Peak(s):  James Pk  -  13,294 feet
Eva, Mt  -  13,130 feet
Flora, Mt  -  13,146 feet
Bancroft, Mt  -  13,250 feet
Parry Pk A  -  13,391 feet
Date Posted:  10/05/2019
Modified:  10/08/2019
Date Climbed:   09/28/2019
Author:  kwhit24
Additional Members:   jbradish
 A Traverse on James' Wild(erness) Side   

A Traverse on James' Wild (erness) Side

I landed in Denver on Thursday morning and after a a short hike at a local park to stretch my legs I headed over to REI. My initial plan was to head to Southwest CO to go for Sneffels but the weather didn't look great and I didn't really want to drive 6 hours. So after finding some awesome deals (mainly just 50% of Patagucci snow pants that I wasn't expecting to find) I stopped by the maps and book area. Decided to head for Lackawanna and Unnamed 13,660 B.

My hiking partner has been eyeing the Berthoud Pass 13ers hike all year and when his plans fell through for the weekend he suggested it. We did some more research from a few trip reports and downloaded some GPX tracks and planned a car shuttle from Berthoud Pass to St. Mary's Glacier. After "sleeping in" until 3:30 am and left Wheat Ridge at 4:05 am. Overall he hiked wasn't incredibly difficult and we made good time. I didn't think the route from Bancroft to James Peak exceeded Class 3. Basically at no point during the hike did I have to help my pup but he's a better hiker and climber than either of us. My main purpose for the report is to show some pictures, provide a GPX track in more fall like conditions from Berthoud Pass Parking Lot to St. Mary's Parking Lot, and some pictures of what I think might have been a better route from Bancroft to James Peak.

Peaks Hiked:

  • Mt. Flora - 13,146' (#528 in CO)
  • Mt. Eva - 13,130' (#545 in CO)
  • Parry Peak - 13,391' (#324 in CO
  • Mt. Bancroft - 13,250' (Unranked)
  • James Peak - 13,294' (#405 in CO)

Hiking Statistics:

  • Total Length - 13.32 mi (Garmin Fenix 5)
  • Total Elevation Gain - 4,436'
  • Total Time (Car to Car) - 7:00:17
    • Left Wheat Ridge - 4:05 AM
    • Arrived at St. Mary's Glacier - 5:05 AM
    • Arrived at Berthoud Pass - 5:40 AM
    • Berthoud Pass Start Time - 6:07 AM
    • Turnoff at CO Mines Peak - 6:48 AM (:41 time; 1.78 mi; 902' gain)
    • Mt. Flora Summit - 7:36 AM (:48 time; 1.80 mi; 919' gain)
    • Mt. Eva Summit - 8:47 AM (1:11 time; 2.15 mi; 771' gain)
    • Parry Peak Summit - 9:27 AM (:40 time; .94 mi; 636' gain)
    • Mt. Bancroft Summit - 9:56 AM (:29 time; .78 mi; 295' gain)
    • James Peak Summit - 11:22 AM (1:26 time; 1.59 mi; 883' gain)
    • St. Mary's Glacier End Time - 1:07 PM (1:45 time; 4.27 mi; 33' gain

Trail Description:

Overall the route was easy to follow and I thought all the way to Eva had a decent trail (from what we could see in the snow). We started on the service road up to CO Mines Peak and then turned off just below the summit. for the first few hours we had some awesome cloud inversion. After we finished we booked it back to Berthoud Pass to get the other car and headed to Hayters in Denver to watch our Buckeyes put a beatdown on the Huskers!! Awesome day for sure!

Cloud Inversion above Berthoud Pass
Early Morning Light

Trail up to Mt. Flora
View from Mt. Flora

Views in between Mt. Flora and Mt. Eva
Looking up to Mt. Eva

Looking back at Mt. Flora
View of Witter Peak

View from Mt. Eva
Looking up at Parry Peak

Winter Park Views
Mt. Bancroft to James Peak

Playing in the clouds
View of James Peak from Bancroft

Route from saddle (yellow route would probably have been easier)

Heading down the snowy well cairned slope of Bancroft
Looking back at Bancroft

View of the lakes below James Peak
One tired pup at the end of the day

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Comments or Questions
Well defined trail?
10/05/2019 09:50
I did that traverse last Friday (27th) and found there wasn't a trail between Flora and James. There were faint use sections and, oddly enough, cairns. Curious as to what you thought was a well defined trail? The CDT actually doesn't go over that ridge run, though that ridge is the divide proper.
We stayed more on the yellow line, maybe dropping even further right. I don't think our route was more than 2+. There was some loose and difficult scrambling to regain the ridge though.
Beautiful photos. Phone or camera?


Fair Point
10/05/2019 09:55
From Flora to Eva I thought it was easy to see even with 1-2" of snow. For the remaining routeI should've said the route is pretty obvious (I'll change the wording) since you stay on that ridge the whole time. Off Bancroft I thought the cairns were easy to follow but you're right. saying "well defined" isn't entirely true.

We hiked it last Saturday on 9/28


Nice link-up
10/05/2019 13:56
I went up James Peak from the East Portal last Saturday and saw you on top. I remember the jacket on your dog! Great photos of the early morning snow.


Fun traverse
10/07/2019 20:17
I did a similar traverse (hiking north towards Rollins Pass and hitching back to Berthoud Pass instead of Alice) last year and had a ton of fun. With snow the scramble up James would have been a little more hair raising!


Thanks for the beta!
10/08/2019 07:31

We used your trip report as inspiration and benchmarks for our time since we were trying to finish in 6.5 hours. I think we could have been closer to that mark if we took to yellow route I described in one of my pics. We took our time going from Bancroft to James with the snow that was there.


Gotta keep the pup warm in some of those winds! Congrats on the summit!


You're welcome!
10/09/2019 00:43
@kwhit24: what a coincidence you used my report specifically, I'm glad it was useful for you guys! I think this is an underrated traverse so I'm happy to see others doing it and writing good reports for it!


good beta
10/10/2019 10:25
I've been looking at that traverse for a while, saving it for a low windy day.


Low wind day?
10/11/2019 12:15
@Trotter Good luck finding that up there!!! Haha its been pretty horrific every time I'm up that way. Hoping for a good windless day up there for you!


10/22/2019 21:05
Where does the official CDT go from mines then if not to James?


10/23/2019 03:08
@SchralpTheGnar based on the map I have of the area, the CDT from Berthoud Pass goes up the old ski slope area, heads over Mt. Flora staying just north of Breckenridge Peak (there were signs up there just to the right of my 4th picture), and down to St. Mary's area before going up to James Peak. My marker for the "turnoff" to the St. Mary's Glacier parking lot is close to where my GPX track meets back up with the CDT.

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