Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Date Posted:  06/10/2010
Date Climbed:   06/06/2010
Author:  WSC_Geologist12
 Revisiting Missouri Gulch, with spice...  

Mt.Belford and Mt.Oxford, and a snowshoe rescue mission!

Trip Length: 1 and 1/2 days including searching for snowshoes
Distance: Approximately 11 miles
Elevation Gain: Approximately 7500ft (including snowshoe findings)

The first order of business is to explain all this snowshoe business:
Stephen (stevevets689) and I climbed Missouri Mountain via Missouri Gulch the first week of May 2010 (Trip Report Here). This was my first snow climb and was a very epic exposure to snow climbing with good conditions. However, we cached our snowshoes somewhere in the basin and could not find them on the way back... We didn't let it get us down and we pressed on, climbing other 14ers since then.

Peyton Manning (Me) on the summit of Belford

So Stephen and I decided to return to Missouri Gulch on Saturday 6/5/2010 to look for our snowshoes and hopefully grab the remaining 2 summits if we weren't exhausted from searching in the upper gulch. We arrived at the Missouri Gulch Trailhead at about 8:30AM after leaving Gunnison at 6:00AM.

Stephen geared up

After a little preparation we were off to set up camp. We backpacked from the trailhead to the old miners cabin just below treeline, arriving at 9:50 (Approximately 1600ft of elevation gain). The trail was much easier than our previous visit (which entailed difficult routefinding in the snow), however the trail still had its occasional obstacles.

Stephen pointing at the cascades across the trail

After a quick snack break and setting up our camp, we set off at 10:45 to search for the snowshoes. Stephen and I split off at the Belford/Elkhead split, communicating with hand radios. I covered the west side of the basin with binoculars and Stephen covered the east side hopping from knob to knob. Our effieciency allowed us to discover the snowshoes on the west side of the basin at 12:15. However, and of my readers who remember the trip report from Missouri Mountain that we were missing snowshoes and ski poles. Well that is another story, but that has been resolved as well, thank you for your help.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at camp and drinking a bunch of water, and then our friend Josh arrived coming from Golden, CO. We made a camp fire and enjoyed the evening. After a good nights sleep we rose at 4:30AM on Sunday and set off for the real journey. We were immediately met with a class 4 move... somebody had put a cabin in the way of the trail, so we geared up and started the pitch. (just kidding).

Stephen pointing out a Cabin in the middle of the trail

Stephen leading the class 4 section "Cabin Move

Stephen and I got a kick out of my idea of putting that into the trip report. Anyway, on with the trip report:
The trail was actually spectacular until around 13,000 feet where there are several snowfields which make the shoes a little wet. I ended up scrambling up the dry slopes until reaching the summit ridge (which was dry). I arrived at the Belford summit around 7:10 and Stephen followed shortly after.

Examples of the snowfields on Belford

Views from Oxfords Summit

Views from Oxfords Summit

Stephen Topping Out Belford

I spent no time on Belfords summit after Stephen showed up and I was off towards Oxford. The ridge had some snowy parts on it, mainly because the trail snakes from one side of the ridge to the other, thus exposing it to the leeward side (where more snow accumulated). I ended up summiting Oxford around 8:00 and waited a half an hour for Stephen to arrive and we enjoyed the summit together for another half an hour. We knew that the return to Belford was going to be our cap on a good day, so we headed back there.

Belford from the saddle

Stephen in the Oxford Wind Shelter

Myself on Oxford in the Danger of a Brown Bear!

Upon returnning to Belford we saw Peyton Manning.
Not really but we hung out for another half an hour and enjoyed a Heineken on top of the summit, let it wear off and started hiking back to camp.

Peyton Manning (Me) on the summit of Belford

We packed camp up and enjoyed the rest of the hike down, Josh had already packed up his camp and went on his way and me and Stephen caught up to him before the car. Overall it was a great couple of days and I feel much better about Missouri Gulch having tracked down my snowshoes and poles and climbing all the 14ers in this area within a month.

Thanks for reading and hopefully you guys check out my geology reports under "14erology"
James Haag

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Great Report!
06/11/2010 02:55
Went and picked up the poles today, so now the mission truly is complete! Good trip, can‘t wait for more


As a Colts fan...
06/11/2010 23:46
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Nice.

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