Well, though not a terribly difficult mountain, this one proved to be quite a challenge. This was my 4th attempt to get this mountain. First try I was with some people who had not acclimated and couldn't hike past 13,000 feet. Second time was with Brittney (read about that trip HERE) when I reached Belford, but her condition demanded we turn back after that. Third try Jason and I were over ambitious, hoping to get Oxford after doing Missouri but deep snow prevented us from doing so.
On this trip we had Steve who lived in Tennessee. I told him before we even left on the trip that if he wasn't going to make it I was going to leave him behind. I didn't want to fail again.
He did feel the effects of altitude sickness, however he pushed through it and kept a good pace. We camped near treeline on the first night and then hiked to Oxford the next morning.
click on the map for a larger version.
We didn't really have much sunlight until we reached the summit of Mount Belford looking across the ridge at Oxford. It seems Jason and I start earlier and earlier the more we find it gives us the time we need to successfuly summit before any weather rolls in.
The ridge is really easy, but long enough that it still takes an hour.
We took a break on the summit of Belford to warm up in the sunlight.
We also got a couple summit shots, after all just because we were going for Oxford climbing Belford was still and accomplishment.
Jason and I have know Steve since we were kids, so it was fun to get together with him again for a hike.
Though I've been to this valley a lot, I still never tire of its beauty.
Mount Huron was well lit by the rising sun.
On the traverse we had to cross one patch of snow. This was a novelty for the guy from Tennessee so we got a couple pictures.
Our Oxford summit shots. We still hadn't seen anyone else on the trail yet.
Then we began the trip back to Belford. There really is no good way to climb Oxford by itself without coming over Belford first.
The weather that day just continued to improve for us. It was sunny, warm, and calm.
The high meadows had flowers in bloom.
This is taken from the low point in the saddle looking up at Belford. The traverse between the two is definitely easier from Belford to Oxford.
I love the little flowers that grow all over this valley.
The summit of Belford is very unique. It is an orange colored rock outcropping that looks completely different than any of the surrounding area.
we stopped again on the summit of Belford and got a better picture of Oxford. (Did this count as the third summit of the day?)
This time there were other people on the Belford summit to get a group photo for us.
Then off we were back down to the valley below.
Missouri Mountain gracing the backdrop of our hike.
We did a little glissade on the descent. Steve didn't have an ice axe so I lent him mine and I used my hiking poles. This was almost a bad decision, but fortunately Jason had gone first and stopped me from slamming into some rocks.
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