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Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

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Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby GerryRigged » Wed May 19, 2010 7:00 pm

Has anyone skined up Elkhead Pass to access Mt Oxford? It looks like you could avoid three maybe four hundred feet of vert by not having to summit Belford.

Gerry

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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby JeffR » Wed May 19, 2010 8:27 pm

You'd actually only save about 100' each way. But that route is definitely much gentler than the switchbacks on the normal route.
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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby tmathews » Thu May 20, 2010 11:03 am

GerryRigged wrote:Has anyone skined up Elkhead Pass to access Mt Oxford? It looks like you could avoid three maybe four hundred feet of vert by not having to summit Belford.

Gerry


Are you asking this because you're planning to do this soon? The reason I ask is because I took this route last year about this time (May 16, 2009, actually). The trail was almost completely obscured by snow below Elkhead Pass, so it was difficult to follow. I ended up postholing for about two hours (up to my crotch in some areas) as I criss-crossed across the basin between Belford and Missouri several times (the trail is actually closer to the Missouri end of the basin).

Anyway, I thought I'd just mention that. If you're going later in the summer it's no problem to follow and while distance-wise it is a bit longer, it definitely saves some wear-and-tear on your legs if you bag Oxford from Elkhead (and gives you 3,000 feet of vertical gain since you don't summit Belford first).

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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby CO Native » Thu May 20, 2010 11:35 am

I think if he's planning on skinning then he is going to want snow. The bigger problem for him would be the face or ridge from Elkhead Pass to the saddle may not retain enough snow to skin, but I guess then he can just boot it if necessary.
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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby tmathews » Thu May 20, 2010 11:47 am

CO Native wrote:I think if he's planning on skinning then he is going to want snow. The bigger problem for him would be the face or ridge from Elkhead Pass to the saddle may not retain enough snow to skin, but I guess then he can just boot it if necessary.


Oh, did ne mean skinning? I thought that might have been a typo.... :oops:

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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby CO Native » Thu May 20, 2010 11:58 am

After finding a photo of that route taken on June 15th last year, I think you may be fine with snow for most of that route. Here is the photo, Elkhead pass is on the lower right and the ridge on the left heading away from the camera is where you would ascend before heading over to Oxford.

ElkheadpassJune.jpg
ElkheadpassJune.jpg (353.42 KiB) Viewed 824 times
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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby GerryRigged » Thu May 20, 2010 6:17 pm

I was up on Belford last weekend but aborted the trip over to Oxford because of time. I'm hoping for a less strenious route and I don't really care to summit Belford again. Looking at maps and judging by what I saw I hoped I could knock about 300 feet off the climb. This might all depend on how low I can traverse across from Elkhead to the saddle. If the weatherman would ease up on the wind I will try it on Sunday.

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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby mountainmicah83 » Fri May 21, 2010 8:24 am

I went through the same thing last year. Elkhead pass is a great choice and is all really class 1 until you drop into the saddle where it turns into class 2. I finally realized though that I go to the mountains to climb mountains. Crazy huh? If belford is so close, why not pay it another visit? I wouldn't say you are cutitng off more than 200' elevation gain though.
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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby JeffR » Fri May 21, 2010 12:08 pm

GerryRigged wrote:I was up on Belford last weekend but aborted the trip over to Oxford because of time. I'm hoping for a less strenious route and I don't really care to summit Belford again. Looking at maps and judging by what I saw I hoped I could knock about 300 feet off the climb. This might all depend on how low I can traverse across from Elkhead to the saddle. If the weatherman would ease up on the wind I will try it on Sunday.

You could probably traverse all the way from the pass at 13300 if you really wanted to, but the dropoff gets steep and you'd be taking a huge risk with the snow conditions. Best to just take the ridge all the way from the pass and swallow the extra couple of hundred feet.
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Re: Mt Oxford via Elkhead Pass

Postby GerryRigged » Fri May 21, 2010 7:26 pm

Thanks for the info guys.
If the wind comes up this weekend like the weatherman says I could hold my jacket out like a sail and cruze right up Missouri Gulch .
New ascent technique (sp?). \:D/

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