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Routes in Mount of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross Couloir
North Face T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c AI3
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Type: Alpine, Grade II
FA: n/a
Page Views: 6,667 total · 32/month
Shared By: Furthermore on Jul 9, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This would be a 3 star rating except it has a long approach, and has a lot of talus hopping. Take the Halfmoon trail over the pass and down into a valley. From in the bottom of the valley, look for a trail that goes left after the creek. Once you have found the trail, hike south on the trail up the valley to a very large lake (Bowl of Tears) past the couloir; going to the Bowl of Tears bypasses a large cliff which should be avoided. At this point hike west-northwest up to the couloir. Then just climb up the couloir the 14,005 foot summit.


Just an axe and crampons.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
There is also a direct start from the bottom of the couloir. We carried some rock gear and enjoyed two pitches of fun 5.5 rock up the steep section on the right side of the couloir. I was expecting the usual fourteener junky rock, but it is actually quite solid. The only drawback to doing it this way is that you have to carry extra gear, but it is a more interesting and direct climb this way, but admittedly there is more objective hazard (rocks and skiers who miss the exit point). Dec 9, 2003
I was recently in the area and noticed a large potential for good bouldering. Has anyone else noticed this or developed anything? Most boulderers that I know would probably complain that it is to long of an aproach, but i was hoping that someone would've checked it out. Dec 30, 2003
If anyone does boulder in that area (or any alpine area), please leave the chalk at home. Big chalk marks all over boulders surrounding a pristine alpine lake is an outrage to other wilderness users. If you are scrambling up into some talus, that's one thing. But chalking up boulders right next to beautiful obvious camping and fishing areas is obnoxious. I've seen that going on recently in the Mt. Evans wilderness. Pretty repulsive. Yes, yes, I'm a climber, of course, and I use chalk, but not in those places. Dec 31, 2003
I would have to agree that when a boulder is right next to a lake, camping spot, stream, etc. that it is annoying and dissapointing to see it all chalked up. But when the boulders are secluded in the woods, like most of the ones I found, it is a different story. Dec 31, 2003
After getting the facts straight, I decided to revise my previous post. By arguing that chalk is destroying you're "wilderness experience", you are ignoring many other annoyances. First, there is the issue of camping. On my last trip to the area, I was amazed by how over run it is with excess campsites and trails. Second, there is the issue of dogs. When you are off trying to enjoy the "wilderness experience" and a dog comes up and starts licking and barking at you it is annoying also. So, you see, chalk is a very minor offence compared to the other things that go on at places like the Holy Cross Wilderness. Feb 19, 2004
FYI went to climb this weekend and the road to the trail head is closed until June 20 to give calving elk a little space. Jun 7, 2004
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
I sure wish I could have found some accurate approach beta before the bushwacking between the Cross Creek campground and Lake Patricia. But I didn't; but I will share the good beta with you all. Immediately after crossing the creek, go 30' and take a left (at a no fires sign), walk through a couple of campsites, proceed across another creeklet and come to a Wall. Access is available either way around and up this wall, but to the right is easier. This faint trail will lead to Bowl of Tears. A real frikken break compaired to the sick talus and boulder that is your other option. Oh yeah, as for the couloir. Piece of cake. sort of anticlimatic but beautiful. No rope or gear necessary. it was soft snow yesterday. A 5 hour approach from the trailhead for 30 minutes-flat ascent, to kick up 1200' of corn. Descend the major snowfield east, off the north ridge. What a blast. butt glissade 800' in 2 minutes ! Wahoo. Enjoy. Jun 28, 2004
Paul Forward  
7/10/04. Viktor Reznicek and I began this hike on 7/9/04. Finding the "climber's trail" from where you cross East Cross Creek is well worth it. Stay to the right (west) of the cliffs that precede Lake Patricia and Bowl of Tears as you go along East Cross Creek. We camped at the Bowl of Tears.(We had descend by the "Teardrop" route to the south to pick up our equipment. A bit dicey.) The coulior was great. Sadly, at the top we found a back pack that had been there for a couple of days. We found a Bible in it with the name Caleb Rundell. I think this guy may have fallen (?)couple days before. We called 911 and reported this. Apparently, some folks reported the backpack the day before (7/9/04) but could find no ID in the pack. Has anyone heard about this? I called the White River Ranger Station this week but they said no one has been reported missing so no search has been mounted yet. If anyone does the Angelica Route, they may want to keep an eye on the cliff bases just northeast of the summit. Seems like an easy place to fall from the summit. Jul 17, 2004
Paul Forward  
Update on the pack at the summit. Caleb Rundell is alive and well! He and another hiker apparently abandoned the peak during a lightening storm and left his pack up there. If any one is going up there and the pack is still there, he'd be much obliged if you bring it down (especially the bible). You can contact him at: _Calob.Rundell@colorado.edu_. He live in Boulder. Jul 20, 2004
Ben Bruestle
Pueblo, CO
Ben Bruestle   Pueblo, CO
Climbed the Angelica Couloir a few years ago. It is the snow route to the right of the cross. It is a great spring route which I would highly recommend. When we climbed it the cross had practically a stairway kicked into it while the Angelica Couloir was untouched. Aug 29, 2005
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Recently I came across Lou Dawson's blog where he has photos of 11 and 12 year old kids skiing Holy Cross Couloir! Sheesh, guess it isn't that extreme after all!

Check out:… Aug 30, 2005
Chris McEvoy  
The Cross Couloir is a nice [route]. I summited just minutes after Ben B. The only steps on the [route] were mine and the two guys I happened to meet that early morning. If you could drive to the base of the [route], (thank God you can't ) it would be overtraveled. Any time spent here is time well spent even if it is a popular attraction. The approach was a little harder than I thought it would be. I was in the parking lot at 2:00pm and started my hike back shortly after. Had just enough time to do some trail finding and make din. before night fall. Directly below the east face of [Holy] Cross there are few options for setting camp. One spot is amongst the boulders just about 20' east of the creek that rolls through. The other is at the very base of [Holy] Cross; with each site being relatively below the couloir. With limited site selection it might be best to camp at the lake and fend off the bugs unless you want to gamble. Boulderer's bring your shoes! Oct 1, 2005
Well, in addition to kids skiing it, when Mark Moeller and I did the route a few years ago, a guy climbed the 'cross with his dog. It is a terrific outing though as much for the gorgeous hike as the climb itself.

Gary Jul 7, 2006
Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
Martin le Roux   Superior, CO
The climber's trail up to the Bowl of Tears is very indistinct and would be just about impossible to find in the dark. Even in daylight it's not easy to follow. If attempting a one-day ascent from the parking lot it's likely to be mid-morning before you get into the couloir, by which time you'll be wallowing up slush. The alternative is to camp at the Bowl of Tears, climb the couloir while it's still firm and and descend the Teardrop (broad snowy cirque to the south of the peak). With overnight packs and occasional route-finding errors it took us about 3.5 hours to get from the parking lot to the Bowl of Tears. Jul 9, 2007
This is also a classic descent route. I snowboarded the route in 1993 solo. Nothing too technical, good snow. Just make sure you exit skier's right before the big cliff at the bottom (best to climb it to check conditions before dropping in). Jan 26, 2013

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