| Belford & Oxford & Skiing Less Than 30 Degree Slope Angles.
First off, we are a little nervous because this is our first trip report so please refrain from judging us immediately. We are both relatively likable.
So my husband Brad and I decided to get serious about 14ers this year and bought a truck.
It's a gem from 1995 and has a measly 210,000 miles on it. AND it's red. AND we can sleep in the back so that's what we did on Saturday night. We woke up at 4:15am and stumbled around for an hour - making coffee and eating peanut butter. We headed out at 5:30am with our skis on our backs, as seen here:
So we went about oh, three minutes and realized that we'd need our skis sooner than we thought. We left our running shoes on a rock and put our skis on. We both have really light gear which essentially means we're cheating - we however welcome you to try our gear. No really, it's light and awesome. And Hagan Skis are the BEST. Google it....do it...... Okay where was I? Oh yes, we skinned up the trail for an hour or so until we popped out about treeline and Missouri Mountain was at the far end of the valley - it was sunny and nice looking. Oh here's a pic:
Nice, aye? We at that point decided to take a more conservative route than most take due to the unstable avalanche conditions. We skinned up a thin line of snow to the North of the main gully. We put in a nice skin track (the Euros would be proud) and made our way up to the ridge. We then ditched our skis as it was mostly scree at this point and we could see by looking over at Oxford that nothing was skiable (again, because of the high avalanche danger that day). As an aside, if the danger was lower, there was plenty of good, skiable terrain - so you skiers out there, don't fret. Mmmmkay so then waddled our way up. As we went up, we chose to deviate from the ridge line and go up the scree on the West side of the ridge - this was a bad move. In retrospect, we should have definitely stuck to the snow and the ridge line. We were avoiding some blasted wind but again, not worth it. So then we got to a rock outcropping and then the summit. Success! We arrived there around 9:30am and celebrated with string cheese and a high-end wrap from City Market. We also recently watched a TED video (Amy Cuddy) about body language and learned that if you stand with your arms in the air, it increases your testosterone and lowers your cortisol - so here I am in the Power Position! Testosterone!
Here's a picture of husband Brad:
And one more classic summit shot:
Alright so after the wrap and some ample sunscreen application, we left the summit to head on over to Oxford. Here's the husband with Oxford behind:
I should mention it was a little precarious for me to traverse all this somewhat slick snow in ski boots (husband Brad is far more mountain goatish so he had no trouble) but over time my comfort level increased. The trail over to Oxford was half snow, half bare trail. You know, variety. The spice of life. So then we got to the summit of Oxford about an hour later. Here husband Brad found a Bible (appropriate for a Sunday) and other treasures in a box:
Oh AND! There was a toaster up there. And it wasn't just a lame generic toaster. I could be wrong but I think it was a Cuisinart? I mean, who does that?! Someone who's dedicated to toasting, that's who. So after we summited Oxford we turned around and headed back the way we came. The day started out cold but by this point it was quite warm and nice. No complaints there. After summiting Belford again we headed down the ridge which proved to be a lot easier with the softer snow. We then arrived at our previously ditched skis and headed a little bit further down to the top of our skin track. With the recent avalanche at Loveland in mind, we were being particularly cautious. We measured the slope angle which was right at 30 degrees and took a bit of time to assess the snow. We felt comfortable skiing down and made some decently nice turns. We forgot to take pictures of this but it looked a lot like this:
We skied down quite a ways - the skiing down lower was decent until we hit treeline. There it was quite soft and a little trickier to ski. The trees became more dense and we were then skiing down a windy single track trail which isn't easy. We should have been good at it because we live in Breckenridge but we weren't. We looked like total hacks. None the less, it was faster and far more interesting than walking. Towards the end it felt nearly impossible to ski so we took off our skis and hiked down. We reclaimed our abandoned running shoes and made it to the parking lot unscathed! Again, success! Again, power position!
All said and done it took us a little under 9 hours. We definitely took time to look around, eat, talk about our marriage and other pressing matters which added to the total time.
Oh and then we ate cookie dough:
And then we went to Leadville to High Mountain Pies and definitely ate most of that pie (16"). We fully endorse this restaurant.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):