Mount of the Holy Cross

Featured photo of Mount of the Holy Cross

Mount of the Holy Cross is a remote Colorado Fourteener, best known by the large naturally-occurring cross formation that appears on its northeast face. The cross is comprised of a 1,500 foot vertical couloir, intersected horizontally by a 750-foot bench. Both of these features tend to collect more snow than the surrounding rock, so the cross tends to appear distinctly white. The cross formation can only be seen from the summit of Notch Mountain (13,237 ft.), a mountain which stands immediately east of Holy Cross. The mountain was discovered in 1869, and its notoriety progressively increased. Organized Christian pilgrimages to the mountain began in the 1920's, and by the 1930's these pilgrimages were attracting thousands of participants. Once a National Monument, it lost this status in 1950 when it was judged that the cross formation had lost much of its prominence through rockslides and erosion. Both Notch Mountain and Mount of the Holy Cross are climbed from the same trailhead, located north of the mountains.

Elevation (feet): 14,005
Elevation (meters): 4,269
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sawatch Range
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.4681
Longitude: -106.479
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1873
First successful climber(s): F.V. Hayden, W.H. Jackson
Nearest major airport: Denver, Colorado
Convenient Center: Leadville, Colorado

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 66 trip reports for Mount of the Holy Cross.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #20909 - by Mike Hon on July 31, 2007
    Used Half Moon trail, total Vert. Elev. Gain 5600ft. Last 1200 was all boulders. Started 6:30.
  • Log #20689 - by Michael and Heidi Harper on Mar 12, 2007
    Fisrt day hiked over Half Moon Pass and setup spike camp near East Cross Creek. Next day began ascent at about 5:30AM. Reached summit at about 9AM (took it slow). Descended carefully because it's...
  • Log #20103 - by Bart Damron on Aug 11, 2006
    After ignoring my older brother's request to take a GPS, my younger brother and I started around 7am from the Cross Creek Trail at Reed's Meadow. This trail runs parallel to the Half-Moon trail about...
  • Log #20148 - by Greg Andersom on Aug 07, 2006
    Left Halfmoon trailhead around 5:30 and hiked up a very obvious trail to Halfmoon pass. The the dredded 970' descent to East Cross Creek, just knowing I was going to have to ascend back up this after...
  • Log #18726 - by Patrick L. Lilly on Feb 14, 2006
    A solo run/climb up a peak with a steep and rocky summit block. Just over 8 hrs. round trip from the Halfmoon trailhead (standard peakbagger's route). A beautiful, sunny day and with little wind, and...
  • Log #2896 - by Richard A. Lind on Nov 01, 2004
    Always get off peak by noon in summer. Try to camp up by Bowl of tears and reach the summit from the front(cross)side). This is a fun spot and a wounderful wilderness area.
  • Log #2898 - by Kirk Mallory on Nov 01, 2004
    A beautiful day for an autumn hike. Lots of golden aspen trees. Great views from the summit. The hike back over Half Moon Pass wasn't as bad as I though it would be.
  • Log #2899 - by Kirk Mallory on Nov 01, 2004
    This was my 11th Colorado fourteener. A beautiful day and hike, through some golden aspens. Great views from the summit. I thought the climb back over Half Moon Pass would be worse, but it wasn't too...
  • Log #2839 - by Matt Loscalzo on Oct 30, 2004
    Did it in one day starting at the Half Moon Pass TH, on what I believe is the Northwest ridge - a standard route. It took us around 9 or 10 hours round trip and was not especially difficult, even the...
  • Log #2840 - by Jeffrey L. Doppelt on Oct 16, 2004
    Age 52 1/2. 2nd 14,000 ft mt climbed. Mt. Whitney being the other. In comparison, Whitney was a walk in the park.
  • Log #2841 - by Dean Carpenter on Sep 24, 2004
    A long easy climb,wanted to take the cross coluoir but the snow stopped us. The standard route is a long ass ridge. The veiw from the top is pretty awesome the bells stand out to the southwest....
