Peak:  James Peak (13er)
 Route:  Straight up, main trail down
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  RidgeWretch
 Date of Info:  06/11/2020
 Date Posted:  06/12/2020
 Details

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 âT' 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 âT'. 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.


Photos (click for slideshow):
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