After camping and hiking Castle and Conundrum near Aspen we made a stop midway home at Halfmoon Trailhead near Leadville. We drove to the furthest point I would want to drive a motor vehicle other than an ATV on this particular 4WD road to access the Casco, Frasco and French trailhead. The road itself is an enjoyable walk past the point we stopped and up to the mine structures. At that point you gain the saddle to connect the ridge line between the three peaks.
My partner decided to stay down near the mine with the dogs and take shelter from the wind and storms coming in. I made a dash up to Frasco Benchmark and then quickly traversed over to French to beat the storms, but had to endure the wind.
The descent was slow going as I opted for a direct path down a rocky slope and then grass and tundra that was never ending until reaching the road.
We made quick work hiking the road back to the cars and out of the wind.
I returned a few years later and climbed Casco from the North Lake Creek trailhead off 82 below Independence Pass. Someday I’ll have to return to climb the combo route I shorted this hike!
Leadville is one of my most favorite mountain towns. A little gem with plenty of local options. Definitely spend some time here as you're passing through or even stay overnight to get better acclimated for your hike if you're coming from sea level.