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 Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
 Post Date:  05/10/2009 Modified: 05/11/2009
 Date Climbed:   05/10/2009
 Posted By:  Aubrey

 Belford the Beast   

Our Rainier training is in full swing, with just weeks to go. Sherman was in our sights for Saturday, but Jen and I still needed a peak to climb on Sunday. A thread here on "Climbing Connection" about climbing Belford/Oxford looked like the perfect option, as Belford offers a good bit of elevation gain with easy trailhead access. Plus, as a bonus, we'd get to meet some fellow 14ers.com members.

That last beer of the night seemed like a good idea at the time. But since I was already waking up often, I just hydrated throughout the night so it was no problem.

The "go time" was set for 5:45 a.m.

We made it from the Super 8 in Leadville to the Vicksburg trailhead in just about 30 minutes. I only had to dodge one early-morning animal. I think it was a fox or a coyote.

At the trailhead, it was great to meet everyone, but there were so many people to meet I couldn't catch all the names. And because the trail is only wide enough for one or two, and because people have different paces, it was hard to find the opportunities to talk to everyone. Still, I enjoyed the short conversations I had with most of them.

Everyone started up the trail shortly before 6 a.m. It was plenty light out, even though this next photo makes it look dark:

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All those switchbacks were just how I remembered them. Only this time we were lugging heavier-than-normal packs to get our backs used to carrying the weight.

Once in the upper valley, with Belford in our sights, I became excited. The weather was a bit unruly, though. It started to snow lightly and the wind was chilly. But it didn't look threatening.

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For the first-timers up Belford, I didn't want to spoil its never-ending slope. That puppy just goes up and up forever. On this day, many sections were covered in snow. After crossing those snow slopes, it was difficult to re-find the trail. Had to do a bit of talus hopping at times.

Some pics of the climb up Belford's massive shoulder:

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The weather was really weird throughout the day. One second we were getting pelted by snow and blown over by heavy gusts and the next second it was still and sunny. It was almost impossible to adjust appropriately, so it seemed I was always either too hot or too cold.

Once higher up on the mountain, the views were incredible, as I expected.

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Here's Belford's summit block, with Oxford in the distance on the left and Harvard in the distance on the right:

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Me walking toward the summit:

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Most of the group made the summit in less than 4 hours. On top, the only break from the wind was a little perch on the rocks above a steep snow field.

Here's Jen on the summit, before others joined us in that cozy spot:

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Other climbers making their way up:

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Most of the group pushed on to Oxford, but it didn't look like the most appealing repeat for us, so we started down at about 10:20 or so. Jamie, having also done Oxford before, followed us.

Jen and Jamie descending:

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The old cabin:

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And the "trail" on the way back to the mostly dry switchbacks:

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I think we made it back to the parking area at about 1 p.m. Overall, it was a great day to be in the mountains and we met some great people.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
centrifuge


looks     2011-02-04 17:22:15
like you had a busy weekend! looks like a great climb, nice photos


mountainmicah83


Nicer weather on Saturday     2009-05-11 10:27:16
I climbed Belford on sat and skied down. Not a bad day, but a bit windy. I‘m glad you guys had fun.


susanjoypaul


Training     2009-05-11 20:47:56
High altitude, steep snow, heavy packs... you two are going to be ripped and ready for Rainier! Congrats on back-to-back 14er summit days - and hey, you can always sleep at work...


DHatfield

Great     2009-05-11 20:49:25
trip report and photos. Doing (3) 14ers in two days seem very exhausting. Seems like your training for Rainer is going well. When do you leave?


Aubrey


Thanks for the replies!     2009-05-11 21:12:05
Susan, ”Sleep at work,” ha ha. But that‘s when I write TRs (If anyone from my work is reading this, I‘m just kidding. That‘s what the wink means.)

DHatfield, thanks, man. We only did two over the weekend (Oxford is overrated and it‘s not the most exciting repeat), but we still almost got 7,000 feet of vert. We leave for The Mountain in just a few weeks. Until then, we‘ll try to hit it hard. BTW, I really enjoyed your Rainier TR. Great info and inspiration.


DHatfield

Oops     2010-11-30 10:28:46
I guess I got ahead of my self there. Glad you enjoyed the TR. You will love that mountain. It's a wonderful place. Happy training.


CUaaron25


Windy!     2009-05-12 12:59:02
I‘ll attest to those wind gusts. Our tent poles were snapped when we got back down into the gulch! Maybe we should have camped below treeline


Aubrey


CUaaron25     2009-05-14 21:10:30
I think I talked to you briefly, just below Belford‘s summit block. Wish I would‘ve known it was you. Not that I would‘ve acted differently; I just would‘ve said ”hello” in a different way ... less like a stranger. Good being on the mountain with you anyway. cheers.



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