||Mt. Belford 2012|
Date: May 5, 2012
Climbers: Jody (solo)
Info: Since itís been a warm winter and the snowpacks are light, I wanted to get an early start on the year and bang out a couple of 14íers in May. After doing some research I read that there was very little snow on the Missouri Gulch trail and up to Mt. Belford, so thatís where I decided to go.
The drive to Leadville is a long one, so I got an early start at 3am (after a few trips back to the house for gear I had forgotten). I made a quick stop at a gas station in Leadville for some coffee and a quick breakfast and got to the parking lot for Missouri Gulch Trailhead at 5:45am. After I threw all my gear in the pack, set the IPhone to my best climbing playlist, and talked to some friendly fellows in the park I was signing in at the trailhead register at exactly 6am.
The switchbacks through the forest were snow free and I made pretty good time through here, but had a little trouble finding the trail around the camping spot just before the old cabin. After the cabin, itís just a few steps until you are above tree line and into Missouri Gulch where I got a view of the work I still had left to get on top of this mountain. Once you get through the gulch, the climb really starts as you are headed straight up the ridge, get the saddle, and finally the last few hundred feet to the summit.
Up until the saddle, the weather was awesome, no wind and pretty warm and I was in a t-shirt, but once on the saddle the wind was blowing so hard I had to break out the fleece and the wind layer until I summited and was back below the saddle again. The summit rock on this mountain is awesome and one of the coolest looking last few hundred feet to a summit Iíve been up so far. Unfortunately, I was sore and the saddle to Mt. Oxford looked like it was packing some snow still, so I didnít make the traverse. I didnít record the time when I reached the summit, but I would guess about 9:30 and was back down to the truck headed home at noon.