James Peak has been haunting me since we had to turn around with the summit in view because of lightning. I had figured doing a 14er over a long weekend would make more sense but I struggled a little bit at 12,550Ft last weekend so I decided to put it off one more week and worked this repeater/failed summit attempt into our schedule.
Here are the details of the first time we hiked James Peak.
We got a very early start ( 6:30AM) and so pretty much had the trail to ourselves. It was a perfect morning, cool with a slight breeze to keep me from sweating too much and almost no clouds in the sky. I just missed sunrise itself but the sky was coming alive with sun while it set the mountains on fire. It was awesome.
The shocking part for me was seeing how dramatically different the Glacier itself was, like a third of the size it was just 2 months ago. We ended up walking up most of the way on the glacier rubble and only had to do a short stretch on the remaining snow. Here are a couple of pictures
The other amazing part of nature here was how vast all the flowers were throughout the glacier rubble given that 2 months ago it was all under snow and now these were so robust!
The glacier wasn’t the only part of the hike alive with flowers, the flats had these beauties everywhere and they stretched up to the summit climb.
I will admit I was not feeling so hot almost the whole climb up the glacier and once on the flats, I was pretty certain I was going to be sick. I slowed it down and tried to drink as much water as I could and as we moved along the flats I started to feel better, until we hit the summit climb. I can tell how bad I was feeling in that I completely flaked taking any pictures of it but we did keep going and little by little I started to get it under control.
We made it past our turnaround point from the last attempt with the skies looking beautiful and the wind stopping almost completely. There are some steep parts through the switchbacks up but really it wasn’t too bad and before we knew it we had crested the ridge to the summit.
At the top we had it mostly to ourselves and one other couple, who were a wealth of hiking information. Before I knew it, we had been talking to them for almost an hour! We quickly got some pictures and then headed down as the summit started to get more crowded. On the way down we saw this gentleman come up with his Lamas or alpacas, who were clearly very well-loved, I think he was a continental divide trail through hiker. How cool to through hike with these companions!
This hike was amazing, getting to the summit and see for miles was the best part of my week! I also had great views of Grays and Torrey’s, which I think will be our next 14ers, we had amazing views of them throughout the hike.
As always, I hope if you find yourself out this way, you can check out the hike it is worth every step up! Now for some of our favorite pictures of the day.