James Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Ridge
Posted On: 2021-05-04, By: jbealer
Info: We got a 4am start on Sun in hopes of getting one of the star couliors, by the time we made it to the turn off to drop into the basin we were not feeling great about the snow freezing the night before, we had be postholing on the way up to that point (wore crampons, no Snowshoes), the idea of crossing that snow section and having to cross it again later if the coulior in fact was not great was not worth our chances. There also appeared to be cornices at the top of them. we headed up the ridge from that point, we has sections of snow and rock crossings. If you stuck to more of the summer path you would have snow the whole way. Skiers came up behind us as we were leaving the summit. we were then engulfed by a white out and used GPS to get us back down as we could not see anything a head of us. the trail from the parking lot to the base of the glacier was a mix of soft snow and dirt trail to the sides. 
Route: From St Mary\\\'s glacier
Posted On: 2021-04-18, By: cougar
Info: Lots of powder up there per previous report. Despite the people up there, there isn't really a solid trench from the flats to the summit, more like a bunch of sloppy parallel snowshoe tracks chewing up a wide swath, like there was a race. Flotation highly recommended. Powder was consistent throughout the day. Some wet slides around and on st Mary's today. 
4 2
Route: From St. Mary\\\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2021-04-18, By: weakenedwarrior
Info: Continuous snow from trailhead to summit. Bluebird day to the flats but the summit was caught in clouds / whiteout conditions by the time I got there. Continuous ski descent from summit back to the car, although the flats weren't fun. Dropped around 11 am, snow was great to the flats, a bit sticky from the flats back to the base of the glacier. Some sharks near the very top. 
Route: St. Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2021-04-12, By: mvandergrift
Info: Morning snow is still very hard and easy to traverse. Around noon it starts to soften and quickly becomes messy at lower elevations. We did not need snowshoes regardless, but would have preferred to start earlier than 9am. Even still, quick and enjoyable trip. Lots of social trails. Hard to follow summer trench after the glacier. We constantly found ourselves to the NE of the trail until we reconnected around 12,600'. Much easier on the way down when we followed the GPS and stayed west (more rock allowed us to avoid the warming snow). Only a couple of other people on the mountain enjoying the perfect weather. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-04-11, By: amderr22
Info: The freeze-thaw cycle left the snow hard as ice in the morning - crampons and ice axe recommended if you plan on taking steeper slopes. Microspikes and poles would be fine if you stick to the formal summer trail. Everything was turning to slush by 2pm or so - start early. No need for snowshoes. 
Route: Via St. Mary\\\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2021-04-06, By: Ericsheffey
Info: Nearly continuous snow from trailhead to summit. Flat middle section is starting to get dry but you can find a line if you try hard enough. Everything was a sheet of ice early in the day. Traction needed. We had a nearly continuous ski/snowboard descent from peak back to TH (although my skiier counterpart had a much easier time than I did on a snowboard lol). Above 12k' skiied super icy, mid section a little softer with bits of ice here and there, glacier was straight up corn. Overall a great day. Conditions are changing rapidly though. 
15 2
Route: South east slope from St marys
Posted On: 2021-03-20, By: VeraUndertow
Info: Great day on James, super clear day and was able to skin up to the summit no problem. Chilled on the summit with two other skiers for about 15 minutes since it was clear and not to windy before I skiied down. Was able to get some great turns on chalky snow on the summit pitch and work my way across the sastrugi to the lower bowl for some more great chalky turns down to the flats. I was able to carefully route find across the flat areas without hitting any sharks but it might be easier to walk of you really care about the base of your skis. From the top of the glacier gulley the snow was nice and solid, mostly sastrugi up top but some chalk and corn turns down to the lake. A super nice day and hopefully will be even nicer with some of the fresh snow coming this week. Overall about 4 hours and 7.5 miles round trip. 
7 1
Route: Via St. Mary\\\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2020-12-05, By: espressoself
Info: Beautiful day. We lucked out and had almost no wind (except for about 30 minutes near 12,500'). Trail to St. Mary's Lake was predictably packed down. Glacier itself was packed toward the North side, and wind crusted in spots. Above the glacier in the area between Kingston and James, there were some boot packed areas, but post-holing still occurred in places. Between ~11,800' and the summit, the snow is not very well packed. There are wind scoured spots, but we frequently encountered areas with at least 2' of snow. We wore snowshoes briefly, but took them off around this point on the ascent (probably a mistake, but we were too lazy to put them back on). Flotation certainly not necessary, but it is helpful right now. 
Route: From Saint Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2020-11-17, By: Clint the climber
Info: I was able to skin all the way from the parking lot to within about a 1/4 mile of the summit. Rock hoped from the end of the snow to the summit. A pretty mellow day with some wind. 
Route: Saint Mary’s Glacier
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: sigepnader
Info: Totally dry and snow free on the trail. Started at 8 and summited at 11. The only snow that was left was in the wind shelter. That should be gone by tomorrow at this point. 
Route: Via St. Mary Glacier
Posted On: 2020-09-13, By: geg86
Info: Peak is in good condition after the storm. Some small snow patches are lingering but did not need traction 
Route: Superstar Couloir
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: dweiss45
Info: Good conditions on the climb, a couple of moats are forming, but no rock steps yet. Top out was very soft at ~11. If you are debating bringing a rope and rack, only the upper quarter of the climb is really worth it to protect the move around the cornice and possibly the steep snow if you're worried; a set of nuts and maybe a snow picket or 2 for the belay, plus a #1 or 2 cam to protect the follower after you're on top (we topped out right side). Even then, if you've done something like Skywalker or Dragon Tail, you'll get by fine without the pro. 
