Mount Missouri

Date to Climb: June 25, 2009

Date Climbed: July 04, 2009

Elevation: 14,067

Range: Sawatch

Latitude: 38.94755, Longitude: -106.37836

Route: Northwest Ridge ll, Class 2

Mount Oxford

Date to Climb: June 25, 2009

Date Climbed: July 04, 2009

Elevation: 14,153

Range: Sawatch

Latitude: 38.96481, Longitude: -106.33879

Route: West Ridge ll, Class 2

Mount Belford

Date to Climb: June 25, 2009

Date Climbed: July 04, 2009

Elevation: 14,197

Range: Sawatch

Latitude: 38.96060, Longitude: -106.36080

Route: Descend West Slopes ll, Class 2

Round-Trip Mileage: 14.5

Pre-Climb Comments

After camping along the road we will start climbing early. This is a big day as we walk 14.5 miles and climb 7,400 feet. The dogs will be barking at the end of this one. We climbed the trio a few years back, it was a great day. Missouri is a worthy summit and great stamina is required to touch the other two tops. The trail up the Missouri Gulch and on to Elkheart Pass is very picturesque. It is surprisingly easy as it climbs to a shoulder and then to the summit of Belford. The ridge to Oxford is almost torture. Many false summits line the West Ridge. The trip down Belford is fast. It is a direct line.

Post-Climb Comments

These three mountains represent our biggest altitude climbing day at 7,400'.

Camped along the road between Huron and Missouri we woke at three and started hiking by four. Nick went with us, but Jake stayed in the car (Jon and Laura visited him during the day and played with him for a few hours, thanks again.)

Missouri ridge

The ridge returning from Missouri

We started slow up the switchbacks as we tried to wake for the big day. As the sun crept upward we continued our approach to Missouri. The gulch is quite impressive when seen from Missouri or Belford as it sits peacefully at the bottom of the cirque of mountains.

Taking a break at the trail junction, we finished our preparations for climbing Missouri. The ascent was mostly on a well graded path. Snow interrupted our progress a couple of times, but as a rule, the snow was not even a nuisance. We were soon at the saddle looking at the summit, a long way away. The trail traversed the ridge high above the steep slopes on both sides. Though just a hard walk, it was still fun to command views on either side of the ridge for such a long time.

Missouri’s summit was not as grand as some, but the traverse getting to the summit made it worthy. Reversing our steps, we left the ridge and regained the valley floor. We had misplaced a camera at the trail junction, and it was still there when we returned. Climbers are good people.

Missouri was our 27th peak, we were half way to 54.

Clouds formed as we left the trail junction heading to Elkhart Pass. From the pass it was a gentle rise to the shoulder high on Mount Belford.

oxford summit

Oxford summit

From the shoulder we could see our next destination, Oxford. A mile and a half long ridge connected the two mountains. We could see the summit almost the entire time we traversed the ridge. It was very tiring, but soon we were on the summit of Oxford.

Reversing our steps we returned to the Belford shoulder. Each step felt like we had had a hard day. We continued a creep and rest technique all the way back to Belford.

mount Belford

Nearing the Summit of Mount Belford

Belford’s summit was not crowded. We snapped a couple of pictures and headed down. The descent was steep and unmercifully rocky. Each step soon hurt our feet. We slowed to minimize the pain.

Finally we reached the main trail junction and we descended toward our car at the trailhead. The daylight reversal of our morning trip was interesting. Everything seemed longer in the daylight.

We arrived at the car eleven hours after wehad started. After reloading the car we were on the way to La Plata.

A few years ago we done the trio and it hurt. It hurt this day also, but not as bad. We always had to conserve. We had climbed the day before and are going to climb the next day and the next and the next.

29 peaks climbed, 25 to go.

Mount Missouri - July 04, 2009 summit check

Mount Oxford - July 04, 2009 summit check

Mount Belford - July 04, 2009 summit check