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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
Info: Previous reports this month are still accurate. Mostly dry to the lake and then continuous snow to the summit. I‘ll echo the early start of a previous report or at least have flotation for the mostly flat tundra. We didn‘t take any and had a slow time on our way out at 9:45am.
Info: Adding to JtheChemE‘s report from a few days ago... James is still caked and looking great. Snow is on and off until the lake, then completely covered and skinnable from the base of the glacier to the summit. Snow was supportive in the morning with a fresh half inch of snow on top, making for great skinning. I turned around near ~12,300‘ and rode down to the lake on great snow. I cannot speak to the upper 1,000‘ of the mountain, but I would assume a summit ski is IN. One piece of advice I didn‘t consider until riding down: I would suggest starting this peak EARLY if the weather anticipates any sun coming out and warming of the snow. The long, mostly flat tundra that you have to cross between the top of St. Mary‘s Glacier and the slopes heading up to the summit is JUST enough of an incline that you can piece together a continuous line that will maintain your speed across the flats. However, the only reason I didn‘t get stuck is because there were small patches where the snow was still hard and crusty, and I was able to maintain/pick up some speed on these sections. If one were to allow the snow to heat up too much, I would imagine the traverse across the tundra being miserable and super slow. Thanks to JtheChemE for posting the conditions report a few days earlier! I wouldn‘t have gone up otherwise.
|2015-05-14||Route: SE Ridge
Info: James is absolutely caked with snow. Continuous snow all the way to the bottom of the glacier. Stable snow conditions, great corn for skiers by 11am or so. Its melting out fast though. Large cornices abound on the ridge.
|2014-06-18||Route: shooting star
Info: Hit the base at 11pm. Firm to mid foot punching all the way up. A few runnels, no rock fall issues though debris present. Bergschrund-like feature was a bit soft and tricky to find purchase - bypassable. No snowshoes. Std route was a mix of tundra and sun-cupped snow fields to St Mary‘s Glacier.
|2014-06-17||Route: From St. Marys
Info: Some hard-packed snow drifts below treeline. The glacier is holding fairly firm snow in the morning, quite a bit softer in the afternoon, and extends just about all the way up to about 11,500. Some large sun-cupped snowfields past Jamaica flats. Post-holed in a couple of places after noon, primarily on the higher edges of the snowfields (hidden mini-bergschrunds). All in all, good snow conditions for hiking; no need for crampons or spikes. Floatation would be overkill, but was glad to have gaiters on the descent. Good glissading off the summit! Note: If you decide to ascend the via the ridgeline on the right, there are a couple of small cornices so stay left; the ridge itself is mostly dry, so they‘re easy to avoid.
|2014-06-09||Route: St. Mary's Glacier
Info: There is fresh snow up there from a storm on the night 06/08. The hike to St. Mary‘s Glacier was clear of snow but the once you get to the glacier the snow continues all the way to the Summit. We went early in the morning so the snow was fairly hard on the way up and the micro-spikes we packed were useful on the way up the glacier; however, on the way down the snow began to soften and we were post-holing our way through the whole glacier. It would probably be perfect for back country skiers right about now.
Info: Skinned and hiked up half way to the summit today. Snow ends after St. Mary‘s Glacier all the way through the flats. The escalation to the summit is still in most of the way.
|2012-11-07||Route: clockwise loop to Kingston
Info: After St.Mary‘s most snow is avoidable if you want to add a little distance wandering about. I went for a more direct route. Broke through up to my knees in places. On the steeper slopes, some sections were hard and fast and an axe was nice to have for safety. Gaiters, spikes and poles were very helpful too.
|2012-06-09||Route: Shooting Star
Info: Shooting Star is still in fantastic shape for climbing. We measured a maximum of 53 degrees steepness, but it may have been slightly steeper a few places. An early start (4 am from St. Mary‘s trailhead) was key to our summit. Superstar is starting to look fairly nasty and melted out at the top. Sky Pilot (what we could see of it) looked pretty ugly as well. Starlight and Starbright looked pretty good.
|2011-10-15||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: I don‘t know how much today‘s snow will affect James Peak, but as of Saturday, Oct. 15 it was pretty dry. If we‘d have stayed on the true trail we wouldn‘t have encountered much snow at all. We instead ventured along the Southeast Ridge and negotiated two or three snowfields that were in great condition for snow climbing. St. Mary‘s Glacier is also pretty dry. Up high there were even many, many patches of bare grass. Suncups galore. Didn‘t see any skiers up there, but it‘s possible on a small section to practice glissading and self-arrest without much danger in the runout.