Mount of the Holy Cross
Photo by Terrill Thompson
|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|
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.