Northwest Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.43280°N / 106.4731°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.6 (YDS)
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


Whitney Peak has three established routes (1). They are the Southeast Ridge, South Face and Northwest Ridge. The Northwest Ridge is the easiest in difficulty, but the longest in length. This route is most expedient if linking with UN13768, UN13831 "Holy Cross Ridge" and/or Mount of the Holy Cross.
Whitney Peak s Northwest Ridge Route
Whitney Peak's Northwest Ridge Route. Click image to enlarge.

Getting There

From the US 24-Interstate 70 intersection, drive 12.6 miles south on US 24 to Homestake Road (FS 703, Gold Park Road). Follow Homestake Road 8.0 miles to FS 704. Turn right onto FS 704 and continue for an additional 2.3 miles to FS 727. Turn right onto FS 727 and continue for an additional 1.0 miles. Turn right at the fork and continue for an additional 0.8 miles. Turn left at the fork at continue to the road's end an additional 0.2 miles further. This is the French Creek Trailhead and is at 10,320 feet. Only highly modified four wheel drive vehicles should attempt to drive the Holy Cross City Four Wheel Drive Road (2).

Route Description

Hike north 0.1 miles on a faint trail that intersects with the Holy Cross City Four Wheel Drive Road. Continue up the road 1.3 miles to the French Creek intersection. Cross the creek on a log and continue up the road 50 yards to the Fall Creek Trail on the north side of the road. Follow the Fall Creek Trail 2.6 miles just below Fall Creek Pass. Leave the trail, gain Whitney Peak's northwest ridge by hiking east up large talus. Follow the broad ridge 0.8 miles to the summit ridge. The ridge is flat and grassy at first, but becomes steeper and rockier near the summit. The difficulty never exceeds class 2 until you reach the summit boulder within the eastern end of the summit contour, not at the benchmark (3). Climbing the summit boulder requires 5.6 climbing (3). The summit provides good views of Mount of the Holy Cross, UN13831 "Holy Cross Ridge" and UN13768.
Whitney Peak's NW Ridge Route
Whitney Peak's Northwest Ridge route. Class 2 approach with Class 5.6 summit boulder.  Click to enlarge.

Roundtrip Distance: ~9.6 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3,140'

Essential Gear



1. Guide to the Colorado Mountains
2. Colorado's Thirteeners: 13,800 to 13,999 Feet, From Hikes to Climbs
3. Lists of John



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.