Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  05/28/2007
Date Climbed:   05/27/2007
Author:  maverick_manley
 Missouri Mtn - NW Ridge - 05/27  

Mountains: Missouri Mtn. (14,067')
Route: Started at Missouri Gulch TH (9669'), gained the NW Ridge earlier than the summer route description
Elevation Gain - 4500' (approx)
Roundtrip Mileage - 10.5 miles (approx)
Time - 10:45 hours

After a long day on Belford & Oxford the previous day, Chris (cldeck) and I decided to stay on overnight and attempt Missouri. We camped close to the TH and arose at 3:15AM. We packed our tents, refilled our bladders and started hiking at 4:15AM. I seemed to have ruptured a vessel in my toe on Belford and my hiking was more slumberous than usual. The 4.5L of water in addition to avy gear, crampons, emergency bivy etc in my pack weren't helping. Chris headed out of sight pretty quickly. We met at the Belford/Elkhead Pass trail junction (11,600' approx) at 6:15AM.

We decided not to go up the summer route but gain the ridge a little earlier than usual. Route finding was a bit of an issue and we needed to bushwhack through some very annoying willows and a couple creek crossings. Snow disguises the creek at certain spots. The snow was still frozen but we foretold endless post-holing fun later in the day. The first few pictures are of the route from later on in the day when there was more sunlight (and patience) for photography.

We found this part of the trail at about 7:15AM.

From the trail we had a good view of the various options we had to get up to the ridge and chose the following...

Ascending the ridge where we did meant a lot of up and down but it seemed like the best option since Chris didn't have crampons which might be necessary to go up a steeper couloir. We started the ascent. My toe gave me a spot of trouble and I decided it would be futile to try and catch up with Chris. I took my time laboring up the ridge and the first wisps of cloud had started forming for the day.

There were at least 3 points on the ridge but there was not a whole lot of elevation lost/gained... 400 feet max. I found it difficult avoiding some of the summits along the ridge in current conditions except Point 13,784', barely, by staying to the west of it. It got a little windy here but bearable. Here is a picture of Point 13,784'. The standard route ascends the ridge to the left of this point.

The rest of the ridge is very straightforward up until the crux. The crux is so much more 'cruxtacious' right now with the snow and ice on it. A fall anywhere along it would be very very painful, possibly crippling.

I started hiking it without my axe but slipped and held on to a rock. I decided to leave my pack at the next level spot and finish the rest of the crux. My route is marked in red in the background. At the steepest point the snowfield was angled at close to 45 to my right but the snow was consolidated except at some spots like where I slipped for instance.

This is looking on past where I left my pack.

The steepness did not ease out until I got close to the summit block

I summitted at 11AM. The weather was good.

Here's some Belford/Oxford beta...

I decided to glissade down the couloir that the summer route ascends. The snow appeared to be safe and there were very few signs of sloughing/wet slide. There did appear to be a lot of butt slide marks though. We're entering high-traffic season. Here's a pic of the North-face couloirs in case anyone would like to climb or ski them.

I glissaded down to the bottom of the basin by noon and the postholing fun began. I was pretty tired and dazed and did not enjoy this too much. There was plenty of that bushwhacking to be done until I finally got back to the trail junction at 11,600'. The rest of the descent went quickly and I was back at the trailhead at 3PM for a roundtrip time of 10:45. Pretty slow, but I was pretty glad I managed to summit .

 Comments or Questions

Great report
02/05/2011 00:22
Those are some great pictures of the crux of the climb. Those tracks going through the top of the cornice on your red route belong to me. It seemed easier to me to return over the top instead of that dreadfully steep snow/scree descent. Congrats on summiting, great report. I enjoyed hiking with you.


Good Times
05/29/2007 14:47
It looks like you guys took almost the exact same route that Kirk and I did.... Good times. Had a blast doing Belford and Oxford with you on Saturday.



thanks for...
11/30/2010 17:28
the comments and votes. I saw Shad's crampon marks headed for your pole Kirk... wondered whose tracks they were for a bit .

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