass and then drop down into the East Cross Creek Basin.
The day was gorgeous but very warm. While I have probably summitted Holy Cross over 20 times in my career, I don’t remember it being this warm in April. The snow by 9am was mush. Our concern was that the Cross Couloir would be too soft and dangerous with the fresh snow from only a week ago.
I’ve climbed that couloir many times before, but this time it just felt better to go around and take the regular route. I still have a fond memory of when I first climbed and skied the cross in hiking shoes in early June back in the late 90’s – having to transition into my heavy Nordica’s and Rossignol skis. The way I see it for now is making it to the summit and back down safely is a win. I still skied the entire peak from top to bottom. Maybe in June since I live down the road I’ll come back for an encore and ski the cross again, who knows.
Soon we were on the broad shoulder of the North ridge and skinning up towards the top. So much white on all the ranges all around!
What a great week it has been. By around 1230 we topped out and high fived each other, summit again all to ourselves.
Looking down the Cross Couloir was fun, but usually if I don’t climb the line I’m gonna ski, I won’t ski it. I’ll come back sometime and ski that line again, no worries, I have climbed it half a dozen times in my career and it’s not going anywhere!
So we clicked in and headed back.
The snow was getting soft so turns were pretty inconsistent until closer to timberline, but it was great to be back down to East Cross Creek within an hour, take a nice lunch break of Pizza, and start the hour slog back out to the top of Halfmoon Pass.
Then it was back to the summer trailhead and the 8 mile ski out on the road to the bottom of Tigiwon by 5pm or so. Besides the sticky snow at the end of the day, it was awesome up there!
A few days of rest are well earned and I’ll head back out next week to get some more peaks done before May!