Route #1) Mt. of the Holy Cross - North Ridge

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1 Climbing 14ers can be very dangerous, please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively, without the help of electronic devices. Route #1) Mt. of the Holy Cross - North Ridge Difficulty: Exposure: Summit Elevation: Trailhead Elevation: Elevation Gain: Round-trip Length: Trailhead: County Sheriff: National Forest: Wilderness Area: Author: Last Updated: Class 2 14,005 feet 10,320 feet 5,600 feet miles Half Moon (Tigiwon) Eagle: White River Holy Cross BillMiddlebrook 7/2007 TH: From Interstate 70, take Exit 171 and follow U.S. 24. Drive almost 5 miles and turn right onto the Tigiwon road. The turn is just before U.S. 24 crosses the Eagle River and starts to switchback up the hillside. The Tigiwon road is dirt and cars can usually make it to the trailhead. Drive just over 8 miles to the trailhead. Route: The trail starts above the end parking area. Fill out a Wilderness Registration Card and start up the Half Moon trail - Photo #1. Follow the great trail (Photo #2) for 1.5 miles to Half Moon Pass ( N, W) Photo #3 and Photo #4. The north ridge of Notch Mountain (13,237') is up to your left. Cross the pass and follow the trail as it gradually descends west - Photo #5 and Photo #6. At 11,400', Holy Cross and much of the North Ridge are visible to the southeast - on the other side of East Cross Creek - Photo #7. Continue over the northwest shoulder of Notch Mountain where the trail then turns left (south) and quickly begins its descent toward East Cross Creek - Photo #8. From 11,200' (Photo #9), switchback down the steep slope toward East Cross Creek below. Photo #10 and Photo #11 were taken during the descent. From Half Moon Pass, you will lose about 1,000' of elevation to reach the creek. During the descent, portions of the trail on the other side of the creek can be seen from various locations - Photo #12. Continue all the way down into the thicker forest before the creek - Photo #13. If you're camping here, there are camping spots on both sides of the creek. Cross the East Cross Creek stream (Photo #14) and follow the trail as it leaves the creek and climbs west Photo #15. Hike up across several flat, rocky areas (Photo #16) and southwest up through the forest to reach tree line ( N, W) near 11,700' - Photo #17 and Photo #18. Taken from the northeast, Photo #19 is an overview of the remaining hike up the North Ridge. From tree line, the summit is approximately 1.6 miles away. Follow the trail southeast for a bit to reach the crest of the ridge near 12,100' Photo #20 and Photo #21. Continue up to about 12,200' (Photo #22 and Photo #23) where the trail becomes less defined and the ridge is covered with rocks - Photo #24. Follow trail segments and look for large cairns that have been built between 12,200' and 12,800' - Photo #25. Climb up through rocks (Photo #26) and the terrain starts to ease around 13,100' - Photo #27. Hike south along the ridge crest (Photo #28 and Photo #29) to reach a corner ( N, W) near 13,400', and below the final summit pitch up to the left Photo #30 and Photo #31. At this corner, there is a small gully down to the left. Continue south a bit further and then turn left and hike up through steeper rock toward the summit. Near 13,700' (Photo #32), another notch can be seen on the left side of the terrain. This is the top of the Angelica Couloir - Photo #33 and Photo #34. The remainder of the route becomes a bit more steep but is still Class 2 (off-trail) hiking. Climb another 300' of talus )Photo #35) by searching for trail segments, or taking the path of least resistance, to reach the summit ( N, W) - Photo #36, Photo #37, Photo #38 and Photo #39. On your return trip, you must climb nearly 1,000' of elevation from the creek up to Half Moon Pass. Rather unpleasant, but it's the only way out. Photo #40 shows the climb back up toward Half Moon Pass. It's nearly 3 miles from East Cross Creek to the trailhead.

2 Notes: When descending the North Ridge below tree line, be sure to follow the same trail back down to East Cross Creek. Some hikers have become lost by not returning to East Cross Creek on the main trail. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Holy Cross Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Holy Cross Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above. Topo map #1: Topo map #2:

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