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Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Post Date:  07/30/2012
Modified:  06/16/2014
Date Climbed:   07/29/2012
Posted By:  dillonsarnelli
Additional Members:   awknox

 The Belford Group from Rockdale (and some Extra Credit)   

The Belford Group from Rockdale - July 29, 2012

Peaks (in order):

TH: Rockdale
Distance: 13 miles
Elevation gain: 7,500 ft

Andrew, Shannon and I opted to head up Missouri from Rockdale rather than take the standard route through Missouri Gulch.

Pro's and Con's:

Advantage: You get to ford 2 stream crossings in your vehicle! Less (zero) people until you hit the summit of Belford.

Disadvantage: You almost have to re-ascend Missouri using its standard route to get home.

Advantage: If you go all the way back to the summit of MO, you get 2 checkmarks for Missouri?!?!? (c’mon its not even the same route…!)

Our route in red

Here goes...

We left the jeep at the gate at about 11K. Soon after, we passed Chloskey Lake and its waterfalls.

The ascent up to the Missouri ridge is short, about 2 miles, but you gain about 3,000 ft.

Prior to the day Shannon had summited 8 14ers. She had no issues leading the way, keeping up, making fun of my beard, etc. You name it, she held her own, Nice job Shannon! She should have a 14er's screename by the time this TR goes up.

on Missouri's ridge, summit in the distance, with the saddle to Iowa on the right

Class 5.16zfgsh

Andrew on the Summit of Mount Missouri - Elevation 14,067

On the summit we sill hadn't decided if we would descend Missouri to the south into Missouri Basin and then somewhat reascend Elkhead Pass or, keep it simple, and head down using the standard route into Missouri Gulch. After some brainstorming (and some pop tarts), we chose the southern descent and opted for the standard route back up Missouri on our return.

Andrew and Shannon heading into the basin.

A look up at Elkhead Pass from inside Missouri Basin. Belford's summit can be seen way in the distance to the left.

A look back at Missouri on our trek towards Belford. Picture taken after re-ascending Elkhead Pass.

Shannon leading the charge to Belford. She's a Fenanimal?!?!

Summit of Mount Belford - Elevation 14,197 - July 29, 2012

the route over to Oxford

a look back at Belford from the summit of Oxford. Missouri can be seen over the ridge.

Summit of Mount Oxford - Elevation 14,153 - July 29, 2012

From here we backtracked over to the Belford ridge and then back down to Elkhead Pass. We then decended north into Missouri Gulch to the the intersection where you would begin your ascent of Missouri if taking the standard route.

At the time I though he had eaten my sunglasses. He's extremely lucky I found them.

the intersection in MO Gulch where we began our re-ascent of Missouri.

I figured if you were going to make me re-ascend a mountain to 13,700 ft from a different route, I had to go all the way up to the summit again. This is me on my re-descent from my re-ascent of Missouri. Say that sentence 10 times.

Headed back down Missouri's west ridge. Long day. Great route. Great climbing partners.

The fun on this route doesn't really end when you get back to the car. This 4WD road back to Rockdale is the real deal. Enjoy it!

At the river crossing...

Andrew it was awesome to finally get back out there with you again. Had been way too long. Lets do it again soon man!

The End

Extra Credit:

Mount Democrat - July 28, 2012: The day before, I trekked up Mount Democrat with a friend from back east, Lori McGarry. This would be Lori's 1st 14er. CONGRATS LORI! Come back soon!

only a few 1000 people or so on this route today.

Lori's 1st 14er! Summit of Mount Democrat - July 28, 2012

Summit of Mount Democrat - Elevation 14,148 - July 28, 2012

Extra Extra Credit

Mount Evans - July 28, 2012 (by car) - Who knew Mount Evans is the scariest mountain of all time...

Funnel cloud on Evans

BRRRRRRR - really?

its JULY!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Democrat and Evans     07/30/2012 21:06
Not in the Belford group. Good heavens.

