| Shooting Star via Rollinsville
**Disclaimer: I have been a slacker so this beta is 3 weeks old and I would assume shooting star is no longer in**
Peak: James Peak(13,294ft)
Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3000ft
I really, really wanted to climb Shooting Star on James this year, however with door quickly slamming shut on the snow climbing season in the Front Range, I had resigned myself to waiting until next year. That is until I saw the TR from Kevin, Dominic, Sarah, and Dwight saying it was in good shape. Top that off with the promise of a shorter approach due to the road from Rollinsville melting out earlier than usual, and I could not resist. After going back and forth with Abe joining me, not joining me, joining me, and then finally not joining me, I was all by my lonesome for this climb.
The road from Rollinsville starts out great and then starts to get more difficult as you continue on towards the James Peak Lake Trailhead. Much to my surprise and delight, the snowdrift that had stopped the group from a week before had melted out and I was able to drive all the way to the trailhead, saving me 3 miles round trip and 500 verts, awesome! The last mile and a half of the road was right at the limits of my Forester, but I made it no worse for the wear.
Mining shack at James Peak Lake
James Peak Lake
After parking the car I quickly got ready and hit the trail at 4:45, barely being able to stand up due to the intense wind. I was wearing my sunglasses to keep the dirt out of my eyes, but that was interesting being that it was still pitch dark out and I had my headlamp on. Stumbling down the trail barely being able to see I was elated when then wind started to die down the closer I got down the trail that drops to the lake. By the time I got to the lake the sky was lightening and the wind had completely ceased.
Alpenglow on James Peak
Apron of couloir
Starting up, Shining Star to the right, Shooting Star to the left
From James Peak Lake you just take an easy class 2 route up the bench that deposits you on the apron of the couloir. There was plenty of avalanche debris strewn about which made me glad to be hitting the couloir so early. At 5:45 I had my crampons, helmet, and axe out and was starting up. The snow was PERFECT and I made short time up the 'Y' shaped couloir to the intersection, with Shining Star looking like it had seen better days to the right, and my goal, Shooting Star, looking great to the left.
After the left turn
Looking down at the left turn
Remaining route up couloir
Almost to the top
Looking down Shooting Star
As I said, the snow was in prime condition and made for some great climbing. The higher I got, the narrower the couloir became, and soon I was looking at the finish. It appeared that this would sometimes hold a big cornice, but not today. Topping out I was excited to see how close it deposits you to the summit. At 7:00 I was standing on the summit and enjoying the views all around, even making out Holy Cross in the distance.
Mt. of The Holy Cross
Wanting to get back into town as early as possible to work on some schoolwork, my stay on the summit was short lived before I began down the southeast ridge. Only an hour and fifteen minutes later I was back at the car and soon after heading back down the 4wd road and eventually back to Boulder. The Shooting Star was one of my favorite snow climbs to date and I know for a fact this is one that will be repeated. With the road melting out early this year this trip was a perfect quick morning climb.
Shooting Star is left arm of 'Y'
Two climbers headed up
James Peak from parking spot
James Peak and Shooting Star Couloir from drive out
Thanks for reading!
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