Leave trailhead 5:45 am
Summit of Belford 10:41 am
Summit of Oxford 12:06 pm
Back at truck 3:30 pm
My original plan was to do Mizzou/Bel/Ox. I felt the weather window, the reported conditions, and the fact this was the last time I could get in a winter ascent in this season, it was a go. I was solo. I was nursing a sore ankle but decided to give it a go anyway.
Left the house late Thurs night and slept at the trailhead. No trouble getting all the way to the trailhead....a bit of snow in a few spots but no problem with 4wd. A 2wd can prob make it too but....be careful!
Got up and off at 5:45 am. Left with snowshoes stowed in my pack but microspikes on. Snow was frozen so the micro's worked great. Got to the cabin and debated about the snowshoes...leave or keep. I gave Mizzou a good look and saw wet snow avy's on the approach and ascent faces and thought long and hard about it. I knew it was gonna be warm and didn't want any epics or trouble. I decided to stash the snowshoes (which I should have kept for a bit), and just do Bel/Ox. Without the snowshoes I elected to stay on the grass/rocks to get to the base of Belford. It was easy and took a bit higher line than the trench/tracks. It actually worked out pretty sweet as I came out to the trail up Belford right at the base of the ridge. I followed the summer trail, which was mostly exposed all the way. There were a few spots where I had to cross a snow field but it was smooth sailing. The wind was high, around 20 most of the day with gusts to around 35. The sun was out but the wind kept it a tad chilly.
No real issues....just up and away to the summit of Belford. Chilled there for a bit, ate and drank, then off to Oxford. I had never done the walk over to Oxford. I followed the trail, which was a bit dicey going down the ridge towards the saddle. The trail was clear up the ridge to Oxford. Made the walk from Belford to Oxford in an hour. Chilled there, took pics, ate and drank, then reverse the moves! The wind was a pain in the ass now, right in my face as I traveled back to Belford. When I got back down off Belford, the sun had warmed up the snow quite a bit and I was wishing I had my snowshoes. Post-holed here and there, cussing and swearing when I did. Danced a bit, trying to be light on my feet and finally made it back to the cabin and my snowshoes. Off with the micro's (which I wore all day) and put on my snowshoes for the trip down to the truck.
Nice day all in all. Which I felt better about doing Mizzou but as I was solo, I'm glad I elected to pass. I will get it soon enough. Very little snow to contend with once you get out of the trees.
Summit of Belford!
Looking at trail over to Oxford
Summit of Oxford!