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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-06-04||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: Attempted the standard route - NW ridge. Left TH around 6:30am. Trail mostly clear of snow and ice until about a half mile past the trail junction to Belford. No spikes or snowshoes or gaitors needed up to this point. The next ~2 miles after that (to Elkhead Pass, where you can choose which route you want to take on the ascent) was a mess. The trail wasn't visible at all in the basin. Overall we would be on the trail for 10 minutes or so then completely lose it, then pick it back up again. Everything is still *very* wet with melting snow. Goretex shoes would be very helpful! As you get closer to the Elkhead Pass, there was much more postholing and often the trail wasn't visible so we just tried to stay high (off the trail - either far to the left or far to the right) and off the snow as much as possible. It added time and some mileage, but still made it to Elkhead Pass around 8:30am. I don't know if I would recommend snowshoes - half the time we were walking on open grass or trail where we don't need them at all, but then a big patch of snow would come up where snowshoes would be very helpful. No one in the group was using them before Elkhead junction. All trails to the ascent are completely covered in snow - including the standard route. The snow is still *very* deep, though after Elkhead Pass there was little postholing (postholing on the way down but not up). I started the ascent with the group - around 9:30am-ish. The weather that day was exceptionally warm, making the snow soft and pliable, so there wasn't an ice sheet covering the snow. This was nice because we didn't cut our shins postholing up to Elkhead, but made the snow at the top and on the ascent less stable (harder to get really good footholds in because your foot could slip out) After we ascended to about 13,700 we saw a large cornice on the ridgeline route to the summit. We attempted to cut across the mountain to avoid this. This would have been doable with spikes and an ice axe. The fall would have taken us down over 500 feet. Ice axe wasn't "needed" but we turned around because we didn't have it and decided we needed it to attempt an off-trail successful/safe summit. The rest of the group went up the coulior - they told me it was doable, they got to the summit, but a ton of postholing to do so (on the way up and even more on the way down). And the trip down was a pretty tough because the snow was melting so much and made it hard to get strong footholds. They descended later than me, so postholing was probably worse. The couliours are very steep, more so than the pictures show. Everyone I talked to ended the day with soaking feet. I unfortunately ascended in soaking feet because there is a point where a ton of water flowed over the trail (about a half mile before Elkhead), but it's covered in snow so I didn't see it! So I was water logged about 7 out of 10 miles Normally this would've been a *big* concern, but as I said the weather was exceptionally warm that day and no clouds/storms were coming in.
|2016-05-22||Route: North Face Couloirs
Info: Climbed the Main Couloir on Missouri Mountain yesterday which was in near perfect shape. We started at the bottom of the Couloir around 6:45 am and topped out at 7:20 am. The snow was firm from an overnight freeze. It did get a little soft about 1/2 way up, but nothing to be concerned about. There was some post holing on the way in and out so I'd recommend flotation and a very early start.
|2016-05-14||Route: North Face Couloirs
Info: Left the TH at 6:00am. Made it to the summit around 11:30am and descended shortly afterwards in perfect snow in the main couloir. We ascended a ridge climber's right of the C couloir as outlined in the picture (see attached, ascent in blue, descent in red) in order to avoid bootpacking and keep our skis on as long as possible. The crux of the climb was passing a gendarme on climbers right along the ridge just before the summit - we were glad to have axes (and crampons) for this section. Intermittent snow from TH to creek crossing. We wore hiking shoes for this section and I don't see the need for spikes or anything more. Beyond the creek crossing, we faced continuous snow which was hard pack in the morning. Afternoon snow from treeline to the creek crossing was brutally soft with lots of postholing and hard to manage on skis/snowboard. I would recommend an early descent to avoid this mess. I have also attached a picture of Belford from Missouri's summit. I have more pictures of the surrounding area from the summit I can provide at request.
|2016-05-12||Route: North Face Couloirs
Info: Climbed the C Couloir today from Missouri Gulch. Snow in the basin and in the couloir is still a tad soft. Good boot pack and steps are in now though in advance of the weekend. Snowshoes needed on the way down from Cabin to creek crossing.
|2016-04-10||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: Road is clear to the TH. Started hiking early, minimal snow for the first portion of the trail. Flotation is required beyond the little creek. Snow started to soften rather quickly late morning. 'Twas also a tad bit on the windy side. The hike out was slow going, postholed quite a bit even with flotation, waist deep in spots.
|2016-04-02||Route: North Face Couloirs
Info: This was some of the best skiing I can remember. We skinned/booted and skied the C couloir. The skinning was good until the last 300ft below the ridge when snow was too hard. The crux just below the summit (http://14ers.com/photos/missourimtn/mRMiss_115.jpg) was a bit tricky. Crampons would have been welcomed for this short section; the snow as almost too hard for kicking steps.