  • Log #2842 - by Andrew D. Steen on Aug 07, 2004
    A lovely summit -- I spent 6 days in the area without seeing a soul! There are plenty of places to abandon the trail & explore the real backcountry. Also, a mystery: on the west side of the...
  • Log #2843 - by Michael Velotta on Aug 04, 2004
    Incredible hike! The trek out is not for the ill-conditioned!
  • Log #2844 - by Tom Scott on Aug 04, 2004
    Outward Bound West (Leadville, Colorado) I climbed a 13er right next to it and crossed peaks. I climbed with 2 memorable friends, Sam and Dane.
  • Log #2846 - by Chris Kowald and Dan Eves on July 22, 2004
    Absolutely beautiful. Beware of summiting Notch Mountain - its further and rougher than it looks.
  • Log #2847 - by Sam Power on July 22, 2004
    Summited with Outward Bound West
  • Log #2848 - by Greg Sievers on June 29, 2004
    Holy Cross Couloir. approach beta. Immediately after crossing Cross Creek, turn left at the 'no fires' sign in the trail. walk throught 2 camp sites, cross a rivlet, and come to a Wall.
  • Log #2849 - by Jerry Fultz on Apr 02, 2004
    Crisp air, stunning Fall foliage, great fellowship - what more could you ask for in classic Colorado 14'er. Well, for starters, how about an escalator on the return route! The elevation gain on the...
  • Log #2850 - by Colin on Sep 11, 2003
    This was one of the best trips ever. Great views in a great setting. We had the summit to ourselves for almost two hours. Beautiful.
  • Log #2851 - by Jack Cunningham on Sep 10, 2003
    Took the Half Moon Pass Trail on the way up, and followed the Holy Cross Ridge line to the Notch Mountain Cabin on the way down. Hiked from the cabin back to the Half Moon Pass Trailhead. Beautiful...
  • Log #2852 - by Peter DeLamater on Aug 30, 2003
    Fantastic challanging for my first Fourteener!
  • Log #2853 - by jason on Aug 28, 2003
    This was my very first 14er and it was incredible. I went with a Bolivian and 2 Austrians--prior training definitely paid off. We left I-70 and Morrison @ 3:00 am and we were on the Fall Creek trail...
  • Log #2854 - by Paul Weber on Aug 14, 2003
    Definitely an awesome climb. It gives you great views of Gods creation.
  • Log #2855 - by Suzanne Jones on Aug 06, 2003
    This was only my second fourteener, the first was the previous Sat.(Mt.Elbert). I made it to the summit in 5 hours and 7 minutes, but who's keeping track. On the way up of course here comes one of...
  • Log #2856 - by Charles W. Miller Ph.D. on Aug 04, 2003
    The VIEW from Notch Mt. is the secret here, not actually climbing the Mt. of the Holy Cross itself. Our climb on July 4th, 1982 was the greatest even, both boys will remmber it forever.
  • Log #2857 - by Jim and Andrea Vigil on July 28, 2003
    Beautful view, hard climb. My dad's 8th time on the peak since 1972, my first time ever.
  • Log #2858 - by Riley Roberdeau on July 28, 2003
    Five of us started hiking the halfmoon trail at 6:45 AM and finished about 5:45 PM. we took our time on the way down, so it could've taken a little less time if needed. this was our second...
  • Log #2859 - by David A. Lopez/Stephen B. Schumacher on July 26, 2003
    Steve is an 34 year old avid hiker from Owego New York who has done his fair share of hiking in Colorado. I am a 53 year old carpenter born and raised in Colorado who has done my fair share of...
  • Log #2860 - by Tim S on July 25, 2003
    First 14er in 20 years. First was Mount Baldy in New Mexico July 1983. Stick to the ridge on this climb once you clear the trees on Half Moon Creek trail. At the top I met a bone-head trying to make...
