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 Peak(s):  Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
 Post Date:  07/08/2008
 Date Climbed:   07/04/2008
 Posted By:  Aggie_05

 Oxford & Belford from Pine Creek   

So we wanted a multi-day hiking trip for July 4th weekend before Merph42 gets married but didn't want crowds. The Pine Creek approach to Mount Oxford and Mount Belford it was. The original plan was to climb Harvard the next day, but the first two wore us out and we decided to spend that day chilling at our camp instead.

The three amigos prior to leaving Denver (L-R: Aggie_05, Merph42, and John):

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And 2.5 hrs later:

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The approach is 6 or 7 miles. The first mile is flat:

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In mile 2 and 3 you gain your elevation. After that, you meet the Colorado Trail and cross to the north side of the Pine Creek on a bridge. From here the trip up to Little John's Cabin is almost completely flat. The view once you cross the Colorado Trail:

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Little John's cabin:

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There are actually some very useful tools inside the cabin including a shovel and a saw to cut fire wood:

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Behind Little John's cabin are some sweet camping spots with a fire pit and metal grates for cooking. We pretty much had a fire going the entire trip.

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Here's our summit day topo:

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The purple dot is the cabin, the red line is our ascent, and the blue line is our descent (which we don't recommend).

From the cabin you continue up the valley on the Pine Creek Trail for about 0.1 mile to the stream crossing. Immediately after the stream is a cairn marking your right turn off the main trail. Here is where the semi-trail/semi-bushwacking up to Mt. Oxford's Southeast ridge begins. This is what it's like finding your way through the short aspen trees:

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Having a little fun:

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A short way up Oxford's south slope this is the view back down the Pine Creek valley:

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Soon you break out of the aspens and you keep heading up the slope aiming for the ridge:

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This is the view South across the Pine Creek valley to Mt. Harvard:

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Up a little farther, this is the view west towards Emerald Pk and some other 13ers. The talus is fairly steep so we zig-zagged up to make our own switchbacks.

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We didn't see a single person on the summit hike until we got to the top, but luckily someone was there to take our picture:

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After making it over to Belford this is the shot back towards Oxford and the adjoining saddle. Rather than head back up Oxford and down the way we ascended, we decided to drop off the Oxford-Belford saddle to the south as shown by the line in the picture. I don't recommend this as it involved some careful route-finding to avoid cliffing out once you get into the trees.

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Another shot while descending from the saddle. As we descended, we circled left (East) around the South side of Oxford. Otherwise you will find yourself looking over some rather large cliffs.

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Once we reached the trees, we bushwacked down to the Pine Creek Trail roughly 1 mile up-valley (West) from our camp. It was a pretty long day. Rather than climb Harvard the next day we decided to explore the area and found some of Little John's old mine shafts:

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
dubsho3000


Very nice!     2008-07-08 18:33:56
My friend and I were planning the exact same trip for the Fourth. We ended up doing Challenger/Kit Carson instead. Glad we could leave it to you guys.


USAKeller


Very nice TR!     2008-07-08 21:13:57
I‘ve wanted to hit these peaks from this route for a little while now - and with your pics, it‘s even more appealing. Thanks for the info! Nice job on gettng both done.



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