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Peak(s):  Bancroft, Mt  -  13,250 feet
Post Date:  04/13/2009
Date Climbed:   04/11/2009
Posted By:  MikeyC

 Spring in the James Peak Wilderness   

I had met Cliff(Ascent88 ) a week ago. We had been discussing a climb of the East ridge on Mount Bancroft here on We met to do a practice session to teach me how to Rappel. Out to Castlewood Canyon we went. In the snow. It was a lot of fun except the part where I slipped on my first try and got my hand stuck between the rope and the rock. Not good! Cliff is an amazing person and reached down and grabbed my harness and pulled up to let the weight off the rope. I finally got my hand out and we had a good rest of the day. It was a good lesson learned we figured.
On the 11th we met in Highlands Ranch at 4:00a.m. to carpool to the Loch Lomond trailhead. We left the trailhead at 5:35 and began the snowshoe up the road. It was an amazing morning! Not a cloud in the sky! We crunched up the road and were just below tree line when the sunrise met us.
That was about when we first saw our objective as well.
We found a safe way to gain the ridge and picked a nice spot to stash the snow shoes. On to the good stuff. The ridge starts out with class three scrambling and snow bridges. Cliff and I are both pretty comfortable with scrambling and climbing snow but this was a little different! Lots of exposure, soft snow, and nicely lubricated rocks made this very fun!
The wind we had heard so much about finally decided to make it's presence known as well. It made it very cold. I was starting to get nervous about the remaining climb as we started adding layers to protect our faces from the freezing wind and spindrift. Here is Cliff all covered up.
We decided to climb up to the notch to gather info for the next climb at the very least. When we reached the notch we sat there for a good 20 minutes discussing the pros and cons of continuing or going home when the wind stopped and the warmth of the sun returned. Deciding that we had already come so far and that a down climb wasn't real attractive we set up our anchor, removed some old webbing to take with us, flaked out the rope and finally took our leap of faith.
With the Rappel behind us it was time to figure out how we were going to get out of the notch.
Cliff had brought some pro, but we decided to try the exposed fourth class exit on the left. I unfortunately didn't get any pictures because I was so pumped about what we had just done and what we were about to do. I was also shaking so I am sure they would have been pretty blurry anyway. After the notch there was plenty of fourth class scrambling and snow bridges left to play with.
Dave Cooper was right. When the scrambling is starting to get tedious it just ends. A grassy slope with a little talus mixed in led us to the summit!
Here is Cliff
And yours truly
It was pretty cold so we just snapped a couple of pics traded out a little bit of gear and started down the Southeast ridge with the help of the GPS Cliff had brought along. We couldn't see anything! We made it back to the snowshoe stash and headed out to the road just in time for the sun to come back out and the skies to clear.
We made it back to the car at 3:00 p.m. 9.5 hours car to car. I didn't think it was too bad of a time considering this was the hardest climb either of us had done. We celebrated with a couple beers at Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs while discussing future climbs. One that had caught our eye was this ridge on Mount Eva I believe.
If anyone has any info on it we would love to see it!

Until next time! It was nice getting to climb with you Cliff!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

What a great day!     04/13/2009 17:30
Awesome TR and even better day Mike. It was great to climb and I cant wait to do it again soon...


Wow!     04/13/2009 21:16
Cliff and Mike, way to go. Looks like a gruesome day. Happy that you made the summit and are safe. Looks dicey and icy to say the least.


Cool!     07/09/2010 05:02
Kind of came accross this a bit late. Nice write up!! I have been eyeing out this route for a while. I got blown off of it this last winter. Quite an accomplishment!! That route looks like it throws everything at you.

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