Peak(s):  Fools Pk - 12947
Date Posted:  09/21/2010
Date Climbed:   09/21/2010
Author:  rpb13
 A Foolish Endeavour   

Fools Peak - North Ridge

I have been looking at the Holy Cross Wilderness from Gore Range peaks all summer and every time I saw it I thought, "I really need to visit that place more often". I had only been in the Holy Cross Wilderness to climb Mt of the Holy Cross. I finally decided to check out Fools Peak.

I started from the Lake Charles trailhead at 6 am and began the hike on the Lake Charles trail.

Bridge on Lake Charles trail

From the trailhead I hiked 4.4 miles to Lake Charles. This is a beautiful place. Fools Peak looms over the lake.

Fools Pk from Lake Charles

I hiked to the east side of the lake on the continuing trail and took a look at Fools Peak's north ridge.

Looking at the north ridge of Fools Pk

From the east side of the lake I made my way south towards a grassy gully that provides a route to the small basin immediately northwest of Fools Peak.

Heading towards the grassy gully

I hiked up the grassy gully making using of a game trail on the right side.

Starting up the gully

Once I reached the small basin I headed towards the north ridge.

Heading towards the north ridge

Using a system of ramps I scrambled up to the crest of the north ridge. I reached the crest near the bottom of the ridge and began scrambling up it. The ridge provided a fun scramble on bomb-proof rock. Their were lots of different lines to try on the way up the ridge, and while it was always possible to find a third-class line I often found myself playing around on some fun fourth-class. The quality of the rock on this ridge inspires confidence.

North ridge

North ridge

North ridge

Eventually I came to the base of the northern sub-summit. I did a descending traverse on a ramp on the right side of the sub-summit to bypass it.

Traversing around sub-summit

After traversing around the sub-summit I found myself in front of the headwall of Fool Peak's north face. I began climbing the headwall.

Starting up the headwall

The climbing on the headwall was engaging and exciting. There was plenty of route-finding to do and lots of steep, solid third and fourth class climbing.

Climbing on the headwall

Climbing on the headwall

Climbing on the headwall

At about 12,700 feet the difficulty relented and the remaining distance to the summit was a hike up talus and boulders. Prayer flags greeted me as I approached the summit.

Approaching the summit

I signed the summit register that had been left just 10 days earlier by Gerry and Jennifer Roach and spent 30 minutes on the summit relaxing and enjoying the views.



Mt of the Holy Cross in the distance

After forcing myself to get up I began my descent down the west slopes on talus.

Descending the west slopes

I descended west to the saddle between Fools Peak and a broad, unranked summit. I took a look back at Fools Peak from here...

Looking back at Fools Pk

...and continued to hike over the unranked summit. From here I looked down at Lake Charles.

Lake Charles

From the unranked summit I descended towards the Iron Edge trail.

Descending towards the Iron edge trail

As I neared the trail I took time to enjoy the view down the valley.

Looking down the valley

Finally I reached the Iron Edge trail.

On the Iron Edge trail

I followed the Iron Edge trail in a roundabout descent to the west side of Lake Charles. At the lake I found a comfy boulder to take a break on and looked up at Fools Peak.

Fools Pk

After taking a few minutes to admire Fools Peak, I got up and hiked around the west end of the lake and met back up with the Lake Charles trail. As I hiked down the trail I took time to check out the fall colors.



Upon reaching the trailhead the numbers of my trip read as follows: 13.6 miles round-trip and 4900 vertical feet.

The north ridge of Fools Peak was definitely one the better scrambles I have done. The rock was excellent and the scrambling was fun with plenty of different possible lines to try. Lake Charles was a beautiful place and would be worth a visit by itself. Fools Peak may not be a fourteener or even a thirteener but in my opinion it is a must do.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

Thanks for the TR
09/22/2010 03:11
Kind of had my eye on this as a potential winter hut trip. That N. Ridge looks like a lot of fun. Thanks again.


Nice report!
09/22/2010 03:15
And now another peak to climb...


Now that looks like fun...
09/22/2010 03:27
I had heard of this peak but knew nothing about it until reading your report. Looked it up on summitpost and apparently there's an alternate route from the south side that is a walk-up. But of course the scramble is the way to go... looks really fun.

Thanks for posting!


Great route!
09/22/2010 04:28
I climbed the north ridge of Fools 2 weeks ago and highly recommend it as well. Great scramblin in a spectacular setting! Well done.


09/22/2010 06:19
Thanks for putting that one on my radar.

Chicago Transplant

Great Peak
09/22/2010 14:48
Did this one two years ago, its a great route on a great peak. If you liked that area try the Gold Dust - Pika traverse some time, north ridge of Pika has some wonderfully solid 4th class. That drainage is a favorite of mine, been back there 5 times the last 3 summers!


09/22/2010 15:09
This peak has been at the top of my list for way too long now. I think some of my hiking partners are getting tired of me talking about it. I'd to camp at the lake and check out some of the other peaks in the area as well, like 12940 and Gold Dust. Did you notice any nice camp spots?

Thanks for the report!



09/22/2010 20:24
Chicago Transplant - Thanks for the suggestion, I'll definitely give that a try. Its a great area and I'll be back for sure.

Derek - I saw quite a few excellent camp spots near Lake Charles, it looks like an idyllic place to camp!


08/21/2014 18:36
Pointer on the access gully worked out nicely

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