Ascent of Mount Oxford on 2017-07-01

Climber: Dan Hildebrand

Date:Saturday, July 1, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Oxford
    Elevation:14153 ft / 4313 m

Ascent Trip Report

I went on a 3 day peakbagging/escaping the Boulder bubble trip with my GF over the 4th of July weekend and started by driving to almost the same trail head as last weekend's trip to La Plata. We got off work Friday afternoon and headed out to find an awesome little pull-off campsite on 390 about a mile and a half past the Missouri Gulch trail head.

In the morning, we got everything packed up, drove back to trail head and hit the trail at about 6:30. The trail head parking was full, but we were only a couple of cars back in the roadside parking lane, so our holiday weekend fears about having a long trek to the trail were unfounded :) The trail is pretty straightforward with nice, long switchbacks until you bounce across the river on some slippery logs. After that, you continue along the river until you hit an enjoyable meadow. The flat gulch continues until about 12,000 feet, where you start grinding up switchbacks in earnest, which gets you above 14,000 feet in a little over a mile of hiking. The trail was in pretty good condition going up, but we came down through Elkhead Pass after hitting Oxford, so there could be some washed out and slippery spots on the way down.

After briefly taking in the Belford summit, we started the traverse over to Oxford. The first section dropping down to the Oxford saddle is a little loose, so we watched plenty of people fall on their butts, but easily made it across to our next peak. The Oxford summit was nice and a little quieter than Belford, so we enjoyed the views of Harvard and a brilliantly clear sky to the west. Getting back up the Belford ridge line after summiting Oxford is the most effort you'll expend on this trip, but once you're up it's a nice cruise back to the car. Just to change things up, we decided to follow the long arcing trail to Elkhead Pass, which added a considerable amount of time to the hike but was totally worth the new perspective on Belford and Missouri. While pretty much everything was in full summer form, there were still a bunch of snow fields and plenty of snow melt streams under Missouri, some which could be avoided and some that you just had to sploosh through.

We picked Belford/Oxford for our first act because of the easy double bag, but we ended up wearing ourselves out on a 12.3 mile trek with 5,500 feet of gain. After getting back to the car, we headed south to our next 14er, Mt. Princeton.
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