James Peak Climbing
|GPS:||39.852, -105.689 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||22,826 total · 86/month|
|Shared By:||Ben Mottinger on Dec 31, 2000|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
The technical routes are best done from May-July as they are snow and ice climbs up the fantastic couloirs on James Peak's east face. Super Star couloir is mostly steep snow, but some 5.4 scrambling is required to bypass a cornice at the top. Another couloir, Shooting Star is a classic; a steep snow/ice climb that ends almost right on the summit. Several other couloirs of varying difficulty ascend the eastern portion of the peak.
See Gerry Roach's book "Colorado's Indian Peaks" for more info.
From Boulder, head west up the canyon to Nederland, turn south on 119 to Rollinsville (4.9 mi.), then head west on a dirt road 5 mi. to Tolland. After you pass through the "town" of Tolland (don't blink), look for a rough road heading uphill to the left. If you've gone over the railroad tracks, turn around.
Follow this road (Mammoth Gulch Road), which is identified by signs as "176" or "353" about 2 mi. You'll see a junction here for "Mammoth Basin," which is the road to Lower Mammoth Gulch. Continue on uphill, eventually pulling out of the trees to a view of the mountains. The road will come to a "Y" junction at the top of a hill, now in trees again. Depending on the time of year, you'll be able to continue west on this narrow road for another 3 miles as it loops around the north of Kingston Peak. When I did this (May 27) snow blocked the road at this junction, which is around 10,200 feet (according to my vintage 1946 Piper J-3 aircraft altimeter that's now mounted in my truck ;-) Gerry Roach notes in his book that snow blocked this road around 11,000 feet. in mid-June.
Hike or drive (4WD) the 3 miles on an old two-track road up a ridge, then circling around Kingston Peak. If you're hiking, look for a trail sign on the NW side of Kingston Peak that drops sharply into the basin below James Peak's east face. It is about 1 more mile into the basin from here, but the ascent back out is arduous since the trail is very steep.
Depending (once again) on snow conditions, you'll need gaiters, but snoeshoes are not necessary and may cause more trouble since the snow is in patches with scree in between. Locate a nice campsite about a 100m uphill and to the south from the lake and to the west of an old mining cabin.
The lake is at 11,200 feet just 2100 feet below the summit. Enjoy yourself in this awesome alpine setting!
If you park at the St. Mary's Glacier area, expect to pay $3 in a self-pay parking area that has been purchased by a private citizen. Parking along the road is marked as illegal.
Classic Climbing Routes at James Peak
Days w Precip