| Holy Cross Ridge - South Ridge - French Creek
Holy Cross Ridge 13,831 - 91st highest Colrado ranked peak
Pt. 13,768 - 118th highest Colorado ranked peak
11.5 miles roundtrip
4300 vertical feet with return back over Pt. 13,768
approx. 8 hours
The French Creek trail is 12.6 miles south of I-70 and US 24. Minturn is 2 miles south along US 24. Turn right on FS 703 (sign says Homestake). This goes to Gold Park. Go 8 miles and take a right on FS 704 (sign says OI Y CROSS CITY 6 miles). Turn right at 10.3 miles onto FS 727 and go past the Fancy Creek Trailhead. Passenger cars can go somewhat farther but as you start up the hill it gets pretty rough and I would not want to drive my car over that. Turn right at 11.3 miles where the road does a sweeping switchback and go downhill. Further on the bridge is out and you have to drop left and below the bridge and cross the creek, which is not really passenger car friendly either. There is a sign there that says "ROAD IMPASSABLE", but it is passable. Finally at mile 12.1 you will take a left turn when you see the FS 727 carsonite the last 0.2 miles to the end of the road. French Creek drops into a pool here where the water is gathered into a concrete diversion inlet that sends the water down the large pipe you see when you are driving in past Fancy Creek.
I decided to try this trail as it is less used than Halfmoon.
The trail starts out to the north past where my pack is laying.
Go about 0.2 mile (Roach says 50 yards) until you reach the 4 wheel drive road. Go left up the road. There is a sign 100 feet up the road from the trail so remember that coming back down.
The crux of the road for vehicles. The road is not too bad and certainly not as rough as the Lake Como road.
Follow the road for 1.3 miles to the crossing at French Creek.
Cross the creek and take a right at this blockade and onto the French Creek trail after a few houndred feet.
First see unranked Point 13,618...
and water falls.
Creek and flowers. Much nicer hike than last week on Stewart which was hot and very dry.
Lower Seven Sisters Lakes.
Looking ahead you can see the trail and upward to the left where I was heading to. Just to the right of the highest peak on the left of the picture. You leave the trail just north of the lake and make your way up the grass ledges and rock ledges. You can stay right of the rock hump on the left side of the picture.
Heading past the lake, looking at Pt. 13,618.
Past the lake and heading for about 12,200.
This is another of the Seven Sisters lakes higher up and still frozen.
Looking back down on the lakes and Mt. Whitney in the background.
Looking up and the rough rocks. It is rock the rest of the way from here at above 12,900.
Enjoying the snow on the ridge looking down at another lake that is north of the ridge.
First look at Holy Cross Ridge.
Looking back down to saddle and ridge.
Looking up to Pt. 13,768. Looks harder than it is.
Looking across to Holy Cross Ridge.
Saddle between Pt. 13,768 and Holy Cross Ridge. I would stay right on the ridge or just west as that is the best route. Anywhere lower on the west side of the ridge is a lot of rock hopping.
The best, although faint trail can get next to the edge in places, but you don't have to. Looking down vertical.
Summit Holy Cross Ridge. The marmots had a good time with the register. Only the plastic and a few shreds of paper left. No cap on the tube.
Mount of the Holy Cross.
Looking back at Pt. 13,768 with Pt. 13,618 behind.
Looking at the ridge on the way back.
Returned over Pt. 13,768 as there was some snow and cornices on the steep part of the saddle between Pt. 13,768 and Pt. 13,618. Watched some snow slip off and down that area. Nice rote and quiet.
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