South Ridge-13,618-13,768- loop route

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Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 2+

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South Ridge-13,618-13,768- loop route
Created On: Oct 23, 2003
Last Edited On: Oct 28, 2003


Starting at the French Creek TH at 10,320-ft locate the entrance to the rough Holy Cross City-Jeep road. This road is very popular on weekends and should only be attempted by highly modified vehicles. This road is also considered one of Colorado’s roughest and a tow from this road will cost you upwards of $600. Follow the road as it ascends the French Creek Drainage for 1.3 miles to a point where the road crosses French Creek. This is the location that this road is famous for. Huge boulders with winch anchors provide the crux of the drive for 4-wheel enthusiasts.

Cross the creek, leave the Jeep road and find a spur trail straight ahead that heads off to the right, this is the Fall Creek Trail. The Fall Creek Trail ascends Fall Creek Pass and eventually connects all the way east at the Halfmoon Campground some 9-10 miles away.

Hike the Fall Creek Trail about a half-mile to Hunky Dory Lake at 11,300-ft and enter the Holy Cross Wilderness. While en route you might notice that Hunky Dory is a nice place to stay if you plan on camping in the area. Look for a nice flat area at the north end of the lake. There are nice Cutthroat Trout in this emerald green alpine lake as well. During this stretch you can easily see Point 13,618-ft directly northwest; it is obvious.

Route Description

Hike a half-mile past the lake to 11,700-ft and locate the rough slope that ascends to Point 13,618-ft south ridge. This slope consists of grassy benches interspersed with rock outcroppings, class 2 and some minor class 2+. Ascend this slope for .7 mile to 12,940-ft and continue on stable talus up the south ridge towards Point 13,618-ft. You are officially on the Holy Cross Ridge. Reach the summit of Point 13,618-ft and preview the route to Point 13,768-ft.

From the summit of Point 13,618-ft, descend the talus ridge .4 mile to the saddle at 13,420-ft. Continue another .04 mile up the ridge to the summit of Point 13,768-ft, an officially ranked peak. From the summit, Point 13,831-ft is one mile of ridge north.

At this point you can either descend your ascent route or you can descend Point 13,768-ft south slopes to the Seven Sisters Lakes Basin and hook back up with the Fall Creek Trail. This slope would be the crux of your day if you choose this route for it is steep and ledge ridden. There are a few minor and easy class 3 moves while descending this slope but expect it to be loose. At the base of this slope resides one of the most beautiful alpine lakes I have ever seen complete with a little island in the middle of it.

Descend this very rough slope with caution; there are some loose sections of talus that need to be negotiated. Once at the lake identify the Fall Creek Pass Trail about a half-mile west. Continue through the lake-ridden basin through alpine tundra and minor rock outcroppings until you reach the trail. Follow the trail 2.5 miles to the Holy Cross City Road and continue another 1.3 miles back to the French Creek Trailhead.

Essential Gear

Always be prepared for an overnight stay in case something should go wrong.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

South Ridge-13,618-13,768- loop route

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