Park County High Point Trip Report

Francs Peak

Date: July 2000
Author: Andy Martin

First tried to get Honda in the road to Phelps Mountain. Got it to 8800' on steep and rocky road. Then a 4wd came along and driver said things got worse just ahead, and watching him proceed confirmed this. Honda was never actually stopped, but I turned tail and retreated. Believe driving this road to 11,000' and then taking NE ridge to Francs Peak would be easiest route - some entries in summit register mentioned taking this route.

Drove all the way over to Meadow Creek trailhead at 8400'. This involved some rock dodging and 2 creek fords in last few miles. Honda did OK, but wife did not, and Grizzly postings did not endear her to the nice bush camp near the trailhead. Trail itself had notice that a "Grizzly encounter" had take place on the trail. No mention of the winner, hopefully the human.

Got early start (4AM alarm), and hiked up good trail to Meadow Creek basin. Here I followed map, not trail, and missed a ford over the creek at about 9800'. I rejoined trail at 10600'. On descent I stayed with trail, which is a bit easier, though I had to take off boots for ford.

At about 11400' you will want to head NW to ridge top, and then head cross country to Francs Peak. Ground is very flat, and footing is good (a horse has been ridden to summit), though thin air at 12,000'+ and going over a 200' hill prove tiring. There is no practical way to avoid this hill, thus giving Francs at least 5153 foot vertical gain (13153 - 8400 + 200 + 200) for those without high clearance vehicles.

Summit had register in big white plastic tube, with entries dating back to 1980, but register book is a bit damp. I enjoyed nice views and a lunch at the top before heading down. Saw a couple deer on way down, but no bears. Did keep an eye out for trees to climb, whistled loudly, kept a stout stick handy, and looked behind me from time to time for stalking bears - have to admit I'd developed a case of "bear paranoia".