Woke up around zero dark thirty this morning in Westminster and drove up to Fall River Road / St. Mary's Alice for a quick hike up James Peak, a 13er (and my first official 13er). Mike and I watched James Peak looming over us when we four wheeled up Rollins Pass last weekend (see cover photo) and I decided I needed to climb it. Being that it was an easy walk up I hoped to combine it with Mt. Bancroft and Parry Peak, also 13ers.
Let's just say that 13ers rule. There were tons of people camping down at the Loch Lemond trailhead, but not a soul on the trail. It was a really easy walk up and took about 90 minutes to reach the summit. I had the entire summit to myself which is unheard of on an August weekend in the Front Range. That's why I've decided to suspend the craziness of 14ers and start going after 13ers.
After about 20 minutes on the summit I headed over to the traverse to Bancroft. Okay, well, I guess I should have brought my helmet. I decided to head back down to Loch Lemond because after the class 3 sections (which didn't look terrible) there was a pretty darn steep scree slope up Bancroft and the clouds hinted at an inbound storm. I just didn't want to have to go back down that in the middle of a storm. I guess I could have manned up and pushed through it, but the mountains will always be here so I turned around and made it back down to the 4Runner.
Beautiful short morning hike. 3.5 hours round trip. I'll be back for Bancroft and Parry another day (and may even combine it with Eva). The southeast slopes of Bancroft looked pretty mild compared to the north ridge.