I the first week off from school, I found myself with the desire to climb some 14ers. Hence, Brett, John, and I decided to do the Belford-Oxford Combination from Missouri Gulch. We ascended up from the parking lot quickly, and within 2 hours began to climb the ridge towards the summit of Belford.
We reached the summit of Belford by 9:30am, and took a short break before heading down the saddle towards Oxford.
The Summit of Oxford, as seen from Belford's Summit
The saddle between the peaks was a good break, as the wind we experienced on Belford was blocked by the rest of the peak. As we began to ascend towards the peak of Oxford, the wind was present, but not strong. By 11:45am, we were on top of Oxford, signing the register and getting ready to head back across the saddle over Belford for the descent.
Brett and John sitting comfortable atop Oxford
The return trip to Belford across the saddle was a steep, slightly muddy challenge
The ascent to Oxford through the saddle is quite gentle compared to the return trip in image 4
By the time we were atop Belford for the second time, the wind had calmed down a bit, and the weather was turning out to be perfect for a climbing day. The clouds were high and scattered, posing no threat for rain through the entire hike.
A shot of the Belford summit from the saddle, showing a cloudless sky
Miles upon Miles of visibility in the direction of Leadville atop BelfordBy about 1:30, we began descending the ridge down Belford back towards the trailhead.
We were able to jog much of the descent to the trailhead, making for a very quick trip down the mountain.
Cross Country training made it easy to quickly move down the mountain
By 3:00, we were back at the car, feeling the soreness that comes with climbing two fourteeners in one day, the perfect start to summer.
Overall the trail was in very good condition, with minimal snows spots, and some mud in the afternoon. Pending additional snow storms(it is still May), most of the snow that we encountered will be gone in just a few weeks. We lucked out with the weather, but if you are considering climbing both peaks, I would recommend starting very early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms.