James Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: St. Marys Glacier
Posted On: 2019-12-10, By: TheAmateur
Info: Started late at around 12:00am, was hoping for clear skies for a moonlight hike back to the car, with moonrise starting at about 3:48pm, and sunset at 4:30pm. Was blue skies behind the whiteout conditions starting around the lake and glacier, which was very frustrating. Visibility was extremely variable because of the winds ranging from a calm breeze to gusts strong enough to push me, scraping the microspikes I was wearing down slopes of ice. Turned around at 11000ft, due to not feeling comfortable navigating the terrain in conditions almost impossible to see in. 
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Route: SE Slopes from St. Mary\'s Snowfield
Posted On: 2019-11-14, By: durkan
Info: Seemed right on 13er Thursday to go for James. Started later than usual at 8:30am. Summited by 11:00am. Back at car by 1:30pm. Includes all breaks. Snow was avoidable in the "glacier" (snowfield) gulch by sticking on the north side of the gulch. There was a pretty prominent but loose path was there. Intermittent snowfields from top of the gulch to the SE slopes. From there, I followed the trail and cairns as much as possible to summit. Almost continuous snow on the trail from there to summit, but did not feel a need for traction. There were opportunities to glissade on the wind blown snow areas, and the gulch as well if you have a helmet and ice axe (there was ice in there so I decided to just hike down). All snow never went beyond the mid shin for me (when I did sink that is). I left snowshoes, crampons, helmet, and gaiters behind. Only used microspikes between trailhead and St. Mary's Lake. Could have been more helpful the whole time, but I did not see a need. Not a soul seen until the return trip down at the lake. 
Route: North Slopes from East Portal
Posted On: 2019-09-29, By: jfm3
Info: Trail was damp/muddy in spots between East Portal and Heart Lake. Some creek crossings are dry but others are still flowing. Dry from Heart Lake across Rogers Pass to the point where the trail crosses back over the Divide to the north slopes. 1-4 inches of early-season snow on the north slopes that was melting quickly below 12,500'. Didn't have microspikes but footing wasn't really an issue. Trees are finally turning colors in the Winter Park valley. Photos 1. North slopes from Rogers Pass 2. Bottom of the north slopes 3. Winter Park from the summit 4. South view from the summit 5. Descending the north slopes 
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Route: Standard
Posted On: 2019-07-01, By: pthomps17
Info: Very close to full summer conditions. Microspikes still recommended for ascending the glacier as it hasn't melted out enough to walk on the trail. Glacier was about half the size when I was there in 2017 as it is now, which is great! Above the glacier, full summer conditions on the standard route with the exception of one 100-yard snow crossing at about 12,750 feet (you'll still posthole here so be prepared for that). Great conditions up there! Get there early to avoid massive crowds on the glacier on your descent. 
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Route: Shooting Star
Posted On: 2019-05-28, By: dubsho3000
Info: Shooting Star Couloir has a large cornice covering the climber's right-hand exit, but an easy snow exit to the left-hand side is available. Snow was soft at 7am, but supported us up the couloir and we didn't have significant rockfall - saw one at the Y of Superstar and Shooting Star but otherwise none in the couloir itself. We heard some in the area. Summited at 9:30. Superstar's cornice was even larger, but a snow slope to the right of the area typically holding snow seemed to provide a viable exit. May need rock protection if you go that route. 
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Route: St Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2019-04-28, By: salmanalsaif
Info: I recommend starting as early as possible before the snow starts to melt/soften, by which time traction will be useless and you'll need snowshoes (I didn't bring mine and lost my microspikes on the way back, was too lazy to take them off, found one but couldn't find the other). Strong winds on the way up the snow field by the glacier (forecast said 30mph+50mph gusts, which was accurate). Tough but very doable in my opinion. The wind eased up throughout the day, wasn't bad near the summit. Route finding and navigation can be hard in the clouds, but got easier as they cleared up. Cairns in the final mile helped (don't target them willy-nilly if the slope isn't safe, they'll still be useful landmarks at the very least). Did not have any problems on the way back. Watch out for cornices and potential avalanche slopes (near the glacier, final mile near the summit, and especially the summit, don't go peaking over the edge). Not too concerning overall. Still working my way back from injuries so took me 5 hours to summit. If anyone finds a single XL microspike, let me know  
Route: St Marys to SE slopes
Posted On: 2019-04-15, By: easyridertme
Info: Snow coverage from TH to the lake is still okay but looks like it's melting quickly. We were still able to skin, but you'll probably need to boot for a short distance around the lake to get to the glorified snowfield. Faced a stiff 20+mph headwind climbing the snowfield, but the wind surprisingly tapered off a bit during the flats, only to pick up with a vengeance as we approached the summit. As of Sunday, you could still pick your way across the flats on skins, but that'll likely be a boot soon too without more snow. Skiing down the SE slopes would have been wonderful but it was overcast and chilly, so the top layer never quite softened up. We were stuck with varying degrees of very hard crust/ice with the occasional shallow (2-4 inches), grabby wind slab... not to mention super flat light. St Marys itself had softened by 2ish and was nice skiing. 1st pic - snow blowing down during the climb up from the lake. 2nd pic - summit. where'd the clear skies go?? 
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Route: SE Face
Posted On: 2019-04-07, By: mbnat
Info: 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. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2019-04-01, By: TheRealRooster
Info: Good coverage the whole way to the summit. You could literally skin all the way from the parking lot. The slightly steeper parts up high were dust on bulletproof ice, which made skinning difficult at times. The skiing was pretty nice, but the new snow hid plenty of sharks... 
Route: NE face
Posted On: 2019-03-16, By: jmanner
Info: Flew Past James yeaterday. Face is shaping up nicely. 
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Route: St Mary\'s Glacier to SE slopes
Posted On: 2019-02-02, By: CaptainSuburbia
Info: Windy, windy and windy! Going up the glacier was like walking through a wind tunnel. I wore microspikes from TH to summit. The snow was firm and easy to walk on most of the way with only some minor postholing in the flat area. Occasionally in this flat area there would be windblown sections of grass and rocks. Large cairns were easily seen marking the trail from glacier to summit. There was even more wind on the return trip, but luckily it was at my back. I was able to glissade down the bottom half of glacier with one long continuous run! At the bottom I saw quite a few disappointed hikers because at this point it would have been impossible to go up the glacier because of the wind. I guess the early bird gets the worm. I was back at my truck by 10:15am. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2018-12-03, By: wondering_hough
Info: Carried snowshoes but never used them. The winds were surprisingly calm as well. A few in our party chose to use micro spikes. I had on full winter gear and the zero degree ambient temps were nice. We started at sunrise and a good freeze made snow conditions pleasant. Made the summit before noon and back around one p.m. to hear the masses trying out snowshoes for the first time. "Should I get a go pro?....I hike a lot man!" 
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Route: From Mount Bancroft
Posted On: 2018-09-03, By: supranihilest
Info: An awesome Class 3/4 scramble awaits from Bancroft. Descending to the saddle is very steep; take care in this section. If it's wet it could be incredibly slippery. From the saddle the real fun begins. You're faced with a big jumble of rocks, a set of ledges, a small tower, and then a steep headwall with steep, stacked boulders next to it, in that order. The obstacles can all be bypassed with Class 3 options, and if you don't find anything to your liking take a second to slow down and find your route; you'll have to climb up gullies and short walls, down gullies, across ledges, up big boulders, etc. This scramble has it all. At the final headwall I would avoid the jumble of boulders to climber's right, who knows how that house of cards stands. Instead, climb the steep ledges on the headwall to the ridge crest then scramble up the ridge crest to a broad plateau where the route opens up and you can either hike to the standard route trail or simply walk directly up another talus field to the summit. I did not take the standard route down, instead going to Corona Pass Road; make sure you know where you're going! Use GPS if you have to! There are multiple trail splits along the way and you don't want to get lost. 
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Route: via St. Mary\'s
Posted On: 2018-07-08, By: kingshimmers
Info: It's summer! Aside from the "glacier" hike up, trail is 98% dry. In the ~2% that is wet it's very easy to stay on trail and keep your feet dry by stepping on rocks. 
Route: Shooting Star
Posted On: 2018-06-25, By: Kschultz17
Info: Fantastic snow conditions up the Shooting Star couloir - get it while the getting's good! 
Route: St Mary\'s Glacier
Posted On: 2018-06-02, By: nedryarson
Info: Skinned up the glacier and booted across the flats. There is now a gap of about 50 yards on the SE face where you'll have to boot it as well. Aside from that, spectacular day and great corn skiing. Summited around 11, nice and soft by then. 
Route: SE Slope from St. Mary\\\\\\\'s
Posted On: 2018-05-30, By: mr_Chris
Info: Straight hike of James today, no skis, from St. Mary's Glacier. Microspikes were useful along the right edge of the glacier almost to the very top of it. Jamaica Flats was probably 90% snow free, and the SE face of James was at least 90% snow covered, but again, spikes made for a much more direct line to the summit and there is much opportunity to glissade on the way down. Just a couple of postholes on the way back down around 11:00 but still wasn't bad yet. Make sure you know which valley you are aiming for on the way back, there are multiple trails up top with varying degrees of snow cover and it is easy to follow the wrong one. 
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Route: St. Mary\\\'s
Posted On: 2018-05-28, By: ShredPortal
Info: Skinned up to James departing the St Mary's TH at 7:15a; only a few cars and only saw 3 other people up past the plateau. Summit to myself. Skinned from the lake, but there is no snow left at the plateau. Since it was my first time up on James and didn't know how long the plateau was, I shoulder carried the skis but would recommend either re-packing them or not putting them on until you're on the slopes of James. Once on James the snow is good, there is still one route on the southern face with complete coverage and a couple spots where two steps with skins on would get you over a tiny rocky patch. Snow was super fast for the descent around 8:30; needed to traverse uphill slightly in two spots to stay on the full coverage route but that wasn't a problem-- snow was so fast it didn't feel like I was losing speed at all. Finding the trail back to St Mary's can be a little tricky. As a bonus, there were a couple racers right above St Mary's Lake who had set up a slalom course right down to the shoreline! 
Route: Starlight Couloir
Posted On: 2018-06-01, By: randomboulder
Info: Dropped in on skis around 9am. Part of the top section was still in the shade and was thus pretty firm until you descended lower into the sunny section. I'd recommend waiting a bit later to ski it so that the top section is softer. We climbed back up the couloir and descended the East SE Slope. 
Route: Superstar Couloir
Posted On: 2018-05-25, By: Eli Boardman
Info: Climbed Superstar Couloir (steepest line, on the right) on the east face of James Peak. Perfect conditions--topped out around 8:15 and wouldn't have wanted to be any later as it was starting to get soft. We exited unroped on easy rocks to the left of the cornice. The upper snow approaches 60 degrees; I used and reccomend 2 axes, stiff boots, steel crampons. Partner was fine with 1 axe. The standard route is still fairly snowy but an easy walk. 
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