Peak(s):  Mt. of the Holy Cross  -  14,007 feet
Notch Mountain  -  13,237 feet
Holy Cross Ridge  -  13,831 feet
Unnamed 13248  -  13,248 feet
Date Posted:  08/06/2012
Modified:  08/15/2012
Date Climbed:   08/04/2012
Author:  dillonsarnelli
 Holy Cross via "the Notch" Traverse via Halo Ridge   

Holy Cross via "the Notch" Traverse via Halo Ridge - August 4, 2012

At home
Drawing pictures
Of mountain tops
- Pearl Jam
Apparently this is what I do while "working from home".

Notch Mountain: Elevation 13,237
Mount of the Holy Cross: Elevation 14,005
...and all Points in between

Distance: 14.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,593 ft.
Solo Mission

After reading about this route in Gerry Roach's book, I figured it would be a good way to change things up on a day where the weather was predicted to be just about perfect. As a bonus, this variation of the Halo Ridge route was also a great way to escape the crowds.

Note: To the many time stamp haters : Time stamps have been removed from most of the pictures, except those where I thought they could be helpful. Thanks for the recommendation!

My route in blue.

The Notch in Notch Mountain
Upper left: Looking back at the traverse across Notch Mountain's 2 summits as seen from the summit of Holy Cross later in

I left the Jeep about 1/4 mile and 40 cars down the road and hit the TH about 7 AM. This route actually begins at the Halfmoon TH and uses the standard route until you reach Halfmoon Pass.


Approaching the top of Halfmoon Pass. I left the trail here and headed south, a sharp left straight up the talus towards Poin

Looking back down toward Halfmoon Pass on the way up.

Top of Point 12,743 with the Northern summit of Notch Mountain in the distance. Holy Cross comes into view to the right.

Summit of Notch Mountain (northern terminus, the higher of the 2) - Elevation 13,237 with Holy Cross in the background.

My 1st look at the Notch Traverse. It is listed at Class 2+. My route finding skills are still a work in progress. There was certainly some Class 3 scrambling on my way through. Like anything, you could probably make it more difficult.

About halfway through the Notch looking up at the southern summit of Notch Mountain.
I navigated around the cliff walls and reascended the ridge through a narrow opening pictured far right to the left of the large rock.

The north face of the southern end of Notch Mountain as seen from inside the "Notch". It is very impressive.

A look back toward Notch Mountain's true summit to the north.

View towards the Notch Mountain Shelter as seen from the southern summit of Notch Mountain - Elevation 13,224

At the shelter I joined the actual Halo Ridge route


Looking northeast back on the Notch Mountain Shelter and Notch Mountain (far left) from Point 13,248 (ranked) along the Halo Ridge route.

Point 13,373 as seen from Point 13,248

A look back on Point 13,248, the Notch Mountain Shelter and Notch Mountain from Point 13,373.

A look ahead to Point 13,831 - Holy Cross Ridge - from Point 13,373

The remaining route to the summit of Holy Cross from Point 13,831

Summit of Mount of the Holy Cross - Elevation 14,005 - August 4, 2012

Summit of Mount of the Holy Cross - Elevation 14,005 - August 4, 2012

After a pop tart and a long rest I still hadn't decided which route I wanted to take on the return. Weather was not a factor. Seeing that all but one of the other 45 people on the summit chose to descend the standard route, my decision was easy... back the way I came! The only difference being that once I reached the shelter, I descended the Halo Ridge route using the switchbacks along the Notch Mountain Trail, rather than reascend Notch Mountain.

A few pictures along Halo Ridge on the way back:

The Bowl of Tears Basin, Notch Mountain, Notch Mountain Shelter, Point 13,248


Thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Comments or Questions
Doctor No
Nice work, Dillon!
08/06/2012 22:50
Love the route choice and the pictures.

08/07/2012 02:22
We're doing orbital in a couple weeks. Thanks for the report and pics.

Joyous Day
08/07/2012 02:58
I'm just glad you escaped that Bermuda Triangle without being timewarped to 2067 or molested by aliens.

1.21 Gigawatts?!
08/07/2012 03:18
Great Scott! I love that you've been avoiding the standard routes on most of your peaks. Makes for great TRs. You're the boss, Sarnelli.

thanks crew
08/07/2012 16:32
Anna - Thanks - It will be great to see it in the winter. I'll be back for sure. To reiterate what lordhelmut just said in his TR - ”calling yourself lazy is comical” - haha

Doctor No - thanks - its gotta be the best way to hike this peak in the summer.

Greg - when you do it in half the time, i'm going to use the fact that i was still recovering from the Thursday 14er Happy Hour when I started this in my defense.

a94buff - Good luck on the orbital! The scenery is amazing. You will love it.

Jeff - the only thing scarier and more dangerous than Holy Cross... Marmots.

Dan - ”Roads ... where we're going, we don't need roads...” or trails! Thanks bossman.

Nice job
08/07/2012 17:45
Way to tackle one of the most dangerous mountains in the state, according to shoddy sources. And congrats on not orphaning Notch. I'm still mad at myself over that.

Thanks Ryan
08/09/2012 00:06
This beastly dangerous mountain surely makes the meat clever edge from your trip look like a walk in the park

What flavor?
08/09/2012 13:24
What flavor pop tart is that? Looks pretty bland to me, but I'm no connoisseur. Nice report and way to tackle the most dangerous mountain in North America in style. Looking forward to paying lots of money to hike up a hill with you soon.

Thanks for the great trip report!
08/12/2012 04:11
Excellent pictures and a very descriptive trip report. We're thinking of this same variation next Saturday, 08/18. Is there any water along the way with this ascent? Also, what was your trip time?

Never Mind!
08/12/2012 14:49
I went back and reread your timestamp comment, so never mind about my trip time question. Duh! I would still like to know if there are any streams to get water on this ascent over Notch Mountain. Thanks.

09/24/2012 15:44
Now I'm going to copy you.

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