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Trip Details

Date Sunday  8/18/2019
End Date
Group State CMC
Event Title TRAILBLAZERS: French/Casco Peaks
Section Trailblazers
Start Time 6:00 AM
Status Approved
Leader Jeff Golden
Member Price Free
Non-member Price Free
Available Participants Full- Join Waitlist
Type Trip
Trip Type Hike
Pace Moderate
Classification Moderate D
Trail Mileage 11.6
Elevation Gain 4,700
Driving Distance


Halfmoon Creek Trailhead

For more info Contact

Jeff Golden

About the Leader:

I work for the CMC as publications director, and I've climbed 76/100 of the Centennial peaks. I joined the CMC in 2012 and currently serve on the Denver Group Council. My dog, Zia, is practically the Club's mascot. I've led Trailblazers trips for about three years, with a preference for 13ers and 14ers.


This is a Trailblazers trip for CMC members between the ages of 21 and 39. If there are still slots available on 8/12, I will open registration up to the entire membership regardless of section affiliation.

French Mountain and Casco Peak are Centennial 13ers (Highest 100 peaks in Colorado) just west of Mt. Elbert, falling less than 100 feet short of the magical 14k benchmark. They are climbed in tandem from Halfmoon Creek. We'll follow a road for 3.5-4 miles to the ruins of the Iron Mike Mine before climbing a grassy tundra slope to the saddle between French Mountain and unranked Frasco Benchmark. It's an easy walk up French from there, then we'll backtrack over Frasco BM and run the ridge over to Casco. The terrain becomes somewhat rougher here, requiring some routefinding and a handful of Class 2+/3 moves with mild exposure. From the summit of Casco, it's another easy walk down a tundra slope to rejoin the road at the Iron Mike Mine.

This route requires two creek crossings that do not have bridges, logs or hopping stones. Please be prepared to get wet from the knees down. Trekking poles and hiking/camp sandals or river shoes, such as Chacos or Tevas, are highly recommended. We can stash them after the second crossing as we transition to trail runners or hiking boots.

We will be targeting a moderate pace of at least 1,000 feet of elevation gain an hour. This shoould take us about 8-9 hours for the entire loop. Because of the route's length (11.6 miles and 4,700 feet of elevation gain), I'm asking anyone interested in joining to please email me at the following information:

  • Peaks above 13k climbed in the last 12 months

  • Estimated typical hiking pace (miles per hour and/or feet of elevation per hour)

  • A short intro including your peakbagging experience and goals

  • Your favorite wild animal (anyone who says wolf is automatically added)

Helpful reading:



All are welcome regardless of hiker classification if you meet the leader's criteria, as outlined above.