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Near-success on Mt. of the Holy Cross
Trip Report

Near-success on Mt. of the Holy Cross

 
Near-success on Mt. of the Holy Cross

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Object Title: Near-success on Mt. of the Holy Cross

Date Climbed/Hiked: Oct 10, 2009

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling

Season: Fall

 

Page By: metal4lyf

Created/Edited: Oct 11, 2009 / Oct 18, 2009

Object ID: 562684

Hits: 1520 

Page Score: 0%  - 0 Votes 

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The best-laid plans of mice and men...

Now that the higher peaks had been covered for a few days, I decided the time was ripe for a snow climb. My intention was to reach Lake Patricia and from there choose either the Teardrop or Holy Cross couloir to summit.

With numerous sources reporting this to be a long-ish hike, I decided to give it 8 hours. I left Broomfield at 4 am, but delays on I-70 set me back an hour. After a suspension-devouring tour of the Tigiwon road, I reached Half Moon trailhead at 7:15 am.

 
Morning at Half Moon Pass
 

Suspect route-finding

I made good time and reached Beaver Pond shortly after 9. Then my route-finding abilities came into question (as if they ever weren't). After wandering around for awhile and wasting a good deal of energy, I believed I had located the correct path to Lake Patricia.

 
Mt. of the Holy Cross
 
 
Mt. of the Holy Cross
 

My next view of the mountain was bittersweet. Although I had clearly missed the lake, I was near enough the base of Angelica Couloir to warrant a try.

 
Mt. of the Holy Cross
 

Too soon for a snow climb?

At 10:30 I started towards the couloir. The initial rock-hopping was fun, but the further I went the deeper the snow grew.

 
Rock-hopping on Angelica Couloir
 

At 11 am I began slogging through waist-deep snow, which had not consolidated enough to provide any leverage in itself. At times I sunk so far I had to thrash around to make room for the next step.

Eventually I would just aim for the next visible rock in hopes the snow would be shallower there. Crampons and kick-stepping were of little use. Despite gaiters my waterproof boots filled with water.

Turning around was out of the question as it seemed I was closer to the top of the couloir than the valley below. Running out of water and daylight, I sought an intersection with the standard route on the ridge above.

Thus I deviated from Angelica Couloir, gaining the ridge near a wide cornice at 3 pm, 650 ft below the summit.

 
Post-holing on Angelica Couloir
 
 
Cornice on Mt. of the Holy Cross NE Ridge
 
 
Mt. of the Holy Cross
 

Incredible views and great weather, anyway

Relatively great. It was very cold and windy, but not too cloudy. Views from the ridge were jaw-dropping.

 
Looking East from Angelica Couloir
 
 
Mt. of the Holy Cross NE Ridge
@#$% water on the lens

I started back posthaste and made the trailhead at 6:45 pm.

 
Sunspot
 

It was a long, painful day mostly because of bad route-finding and poor snow. A hike up the standard route would have been fantastic.

 
Angelica Couloir GPS Track
 
 
Angelica Couloir GPS Elevation Profile
 

Images

Looking East from Angelica CouloirAngelica Couloir GPS Elevation ProfileMt. of the Holy CrossMt. of the Holy CrossRock-hopping on Angelica CouloirMt. of the Holy CrossPost-holing on Angelica Couloir
Cornice on Mt. of the Holy Cross NE RidgeSunspotMt. of the Holy Cross NE RidgeMorning at Half Moon PassAngelica Couloir GPS TrackMt. of the Holy Cross

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