• Date - 06/25/2008
  • Elevation - 13,294'
  • Route - Superstar Couloir
  • Miles - 7.5
  • Elevation Gain - 3,250'
  • ACME Mapper - Link
  • CalTopo - Link
  • Partners - Jeff Shafer


A couple weeks ago Jeff and I tried to climb James Peak and were weathered off St. Marys Glacier.  We gave it another shot this week and were successful in climbing the Superstar Couloir.  The approach up the glacier and across the flats went quickly.  There was still enough snow to complete the traverse to the base of the climb and avoid descending down to James Peak Lake.  Although the snow was firm enough to kick good steps, it wasn't neve except in the runnel in the upper half of the couloir.  We heard some rockfall as we geared up below the face, but Superstar Couloir was free of any debris.  The cornice still looms heavily over the route, but the left side was completely melted out and offered an easy direct passage to the ridge.  The left-angling rock ramp and rib used to exit the couloir to the left of the cornice was primarily class 3 and 4 with a possible easy class 5 move.  We brought a rope and light alpine rack for the finish.  As recommended in Dave Cooper's snow climb book, we built an anchor on the right side of the couloir on a ledge and then I traversed across the snow to the rock exit.  I only placed one piece of gear before topping out.  We started the hike at 4:45 and were back home before noon after spending 30 minutes on the summit.  Once back in town, we picked up another friend and went to Castlewood Canyon for some extreme top-roping.


James PeakHigh Traverse to the couloir.Looking back at the high traverse.Superstar CouloirSuperstar CouloirSuperstar CouloirJeff working his way up the couloir.Shooting Star Couloir branches off to the left.Steeper ClimbingLooking down the Superstar Couloir.Approaching the cornice.James using Jeff's kicked steps.CorniceRock ExitLooking back down at our belay station.CorniceGroup Summit PhotoJeff looking down the Shooting Star Couloir.