Posts Tagged ‘coulair’

My Holy Cross hiking experience

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Hello, I am Tyler the new night shift guy at Antlers in Vail. Just last week a friend of mine came out from Massachusetts to camp and hike Mt. of the Holy Cross just around the corner from us in Minturn. We had a great time from start to finish and I recommend the hike to any moderately experienced hiker. Not having a car, we took the bus to the I70 exit 171 and walked to the trailhead on our first day. It was only about 10 miles at 10000 feet so it was a good warmup for my friend who was still adjusting to the lack of oxygen. We camped at the trailhead overnight which was my first time camping in these mountains. Got a pretty heavy thunderstorm that night, had a deer curiously investigate our camp, and managed to forget only one item for our entire trip… eating utensils. So we made due with what we had, some sticks shaped like a Y wrapped in duct tape! Not to confuse anyone, let it be known that this is a one day(8-10 hour) hike, we just decided to make it two since we had no car and wanted to camp anyways.

The next day we woke up early (highly suggested for this hike as the mountain is known to create bad weather) and continued on towards the top. The trail crosses over Notch mountain and down into the valley between the two mountains, then back up along the rocky North Ridge for the final ascent. The last 2 miles or so you are clambering over some pretty large boulders to reach the top so watch your footing, especially if it rained. Once we reached the top we had a great view of the Rockies in all directions, we could see the back bowls of Vail Ski Area and Eagles Nest, and you are standing on top of a massive rock face descending to the valley below and the Bowl of Tears, a lake in the valley. Well worth the trip, we signed the register and decided to head back down since it looked like bad weather was approaching. The only drawback to this whole hike is when you are leaving, you must climb again over Notch mountain to get home. Not fun when you just hiked 6 miles there and your legs are sore. Still, overall the hike was an awesome experience, especially for me since I worked as a lifty at Vail Ski Resorts last year and nearly everyday I saw that peak to the southwest and yearned to climb it. Now I have, and I recommend you try it too.

This is a basic map depicting how to get to the trailhead, and then the North Ridge trail to the summit.  Zoom out to see other points such as Antlers in Vail and the road leading to the trailhead.

View Holy Cross North Ridge in a larger map