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Mount Oxford

 Via Mt. Belford
Difficulty Class 2 
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Considerable  
 
Start9,650 feet
Summit14,158 feet
Total Gain5,900 feet
RT Length11 miles via Belford standard route
14 miles via Belford southwest slopes
AuthorBillMiddlebrook
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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Trailhead

From Leadville: Drive 20 miles south on U.S. 24 and turn right on the Chaffee County 390 road.
From Buena Vista: Drive 14.5 miles north on U.S. 24 and turn left on the Chaffee County 390 road.
On the 390 road, drive 7.5 miles to a sign for the Missouri Gulch trailhead. Turn left and drive down into the large parking area. There are restrooms here.

Route

Follow the Northwest Ridge Route (Standard) or Southwest Slopes Route to the summit of Mt. Belford. Oxford is 1.5 miles to the east and the connecting ridge between Belford and Oxford is obvious - 1. What you cannot see from here is that the descent from Belford is more difficult than the hike up to Oxford.

Descend southeast from Belford's summit and follow a trail southeast - 2. After 1/4 mile and still above 14,000', turn left and start down Belford's east ridge, toward the Belford-Oxford saddle - 3. Before the turn, you may see another trail heading toward Elkhead Pass - stay on the trail for Oxford. Begin your descent of the ridge - 4 and 5. Follow the trail toward Oxford as it weaves down through the rocks ( 6) to reach the saddle at 13,500' - 7.

Cross the saddle and hike Oxford's southwest ridge - 8 and 9. Near 14,000' the summit comes into view - 10. Follow the trail to the final pitch ( 11) and walk through rocks to reach the top - 12 and 13. For your descent, you must return to Mt. Belford and descend via Missouri Gulch - 14. There are no other trails or shortcuts leading back to the trailhead.

Notes

This is not a walk in the park. Bring a lot of water and start as early as possible. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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