Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Pecks Pk  -  13,270 feet
Waverly Mtn  -  13,292 feet
Date Posted:  07/25/2015
Date Climbed:   07/25/2015
Author:  JQDivide
 That wasn't Waverly  

That wasn't Waverly.

I had planned this route for a year and a half and I screwed it up.

Pecks, Belford, Oxford (and some high point east of Ox that wasn't Waverly)

3:30 - left TH
4:30 - at the cabin remains
6:20 - at Pecks, 13,270
7:40 - at Belford
8:10 - at saddle
8:50 - at Oxford
9:25 - at some high point (13,800+) that wasn't Waverly
9:40 - headed down Waverly Gulch
12:50 - at the road
1:35 - at the TH (tried to hitch hike, 0-4 on cars)
Mileage: 11-12, guess: 6 miles to high point, 3 to 4 miles (high point to road, guess) 2 miles on the road

Hiked the main trail up Missouri Gulch, took a left after the cabin remains and went up the slope toward Pecks. Crossed the shallow gully and kept going up. The slope was steep with lose rocks and grass. If you head down this way, you can't see the valley from the top for guidance, just head in the direction of LaPlata and you'll eventually walk past the curved top and see the main trail and creek below.

From Pecks we followed the ridge to Belford. Only one questionable rock obstacle, but there was a path around it. From Belford, we hit Oxford and then headed north toward Waverly.
Pecks and Belford
Ridge between Pecks and Bel
Rock area just below summit, go hikers right
Get to the summit
Looking back towards Pecks

This is where I screwed up. As we headed down, I saw a 'high point' and didn't think about that height and what Waverly's height was. There were three up-and-overs, all rock. In hind sight we should have skirted around all three, because on the third one we called it Waverly. I should have known better. javascript:emoticon('')

Fatigue. Assumptions. Lacked of checking. Laziness.

They all played a part in my mistake. I wasn't thinking clearly. I kept looking at the Waverly ridge that descended north toward Clear Creek and thinking we were supposed to hike over and down it from Waverly. From the high point, we were in the middle of the gulch looking straight down toward the creek/drainage channel. That should have been the obvious 'we're in the wrong place." The fact we really didn't go down and up a traditional saddle, should have been another no brainer. (Lack of sleep and tired legs aren't good for the mind.)
The ridge to Waverly from Ox,...NOT WAVERLY

HINT 1. If the area doesn't look like the topo map you remember. Double check.
HINT 2. Take a map with you.

Still thinking that was weird, we headed east toward grassy slopes (and unknowingly toward Waverly). We took a left near the saddle, not even looking at the next summit. Ten minutes down, I looked right and thought, oh crap, that's Waverly. javascript:emoticon('') I turned around to look at the high point, that wasn't Waverly. (You can actually see the high point from the road if you look up the gulch.)

We debated for a minute, but called it a day and went down. Rocks and grass for an hour-plus. Than we skirted the drainage for bit before entering it. Rocks and debris. Than rocks, debris and water. Slippery rocks. Very tiring and monotonous.
Waverly Gulch, the way down
The rocks and creek drainage

Once we got near the bottom, the creek narrowed and brush thickened. We went a bit right to parallel the creek. Ended up finding the remains of cabin and an old road. Followed the road until we heard Clear Creek and then started looking for a place to cross. Waded a calmer area, but still had good water following. Then we popped up on the road, just a tad more than 2 miles from the TH. Took three hours from the high point to the road. Tried to hitch, but no takers of the 4 vehicles that passed.

Lesson learned: double check when in doubt. This wasn't a serious situation, but it was a good reminder that poor decisions can lead to bad things.

I'll go back and get Waverly, not sure when. But I'll do it.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 Comments or Questions

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.