Peak(s):  Mt. Belford  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,153 feet
Date Posted:  03/18/2007
Date Climbed:   03/18/2007
Author:  hook em horns
 where‘s the snow?  

Just a short report on Belford and Oxford. Chaffee County 390 road is easily passable to the trailhead. A few patches of snow remain, but they are easy to avoid. Early in the morning, I started at 0700, the snow in the trees and in Missouri Gulch was packed well. I wore hiking boots and only postholed a few times when I wandered off the beaten path. Above treeline, you can actually walk on dirt on several sections of the summer trail. On the slope up Belford there is hardly any snow to speak of. I am new to winter hiking, so I was a bit worried about the avalanche risk. Once I got my first view of the slope at 11,400‘, the worry was gone. The ridge down from Belford to the Oxford saddle was a bit slick with snow and ice. It is no problem though if you take your time. The ridge up to Oxford had very little snow. I thought the wind gusts were going to blow me off the mountain a few time, so I understand the lack of snow up there. I don‘t have snowshoes, so the return trip in the Gulch and trees was a posthole nightmare. I was already very tired from the almost 6,000‘ of elevation gain, so the last few miles really drained me. My total time for the roundtrip was 10 hours. This is with breaks for food, water, photos and oh yes, air and postholing. All in all a great day. Anyone who wants to get in a 14er with little worry of avalanches, now is the time for these two peaks.

p.s. the slopes up Missouri Mountain are still very loaded with snow

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