Mt Belford 14,197′ and Mt Oxford 14,153′ Northwest Gullies 4/25/2010

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.

Messing around with the tripod around midnight

At treeline in Missouri Gulch
Missouri looking great
Belford's Northwest Slopes
Skinning up the NW Gully. Photo by Rob Steinmetz
Almost at the sun
So much up. Photo by Rob Steinmetz
Passing by Belford. Photo by Rob Steinmetz
Nearing the Belford Oxford saddle
Looking up at Oxford
People do silly things on summits of 14ers

Myself included
Looking dow Oxfords NW Gully
Decent skiing. Photo by Rob Steinmetz
Finding some good snow
Nice turns
I like this one the most
Peck's Peak in the background
Looking back up at Belford and the ridge. Unghh!!
The winds were kicking
Summit of Belford so close. Photo by Rob Steinmetz
Really nice blown in snow to be had
Looking down the NW Gully
Fun little zone
With great snow
So tired but the snow is so good can't stop turning
The skis really like to carve in this kind of snow. So fun. Photo by Rob Steinmetz.
A picture says a thousand words

One comment

  1. Hi Fritz/killingcokes – It was fun running into you guys, thanks for setting the track up the gully. Wasn’t the ridge back to Belford fun in the wind? Nice pics, looks like you got back out early but it still seemed like a long day. Even Beau was tired after fighting the wind. We skied the west face because Beau had skied it before and said it was really good. (The gullies were probably better!!!) We skied a long way down the switchbacks – but we have old skis so the bare patches weren’t a worry. Hope to see you out there somewhere again…

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