Peak:  James Peak (13er)
 Route:  east slopes
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  AlexeyD
 Date of Info:  02/28/2016
 Date Posted:  02/29/2016

Climbed James Peak from the St. Mary's trailhead yesterday. 2 of us were on skis, and 1 on snowshoes. Conditions for skiing are downright crappy right now (particularly for skinning). Had to stop to take skis off/on at least 5 times throughout the ascent and descent. Even the normally continuous snowfield on the SE slopes of the summit cone is currently 3 separate sections with rocks in between. What snow does exist is mostly wind-packed, icy, and often covered in sastrugi. For those without skis/skins, some type of traction is very highly recommended - probably snowshoes, as there are some sections of breakable crust on the tundra and the upper slopes.

On the plus side, we had the mountain completely to ourselves, did manage a few nice turns on the descent (best conditions were on the middle snowfield on the SE face), had a totally bluebird day (winds were high in the morning, but nearly died down by afternoon) and, in all technicality, did get a summit descent in (the final snowfield extends right up to the summit cairn). Still...for the skiers out there, I'd strongly recommend either waiting for more snow, or picking something else.

Comments or Questions
03/01/2016 08:22
I was up there the weekend before and I opted to not remove my skis on the bottom portion and ski the ice and sastrugi. Some spots were pretty gnarly...I definitely was questioning my decision the whole way down. Definitely a nice short trip though.

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