ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hiking Colorado: Notch Mountain & Holy Cross

Updated on March 20, 2011

Notch Mountain, a 13,250-foot peak that's essentially a mile-long ridge cut by a deep and dramatic notch, is known more as the mountain that hides 14,005-foot Holy Cross than as a worthy climbing goal in and of itself.

Because of the way Notch is situated, hard against the famous flanks of Holy Cross, it prevents a clear view of the 1,500-foot vertical and 700-foot horizontal couloirs that fill with snow and form the elusive cross that can only be glimpsed from a distance or seen with startling clarity up close from the summit of Notch.

But the disparity in trail quality also vividly illustrates the modern allure of the Fourteener.

Qualifying by a mere 5 feet, Holy Cross is ranked as the 53rd highest of Colorado's 54 peaks taller than 14,000 feet. It's also one of the most famous Fourteeners because of the near-mythical quest for the cross, which culminated in the Hayden Survey's ascent in 1873 and William H. Jackson's famous photo that brought swarms of religious pilgrims to Notch in the early 1900s.

Today, the flow of those who attach spiritual significance to the cross has slowed to a trickle, but the hordes of fanatical devotees to the cult of the Fourteener are legion. At about 750 feet lower than Holy Cross, Notch Mountain is a classic Colorado climb - it's an easy walk-up with some minor bouldering - that affords staggering views of one of the state's true natural treasures (Holy Cross was established as a national monument in 1929, an honor rescinded in 1950 because of degradation of the cross).
The obsession with laying claim to standing atop all 54 Fourteeners, coinciding with the Colorado's population boom of the past decade, occasionally makes for very little elbow room astride the state's loftiest real estate.

The steady stream of peak baggers can produce a cacophony of cell phones and idle banter about work and weekend exploits on the way up many Fourteeners, particularly the ones closer to the Front Range.

For some people it's a status symbol. Who has climbed all the Fourteeners and has checked off the most of the 200 highest peaks? But if people stick with it, they'll begin to reap the rewards of the physical demands, route-finding challenges and immersion in glorious high-alpine scenery and surroundings.

The lesser-known peaks often are the least accessible and the most poorly marked. It is strongly recommended that novice climbers don't verge too far off the Fourteener freeways without the right gear, good information and a healthy dose of common sense.

You need to have good equipment, good maps, a good compass and route-finding skills, otherwise you're going to get into trouble. You're going to be out in the middle of nowhere and a helicopter isn't going get to you for several hours, maybe several days, so you need to have some serious safety awareness.

Recommended smaller mountains:

Byers Peak (12,804 feet): Southeastern Grand County's prominent stand-alone peak - it's named for Rocky Mountain News founder William Byers - is a relatively easy and very rewarding climb.

James Peak (13,294 feet): Now part of Colorado's newest wilderness area, it is close to Denver, very accessible and has views down Colfax Avenue.

New York Mountain (12,550 feet): The longest part is the drive south of Eagle to Yeoman Park. A great beginner climb with interesting mining artifacts and spectacular views of the Holy Cross Wilderness.

Notch Mountain (13,250 feet): The only way to get up-close-and-personal views of Mount of the Holy Cross. This mountain is a great intermediate-level climb.

Mount Jackson (13,670 feet): A prime example of why some Thirteeners can be just as grueling as Fourteeners.

Crystal Peak (13,852 feet): Just outside Breckenridge. Crystal is known for its wildflowers and wildlife. It is accessible and challenging - but very rewarding.

Continued In Hiking Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park At Night

Back to Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)