Peak:  James Peak (13er)
 Route:  Shooting Star Couloir to unknown face and Mammoth
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  slawrence2011
 Date of Info:  05/22/2021
 Date Posted:  05/24/2021

Started hiking up the Glacier around 4:30 AM. In order to access the couloirs from the Glacier approach, you have to do a long traverse right and lose some elevation. We hit this traverse around 6:30, and we were already sinking to ankles at times because it was E facing. We considered turning around as it was avy terrain, but proceeded as it was short, and the couloir itself would be better protected, NE. The apron was laborious as it was E facing, but managed to walk on wet slab debris to the base of the couloir (should that have told me something!). The couloir was much better snow, and I ascended easily with crampons and a single alpine axe. My partner used crampons and two axes. The top was extremely blowover windy, so turned around after 1 second at the summit, didn't even look at the full view. I took one turn in the couloir and sunk 6 inches in skis, so elected not to ski that way because I knew the Apron would be way worse. I took a similar aspect line a little ways down the ridge where I only sunk three inches. It never crossed my mind that I would have to hike back up to the "flats" to get back via the glacier, so I went out via Mammoth Gulch which heads to the Tollins road 5 miles west of Rollinsville. I did not intend to go this way, but was following a stream downstream and figured I would hit a road eventually. I didn't figure it would take 6 hours of bushwhacking, switching from skis to not every 5 minutes. All this to say, if you ski down a couloir, please make sure to climb back up and go out via the glacier, you will thank yourself later! I am not sure what other skiers do or if anyone else did this, as I saw tracks going down where I went, and didn't notice any tracks climbing up the 200 foot steep headwall.

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