Starting at the St. Mary's Glacier trail head parking lot, myself and my friend Lee were shooting for a summit of Jame's peak.
There was light snow falling in the lot, and our intention was to ski from the summit. However, after reconsidering this, we decided to just bag the summit.
The climb up the glacier was not too strenuous, with a light breeze blowing. The snow was starting to fall more heavily now.
Upon topping out on the glacier, we hiked to the first rock outcropping we saw and soon found ourselves in a moderate blizzard.
Wanting to continue, and having no idea where the REAL Jame's Peak was, we set our sights on the tallest peak we could see and went for it.
The longer we hiked the more the storm picked up, and by the time we got to 12,500 feet, Lee and I were barely able to stand in the wind, which was blowing in excess of 50mph, taking the temperature to -20 degrees. Any exposed flesh was quickly frozen and the pain became terrible. After taking a few summit pictures we decided it would be best to call it a day since the storm wasn't letting up and getting worse by the minute.
We had a little bit of trouble finding our bearings to the top of the glacier because the storm was so intense we couldn't see but 15 feet in front of us.
We did finally find the glacier though and hiked down out of the storm, which stayed at the higer elevation, to the parking area.
All in all it was a fun day. I tend to like it when conditions get extreme because it adds that element of fear, excitment and adrenaline all in one.
I'll have to go back when I move out here and conquer James' Peak, let alone find it first, but the climb was awesome anyway.
I would suggest this climb for anyone looking to hone some mountaineering skills on a route that has little avy and crevasse danger.