Our annual 14er in 2009 was Belford plus Oxford. These peaks were fun compared to the challenges of Longs in 2008. Each year a few of us old guys (50s) take our sons and some of their friends rock climbing followed by a 14er or two, as in this year.
We found a great camping spot about two miles east of the trailhead along the Missouri Gulch road. We started pretty late (about 6 am) but still made it to the top of Belford by about 10:30. It is steep going especially the first mile or so. What I liked most about this climb was the small crowds. Overall, we saw only about 40-50 people climbing Belford and Oxford.
The weather was great except for a brief snow/hail/ice/thunderstorm while we were on the saddle between Belford and Oxford. A couple of our young 17-18 year old guys got excited and started running along the saddle. Lesson learned, don't run at 13,500 feet. These guys got headaches that lasted for several hours and struggled getting back up Belford, which was by the way, a quite difficult climb. after just finishing the climb up Belford the first time and then Oxford. The footing on the trail back up Belford was pretty loose making it that much more difficult.
Despite these few challenges, this was a great day to hike a 14er. I would strongly recommend this Belford/Oxford climb because the scenary of surrounding mountains like Missouri, Harvard, Princeton. Yale, and others is wonderful.
Kansas Guys 6 AM start at the Belford trailhead
Finally above timberline, Belford in background
Almost to Belford Summit, Missouri Mtn in background
Me (Bill) and son Lucas (1 on Belford Summit
Our whole group on Belford Summit
Lucas and his friend, Andrew on Oxford just before storm hit
part of group on Oxford with Harvard in background
Lucas hiking back toward Belford from Oxford across saddle
Group who tried running need to rest going back up Belford
Entering back into timber on way down, beautiful