Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Date Posted:  09/29/2011
Modified:  09/30/2011
Date Climbed:   09/29/2011
Author:  CinciKid
Additional Members:   TopShelf
 Belford-Oxford- Standard Combo  

Summer seemed to least one more day

As I finished my night shift at 0400 Thursday morning I hopped in my roommates car and got about 2.5 hours of sleep while he drove to the Belford/Oxford TH. He doesn't have a high clearance vehicle so if you're wondering whether you'll make it, you will. We set out from the trailhead at about 0745, a little later than I like to start. The sign at the TH says its 3.1 mi to the Belford summit, but I have read other reports citing it as closer to 4 miles, but either way, it's a lot of elevation gain in a short amount of time. The trail goes up fast from the start.
After passing the log cabin area the trail flattens out and goes through the gulch area. This is a needed rest for what is ahead. Turn left at the sign so that you head towards Mt. Belford and not Missouri Mountain.
turn left here.

From this point you gain lots of elevation through numerous switchbacks that seem to go straight up a ridge leading to the right of Belford's summit. This part was hard on the legs especially after getting practically no sleep before starting the hike.
Luckily the sun came out and made the ascent much warmer and more comfortable. There are a couple false summits before you reach the top. At the top of a ridge take a hard left and head towards the final summit pitch. It took us 2 hours 45 minutes to summit.

me on the summit of Belford

After gaining the summit we sat down out of the wind and downed water and food in preparation for the hike over to Oxford. The nice slopes of the ridge leading to Oxford give you a false sense of an easy hike. Although I would not call this section tough I do think it is much harder than it looks.
looking back at Belford

The hike over did not take too long but the elevation change started to hit me. After gaining the summit I ate my lunch and got more water. At this time my legs were pretty done and I started to feel signs of altitude sickness. While others sat at the summit I ran off to summit a mountain that I thought was a 13er but after my mind cleared on the way down to the TH I realized that I was no where near the named 13er printed on my map. I laughed at how much the altitude had gotten to me at this point.
me on Oxford

Undoubtedly the worst part of this hike was the re-climbing of Belford. At this time that altitude really got to me. I could hear my pulse, my head was pounding, and I started acting unusual. Having gone through it before I realized what was happening and tried to deal with it as best as I could before I had a chance to descend. It took us about an hour to get back to Oxford. At this point the only thing I was thinking about was ascending ASAP and going to bed so we hustled our way down to the TH. The trip down was uneventful and quick. The aspens were turning which was cool to see.

Here's a breakdown of the times for you interested.
TH to Belford summit: 2 hours 45 min
Belford to Oxford: 45 min
Oxford to Belford: 1 hour
RT: 8 hours

This was definitely one of my favorite hikes thus far. Numbers 16 and 17 on the 14er list. I am hoping this weather holds up for a little longer. Thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

I saw you!
09/30/2011 12:52

I was climbing Missouri on the same date. You are the only other person I saw climbing even though I never actually ran into you. I loved the area and I think it was one of my favorite hikes as well. I can't wait to get back to knock out Bel/Ox. Great pics!


how was missouri?
09/30/2011 14:31
we had planned on doing it that day but I wasn't feeling up to it after hiking back up belford.


Food is overrated ...
10/01/2011 04:38
”After gaining the summit we sat down out of the wind and downed water and food in preparation for the hike over to Oxford” I think you meant to say ”brown bagged a PBR tallboy in a bum circle for preparation” ... at least that's what I remember doing.


Good Beta!
10/02/2011 05:49
We're climbing Belford/Oxford on Columbus Day... Glad to see the trail conditions are still free of snow. :-) Also appreciated the climb times as I wondered how long this hike might take.


10/18/2011 02:03
Hey, pretty fast times, there! Congrats on these two.

To ameliorate altitude ills, I pound down lots of gatorade (usually have 3.5 to 4 liters of water - at least 2.5 of it as gatorade.) I would also add breathing techniques - essentially, increasing the rate and depth of ventilation, doing this consciously and frequently above 10-11,000.

Keep up the good work!

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