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Mt. Belford  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-01-16  Northwest Ridge  Chaffee County Rd. 390 is maintained in winter to the Clear Creek Ranch. Beyond the ranch, the road is basically a vehicle track through fairly deep snow (in spots). With 4WD, aggressive tires, and some careful driving you can get to within about 1.3mi. of the Missouri Gulch TH, at Vicksburg. It would not be too difficult to get stuck on this non-maintained section if you get pulled out of the track. Beyond where you have to park, the road is snowmobile packed and is easily traveled without snowshoes to the TH. There is a nice trench from the TH all the way to treeline. I did 90% of this section without snowshoes. Snowshoes went on about fifty yards beyond the log bridge that takes you back to the east side of the creek. Above treeline the windpacked slabs generally support you on snowshoes, but there is some postholing. I stayed high (bearing left) out of the trees all the way to where you mount the NW ridge, and cached my snowshoes there. I made it about a third of the way up the ridge before I had to put on microspikes, as there is some water ice on the trail. The switchbacks are sort of hit or miss on blown to ground vs. snowcovered, but can generally be followed all the way to the summit ridge. The trail from Belford over to Oxford is mostly clear enough to follow the summer track. High winds the entire day (not the forecast I saw), made this trip much more difficult that it should have been. Just staying upright was really a challenge when going from Belford to Oxford (and back). blindmule   2015-01-19 1  1 1  Edit Delete 
2015-01-10  Northwest Ridge  Conditions are about as good as it gets. Can drive to a mile from TH. Packed trench to treeline. Hard packed snow in basin holds weight (at least in the morning). Ridge is very dry. Yikes   2015-01-10  0  2    Edit Delete 
2014-12-12  Northwest Ridge  A gorgeous day on Belford/Oxford. The lower trail is all packed snow, once you reach the gulch there‘s a mix of packed snow and dirt, the climb to Belford is the same with only a few icy spots near 13,000, the peak is dry. The descent to Oxford has a few snow areas but can be avoided and the saddle, climb and peak are completely dry. On the descent from Belford I chose the gully just north hoping to glissade down to the gulch, conditions are not ideal to say the least, I was able to do it for ~500-600 yards spread into several short runs, the rest was walking / postholing. Traction: Snowshoes - left them in the car Microspikes - could come in handy in a very few select places but I was too lazy to take them out leonel8a   2014-12-13 2     Edit Delete 
2014-11-08  Northwest Ridge  A beautiful day on Mt. Belford. The entire trail is covered in snow; but it‘s generally only a couple inches deep. Traction and gaiters made my hike more enjoyable; but they weren‘t mandatory. I saw someone summit in running shoes. Most of the snow was firm enough to prevent post-holing. The goats had done a good job of keeping the snow packed down. jladderud   2014-11-08 1     Edit Delete 
2014-10-11  Northwest Ridge  Trail above the treeline is covered with snow. I would recommend snowshoes. Traverse to Mt. Oxford also snow covered. markjameson   2014-10-11  0     Edit Delete 
2014-10-05  Northwest Ridge  A nice boot pack and almost continuous snow starting about 500 ft elevation from the Belford turnoff. We did not use any traction for the ascent to Belford, and the traverse to Oxford. Microspikes were very helpful coming down Belford to work our way downwards quickly - probably not essential, though. Given the freeze/thaw cycles, it‘s possible the boot pack may become icy in the next few days, in which case traction may become essential. It was windy and cold, but otherwise posed no problems at all. LoveThisSite   2014-10-06  0     Edit Delete 
2014-10-03  Northwest Ridge  I did the Belford-Oxford combo on 10/3. There‘s token snow in the trees below 12K, but as soon as you start ascending the steep ridge from 12K-13.9K, there‘s consistently 4-12" of snow on the trail. No postholing, but I strongly recommend gaiters and good traction (boots or microspikes both seemed to be working well). Some enthusiastic plunge-stepping had it pretty well plowed out by the end of 10/3, but it‘s still snowy. Didn‘t seem like it was going to melt fast up high. Also, the Oxford side of the traverse is fairly straightforward, but there‘s enough snow on the steep descent from Belford that poles or an axe might be a nice idea. robinbk   2014-10-04  0     Edit Delete 
