Peak(s):  James Pk  -  13,294 feet
Date Posted:  06/09/2008
Modified:  06/10/2008
Date Climbed:   06/07/2008
Author:  NPG
 SUPER STAR Couloir - James Peak (ski descent)   

This past Saturday was my 3rd trip to James Peak since May 3rd. Every since my first time up, I had been eying Super Star Couloir which you can see on the far right side of the picture below which was taken 5/3/08:

I was along with friend Bernardo and Carl, and we started from the far east side of the glacier just north of Fox Mountain. We began our ascent around 6 AM and on the way up the steep, icy slope. I was about half way up before I could get the crampons on and slid 150 feet into some trees and rocks. Luckily, I wasn't badly hurt but ensuing equipment problems delayed me 30 minutes behind the others as I told them to go without me.

The climb towards the summit took about 3 hours and I stationed myself near Starlight Couloir for the pictures.

The view of Super Star with blue skies in the back:

Bernardo and Carl at the top of Super Star. The original plan was to ski off the southeast ridge to the basin and climb up the couloir, but because it was getting late and the snow heating up, they quickly reached the summit of James Peak and climbed down to the entrance:

Bernardo freeclimbing into the couloir with Carl ready to take the photos from the opposite side:

Some of Carl's picturs:

Carl begins to climb down with Bernardo getting his skis on:

Bernardo near the top:

And again (photo courtesy of Chicago Transplant)

Carl getting his skis on:

Bernardo near the exit of the choke:

Carl working his way down (photo courtesy of Chicago Transplant):

After filling up my camera's memory card, I skied down Starlight Couloir which averages 46* for the first 600 vertical and is near 50* at the top. The snow was excellent and there was decent slough with each turn. Super fun line it was and will be sure to be back next year. Highly recommend it. There was one other ahead of me and two others that followed. Another group skied down Shooting Star. Overall, excellent day at James Peak.

Bernardo pointing to the prize that was won today:

 Comments or Questions

06/09/2008 18:39
a big cornice, must‘ve been a cool feeling to stand around that thing and ski down that route. How steep does super star get? Is rope needed? It looks like, from the pictures, you guys did just fine, even with some skiis on your back.

Thanks for the TR, those are some blue skies.


06/09/2008 18:52
My friends didn‘t get the inclinometer out, but judging by a topo map, it averages 63* for the first 400 vertical feet (35* for the next 400 vert). Took them about 15-20 minutes to downclimb and get ready for the descent. Another 10 minutes to actually ski down.


06/09/2008 19:28
Your buds got a burely one right there. Can tell they sideslipped most of the upper section from the last zoom pic, a sign it hits that 60 degree mark.

Chicago Transplant

Shooting Star
06/09/2008 19:37
I was the one who skied Shooting Star, I got some pics of Bernardo and Carl skiing from the basin below while I was waiting for my partner to ski Starlight. PM me an email address so I can send them to you.


PM en route
06/09/2008 19:50
Sent you a PM.

Glad you guys were able to ski down Shooting Star. Looked a little bare in some spots when we glanced over the entrance last week which certainly has quite the steep pitch.


Nice line and great job!
06/09/2008 21:14
The first jump-turn is usually the hardest!

Ridge runner

02/01/2011 00:24
Good job guys! I was in the group that came up Shooting Star. Great work on downclimbing that first part, it looked pretty intense from our vantage point. Next time could you knock that cornice down so I can climb up Super Star???


06/09/2008 21:39
Thanks for the TR Tom!
Indeed I sideslipped the first ~30ish ft (I was the first one in).
The snow was incredibly heavy and sticky and couldn‘t get a good swing going for a jumpturn, then the snow started sliding underneath me and pulled me down somewhat. After that, I managed to get the jump turns going and got out of the real sticky stuff.
Most of what looks like side slipping towards the top of the couloir was scratched off by the small wet slides we kept releasing. In any case, definitely 60+ degrees, and an AWESOME line... Thanks Tom and Chicago Transplant for taking pictures & posting a TR!



06/10/2008 01:02
Gotta give huge props on that one...definitely a beaster descent, maybe someday for me! That downclimb looks a bit scary!


And now with video:
06/10/2008 01:13


Downclimbing pictures
06/10/2008 15:33
I‘ve just added Carl‘s downclimbing pictures that give you a better idea of what it was like.


Sweet line.
05/02/2011 14:23
Nice TR Tom. Bernardo and Carl‘s comfort level makes me nervous.

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