|2016-03-11||Route: North Face Couloirs
Info: Ascended standard route from Missouri gulch. Punched a few times thru willows, even on skis. Jon Kedrowski and I skied Main north couloir. Current conditions are a few inches of powder on top of firm base. Continued on to Belford from Elkhead pass, the route is mostly dry. Oxford looks very dry. Wanted to ski NW gully on Belford, but it doesn't connect to the saddle. A downclimb of several hundred feet on dry ground is required. Jon wanted a more continuous ski line, so we linked patches of snow on west face. TH access is similar to the prior report - Missouri gulch TH is currently accessible by Subaru Forester (with good tires). Road is mostly dry to about 0.7 miles below the actual TH. Didn't have much trouble getting in or out (conditions softened up considerably in the afternoon ). Solid bootpack to the cabin, where it ended. Some postholes noted. Flotation is advised.
|2016-03-06||Route: Elkhead pass to South
Info: Was able to drive to summer TH in a Subie Forester with a one inch lift (cute huh) Saturday eve 3/5. There was a vagabond man in a white pick up that looks as though he's been there a while. He was no bother to me. I started hiking the well-preserved/trench along the Missouri Gulch trail at 11pm. Because of the ability to start early and at the summer TH was able to get to Missouri via Elkhead Pass then skirted south along spring like snow totally in the dark, surreal! Hiked back up Elkhead when the wind picked up considerably ahead of the cold front that whipped through, crawled to Oxford then Belford then descended a beautiful gently sloped northwest facing couloir that essentially parallels the summer route. Fun glissade! Never needed snowshoes. Def used crampons, one axe, goggles. For you skiers, the north face on Missouri looks FAT!
|2016-01-02||Route: West Ridge
Info: Larger snowshoe trench has been laid through the last clearing before the gate below Clohesy. Expect deep powder till at least treeline.
|2015-11-28||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: 390 only had a couple inches of snow up until the ranch (4 miles below the TH). After that there was between 8 and 12 inches that my Forrester and I had to deal with. I only spun out a couple times on an uphill so it wasn‘t too bad. Someone had driven the road before me so I was able to ride in their tracks. AWD and high clearance are highly recommended though. I also had some trouble getting out of the parking lot at the TH but fortunately had a lot of room to work with as I was the only one there. The hike up to the old shack had about a foot of snow. I used snowshoes for this part going uphill and microspikes on the downhill and was fine. With snowshoes on, the only tough part of the uphill was the steepness. The path was very well defined considering the recent storm and the snow was manageable. Breaking out of the treeline though was a different story. I had no idea where the trail was and I often found myself in snowdrifts between 2 and 4 feet. That really sucks especially when the snow is that light fluffy type that your snowshoes just sink right through. Long story short I put in enough energy to have climbed a 14er that day, but I turned around at 12,000. It was exhausting winding back and forth trying to find the trail and simultaneously avoid deep snow drifts. If you do attempt Missouri in the next few days be prepared for the deep snow! Another heads up - on my way down I did spot some animal tracks alongside mine. From my two minutes of research my best guess is bobcat or coyote based on the size. One of the dead trees alongside the trail had had the fresh snow brushed from it recently too with the animal‘s tracks all around it. Be careful!
|2015-11-08||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: The road to the trailhead is almost free of snow. Snow on the path increased from one or two inches at the trailhead to about twice that at timberline. Above timberline, snow was widespread but thin (Photo 1). There were enough snowfields and drifts, however, that I appreciated my gaiters (Photo 2).
|2015-10-10||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: We started on the trail just after 6am Saturday morning. The creek crossing is a little confusing, go towards the fallen branches on the other side and you‘ll see a cairn once you‘re on the other side. The boulders near the summit are all walkable but it gets steep rather quickly followed by sandy terrain just before the top. On our way up we saw a man‘s dog chasing a mountain goat off the summit, that was an insane sight to behold! Luckily the dog turned around before getting into a rough spot. The summit conditions were perfect, very little wind, great views of Huron and the Three Apostles. It took us about 5 hours to get up and 3.5 to get down at a leisurely pace. There is still very little snow on the trail, it was a high of 72 on Saturday
|2015-09-12||Route: West Ridge
Info: Absolutely beautiful day today. Drove to the gate and the 4wd trailhead. Give yourself atleast 30-40min to make the drive from when you leave Chaffee County 390. Road is very rocky, but I saw a stock F150 and a stock jeep make it just fine. Conditions on route to the summit were perfect. Trail is easy to follow if you read the route description. It felt like I was climbing "The Incline" though. The total distance may be short, but the elevation gain is serious. We didn‘t see too many people on the summit. I was expecting more, but we might have beat the rush by using the Rockdale trailhead. Round trip took 3hr58min with a little bush whacking as we lost the trail on the way down and ended up at the lake. Pay attention as you descend next to the creek so you don‘t make the same mistake. Congrats to the lady who made her first solo summit. It gets addicting. Poplar leaves are starting to change which added to the beauty. There was a little frost this morning and some of the puddles had a thin layer on ice early on. Fall is coming so keep on keeping on while the weather is good.
