James Peak Wilderness Area
Submitted By: Dobish on April 08, 2010
Views: 1527 page views
As you drop off of the summit, you are on a large convex slope that is about 38°. This face is almost due East, so it tends to get sun pretty early. In the late spring, this slope can easily be corn by 9:30am at the top, so plan to be up there early. There are very few hazards on the top section, as there are no rocks or trees that are really poking through.
Depending on the size of the group, and your time frame, a lot of people will go back up and do multiple laps on the East Face from above the headwall, as this is where the most open terrain is. Once you get to the headwall, you need to keep a vigilant eye for the convexities and the sliding snow. These slopes measure at close to 45° and have been getting sun from the very first light. The tend to slide regularly, but as the snow gets heavier, they could probably do some damage. There are a few descent options to pick, that all wrap around the lake and back to the main gully.
There used to be an old mining cabin, that you can still see the remanants of just above the upper lake.
After the lakes, if you are done for the day, you should head to the right, so you can avoid the willows and connect back up with teh Crystal Lakes Road. You can take the road all the way back down to the trailhead if there is snow.[more]
Windy, Cold, and has some really good skiing. It is easily accessible, and there is plenty of stuff to ski, even with elevated avalanche forecasts. There are also some really steep lines, that are great for ski mountaineering practice, as well as everything in between.
How to Get There
Located just west of Idaho Springs, there are a couple of different ways to access the trailheads. There are some access issues, so make sure to pay attention to signs.
There is camping here all year long, just make sure you are obeying private property signs.
Not a lot of options for food, so go back to Idaho Springs.
Much of this land is either forest service or private land. Please be courteous and make sure you obey all posted signs.