Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Iowa Pk  -  13,831 feet
Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2013
Modified:  08/20/2013
Date Climbed:   08/17/2013
Author:  Antonio Banderass
 Belford, Oxford, & Missouri Oh My   

So here goes the first TR after using so many others for helpful info.....

After being sidelined for the last 4 weeks with a broken collar bone I knew I needed to get up and hike this past weekend before I attempt Rainer this coming weekend. I and my trusty hiking partner Henrique Iglesias headed up to the Missouri Gulch TH and slept in the car. You can see the his weariness in his eyes
. We hit the trail at 4:40am and made good time up the mountain. I always seem to hike at a faster pace in the dark. Nonetheless, it wasn't fast enough for Henrique as he pulled me up the Belford switch backs with his devilish good looks and demoralizing speed
. Although the NW Belford route switch backs are steep they are firm with many good rock steps. The wildlife was awakening and making for a beautiful morning
. We summited Belford at 7:20am and celebrated
with Missouri looming in the background. On the summit of Belford we made some new friends and enjoyed the morning views for about 45 minutes
. One of them made the comment to Henrique that Ricky Martin was the only true latin pop sensation. He quickly scoffed at her
, expressed his disappointment in her musical taste, and made his way down saddle leading the west ridge to Oxford with Harvard looming in the background

The hike to Oxford via the west ridge is simple and straightforward. We summited Oxford by 9am and enjoyed beautiful views looking back west at Belford for another hour
. We proceeded to head back to west and down to Elkhead Pass. Going into the day I wasn't sure if I was going to go for Missouri but as I approached the pass I felt like I had enough in the tank and the weather seemed to be holding
. Just before 11am I decided to go for it and descended down the backside of Elkhead Pass with the hopes of following Roach's South Ridge route (13R9, 3rd Ed.)
. As I descended I realized there was no defined trail leading SW towards the saddle between Missouri and Iowa Peak. I wandered cautiously towards what I interpreted to be Roach's S route. As I made my way up towards the saddle I really began to feel the fatigue setting in. I've never been one that pretends that I feel good after 10 miles in teener country. After a month without much activity this was apparent. So, about half way up the slope I decided it was a good time for a quick 15 minute power nap. Henrique agreed and served as a pillow. We awoke and trudged on up to the saddle. Once there I somehow tricked myself into thinking I had gotten off route and that, perhaps, Missouri was the mountain to the south of us. We summited it
, opened the register, and I felt my heart sink when I read Iowa Peak.

At this point I didn't have much gas left in the tank and really didn't care if I summited Missouri. However, when I looked at the map I realized I had no choice but to summit Missouri unless I wanted to end up at the Rockdale TH. At this point feelings of anger, laughter, and fatigue were all mixing together. Suddenly, I looked up from my map to find we had a visitor
. Henrique didn't take kindly to the intruder and proceeded to scare him off with an incredible vocal ensemble
. After clarifying the rank and order of the mountain we headed onward to Missouri. Henrique managed to still pose for the camera while meanwhile I felt like I had a python around my throat
. We summited around 1:45pm and made some new friends whom we had seen on Oxford and who had come down from the pass and up the standard route. We rested up for a solid 45 minutes before heading down the standard route on Missouri. I found this route to be quite unpleasant. It is very worn in spots and has a lot of slope which makes for some slippery situations. Also, there are a lot of loose rocks which my fatigued self had little patience for
. Once back in Missouri gulch we chatted with several people on the descent to help break up the monotony including the friends we had met on Belford. In crossing the final bridge over the creek before ascending to the TH parking lot Henrique let it be know that he was done as well
. We returned to the car just past 6pm.

Ultimately I really enjoyed Belford and Oxford. Part of what made this so enjoyable was the beautiful weather affording me the ability to relax and enjoy long breaks on each summit. Too often I find myself rushing up and off peaks simply for time and/or weather purposes. However, I can't honestly say that I enjoyed Missouri. Part of this was due to the fatigue but most of this is I simply don't like loose class 2 climbing. I'd much rather have a class 3 or 4 with some steps and holds. Nonetheless, it was a great day in the high country and good lung preparation heading into next weekend.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

Big day
08/20/2013 05:39
Going for two, maybe three, and ending up with four summits? Not a bad day in the Sawatch! Good luck with your collar bone and Rainier.


Henrique Iglesias
08/25/2013 04:37
does pretty good high-fives it appears. Give him one for me too...

Nice job.

Ramsey Boys

07/13/2014 02:10
Thanks for the info. We may try the trifecta this week.

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