| Mt. Belford from Missouri Gulch
My friend Jess and I camped in Missouri Gulch the night of 5/28/09. Chaffee County Rd 390 was all dry besides the recent rain. Snow was not a problem in Missouri Gulch.
In the morning we started hiking at 6:30. The trail was dry and in good condition until about 12,500 ft. At that point, there was some shallow snow. Above 13,500 ft the snow got deeper (0.5 to 1 ft.). These elevations are rough estimates - my GPS was getting some multipath, so it was not very accurate. It claimed we hiked over 100 miles : )
The snow wasn't really a problem in the morning, because it was still hard and we could get decent grip on it. On the way up there were a few times that we were not sure where the trail was going (because of snow), and the GPS was somewhat helpful for that (I had uploaded the trail from this website prior to the hike). I'm sure it still can be done without a GPS, but knowing where the trail was probably saved us a little work.
We summited at about 11:00 am, and headed down the saddle to Oxford. Then we were not feeling too great about this:
Actually, that cloud wasn't heading for us, but other clouds were growing in our area. The one in that picture just looked cooler. We turned around and came back up to Belford. That set us an hour back, but it probably would have taken at least three if we went all the way to Oxford.
By that point the snow was warmed up by the sun, and it was more slippery. Since there was always .5 - 1.5 ft of snow on the saddle, it was pretty slow hiking.
When we got below timberline the clouds started to sprinkle here and there. We got to the car at 3:30, and it started raining harder by about 3:40. Good call on our part to turn around.
I doubt snowshoes would have helped, but it is possible. Seems like good water-proof boots and gaiters are the best option, but I proved that gaiters are not necessary.
Here is Jess on the way up.
View of peak north of Mt. Missouri.
This bug is a trooper.
Marmot on the lookout.
Jess and I on top.
"Bridge" crossing stream below timberline. Note: this had frost on it in the morning, which made it slippery.
Partial panorama from top.
Crop from panorama of Mt. Missouri.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):