12 Summits
> Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range, Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado (14,005 ft)

Mid August, 2006

Nichole and I went to visit my brother and parents in Aspen, Colorado during the middle of August. During that trip, my brother and I took the opportunity to do a long day hike around Notch Mountain. Notch Mountain provides a great overlook of the Halo Ridge, and the Cross Couliar of the Mt of the Holy Cross. The ridgeline is above 13,000 feet, so it's definitely a good adventure into the high altitude. The hike to Notch Mountain is about 14 miles round trip, and for the most part it's a simple walk up over solid talus. The view of the Holy Cross Summit from Notch Mountain is really remarkable. The Holy Cross got its name because when snow fills the couliar it can make the summit look like it's holding a giant cross. Needless, to say it's one of the more interesting looking peaks in Colorado.

Luckily, I had to return to Denver for a business trip the following week, so I figured Jamie and I could attempt the Mt of the Holy Cross during the weekend from the standard route. We would have all day Saturday to make the summit attempt, but the only problem was the weather was supposed to be sketchy - and sketchy it was. What started out as a cloudy day turned increasingly worse the closer we got to the summit. By the time we breached the 13,000 foot mark, a misty rain started coming down, and clouds had already taken the summit. The talus also became increasingly slick. We continued making the jaunt upward, but we probably shouldn't have. I ended up slipping on the talus and falling knee first onto some rocks. Getting stung in high elevation sure can make the pain feel worse as you're grasping for oxygen. The fall sure did a number on my left leg too, as it took all of the impact. I banged up my left knee fairly well, and tore a giant six inch gash in my shin that has left a good scar.

After, a clean up job with some bandages and some peroxide from my first aid kit, I felt we could continue on. My brother and I continued on to about 13,200 feet, and then decided to call it good after the rain kept falling a bit harder, and the clouds kept getting thicker. Visibility was less than 10 feet in some spots, and the pain from the fall was affecting my performance. So, we decided to skip making it to the summit, and to return back to Denver. Blah..you can't obtain the summit all the time. Next year, my brother and I are going to reattempt this peak, as well as a few others, during late spring when it has snow and lots of abundant sunshine..

Notch Mountain Hike
The Eagles Nest
The Earths Curvature
A Colorado Classic
A Whirl Around Notch Mountain
Mt of the Holy Cross Summit Attempt:
Holy Cross of the Sawatch
Obscured by Clouds
Differential Freedom
On High Cue
Images and text copyright 2006 by GT Wilson.
Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from Gary T. Wilson