|2015-08-29||Route: West Ridge
Info: We hiked the West Ridge of Missouri Mountain after parking at the gate at 11,040‘. We decided to hike the West side to hike a shorter (time, distance, and elevation gain) and less populated trail of this mountain. It‘s a beautiful, steep hike. Stats: We parked at the gate and started our hike at 7:20 Hit the 12,800‘ section at 9:05 (took ~20 min break here) Summited at 10:40 Left summit at 11:10 Back at car at 2:05 The 4WD road took us about 35 minutes of driving from the turn off of 390 (see my update to the Rockdale trailhead). This trail is beautiful and has great views of Huron, a valley, lakes, and streams. It joins the "main" trail at around 13,800‘ where the main ridge starts for the final ascent. This ridge is beautiful, provides great views of all the neighboring peaks, and made Missouri Mountain our favorite 14er to date (up to #18 so far). The West trail is very, very steep and has lots of rocks between 13,000 and 13,800. We took this part slow in the morning because some of the rocks were slick and we took it slow coming down to take it easy on our knees. Hiking poles were helpful going up and a necessity (in my opinion) going down the steep, rocky, gravely slopes. We only passed 2 other people on the ‘West‘ trail (passed others where the trails merge), so if you‘re looking for a scenic, less-populated trail and can handle the 4WD road, this is a great option!
|2015-08-19||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: For those considering Belford-Missouri Mtn by traversing the south face of Missouri to Elkhead Pass (or vice versa) as a time-saver option to backtracking into Missouri Gulch, I now concur with the advice I received and ignored. It‘s a crappy hike of steep cliffs and mostly loose rock/scree. For over 3 hours it was "step & slide" and occasionally back track to avoid cliffs. One can easily navigate to remain Class 3/4 the whole way, but it would have been easier to use the established trails in Missouri Gulch.
|2015-08-19||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: 5:30AM start and the hike up to the ridge was uneventful, aside from a few icy rocks at the creek crossings. The downclimb on the ridge was straightforward, but the section immediately after was loose and steep (Photo 16 from route description). We opted to keep high immediately after exiting the downclimb so we could use the rocks for balance, and I think that was the right move. Only other excitement was the large mountain goat guarding the saddle right where you drop off the ridge. He lowered his head and walked on the trail towards us as we approached (maybe 15 ft away?), so we opted to climb up and over the rocks just before the saddle to skirt around him (one eye on him, one eye on our footing). We alerted the folks climbing up to the ridge, and at one point we saw he had climbed down the trail, causing a few of those folks to beat a hasty retreat. Hopefully everyone heading up and down made it around him safely!
|2015-08-13||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: This was my 24th 14er climb this summer! My hope is to nab all or most of them. You can follow a more detailed report of this hike and others on my blog at sunshineof1985.com. GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat (didn‘t need), lightweight gloves (didn‘t need), day pack with water sack, snacks. Road Condition: Pretty standard dirt road with a fair share of potholes after you hit the ranch. A sedan should have no problem making it to the trailhead. Trail Condition: The trail is easy to navigate through the forest. It gets wet and muddy near the first creek crossing, but it‘s not bad. Don‘t miss the first junction at the base of Mt. Belford. Make sure you go right. Everyone complains how bad the scree is once you‘re on the mountain, but in my personal opinion, it‘s not that bad at all. There‘s a nasty part of the trail that is quite slippery on the backside of the ridge, near the summit. Make sure you have shoes with good grip, and stay close to the rocks for support.
|2015-07-14||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: Group of 6, two of which were first time climbers. Started on the trail at 5:15am and reached summit by 10:00am (including rest stops and waiting on the group). There were a lot of stream crossings without adequate spots to step and a lot of snow run off and mud. Many times you just had to trek through the water. I recommend good, water proof boots, gaiters, and an extra pair of socks. The water is cold! There was a long water crossing about 2 miles up the trail. Toward the summit, to reach the ridge line, we had to ascent in a small snow chute (but very well stepped out). Trekking poles were helpful here. The ridgeline was in good condition, a few snow spots but easy to traverse through and well packed down. On the way down, we skirted to the East around the snow chute and came back down to the main trail.
|2015-07-12||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: Creek running very high at all crossings. Snowfields below the ridge after trail split from Elkhead Pass soft, but crossings along ridge firm to icy in places. Very strong winds took a toll on our legs and our spirits so we called it quits after one summit. Approx Time Splits: Trailhead to overnight campsite near Belford-Missouri split: 90 minutes Campsite to summit: 180 minutes Summit to campsite: 120 minutes Campsite to trailhead: 60 minutes
|2015-07-06||Route: Northwest Ridge from Missouri Gulch
Info: Went solo on a Monday (7 am) and ran into 3 hikers. Young man from Texas hiked with me until the beflord/ Missouri split. Met one guy who camped coming down at about 12800 ft. Then ran into Joe from Denver up on the snowy ridge. This was i beleive his 29 th peak. Fairly difficult hike due the length, elevation, and more snow then I had experienced before. I was also tence due to the clouds. Even called the wife at 12600 to check radar for thunder heads. Anyway glad to run into joe on the ridge to have a partner for the final push through the snow. route was well marked and visible for the whole hike. One or two places on ridge where it was hand and knee. Was raining on the way down ( no lightning thank God) and the many stream crossings became a little more challenging. Really would like to thank joe for the company and reassurance on the ridge when i became concerned about the weather. Another beatiful 14 er.