James Peak  
Condition Updates  
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. 
9 1
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. 
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. 
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!" 
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. 
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. 
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. 
3 1
Route: From St Mary\'s Glacier TH
Posted On: 2018-05-10, By: grahampa
Info: James Peak is in prime form for skiing, if you're willing to go through the woods for a while. An early start would be helpful below treeline. Skiing down from the peak around 3 pm was amazing, perfect conditions for skiing. No wonder it is a classic ski descent! 
Route: St. Marys to SE Slope
Posted On: 2018-04-25, By: cardgenius
Info: Lots of new snow and really good coverage the whole way, especially in the large field after the “glacier”. Didn't take skis off at all. Be ready for all snow conditions. Powder, wind packed powder, wind blown hard pack, sastrugi. Warmed up really fast as the wind died down and you could tell it was affecting the snow. Quite sticky in some spots! 
4 3
Route: SE Slopes
Posted On: 2018-04-05, By: summit21
Info: Made it up to the shoulder yesterday (12,700ft) before I was turned around by 50-70mph wind gusts. Variable snow from supportive,breakable crust to powder 2-4in deep. The tundra as previous poster stated is wind blown/icy and thin in spots. Was able to make to rocky landmark on descent thanks to the wind on snowboard. SM glacier is also wind blown hard packed/icy. 
Route: St Marys Glacier/SE slopes
Posted On: 2018-03-19, By: AlexeyD
Info: Was able to skin up and ski down from base to summit without removing skis except for a few feet near the usual rocky part near the lake. Variable snow conditions, generally wind-packed and supportive on the glacier and deep, dense powder on the upper SE slopes. Snow on the tundra is thin and icy in parts as expected, but I was able to make it across with only a couple of small scrapes. Upper mountain had very fun skiing conditions for the descent. I broke trail for much of the way, but unfortunately the winds on this mountain are so strong that any skin track gets covered up almost immediately, so my efforts won't be of much use to anyone. 
4 2
Route: South Boulder Creek
Posted On: 2017-12-17, By: jrobie23
Info: Snowshoes strongly recommended after Forest Lakes TH. Some nice work by someone to clear 2 large trees. Some post-holing (w/ snowshoes on) for the last mile or so. Past Heart Lake, crampons would be really nice for peace of mind. A little too firm styrofoam to keep going much past the first switchback w/ snowshoes. 
Route: Sait Marys route
Posted On: 2017-11-11, By: Lando_cal007
Info: It was snowy above tree line and the wind was somthing else summit was easy though. I used micro spickes and trekking poles. 
Route: Southeast slope
Posted On: 2017-10-08, By: Sglm14
Info: Brought my microspikes but did not use them. 

Return to the main Peak Conditions page

© 2021 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.