Aside, way to go getting a sea level friend to their first 14er summit. It's a fantastic feeling and an experience you know they won't soon forget!


Big day     07/30/2012 19:47
Those afternoon hail storms make for some freaky summer driving. Tack on a tornado....


Great route choice     07/30/2012 19:57
”Andrew, Shannon and I opted to head up Missouri from Rockdale, rather than take the standard route through Missouri Gulch”

Best decision you ever made (except for the beard). If you don't have that master(fur)piece in full effect two weeks from now I'll teach Miles to kick you in the ”Sarnelli's”.


Wow!!     07/31/2012 00:50
7,500 vert in a day?!?! Thats awesome


A Tornado???     09/24/2012 15:44
Man, what'd you do to piss off the mountain???


Who's the bearded guy?     07/31/2012 02:08
I thought I saw him panhandling on 16th Street Sunday morning, but I know he couldn't have been two places at once...


dislike....     07/31/2012 02:14
....your photo stamps.
But the photos themselves are cool. Seeing the tornado up that high would be cool too!

And where's the bizarro thumb-loving from your boys?


@Darin     07/31/2012 02:47
To ”like” is now to ”like”. Gotta keep an edge


@Mr. McCool     07/31/2012 03:16
I like it. Watch out for that edge. ;)


thanks all...     07/31/2012 05:05
That damn bearded guy just kept jumping into my pictures, sorry about that...

Darin - you and Ryan (monster5) both have no love for the timestamps. I include them in the TR's to give some perspective of time. The less I have to think, the better!, but I can definitely see how they take away from the pics. Maybe I'll change it up on the next one.

Dan - I'm very afraid of what Miles is going to do to me. FYI - next week, to ”dislike” is to ”dislike like dislike” which is actually a dislike. Way to be a step ahead, keep the edge!

Rob - this route is only possible if you can find the Sawatch, Mosquito, Front Range, Dales, Eliot Street Traverse. See page 377 in Roach's book.


let the international fame begin! ;)     07/31/2012 07:03
wow, Dillon, you are a master trip-tracker! had a blast hiking with you and Andrew. thanks for the pics and kind words and excellent photo choice to start off the TR


Dillon     07/31/2012 12:54
What does that traverse go at? Can you stay ridge proper the whole way? May have to give it a try if I can figure out how to add in the Deviant Arete Direct. Nice work.


For dillonsarnelli     07/31/2012 20:00
Now I am really curious, I really want to hike Missouri from Rockdale but have not been convinced I can make it up the road yet with my Dodge Nitro ”safely” more concerning safety of my car. What are the big obsticles? Is it mainly the creek crossings or are there other dangers such as ”jaws” or rocks so to speak? I've been most of the way up Mt. Princeton's road ok and the next worse was probably just the main Gray's and Torrey's road. However, I was hoping to make it up this road to the gate with my Nitro. Would appreciate your comment. I'm not new to 4WD roads, just want to be prepared to ask a jeep/truck owner to drive or if I could make it safely.


@rambis_21     07/31/2012 20:39


Matchmaker     08/01/2012 01:41
I introduced you and Andrew, and I don't even get an invite to the wedding? See if I send you a breadmaker, punk.

Mik Sawicki

Awesome, but got a question.     08/03/2012 04:14
After crossing the second creek at Rockdale, how is the road to Clohesy Lake? It looks nasty just after the second ford, but how is the rest of it?


That marmot....     08/06/2012 13:32
was it pretty close to the Missouri Mountain/Elkhead Pass sign? If so, that is the same little poser that we did a photo shoot with in June...that hairy little bugger knows how to work it for the camera!


Crux solo?     08/30/2012 21:35
Weather foiled our trifecta so I'm going back tomorrow for Missouri. I'm going solo and my only concern is the crux. Is that your ”Class 5.16zfgsh” photo? Is it do-able solo or is a partner needed to push your butt back up?

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