Peak(s):  Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Waverly Mtn  -  13,292 feet
Date Posted:  02/28/2019
Modified:  03/01/2019
Date Climbed:   02/12/2019
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
Additional Members:   desertdog
 Winter Oxford   

So last summer I attempted the Belford group grand slam and did Missouri, Emerald, Iowa, Belford and Pecks. I was not able to get Oxford or Waverly so they were on my short list to get done this winter. Unfortunately, winter access to this area is limited. I started researching my options, and decided to attack these mountains from the Colorado Trial and Waverly Mountain's east ridge. I started from the Clear Creek Reservoir off 390. On the west side of the reservoir there is a small campground that was plowed, had ample parking and easy access to the Colorado Trail. I ended up doing this climb twice. Most of my first attempt (which was solo) was spent putting in a 5 mile long trench along the Colorado Trail and up to Waverly Mountains ridge. I made it as far as Wavely's summit that day (14 miles round trip), but because of the exhausting trench effort and starting too late, I ran out of time and energy to get Oxford. It was in sight and only another 1.25 miles. This had been a very hard decision turning back without getting the real prize, but the right one, considering I didn't get back to my truck that night until 6:30.

So 4 days later I went back with my climbing partner desertdog to get Oxford and finish out the Belford group. We left the Clear Creek Reservoir by 5:45 am and headed up the trenched out Colorado Trail.

Here are some Colorado Trail pics from my first attempt:


And a couple from my second attempt:


At about the 4.1 mile mark we left the comfort of the Colorado Trail and took a hard right following my trench up a steep, forested slope towards Waverly's ridge. We then came out into a clearing with an incredible view of Mt Harvard.

Pt 13347 on left, Harvard on right and notice the log cabin middle right

We then followed my deep trench around and over an avy slope to gain the ridge. This short section from the Colorado Trail to the ridge took what seemed like hours on my first attempt a few days prior. I nearly gave up many times wallowing through knee and waist deep powder. Today with the trench in place we breezed through it. We immediately stashed our snowshoes and started up the mostly mellow, wide ridge towards Waverly's summit wearing microspikes.

You can see my tracks from 1st attempt
Beginning of the ridge on left

There were many bumps and small peaks along the way. The true summit is just beyond the final peak in the picture below.


Many of these bumps can be skirted to the right if you don't mind a little postholing. This did get a little annoying though so I went over each bump on the descent. The peak in the picture below is not Waverly, but the high point on the ridge to Oxford. Waverly still cannot be seen and is to the right.

An enjoyable snow climb along the ridge

More bumps leading up to the false summit on the right. Waverly is still hidden off to the right in the picture below with Oxford's ridge becoming more visible.

Looking back down ridge. The Buffalo peaks in the distance

I was surprised to see a cairn on this last little peak along the ridge just before Waverly. Oxford's ridge is now clearly seen along side Waverly's south summit or false summit.


We still have one final steep climb to Waverly.


At the top, we can see we're actually at Waverly's south summit and we finally get a real good look at the ridge to Oxford.

Ridge to Oxford

We continue across a large flat area over to Waverly's true summit.

Waverly summit just ahead

At last we reached Waverly Mountain's summit. Looking north-west you can see Hope and Quail with Elbert and Massive due north.


Now back to the false summit and onto Oxford's ridge. It's about 1:15 pm now so plenty of time to get Oxford and back down.

Harvard and Oxford

The ridge was pretty straight forward and besides being steep, there wasn't much to it. There was minimal snow except right on the spine of the ridge. I mostly stayed off this because it was too soft to walk on without postholing. Occasionally there were bumps and small towers along the way. It was always easy, and with minimal exposure, to climb through the rocks to the right of them. In the pic below you can see the ridge high point with Oxford's summit behind several false summits in the distance.

Ridge high point
I tried to climb this but after a few postholes just went around
Easily skirt this tower to the right
A couple false summits

It took me 50 minutes to cover the 1.25 miles and almost 1,000 vertical feet from Waverly to Oxford. This was a perfect day and the views were spectacular!

Harvard to the south

I really wanted to head over to Belford now. That ridge looked perfect for climbing and I knew I would regret not going for it. What are the chances I would get another shot at a winter Belford anytime soon? In the end, I reluctantly decided I didn't have the time and headed back down to Waverly.

Mt Belford and the tips of Missouri and Iowa can be seen to far left

The descent was uneventful. Jogged when it was possible and finished by 5:20 pm. It was approximately 16.5 miles and took 11 hours and 35 minutes.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Waverly TWICE?!
03/01/2019 16:37
Awesome pictures and cool route choice!


03/06/2019 19:15
Thanks! It was a fun route, so much fun I had to do it twice! Didn't want to waste all the effort.

Nice job Captain!
03/17/2019 20:34
Mile High and Risin'! Nice job my RCPM loving friend. Love reading your reports. Can't resist referencing song titles that are somewhat appropriate. Is it Winter In Your Heart? I guess you Just Got High. Did it feel like you were dragging a Tow Chain? Did you Tell Your Mamma? I bet you always Sleep Like a Baby at the end of the day. Can't wait for the next report.


Love it!
03/21/2019 07:31
Haha thanks man! I Ain't Got The Words but I hear what you're sayin 5x5. I assume this is Greg. It's a Small World. I Speak Your Language, but I Know You Know that. I'm Every Kind Of Lucky to climb 14ers. It's like Heaven On A Paper Plate when I summit and I feel like a King Of The Hill.


Ct better than Pine Creek?
01/16/2021 10:05
As you researched your options for Oxford, what made you decide the CT was a better route than Pine Creek? I am considering Oxford in March 2021 and am concerned about crossing Pine Creek with a high water level. Did you have to cross any high water creeks along the CT?


01/18/2021 13:59
No real reason for picking that route over Pine Creek except to do something different. There were no significant water crossings on the CT. Thanks for reading.

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