Peak(s):  French Mtn  -  13,940 feet
Frasco BM  -  13,876 feet
Casco Pk  -  13,908 feet
Date Posted:  09/13/2016
Modified:  09/14/2016
Date Climbed:   09/10/2016
Author:  michaelgrundy
Additional Members:   rohit
 These Crocs were made for hiking!   

It has been about 6 weeks since Rohit and I have been in the mountains and we were starting to get the itch for some high elevation. August is the month for
family vacations so we both had other fun including sight seeing out of the country (me) and a trip to Disney (Rohit). We decided that it was probably best
to find a relatively easy mountain to hike in order to ease back in to the game. It was decided to try for French Mountain, along with its companions Frasco and Casco.

Our usual routine is to drive to the trailhead the night before, camp, wake up and hike. With that, we drove toward the Mt. Massive trailhead on Friday night after dinner. We
made the drive quickly and drove past the Massive trailhead in search of a dispersed camping site. We found one and quickly starting setting up Rohits Tent. As we
were getting ready to go to bed, Rohit realized that he had forgotten his hiking shoes at home. Great..... now what are we going to do?!

We woke up (if you can wake up from not sleeping) at 0345 in order to pack up camp and drive the rest of the way to the trailhead. Rohit had decided that he was going
to start hiking in his Crocs. Knowing that a big chunk of the hike was on an old mining road, he decided that he was going to give a shot and turn around if he felt
like they weren't working out.

We started driving toward the trailhead a little after 4 and I decided that I was going to give the 4WD road a try since Rohit didn't have the proper shoes. The road is a
narrow 4WD trail that climbs 1 mile further up into the mountains. This would save us 2 miles round trip and after discussing it with other people that have done it, I felt
like the truck could make it. First, yes, we did make it. Second, I don't recommend doing it in a full size truck. The road isn't too bad except for a pair of spots (at
the beginning and the end) but it is very narrow and there is only 1 (one) place that you could pull over to let someone pass.

After we parked at the second creek crossing, we quickly assembled our gear and were off by 0500. The hike up the road went smoothly and before we knew it, we were
standing next to the ruins of an old cabin at 12,500 ft. So far, Rohit's Crocs were working fine and he was ready to give the steep ascent up French Mountain a go.

Image


There is no defined path up the slope so we decided to switchback our way up the grassy shoulder all the way to the saddle.

Image


The slope is deceptively steep and we were able to gain over 1000 feet in short order. Once we reached the saddle, the rest of the hike up to the summit of French Mountain
was simple and we were greeted with wonderful views of Mt. Elbert.

Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Image


We stayed on the summit for about 20 min while enjoying a snack, taking some pictures, having shots, and taking in the views.

Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Image


Image


After a short descent, we were ascending the ridge up to Frasco Benchmark. I find it interesting that the only USGS marker that we saw
all day was on the only non-ranked 13er we were on.

Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


After some more shots, pictures, and snacks, we departed and were headed along the ridge toward Casco.

Image


The ridge to Casco is a little more dramatic than the one that we had just crossed. There was a little more scrambling, but it wasn't exceeding difficult class 2. If you wanted, you
could spice things up a little by deviating from the route, but with Rohit in Crocs, we decided to keep it as easy as possible.

Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Before we knew it, we were crossing the saddle and beginning the uphill push to the summit. By this point, I was starting to get a cramp in my hamstring on my right leg. I guess I really am out of shape!

Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


I slowly kept pushing and eventually we were both standing on the summit of our final mountain of the day! We stayed on top of the summit for quite a while since we knew that it was all downhill from
there.

Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Image


Image


We descended down the south east ridge towards Bull Hill and found a nice spot where we felt like we could easily drop down into the basin. The goal was to keep it as easy as possible,
knowing that traction in Crocs is not the best.

Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


Image


Image


Image
Photo Credit - Rohit


We carefully made our way down the grassy slope and before too long, we were standing on the old mining road. We shed a layer,
applied some more sunscreen, and started our walk back to the truck. At this point, we met the only 2 people that we would see all day! It is amazing how few people hike in
this area - even with Mt. Elbert right in front of us!

Image


The walk back out to the truck was uneventful and we made great time. The only thing left to do was figure out a way to get the truck down the 4WD road. We completed the hike in almost exactly 7
hours from when we left. Not too bad considering we were both out of shape! Once in the truck, we would stop periodically to place rocks in key places. We didn't have to do it too many times, just
in the area near the top of the road. The rest was doable with careful driving.

Image


Image


Image


It was nice to be back out in the hills on such a clear day. We didn't have a single cloud in the sky the entire time we were out and we pretty much had the whole are to ourselves for the day. All in all,
it was a great day... even if Rohit forgot his hiking boots.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28


Comments or Questions
Jay521
User
Nice report...
09/14/2016 15:31
... of a beautiful area. Thanks!


sunny1
User
Where there's a will....
09/17/2016 16:43
There's a way!! Even in Crocs. How were Rohit's feet at the end of the day? Curious. May be overthinking my footwear choices

That is an awesome area - nice job on getting back at elevation. Agree on the road, narrow and rough.
Nice report!


michaelgrundy
User
Rohit's feet
09/19/2016 10:52
He said that they were fine albeit pretty tired by the end. He was pretty glad that there were no real scrambling sections and that the main ascent/descent were on grassy slopes!

With that being said, he told me that he will never forget his shoes again!


Cookiehiker
User
Great TR...
09/19/2016 22:48
Looking forward to hiking these one day!



   Not registered?


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: 14ers.com supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.




© 2022 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.