Avg: 3 from 17 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, Grade II|
|Page Views:||6,001 total, 30/month|
|Shared By:||Ben Mottinger on May 27, 2001|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionShooting Star is an excellent mountaineering route that ascends a narrow couloir steeply to the summit on the east face of James Peak. It is one of several impressive couloirs on James Peak, but Shooting Star takes the most direct line to the summit--a true classic.
Note: the "rock" description for directions and other info regarding Indian Peaks and James Peak. The best season for this route is late May-July although quite varying conditions can be expected between this short span. In May, the couloir is still hard packed snow, but watch out for rockfall in the initial wide couloir. Although we didn't see any rockfall, Roach notes that in May-early June, the upper wall is shedding rock. By late June-July, the last 200ft. of the narrow and shady couloir is ice.
Also, since the route is on the east face, an early start is highly advisable. We summited at 7:30am on a cloudy day in May and the snow started getting a little soft shortly afterward on the descent.
From the James Peak Lake in the east basin, hike around the lake (either way) to end up on its NW side. Climb up the moderately steep snow field covering a talus slope to the upper basin below James Peak's east face. Shooting Star, Super Star, and Sky Pilot couloirs all star up the same wide snow field under the middle of the face. The first couloir you'll pass is Sky Pilot, which veers south (left) at a lower angle. Keep climbing higher into the narrowing couloir (about 40deg slope) and you'll see Super Star heading steeply off to the right. Shooting Star is the other narrow couloir (obviously--the only other one) that angles left.
The angle and width of the couloir gradually steepens and narrows as one nears the summit. The climbing is exciting as you're trying to concentrate on moving up, but constantly looking down at the awesome couloir below. The final short section is 60deg and deposits you a skip and a jump from the summit.
From a camp at the James Peak Lake, you can expect to summit in about 2-3 hours and be back to camp well before lunch. To DESCEND, hike northeast from the summit down a gentle scree slope past the topout of Super Star (look down at the cornice from a rock point to the east) and then another 300m downhill to the east until you see a more gentle slope for glissading. Although this slope is south-facing, it should be nice for glissading most of the season. At the bottom of this slope, you'll be able to navigate back to the NW shore of the lake.
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