Route: Straight up, main trail down
Posted On: 2020-06-12, By: RidgeWretch
Info: Two of us started from St. Mary's Glacier, one with microspikes and the other without, but in good boots with aggressive tread. Barely any slippage for the latter. Snowfield ended as we leveled off for the flat approach. Stuck to the 4-wheel drive path that veers west of the lone rock outcrop. This ended in a ‘T' with the other 4-wheel drive road (assuming these aren't ancient Segway tracks) that runs east-west through the middle of this plateau. The trails are not marked and we turned right (east) looking for one. Should've turned left. The main trail that skirts the west side slopes and bends to the summit can be picked up about 150 feet west of the ‘T'. Alas, we walked far to the east before intersecting another very old road that ended in snow at the bottom of the main slope. Further ahead, the huge cairn sat front and center at the edge of the snow. We, instead, opted to negotiate around the east side of the snowfield on tundra. It was closer and a nice challenge. Once we ran out of dry land, we traversed west a short distance to a set of tracks romping straight up to the bare talus. The windblown snow was packed and firm, only depressing about four inches when we ran on it. Only one of us was brilliant enough to run up the hill, not naming anyone. We popped over the two knobs en route the final slope where we caught up to the afore-mentioned main trail's zig-zags in the quarter mile. (This straight-on hike made for a windy but heart-pumping workout in the winter; highly recommend that approach during full-on snow conditions). Three summit shelters, two of them still with snow. Took the main trail back down. Never post-holed once, though saw a few where someone sank mid-calf. The glacier crowd was large and loud, surprising number of people for a pandemic group. Will look forward to tackling James from the north in the future, and maybe Parry-Bancroft from the other trailhead. The bridge of my nose recommends you bring sunscreen. 
Route: Shooting Star
Posted On: 2020-05-23, By: CreekRunner
Info: Couloir is fully in and is all consolidated snow (no ice). Definitely start early because there are heaps of rocks that fall at the top of the apron when the sun hits. Most notably are the two massive cornices hidden from view along the sides of the couloir. One is hanging precariously off a cliff. Just my 2 cents, but it might be good to wait until the cornice fails before attempting this. 
Route: St. Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2020-05-22, By: ilikereds
Info: Parked at TH to St. Mary's Glacier and started out at 0600. Started hitting hard snow half way to the lake. Didnt see anyone until I was on the summit of James Pk. Very nice day with very little winds. Took traction with me but never used. I saw flotation tracks along the way but if you are starting early, they are just extra weight. Glissaded from summit...be mindful that the snow is melting during the day and freezing at night so the snow is hard on the behind! started seeing a lot of people at the lake on the way down. Back to the truck by 1000. 
Route: St Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2020-03-29, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Skied James today. Very little soft snow left from Friday's dump, but they might get more tonight. No avy danger, everything was windpacked really well, which was my plan in waiting since the last fresh snow. Really windy, but no wind on the glacier, which seems the opposite from what people usually say about this climb. A couple of spots closer to the summit that I had to be careful at due to exposed rocks, but I kept my skis on except for a short walk at the lake near the bridge. Lots of double-poling on the flats, but nothing crazy and was never tempted to put skins back on or walk it, it's *mostly* downhill. Should've waxed. 
Route: St Mary\'s glacier
Posted On: 2020-02-29, By: bangerth
Info: Fantastic conditions, could hardly be better: Hard packed snow from hundreds of visitors all the way to the lake. Iced over on the actual glacier making for a great surface on the glacier itself (including the ability to just put yourself on your butt and slide down on the way back). From there, the long slog across the plateau and along the usual trail up to James Peak itself is a mixture of tundra with little snow cover, hard frozen sastrugi, and occasionally a hard crust that breaks down 3 or 4 inches -- the latter is of course annoying, but it happened rarely enough that snowshoes are not necessary. We stayed closed to the East Ridge on the way down, basically heading straight for the top of the glacier. That provided a mostly quite pleasant descent since one could string together small snow patch after small snow patch, and just sink one's heel into the snow. I'm not sure it would have been better to take that on the way up, but it definitely the way to go for the way back -- it's also got fantastic views down the steep north side of the ridge. We wore microspikes from the road to the top and all the way back, and that was entirely the right choice. 
Route: St. Marys Glacier
Posted On: 2020-02-21, By: timewarp01
Info: Climbed James Peak via the Glacier route today with my friend Max. It was a really nice bluebird day that was actually less windy than we were anticipating. In the morning the glacier had pretty hard packed snow so we didn't need snowshoes until we crested the rise and made it a quarter of the way across the flats toward James. There was no wind until the top of the glacier, then a steady stream from the west the rest of the way with little or no gusting. The snowshoes stayed on all the way up; the summit block has plenty of scalloped drifts that are a couple of feet deep. Unfortunately there's won't be a track left; it was immediately being covered by the wind as we went. Along the way we met a really cool climber who showed us the Shooting Star couloir from the summit. John, if you see this, maybe you could speak to the conditions in the chute. Couldn't have asked for a better day out in February of all months! 
6 1
Route: via St Marys Glacier
Posted On: 2020-02-16, By: drop_bear
Info: Windy in the morning, calm in the afternoon. Packed trail to the lake. Mostly continuous firmish snow to the summit. Put snowshoes on at the glacier (mainly so I didn't get blown off into Kansas) and kept them on the remainder. One of the very few times I was glad I was wearing them. 1) Winds up the glacier 2) From near the summit looking back towards the glacier 3) Approaching the summit 4) James from summit of Kingston 
4 1
Route: East slopes
Posted On: 2019-12-20, By: wondering_hough
Info: There is an impressive avalanche (maybe within the past week) slide and debris field right above lake and towards the foot of the glacier. Completely sketched me out until I was half way up the glacier The winds stopped me short of James Pk but I did summit Kingston, a 12er, as a consolation prize. I used snowshoes from the the trailhead/all day 

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