Peaks (in order):
Distance: 13 miles
Elevation gain: 7,500 ft
Andrew, Shannon and I opted to head up Missouri from Rockdale rather than take the standard route through Missouri Gulch.
Pro's and Con's:
Advantage: You get to ford 2 stream crossings in your vehicle! Less (zero) people until you hit the summit of Belford.
Disadvantage: You almost have to re-ascend Missouri using its standard route to get home.
Advantage: If you go all the way back to the summit of MO, you get 2 checkmarks for Missouri?!?!? (c’mon its not even the same route…!)
Our route in red
We left the jeep at the gate at about 11K. Soon after, we passed Chloskey Lake and its waterfalls.
The ascent up to the Missouri ridge is short, about 2 miles, but you gain about 3,000 ft.
Prior to the day Shannon had summited 8 14ers. She had no issues leading the way, keeping up, making fun of my beard, etc. You name it, she held her own, Nice job Shannon! She should have a 14er's screename by the time this TR goes up.
on Missouri's ridge, summit in the distance, with the saddle to Iowa on the right
Andrew on the Summit of Mount Missouri - Elevation 14,067
On the summit we sill hadn't decided if we would descend Missouri to the south into Missouri Basin and then somewhat reascend Elkhead Pass or, keep it simple, and head down using the standard route into Missouri Gulch. After some brainstorming (and some pop tarts), we chose the southern descent and opted for the standard route back up Missouri on our return.
Andrew and Shannon heading into the basin.
A look up at Elkhead Pass from inside Missouri Basin. Belford's summit can be seen way in the distance to the left.
A look back at Missouri on our trek towards Belford. Picture taken after re-ascending Elkhead Pass.
Shannon leading the charge to Belford. She's a Fenanimal?!?!
Summit of Mount Belford - Elevation 14,197 - July 29, 2012
the route over to Oxford
a look back at Belford from the summit of Oxford. Missouri can be seen over the ridge.
Summit of Mount Oxford - Elevation 14,153 - July 29, 2012
From here we backtracked over to the Belford ridge and then back down to Elkhead Pass. We then decended north into Missouri Gulch to the the intersection where you would begin your ascent of Missouri if taking the standard route.
At the time I though he had eaten my sunglasses. He's extremely lucky I found them.
the intersection in MO Gulch where we began our re-ascent of Missouri.
I figured if you were going to make me re-ascend a mountain to 13,700 ft from a different route, I had to go all the way up to the summit again. This is me on my re-descent from my re-ascent of Missouri. Say that sentence 10 times.
Headed back down Missouri's west ridge. Long day. Great route. Great climbing partners.
The fun on this route doesn't really end when you get back to the car. This 4WD road back to Rockdale is the real deal. Enjoy it!
At the river crossing...
Andrew it was awesome to finally get back out there with you again. Had been way too long. Lets do it again soon man!
Mount Democrat - July 28, 2012: The day before, I trekked up Mount Democrat with a friend from back east, Lori McGarry. This would be Lori's 1st 14er. CONGRATS LORI! Come back soon!
only a few 1000 people or so on this route today.
Lori's 1st 14er! Summit of Mount Democrat - July 28, 2012
Summit of Mount Democrat - Elevation 14,148 - July 28, 2012
Mount Evans - July 28, 2012 (by car) - Who knew Mount Evans is the scariest mountain of all time...
Funnel cloud on Evans
BRRRRRRR - really?