After looking at the weather develop this week I was thinking a trip to the Sawatch might be in order. I was a little worried about all the new snow and how it would bond, so I thought a big day in an area with potentially less snow might be what was called for. I’ve been wanting to get this double day in for sometime and since I’ve been feeling better this week it seemed like a return to the 14ers would be just right.
I drove down the night before and car camped. Rob met me at the trailhead in the morning at 4. Our 4:50 am start was pretty early and away we went. We made pretty decent time to Belford and skied down the ridge to the Belford and Oxford saddle. Props to the guys that passed us, you guys were fast. We then made the grunt up to Oxford and enjoyed a really nice ski into Belford Gulch via the Northwest Gully. The hike back up and out to Mt Belford was painful with copious amounts of wind. The weather on this fine day was everything from wind to snow to 50 degree sun we had it all. So many clothing changes to deal with all of it. Finally at the top of Belford we had climbed 7000 on the day according to my altimeter. Rob’s GPS concured but NatGeo Topo software says that it’s only 6700′ so go figure. It felt like a bigger day than Uncompahgre, that’s for sure. Tired but rejuvenated by the sight of the Northwest Gully of Belford below us we strapped them on and enjoyed some of the finest skiing I’ve ever had on a 14er. The snow was like cream cheese only just a touch lighter. The stability was excellent and the turns capped off a really sweet day.
The out was also painful but only for a little while. We skied most of the trail to above the switchbacks and then shouldered the skis and hoofed it out. Another fine 14er with you Rob, lets do it again soon.