| Belford Revisited
Wednesday September 9 was the first day of our four day "Fourteeners in September" journey. We had traveled to the Leadville Hostel from a variety of locales including Sugar Land, TX; Saranac Lake, NY; Little Rock, AR; Houston, TX; Prairie Village, KS; Placitas, NM and Colorado Springs, CO for our adventure.
For the most part this was the same group that attempted Belford (http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5251&parmuser=rockchalker&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include) on Sept. 12 of 2008 only to be turned around by the snow, wind and cold temps. A neat photo from that trip is also included in the Summer 2009 Photo Contest (http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/pcphoto.php?pic=u6452p18_090906140726.jpg&perpage=30&sort=1&cpgm=pcphotolist). This year's weather, at least for most of the day, was much better than last year.
There were 9 of us on this first day including Mike T.(CO), Mike D. (TX), Stu (NY), Greg (KS), Tim (AR), Gene (NM), Evan (TX), Blake (??), and myself (TX). Blake, trail name of "Deluxe", was a new friend who we had met the night before at the Leadville Hostel. Blake is on a Colorado Trail journey and was spending a few nights at the Hostel. The plan was to hike/climb for four consecutive days and summit from 4 to 6 new Fourteeners.
We departed the Missouri Gulch Trailhead at 7:30 AM, should have left at least an hour earlier, and summitted Belford at around 11:30 AM. Greg, Stu and I continued on to Oxford and, after getting off the trail slightly, made it as far as the saddle and ready for the climb up to Oxford. At that point we decided to head back due to extremely dark clouds coming in from the west. As described in the route description for the B/O combination, the climb back towards Belford is steep!
For the return trip we decided to come back via the Elkhead Pass trail knowing it would be a little longer but a somewhat more gentle grade. We got pelted pretty good with some wind and light hail on the way back but nothing to bad. Once the snow ended the sun came out and it was very warm on the way back.
By 4:00 PM everyone was back at the trailhead for a few cold ones and then we headed to our home base at the Leadville Hostel to fuel up and rest up for Thursday's attempt on Yale.
For more, see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U69artcxon4
L to R (Rockchalker, Gene, Evan (with dog), "Deluxe", Stu, Mike T., Tim and Mike D. ready to hit the trail.
Rockchalker and Tim at about 1 mile
Tim gingerly crossing stream
Looking back as we escape treeline
Mike D. making his way up the steep slope
A view to the south from near the summit
Rockchalker on the summit, #15
Greg headed down, towards Oxford
Trail accross the saddle, towards Oxford in the distance
Back at the trailhead, L to R, Mike T., Stu (kneeling), Greg, Gene, Rockchalker, Tim and Mike D.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):