Welcome to SP!  -
A delightful (and long) hike
Trip Report

A delightful (and long) hike

 
A delightful (and long) hike

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.96060°N / 106.3606°W

Object Title: A delightful (and long) hike

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 17, 2005

Activities: Hiking

Season: Summer

 

Page By: bjd5578

Created/Edited: Jul 19, 2005 / Sep 5, 2006

Object ID: 170228

Hits: 1800 

Page Score: 0%  - 0 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Click here for more trip photos, route details, and downloadable maps

Some friends and I had decided that we wanted to hit one of the Collegiate peaks. One of my friends suggested Oxford, for which the easiest ascent route is directly over Belford. So that's what we did.

Coming from Denver, we stayed the night before in Buena Vista (the Super 8, to be exact), since none of us felt like camping. We left the hotel at about 6:00am and arrived at the Missouri Gulch trailhead around 6:30. I'd read in a number of places about suggestions to start this hike an hour before daylight, but this was about the best this group could muster.

 

Crossing the log bridge
Crossing the log bridge


With a chill in the air, we started hiking up the trail. Seeing as how I'd done Mt. Evans from Scott Gomer Creek the weekend before, anything that had a solid trail and no willows was fine with me. This trail was great - a nice gentle slope, and hey, no willows (at least down below).

Crossing the log bridge over the stream was, as always, an exciting proposition, but no huge problem. We ascended up the shoulder of Mt. Belford on the solid switchbacks (provided by CFI, I presume), summiting around 10:30am (we're a slow group of hikers). Surprisingly, we'd passed a few tents on the ascent, but the trail was mostly deserted, which is rare for a Sunday hike.

 
The summit block of Mt. Belford (Mt. Harvard on right)
The summit block of Mt. Belford (Mt. Harvard on right)


Anyway, we snacked a little, but then pressed on to our primary objective of Mt. Oxford. The descent into the saddle was pretty steep, but not a problem...clouds were starting to build up, which had us all a little worried, as there was absolutely no where to hide, and the way back was barred by a 14,000 ft peak! We hit Oxford about an hour later. The view from Oxford was great, but I still think the number of peaks visible from Belford is astonishing!

 
Mt. Oxford, from the Belford summit (looking east)
Mt. Oxford, from the Belford summit (looking east)


We trekked back across the saddle, down the gentle slope of Oxford and onto the steep upslope of Belford. Boy...we thought it was steep coming down! Our legs were certainly feeling the ascent back up Belford.

 
From the saddle, looking at Belford (west)
From the saddle, looking at Belford (west)


Deciding that we didn't really want to descend back down the switchbacks of Belford, we took the circuitous route down to Elkhead pass from Belford, which snaked us down through Missouri Gulch (and gave us a great view of Missouri Basin on the other side of the pass). This seemed a wiser move in case clouds continued to build and a storm swept in (as we'd be in a valley, rather than a ridge). In the end, the clouds never materialized into storms, and just occasionally provided us much needed shade for the descent. The Elkhead pass route ended up being far kinder to our knees, but it probably added about 2 miles to our trek.

 
Descending down to Elkhead Pass
Descending down to Elkhead Pass


After a long descent, we returned to the car around 5:00pm, thankful that we started as early as we did. My GPS claimed that we had done about 15.4 miles, which I tend to believe. The Elkhead pass added a good bit of distance, but was probably a bit more enjoyable, as we saw more of the valley. We took a chance to cool our feet in the icy water of the creek by the trailhead and headed home.

All in all, Belford was probably one of the more enjoyable hikes I've done; but its length would deter me from bringing along a beginner.

Click here for more trip photos, route details, and downloadable maps

Images

Descending down to Elkhead PassCrossing the log bridgeThe summit block of Mt. Belford (Mt. Harvard on right)Mt. Oxford, from the Belford summit (looking east)From the saddle, looking at Belford (west)

Comments


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-3 of 3    

612boudouTrip Report Comment

612boudou

Hasn't voted

Brian...nice to see the photo of your group that we took on top of the mountain...hope you remember but we were the couple with the golden retriever at the top! It was my first fourteener and a very, very humbling experience for me...one I will always remember.



Maybe we will run into you on top of a mountain again...



Best of luck on future climbs...



Steve S

St. Louis, MO
Posted Sep 16, 2005 3:52 pm

streeyyrWrong Mountain

streeyyr

Hasn't voted

Greetings,

Just to let you know that you have the wrong mountain. This is Oxford Peak in Idaho, not the 14er in Colorado.
Posted Jan 24, 2007 4:05 pm

bjd5578Re: Wrong Mountain

bjd5578

Hasn't voted

Ahh... indeed... not really sure how I ended up attaching this to Idaho. I think I fixed it now. Thanks!
Posted May 14, 2007 8:33 pm

Viewing: 1-3 of 3