  • Log #2861 - by Tim S on July 25, 2003
    First 14er in 20 years. Did first in July 1983. Stick to the ridge on this climb. At the top I met a bone-head trying to make a cell phone call.
  • Log #2862 - by Chris Francoeur on July 16, 2003
    Took a very scenic route up the Fall Creek trail and spent 2 nights at Lake Constantine and one at Lower Tuhare Lake. Summited by ascending ridge from Upper Tuhare Lake to gain point 13,831' and...
  • Log #2863 - by Darvon K Henry on June 30, 2003
    This was one of the tougher 14ers that I've climbed. Start as early as you can. A very impressive view from the tough. Don't forget your mosquito repellent.
  • Log #2864 - by Dan Finch on June 19, 2003
    The statement that "the cross fromation can only be viewed from Notch Mountain" is incorrect. The cross formation can be viewed from the west side of Shrine Pass (accessed from the summit...
  • Log #2865 - by Sophie Hughes on Jan 10, 2003
    My highest so far, pretty good for a 1 year old (I did walk the last few yards).
  • Log #2866 - by Kevin Koski on Nov 25, 2002
    I climbed the prominant coular in the summer of 1994 just prior to moving away from Colorado. Great solo climb
  • Log #2867 - by Paul and Sally Thielking on Sep 19, 2002
    Took North Ridge Route from Halfmoon Trailhead. Accompanied by wife, Sally, children Paul and Clay, and son-in-law, Paul Sams. Left Leadville around 4:00 A.M. and drove in a steady rain to the...
  • Log #2868 - by Ryan Badtke on Sep 14, 2002
    It is a beautiful trail, but I wasn't to crazy about losing 970 ft of altitude then having to gain it back. All in all though I loved this mountain. This was 14er #10 of the 34 that I have summited....
  • Log #2870 - by Kristine Kinzli on Oct 26, 2001
    Michael Tschanz, Beau and I left Half Moon Campground and backpacked in 2 miles to the top of Half Moon Pass. We set up camp on the pass and the views were amazing. We left early the next morning and...
  • Log #2871 - by Joe Forish on Sep 16, 2001
    To my Family and the Nation
  • Log #2872 - by David Neckels on Aug 22, 2001
    Took a friend on Halo route. Nice peak. Awfully rocky route. Got caught in Lightning on the way back.
  • Log #2874 - by Jesse and Mike on July 29, 2001
    Great views all the way around! Planned a 1 night 2 day trip - wound up spending 1 extra night due to the hell of a climb out of the valley. (35 pound packs). This is a great hike, but don't be...
  • Log #2875 - by DJ Spellman on July 24, 2001
    This is an endurance test. Took Half Moon route, be wary of the fact that you have to ascend 970 feet on the way back, so pack plenty of water and a filter if possible. There is still snow above the...
  • Log #2876 - by Joe Plummer on July 03, 2001
    Quite a challenging climb. We took the standard Half Moon trail route. Crossing the boulder field is very tedious, especially on the way down. Look to replenish your water supplies from the little...
  • Log #2877 - by Don Jacobs on June 11, 2001
    Although the road up to Half Moon was completely dry, it was still closed by the U.S. Forest Service because of "elk calving season." Of course, there were no signs of elk, elk tracks, or...
  • Log #2878 - by mark kennedy on Nov 10, 2000
    I climbed this peak with Mo Valenta in approximately August 1988. We started at the base and went to the summit in one day. When I got to the top, I signed the log book "piece of cake"...
  • Log #2879 - by Tom & Becky Bird on Oct 18, 2000
    We camped at the Half-Moon traihead campground and took off early for the long Halo Ridge Route. Starting on the Fall Creek Trail, then to the Notch Mountain Shelter with the view of The Cross. Cross...
  • Log #2880 - by Sam Turney on Sep 05, 2000
    I climbed the Cross-Coloiur Route the first time (descending the Standard Route). The second time I climbed the standard route and descended the Ridge Route. Both of these routes are fabulous!!!
