Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   08/21/2005
Author:  tay8000m
 Belford, Oxford and Missouri via Missouri Gulch  

Belford, Oxford and Missouri via Missouri Gulch

I hiked from the Missouri TH at Vicksburg on 8/21 and camped in the basin around 11,600. The trail up to the basis is very good and well maintained. The log bridge which crosses Missouri Gulch creek about half way up was a bit wobbly with a pack as the poles are not of a large diameter. There are numerous spots to camp in the area around the trail divergence (Belford / Elkhead Pass). I camped along the creek by turning off to the right just past the trail juncture. There are other excellent campsites up on a shoulder to the left (east) before you get to the junction as well as past the junction on the right and even across the creek on the Elkhead Pass trail 1/4 mile past the junction.

The trail up to Belford was very straight forward and took around 3hr for an unacclimated piker like me. The trail is pet friendly with minimal scree. I traversed over to the summit of Oxford from Belford. The round trip between the two summits was 2.5 hours. The trail going down and up from Belford to the saddle is somewhat steep, but I think most dogs could handle it. My cell phone worked on the summit of both peaks.

The following day, 8/23/05, I climbed Missouri via the northwest ridge from Missouri gulch. The route description given in this web site is very good. This is not a pet friendly route. There is lots of scree and talus higher up toward the ridge crest. The traverse south along the ridge to the summit is long - 1/2 mile and exposed in places with a steep down and up climb of 40 feet to bypass a rock buttress before the final summit slope. I was the only person on the mountain and did not see anyone either going or coming. The weather was marginal with poor visibility and some grapple and moderate winds. My cell phone did work on the summit. I left at 5:30 AM and topped out around 8:30 with return to my camp in the basin (11,600) at 10:45.

I met a group by my camp in the basin which was using llamas to support their hike over Elkhead Pass into the Missouri basin to the south. This looked like a gorgeous area as did the upper part of Missouri Gulch basisn. There was no problem with leaving my vehicle at the TH parking for two nights. I tentatively explored the Cloyes lake route but, the road and creek crossing with a vehicle did not seem practical to me.

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