Peak(s):  Fool's Peak - 12947
Eagle Peak B  -  13,043 feet
Unnamed 13100 A  -  13,100 feet
Unnamed 13085  -  13,085 feet
Date Posted:  10/03/2014
Date Climbed:   08/17/2014
Author:  Monster5
Additional Members:   DanR, Boggy B
 Fool's Peak and the HCW   

I've heard it said that the wilderness dies with every trip report.

Fool's Peak and Holy Cross Wilderness

Fool's Peak North Ridge (class 4) to Eagle Peak (class 5.0 via the ridge) to 13100 (class 2) to Ribbed Peak (class 4).
16 miles/6460 ft gain, 12 hrs.
Fulford Cave TH
Partners: Boggy and Dan

Back when I was young and good-looking before anybody knew me, I found myself bereft of new 14ers nearby with nary an idea of "what else." What now, what now? Cooper's Guide of course. I've since come to realize he has his fair share of quality routes and a few head-scratchers as well. Even with the occasional curiosity, a consensus remains that Fool's Peak is a worthwhile jaunt.

Dan, a burgeoning purveyor of the obscure, and Boggy, on his quest to slay the efficiency dragon and climb the 13ers via their premier routes, were game to give this one a twirl.

So a brief TH sortie and a headlamp start sees me charging up the slope. There are complaints about the pace, so I drop back to let Dan lead. Big mistake. The guy has now joined the mind-numbing zombie ranks of the runner brigade. I huff and puff to keep up, dreaming of delicious snacks but far too manly to be the first to stop. Luckily, our combined immense bushwack experience causes us to (purposely, of course) miss an obvious hard left in the trail near a stream and the ensuing log hop bramble bash allows me to catch my breath whilst we pretend to "route-find" up to the next switchback.

We finally hit Lake Charles after about 4.5 miles, curl around left and cross the inlet stream. In the inky blackness we pick out the grassy gully rising above the lake's south shores and climb our way up on the right side via a social trail, finding a nice perch to finally eat and enjoy magic hour.

At the top of the gully, we cut left/E with a bit of bramble bash until we hit the N Ridge. And now we can finally start.

Some fun options proper. 3rd to 4th class with 5th class available. One could likely keep it 3rd by contouring around right.

As a weird oddity, there are trees on route. This nearly causes us to abandon our plans because no respectable mountaineer climbs a route with god-forsaken trees strewn all over the bloody place like it's some paltry climbing crag in the Pacific NW.


But we persevere and make it past the green aliens. The route begins to show character.

Did I mention I enjoyed this route?

I included this picture for Abe since he's a calf guy.

Most leave the route to the right starting here

"Why do they bypass the best part," says Dan

"Not a clue," says Boggy


Should've brought the 30 m to bump this route up to Five Star status. Probably could downclimb the notch at 5.4 or so. Alas, we drop right until we hit the ledge contouring just below saddle elevation. Were there a tree present at the saddle, I would have jumped off the nearest cliff.

Frickin' downclimb

Ledge to the saddle

Remaining route. Pick the line per your desire, 4th class start, grassy 3rd to short 5th class options above.


The summit of Fool's provides views to peaks I've never even seen before. 12ers. The aesthetic kind with aesthetic routes. Short to mid length couloirs on Hammer and surrounds. High hanging lakes and lush valleys. Fool me once.

The day's still young so we head on over to Eagle. I believe this can be kept at class 2-3 dropping right/N onto grass. We promptly hit a cliff band on the ridge and downclimbed at around 5.0. And to continue the Year of the Beast, a pine marten guards the entrance to the downclimb. Knowing quite well the fearsome reputation of the creature and that it could obliterate the three of us in a wild flurry of destruction, we tread carefully, so as not to provoke the Beast.

The reachy downclimb. I took the dihedral 10 ft viewer's left

We contour right around to the next saddle and continue up Eagle. View of Fools from Eagle:

From Eagle, it's a quick hop over to 13100. A bit of 3rd optional descending Eagle, but bypassable right.

From 13100, the views over to Ribbed are drool-worthy. The ridge appears to go, with a few headwalls and notches that can be dropped to the right/SW. We do not stay proper though as boomers are building and we have neither the time or technical gear to give it a go.

A drop to the first saddle and, as others have before us, contour right/SW with minor ups and downs but mostly level on grassy ledges interspersed with class 3 scramble until hitting the saddle immediately prior to Ribbed.

Boom. Snowflake.

At the headwall above the saddle, climb a gully on right and leave it where you wish to scramble up and then left to the summit ridge. Class 4 at a minimum.

The gully


Admire the views

Came up from the right

And the fun continues


Boggy nearing the summit of Ribbed

Dan making his way up

The views are pristine, but boomers are building and the only feasible option is to return the long ridge back to Eagle, shown here.

We reverse our route, opting for efficiency over sporty. After a brutal and lengthy regain up to 13100 and then Eagle, our descent options appear to be limited. A brief jog NE to the next saddle and then a hard left down a loose gully is our choice. We know it touches down at least. With more time, I'd recommend continuing NE to the next 12er and descending the easy slopes or contouring around the first point on the Fools/Eagle ridge and scree skiing down that saddle. Pick your poison.

Downclimbing Eagle's NE ridge to the saddle

Oh baby. I so want to descend that.

So good. Please don't kill me.

A lengthy bit of rock glacier talus hop takes us down to Mystic Island Lake, where we chat with fisherfolk and hikers prior to borderline jogging behind Dan for the 6ish mile de-proach.

Fool's N ridge in profile:

It looks improbable, but we came down slightly right of center in this photo. Had we the time, continuing further to photo left would have made for an easier descent.

One last stop to admire

Again, I've heard it said that the wilderness dies with every trip report.

To an extent, I disagree. Compare to an ember under the steady influence of a soft breath. Too little and the ember fades away with a wisp of smoke and a trace of ash. Too much, and the ember is blown out, perhaps with one final blaze of glory, yet final nonetheless.

But with just the right touch of breath, the ember glows. And begins to come alive.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Comments or Questions
Nice TR
10/04/2014 15:49
I enjoyed your trip report. That was a NICE climb. I wish I was young enough and my balance was good enough to attempt that climb. At my age, 65, I'll stick to Class 2 14er's.

An excellent write-up of a spectacular day
10/06/2014 00:44
Maybe there's something to be said for delayed trip reports. I'm extremely happy that I could share this one with you and Boggy.

Another one for the list
10/06/2014 14:28
Looks like a blast. Gotta try this one next year. Thanks for sharing.

Dad Mike
10/06/2014 17:20
awesome, awesome, etc.

10/06/2014 21:57
you are quite the philosopher ry ry nice TR. Looks like a super fun day!

10/08/2014 15:54
Fools has been on my want list for a horribly long time (although I dont recall how...since I didn't even get Coopers book until a few years ago...maybe it was something on SP.)

A big day, made even harder by allowing Dan to lead on the approach. Who does that?! Woulda found me passed out at Lake Charles.

Thanks for posting-


Boggy B
good, but
10/13/2014 18:23
what's all this shite about embers

It's from a book
10/14/2014 01:37
You would have loved it.

   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. 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 and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: 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.

© 2023®, 14ers Inc.