  • Log #2881 - by Ben Perry on Aug 24, 2000
    As cool as the climb is, the rest of the wilderness area is better. Get out and do the Fall Creek and Cross Creek Loop. Leave the peak-bagging crowds and get out in the woods!
  • Log #2882 - by Sonny Jarock on Aug 23, 2000
    Hoola-hooped at the top with my good buddie Buker!
  • Log #2884 - by Tom Mangelsdorf on July 13, 2000
    This was my first 14'er. We came over Notch Mountain and camped by the lake. The next day we up the cross. Very exciting for a 15 year old.
  • Log #2885 - by Simon M Pratt on June 04, 2000
    I have not climbed sorry(summited)this peak. I just happened by, looking for info prior to a visit to the area in 2001. I have some 55 photos titled "Scenes on the line of the Denver & Rio...
  • Log #2886 - by Alex Puski on Feb 28, 2000
    Hiked up together with Greg Bogdan after an early breakfast in Leadville. One of the hardest hikes I've been on. Coming down was a real strain on the knees. Worth the effort though.
  • Log #2887 - by TONY CRISCI on Jan 14, 2000
  • Log #2888 - by Charles Bennett on Dec 05, 1999
    I would highly recommend getting off the trail. As you go over the pass from Half-Moon trail, continue for about another mile or so. When you start to descend, break trail along the left side of the...
  • Log #2889 - by Kirk Mallory on Dec 04, 1999
    My second time to Mt. of the Holy Cross. This time I took the Halo Ridge Route, wich starts on the Fall Creek Trail, then to the Notch Mountain Shelter with the view of The Cross, then a circle that...
  • Log #2890 - by Tom G. on Sep 23, 1999
    Went in from halfmoon. Spent the night in camp sites near creek. Went up the Angelica route. It was a lot of fun.
  • Log #2891 - by Charles Mullen III on Sep 19, 1999
    We climbed via notch mountain and decended via halfmoon. We got a late start and reached the summit at about 3:00. There was a thunder storm very near when we reached the summit. (this was a story in...
  • Log #2892 - by Kent Withers on Sep 06, 1999
    What a fantastic climb. Went in over Half Moon Pass and spent the night at the camp grounds. Climbed the following day. The mountain is very impressive, standing dark and massive above the...
  • Log #2893 - by Brian Thomas on Aug 30, 1999
    I would suggest taking the longer and more difficult Notch Mountain trail. The views of the cross (although less defined during late August)is well worth the three long and difficult climbs...
  • Log #2894 - by Christopher Bouck on Aug 10, 1999
    My first Fourteener! Here are some tips for others making the summit climb: pack only what you need, bring at least a liter of water and a good supply of power/granola bars (you will be amazed how...
  • Log #2895 - by GM Lerch on June 25, 1999
    Half Moon Pass was a beautiful, breathtaking hike.
  • Log #2897 - by Matt Gerhart on Mar 23, 1999
    Beautiful but hard winter climb on the Halo ridge! Well worth it.
  • Log #2900 - by Jeff Eisele on Jan 10, 1999
    Last of 11 fourteeners I climbed in summer '98 and in many ways my favorite. Climbing back up Halfmoon Pass on the way back is a little difficult after long hike, but it's well worth it.
  • Log #2901 - by Jess Olson on Jan 02, 1999
    Ended a five day trek through Missouri pass, Fancy pass,and Half-moon pass on the summit. Beautiful backpacking area.
  • Log #2902 - by stefan saldanha on Nov 29, 1998
    Sherri, Betty and I summitted on a beautiful day.
  • Log #2903 - by D. S. Wells on Nov 12, 1998
    Boy Scout Troop of 17 hiked up cross creek to Missouri Lakes in August, 1982. Beauiful area and experience-I would like to buy a painting or photo of this scene