Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  05/28/2007
Date Climbed:   05/25/2007
Author:  KirkT
 Missouri Mountain- Northwest Ridge  

Climbed by KirkT, Shad, and Oman
Elevation Gained 4450 ft.
Trip length 8 miles, stopping at our camp

Shad and I had planned this trip about 2 weeks ago. The plan was to pack in and climb Missouri, camp in Missouri Gulch and climb Belford/Oxford the next day. After confirming our plans, forum member Oman (Mark) decided to join us for Missouri.

All 3 of us decided to drive up Thursday night and camp in our vehicles at the Missouri Gulch trailhead so we could get an early start on Friday. I don't know if it was the usual excitement, or uncomfortable confines of the truck but Shad and I did not sleep at all. We decided to get up around 4am and start to get ready. Mark was moving around in his car as well. We ate some quick breakfast and started out with headlamps at 4:30.

The trail through the woods was very clear with no snow at all. I quickly had to shed layers as I was getting very hot very fast. The extra weight of my tent and bag was making it very tough on me at the beginning. After finally getting comfortable I continued. We reached treeline and the trailjunction of the Belford/Elkhead pass around 7am. Shad and I dumped all of our camping gear as this is where we had planned on setting camp for our overnite site. It felt great to loose about 15 lbs. off my back!

Me on trail at treeline with first sunlight on Belford.

We continued up the Elkhead trail about 3/4 a mile. We came to a consensus that we would shoot up the ridge above us in stead of continuing along and hitting the summer trail. We were unsure of the snow conditions and slides could be seen in that area. Shad as usual started the charge up to ridgeline.

Big MO from Missouri Gulch.

Mark and Shad working up to the ridge.

We eventually made it to the top of the ridgeline and continued towards Missouri's Summit area. The ridgeline had 5 different 13000ft. points along the route. We hit them all. The wind was blowing around 20mph along the ridge.

Missouri's ridgeline towards the summit.

Huron Beta.

The hike was pretty straightforward and uneventful until we reached the "crux" of the route that Bill describes in his route. The route became very steep and the snow was not compact like everywhere else so far. Shad had to use his axe to cut out steps for us to continue. We waited while he continued conturing a path. I followed in his footsteps and eventually made it to the summit ridge. It was very intense and for the first time in my climbing career I almost turned back. There was no room for error. The breaking away snow was underlined by no traction scree. I dropped one of my poles on the trek as well.

Shad making his was through the "crux!"

We finally gained the summit at 11:45. After about 15 minutes on the summit we started our trip down.

A view of the ridgeline from the summit.

Harvard and Columbia from the Summit of Missouri.

Me on Summit holding register.

On my way down I decided to trek across the Cornices along the ridge instead of trying to negotiate the same route as I had ascended. It turned out to be an easier trip. Shad strapped on his crampons and retrieved my pole for me (Thanks!!) and we started down. We decided instead of returning along the entire ridgeline, that we would descend along the Summer route. The snow seemed quite stable. All 3 of us participated in several very long glissades which made the downtrip much faster than our ascent. We continued along with several more glissades and eventually made it back to the trail junction at 2:30. We camped at the trail junction which was 11600 ft. Mark said his goodbyes and continued down to the trailhead while Shad and I started to set up our campsite.

We had plans to meet Maverick-Manley in the morning to climb Belford/Oxford, but that's another story. Shad should be writing a trip report on that in a day or so.

All in all it was a great day to be in the mountains. The weather was pleasant (cept the wind along the ridge) and the company was great as well. It was great hiking with Mark and look forward to our Culebra trip in June.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
TR and pics, Tex. That summit ridge was pretty sweet huh? I'll be putting my report up soon.


Good Times
05/29/2007 14:28
It was a great weekend... Thanks for letting me climb with you guys and hope to do it again soon!!!

Aspen Summit

Didn't get to introduce myself
11/30/2010 17:28
Excellent Trip Report, KirkT! I didn't sleep well either. I think I saw you guys left the Trailhead for the summit with those heavy packs. I left an hour later; I was still snoozing in my white Jeep. 5/25 was not a great day to climb cuz the wind off Belford was high and mighty so Josh (aka, Speedpolka) and I turned back at around 13,500'. I had to rush to the RMNP to camp with some friends and the run the BolderBoulder.

Glad you guys made it safe and I'll watch out for the crux in 2008! 8)


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