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French Mountain is the first summit in a sequence that includes Frasco BM and Casco Peak. The trailhead begins at the crossing of Halfmoon Creek. Only short-bed, high clearance 4WD should attempt to drive up FR110J, mostly because of the crossing of South Halfmoon Creek. Some stock vehicles may make it as far as that crossing, but historically, the crossing of the creek has been very rough and has turned many a vehicle back. Unless a bridge has been rebuilt, you will also have to do a low-water crossing of Halfmoon Creek, which in runoff season can be a dangerous proposition. Use good judgement. Discretion is the better part of valor.
From the trailhead, cross Halfmoon Creek. Our last visit here in 1994, there was still one log across the creek left over from the remains of an old mining bridge. Walk south up FR110J which gains about 200 feet in elevation above Halfmoon Creek before beginning a long switchback to the west and then back SE, before heading more south again for the crossing of South Halfmoon Creek. That crossing is about 1.1 mile up from the trailhead. Find your way across the creek (wading, jumping, rock-hopping, etc) and continue up the road. On our ast visit in 1994, there were still some old logs here to cross on from an old bridge. Hike a total of about 3.6 miles to an elevation of about 11,725 ft. There's a brief opening here between the trees. On the USGS map, this will be the last group of trees the road passes through in the basin. Turning off the road to the west, just after crossing one of the branches of South Halfmoon Creek, utilize the trees to avoid willows and cross the next branch of South Halfmoon Creek. The willows here are at least not the "man-eating" type. Work your way WNW about 100 feet in elevation up the hillside through willows to another group of trees. Staying on the north side of yet another stream and in the open trees will help you avoid willows. Follow along the stream to an area where things level out at about 12,300 ft. There's a large collection of willows here that can be avoided by hiking on the north side. Hike to the west end of the willows where the slope up to Frasco BM and French steepens (12,450 ft.). Here, you can make a choice.
Some will want to head directly up to the French-Frasco saddle and from there, turn right to reach the summit of French. This is a good choice but will lead to some redundant ridge walking. The slope up to the saddle is mostly low, grassy tundra. If you wish to avoid doing the ridge walk from the French-Frasco saddle twice, you can head uphill a little more to the right from the end of the willows and aim to intercept the SE ridge of French by hiking up the south flank of French. There will be some obvious rock outcrops and set of gullies to avoid, but most of this slope will also be on low, grassy tundra until you've gained the SE ridge. Once on the SE ridge, the terrain becomes more rubbly with patches of low tundra, rubble and scree before arriving at the rockier summit. All very typical Sawatch terrain. The summit of French will offer an impressive view of the Mt. Massive complex. You'll also be able to examine the connecting ridge over to Frasco, then Casco.