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 Peak(s):  French Mtn  -  13,940 feet
 Post Date:  12/01/2008
 Date Climbed:   11/28/2008
 Posted By:  piper14er

 French Mountain - South Slopes   

Halfmoon Creek TH - 10,240
10.2 Miles
3700 feet
9 hours roundtrip


The road to the trailhead had about 2-3 inches of snow and I had no problem getting to the trailhead. The other trailheads and parking along the way were accessible also.

The road to Halfmoon Creek TH.

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I opted to not try drive across Halfmoon Creek to reach the 4WD parking at 10,800 feet as it was very icy on the far side. Also someone had driven up part way to the 4WD parking prior to this weeks snow and it was now very icy in the tracks. I walked up between the tracks to avoid the ice.

The road on the south side of Halfmoon Creek up to Iron Mike Mine started out with 3-4 inches of snow but by the time I got up to 12,000 feet, above the trees, the snow was more in the 6 to 12 inch depth range. Out of the trees the snow was deeper in some areas.

The lower end of the road up through the trees across Halfmoon Creek.

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The snow was powder over a few inches of crusty snow that would not hold your weight. It was like walking through sand for 9 miles. The other mile or so towards the top was loose with slick rock part way up to the saddle and on the ridge. The four miles to the Iron Mike Mine was as long a four miles as I can remember doing, both going in and coming out. It seemed to take a long time.


Trail looking back at broken bridge just below 10,800 feet.

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Looking northwest.

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The weather started to turn nice with some sunshine and then later after noon changed to snow, decreased visibility and then wind on the ridge.

Sun trying to break through, looking east.

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Sun now out in the basin.

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Casco on the right.

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Basin ahead.

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Mount Elbert

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Up by Iron Mike Mine. Leaving the road and heading north. Snow was deeper crossing from the road to part way up to the saddle.

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Looking up to the ridge and French Mountain.

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Summit.

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Could not see much from the top as it was snowing pretty good, windy and cloudy. Can't say what Massive looks like but have to assume it had similar snow conditions at the time.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (6)
EatinHardtack


yeah     2008-12-01 19:12:32
Heck yea man are those Cattle Dogs? I have a 5 year old girl that I adore and love to death, oh yea congrats on a summit.


piper14er


Kelpie‘s     2008-12-02 07:33:48
They are Australian Cattle/Sheep dogs. Very good hiking dogs as well. Lots of energy. They have been on a lot of my 14er and 13er hikes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Kelpie


Yog


Dogs     2008-12-02 08:33:00
I met one of Pipers dogs in the Huerfano Basin, she was the sweetest thing! Cool report Piper...how many of these dogs do you have?


piper14er


Kelpie‘s     2008-12-02 10:01:22
Just the two, a male and the female.


krogsje

Gear?     2008-12-02 20:11:27
Piper,

Did you use Crampons or Snowshoes on your ascent? I am going up Elbert this weekend and wondering if I need to rent some Crampons..Thanks..and congrats on what looked to be a good hike.!


piper14er


Gear     2008-12-03 06:18:54
I actually did not use crampons or snowshoes. Overall the snow on that day was mostly powder and not too deep (4”-6”). There were some stretches that snowshoes may have been useful when I was getting into the deeper snow (6”-12”) higher up.



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