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James Peak Ascent Options

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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James Peak Ascent Options

Postby swampthing » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:15 am

Hello All,

I went on a scouting mission Sunday to Loch Lomond near the little town of Alice to scope a possible ascent of James Peak from below. I have read of clearly-marked routes going from St. Mary's Glacier on up to James, but is it possible to go up from the lakes? And if so, what are the current conditions of this route and what other route recommendations are there from the experts out there?

Thanks for your advice and happy hiking!

-Swampthing

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby winmag4582001 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:46 pm

You can take the jeep trail from Lock Lomond to the flats thenover to James, from there traverse over to Bancroft.
Or, you can go up SMG to the flats, circle north to the gulch, go from James lake to the ridge via Shooting Star, which is probably melted out and dangerous right now.

Current conditions: Sunny with afternoon thunderstorms. :-D
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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby JeffR » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:18 pm

You can also take the north ridge from the Moffat Tunnel TH. A little longer, but very scenic.
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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby glacierPaul » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:10 am

1)At the Loch, go to the far end North East of the dam, there is a trail that follows the run off up from that side of the lake. 2)Halfway up Loch Lomond road, the first gate, is the C.D.T. 3)Or a technical climb up past the upper lakes. Be safe!

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby HuskyRunner » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:40 pm

Were up on James today, we took the CDT from the first pull over where it crosses the road to Loch Lomond, only about 10 miles round trip. The trail is easy to follow and dry. As others have noted you can drive all the way to the Loch, just depends on how much bumping along that road you want to do, did see a mini van drive past where we were parked, wouldn't have been my choice of vehicle but looks like they did OK.
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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby pw » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:49 pm

swampthing wrote:Hello All,

I went on a scouting mission Sunday to Loch Lomond near the little town of Alice to scope a possible ascent of James Peak from below. I have read of clearly-marked routes going from St. Mary's Glacier on up to James, but is it possible to go up from the lakes? And if so, what are the current conditions of this route and what other route recommendations are there from the experts out there?



I've done James Peak a couple of times from Loch Lomond, it was less than 2 hours the last time. I did a little thrashing around in the scrub just above the dam, but once up that initial steeper slope you are above tree line and it's smooth sailing. There is a faint trail up there too, closer to the south rim above the lakes, although not necessary to find it.

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby PaliKona » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:57 pm

How bad is that road to the Loch? Can 2WD make it?

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby pw » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:25 pm

PaliKona wrote:How bad is that road to the Loch? Can 2WD make it?


I would say no. I drove up with my brother a few years ago in 2 vehicles, him in an Outback, me in a pickup, once he'd had it we piled into my pickup. It had pretty cramped seating, so he drove as far as he could before we crammed into my truck, maybe made it a mile before it got steep and bumpy. I did see a guy in a 2 wd bronco (or some older 2wd SUV) doing it, he had to take runs at steep sections so once his wheels started spinning a bit he had enough momentum to get over those sections, but he had greater clearance than a car of course.

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby HuskyRunner » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:35 pm

Didn't see anything that you would need 4 wheel drive for, good clearance certainly but nothing so steep or rocky that would require 4 wheel drive. I saw several lower clearance vehicles make it but I wouldn't want to try do it in something that couldn't clear the rougher sections of road, and I was never even tempted to shift into 4 wheel, there was no need for it.
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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby Rick Canter » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:27 am

For an entirely different experience, consider the Riflesight Notch access at Rogers Pass. This is a 2 WD-friendly gravel road. The old Moffat RR grade which takes off of US 40 about two traffic lights from the Winter Park resort. On the way down the 2WD car in front of me made it down through graupel and rain. The Ute Trail is a mellow grade although I concede it is not as scenic as the lakes and the Glacier.

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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby IronLionZion » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:13 pm

It's nice from the lake! i was up there in June. We hiked up Parry to the West and then worked our way back across the ridge hitting Bancroft and James. it was a fun hike from Bancroft to James. I saw a newer Subaru Forrester up there and but I wouldn't want to be the one driving that. I have a Jeep Cherokee, I did use 4WD tho it probably wasn't necessary.
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Re: James Peak Ascent Options

Postby snowymountainsrock » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:07 pm

Does anyone know the current conditions of St. Mary's Glacier?
Thanks

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