2014-10-01  Northwest Ridge  From treeline onwards there are several inches of snow and ice on route, expect to lose the path a few times and just go up. It‘s never deep enough to require flotation, but most people would find traction and poles worth carrying. Same for path to Oxford. SoCool   2014-10-02  0  3    Edit Delete 
2014-09-16  Backside via Elkhead Pass  Snow free. Longer approach via Elkhead pass highly recommended. Pleasant trail, good footing. Descent by std route also snow free but considerably steeper. zinj   2014-09-17  0  1      
2014-09-13  Northwest Ridge  Summer conditions still exist. Fall colors are starting to change, next weekend should be better. msorensen87   2014-09-14 1     Edit Delete 
2014-08-31  Northwest Ridge  Very windy, light snow flurries on and off. The trail is in great condition and very easy to follow. Kiddo   2014-09-01  0     Edit Delete 
2014-07-06  Northwest Ridge  Left from the trailhead at 5:50am. The trail to Mt. Belford is in very good condition, all dry and no snow. Stream crossings over logs was easy if you have poles or some basic balance. But be careful not to miss the stream crossing (see photo 1 in the trail description), as there also continues a small trail on the right side of the stream! It‘s a steep climb to the summit, and the slower part of our group arrived only after 5 hours. The faster part continued to Mount Oxford, also without problems. Overall a strenuous hike without any technical difficulties and great views! mblanke   2014-07-07  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-26  Elkhead Pass  Standard route is clear. Elkhead Pass (easier on old knees, especially downhill) has a few snowfields remaining that can be avoided with little problem cfb   2014-06-27  0  1    
2014-06-20  Northwest Ridge  Belford was beautiful today. There are two small snowfields with the summit in sight: probably less than 75 vertical feet from the top. You can go around them, through the trenches which are already established, or over the top (in the morning) as they were very solid at 9:00 AM. JTOlson26   2014-06-20 1     Edit Delete 
2014-06-15  Northwest Ridge  One section of the trail near treeline has a small snowbank easily sidestepped, other than that 100% clear until the last ridge. On the ridge, two minimal snow crossings, probably will disappear in a few days. The Moose   2014-06-15 2  1    Edit Delete 
2014-06-05  Northwest Ridge  Summer in Missouri Gulch!! Very little avoidable snow in the trees and then three or four patches low in the basin- the usual hard in the morning and slush fest in the afternoon type snow but if you can suck it up for about a dozen steps it‘s not bad! Once on the ridge it‘s dry with one or two avoidable patches. The flat area before the summit block has a large area of snow which is not a problem if you pick your line carefully- on descent I postholed one leg to my waist (ouch). Ridge to Oxford equally clear and delightful!! ctlee   2014-06-06  0  4    Edit Delete 
2014-05-31  Northwest Ridge  The route is completely dry until after the creek crossings. After this point there is one section of trail near tree line (old mining cabin) into the willows area in the basin that has snow( about .25 miles). You can avoid most of it by going above or below it, but I assume it will be melted out in a week or two. On the ridge itself and the traverse to Oxford you can easily avoid all snow. Leave the boots and snow shoes at home and enjoy the trail runners and shorts on this one! Andymcp1   2014-06-04  0     Edit Delete 
2014-05-24  Northwest Ridge  Image #1 NW gully Image #2 W face A group climbed and skied the NW gully on 5/24. The gully appeared narrow in spots, but coverage seemed good. jmc5040   2014-05-27 2  1    Edit Delete 
2014-04-22  Northwest Ridge  Hardpack snow begins at the river. The Dex trench is in after the stream crossing - you can thank me later. The snow has blown off the mountain. Traction devise, snow shoes, gaiters recommended. On the way down - even with the trench, expect postholing. Dex   2014-04-23  0  4    Edit Delete 
2014-03-22  Northwest Ridge  The road to Missouri Gulch TH isn‘t passable beyond about 4 miles from the TH. If you are daring, try, and get stuck, a fantastic towing company is Gunsmoke Towing from BV :-) Trail up to the stream crossing had been post-holed (thank you whoever man-handled that snow!) and my partner and I packed it down more with skis. Reached Missouri Gulch Basin, the area of avy danger, and turned back due to very poor snow conditions and a beacon out of batteries at 11,000‘. What a beautiful area. The skin up and ski down was a blast, although cut short. Definitely would recommend strapping on snow shoes or skis, the trail is packed now but the base is wonderfully deep. KymbreInDaWild   2014-03-25 1     Edit Delete 

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