Peak:  James Peak (13er)
 Route:  SE Face
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  mbnat
 Date of Info:  04/07/2019
 Date Posted:  04/07/2019

Skied the SE Face of James Peak via St. Mary's Glacier. This route is about 99% skiable currently from the summit to the trailhead. On the way up, I only had to boot up the last ~50-100 ft. to the summit as my skins didn't stick to the hard ice, but my partner was able to keep the skins on. We kept skis on for the entire descent except right at the lake, we couldn't find a way through on continuous snow (but didn't look that hard).

The morning was very windy but plenty of sunshine. We timed the descent perfectly, leaving the summit at around 1:00pm (for the day we went). It took a while to soften, but by the early afternoon the upper slopes were just starting to soften up and the lower slopes weren't too slushy yet. The upper slopes were decently fun - the steeper sections were nice but the flatter sections were annoying hard sastrugi. The flats in between James and St. Mary were skiable on continuous snow by staying skiers left, and cutting right just before the beginning of the glacier. Probably some other paths through on snow too, there's a good bit of snow still.

The ski down St. Mary's was fantastic! We saw lots of people out on the glacier enjoying a beautiful afternoon. The trail/road down to the trailhead from the lake was still snow covered and a fun ski, but it's melting fast and more rocks were poking through in the afternoon compared to the morning. With caution, it can be comfortably skied all the way to the paved road.

Photos (click for slideshow):

Comments or Questions
Brings back memories
04/08/2019 09:41
I used to ski James Peak every spring when I was younger. I usually skied it in March. Most of the time in March it was solid wind pack, almost like a groomed ski area run. I did it a few times in April, but I never managed to catch good conditions -- usually breaking crust or frozen slush. I never managed to catch powder or good skiable corn. Powder would have been a bear to climb, unless somebody had put in a track first, but would be great descending, though likely a bit of a slog across the flats. You would have to catch it on the right day, as powder doesn't last very long with the wind up there.

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