Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2010
Modified:  09/07/2010
Date Climbed:   09/03/2010
Author:  fox_inthesnow
 Belford and Oxford  

Me and my pup Reese headed out from Colorado Springs at 3:30am for the Missouri Gulch trailhead. It was early enough to avoid any labor day weekend traffic, and we were alone as we sailed over Wilkerson Pass and through the valley. We reached the trailhead at 5:30am and were quickly off, over Clear Creek and slogging up the steep switchbacks. We gained 1500 ft by 6:30, during which the sun started to peek through the valley.
First light

Up Missouri Gulch

the shoulder of Belford looms

Looking back down the gulch

We tailed another hiker up the shoulder of Belford. It was pretty chilly, and got worse as the wind picked up on the switchbacks. Although I started in shorts, we were still hidden from the sun, and I found myself putting layers on. We finally burst out into the sun and topped out on Belford around 8:30am.
Missouri and Emerald

I spent a few minutes on the summit but the wind motivated a quick departure. As we traversed over to Oxford the sun began to warm the air and the wind died down quite a bit. It looked like would be a perfect late-summer bluebird day.
A lone hiker slogs up Oxford

By the time we reached Oxford it was pretty temperate and I was shedding layers. We spent about an hour laying in the sun and admiring the 360 degree views of the Sawatch and beyond.
Reese contemplates a summit of Missouri

Mount Harvard

I was hoping to bag Missouri as well, but I was plenty content lounging in the sun. However much it would be nice to summit Missouri and even Emerald, my legs argued otherwise. If there was any doubt, the saddle back to Belford was the nail in the coffin for our peak-bagging that day. I validated the decision by assuming Reese's 6-month old paws couldn't take any more, but I'm sure he would beg to differ.
One last look at Oxford

La Plata off in the distance

Coming down from Belford, future peaks in the distance

The long slog back down was uneventful, but it would have been great to do Missouri as well. Missouri and Emerald would have to wait for another day. We made it back to the trailhead by 1pm, anxious for burgers and fries in Buena Vista!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good report
09/05/2010 17:42
Great trip report

I really like your pictures

I plan on hiking Belford/Oxford next year....thanks for the trip report


09/05/2010 22:38
Your pictures look very familiar - I hiked Belford in mid-August. I wish I had gotten an earlier start like you - by the time I reached Belford's summit I felt it was too late to go over to Oxford. Nice pictures - the early morning sunlight makes them more spectacular.


Familiar Indeed!
09/06/2010 22:27
Ya, looks very familiar! I even remember passing that old dead tree branch in your second pic. I did the exact same route Sunday (9/05/10). I too live in the Springs and had left at 3:30 am. Should've done it together and split the gas!

Nice dog too!


What a pup!
01/04/2011 20:45

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.