Starting at the Halfmoon Campground (10,263-ft) locate the Fall Creek Trail; do not take the Halfmoon Pass Trail. Follow the well-trodden Fall Creek Trail as it gradually ascends and traverses through trees on the east slope of Notch Mountain. During this stretch you get nice views of the Fall Creek Drainage well below to the east. After 2.5 miles locate the Notch Mountain Trail (11,160-ft) on the right. This trail is signed and difficult to miss, there is also a nice flat camping spot here as well. Follow the excellent Notch Mountain Trail as it switchbacks up the gentle, treed, lower east slopes of Notch Mountain. Soon afterwards expect to be above tree line for the next 4-5 hours. This trail will deposit you at the Notch Mountain Shelter at 13,080-ft. Expect about 5.3 miles of distance and 2,800-ft of vertical gain from the trailhead to the shelter.
From the Notch Mountain Shelter you can preview the entire Halo Ridge Route. It looks long because it is long. The good news is that you have chosen a day with good weather and weather won’t be an issue. Also, the ridge is long but the talus is remarkably stable which makes the going a little faster than you might expect. There are also a few spots where the ridge becomes a broad, grassy sidewalk in the sky, which also makes for speedy travel. There are no technical sections on this ridge run; it is 75% talus and 25% grass.
From the shelter, easily hike south .4 mile to the summit of 13,248-ft. Continue another .5 mile to the base of Point 13,373-ft. From here the trail peters out and the route up this steep mountain is up to you. Traversing out onto the face and then ascending might be more appealing because it is not as steep as the ridge crest but the talus here is loose and tedious. I would recommend staying as close to the ridge crest as possible; the talus is much more stable here and the views of the Bowl of Tears from here are worth the steep class 2+ hike.
From the summit of Point 13,373-ft you will get your first views of the beautiful Tuhare Lakes to the south. This is also where your route will begin to bend to the west toward Point 13,831-ft. Start the descent down to a flat, grassy saddle that separates Point 13,373-ft from Point 13,831-ft. This saddle is the spot to descend to the Tuhare Lakes; it is also the ascent route for the easier South Slopes Route. Once at the base of Point 13,831-ft descend up stable talus a half mile and 600 vertical feet to the summit of Holy Cross Ridge. En Route to the summit you will encounter at least two false summits.
From the summit you have a few choices, you can head on to Mount of the Holy Cross or you can descend the South Slopes Route back down to the Tuhare Lakes. Considering the summit of Holy Cross Ridge is a worthy goal by itself I would really recommend this as a descent route, especially if the weather is not holding up. I had never been on Mount of the Holy Cross so my route continued north on the ridge.
From the summit of Point 13,831-ft descend 360-ft on large, stable talus to the saddle and continue another half mile and 520-ft. to the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross at 14,005-ft.
From the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross, descend the standard North Ridge Route. This route is long and tough on the knees considering how much elevation you have already completed. It is another 6 miles and 4,600-ft of descent to get back to the Halfmoon Trailhead plus, you get 970-ft of vertical gain back up to Halfmoon Pass.
At least 3 liters of fluid
Plenty to eat.
A good topo and know how to read it. I would really research this route and look for escapes routes in case the weather looks unstable. Understand the surrounding drainages and where they will lead you to.
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