Ascent of Mount Belford on 2009-08-27

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Bryan Nelson
Marc Holder
Scott Holder
and Miguel Garcia
Date:Thursday, August 27, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Belford
    Elevation:14197 ft / 4327 m

Ascent Trip Report

Began Trip on 8-26-09 but was delayed at airport and had trouble finding Trailhead. Instead of leaving at 2PM as planned, we left at 4:15 PM which prevented us from backpacking in to our intended campsite at junction of Elkhead Pass Trail and Pine Creek Trail. Summitting both Belford and Oxford the follwing day was depending on being able to leave early the following morning and instead we had to break camp and move our camp uphill the following morning.

Camp 1 was thus, pitched around 4.5 miles away from the TH near the sign showing the entrance to the Collegiate Wilderness near the junction with the Colorado Trail. We awoke early the next morning and moved our backpacking gear and set up Camp 2 at junction of Pine Creek and Elkhead Pass Trail at EL 11,500.
Set up camp and began ascent of Belford at around 11:15 AM.

All 5 backpackers attemtped this 14er with less than 24 hours of acclimation - a difficult task since we live at Elevation 50 in Florida. Our lungs were being asked to adjust to nearly a three mile altitude ascent in a short period of time. Bryan elected to stop at Elkhead Pass at 13200 (his personal highest gain) and enjoy the views and chat with other day hikers. The other 4 summited.

The trail portion of the climb is along a well marked trail that is rated class 2 by Roach in his book. Most of the climb is really a class 1 hike until you reach the cirque near Elkhead Pass then the trail becomes steep and the material is loose. The trail maintains more of a class 1 feel up to the summit although Roach rates the trip as a class 2.

We summited around 3:15 PM learned from some day hikers that we should figure 2 hours to pop over and grab Oxford. Realizing that leaving the summit at 5:30 would not be prudent as we had not completely set up camp below and did not want to do that in the dark. We abandoned the idea of a double summit and returned to Camp 2 in time to cook dinner before dark.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Looking down on the USGS BM and trail that leads to the summit of Mount Belford (2009-08-27). Photo by William Musser.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5597 ft / 1705 m
    Total Elevation Loss:200 ft / 60 m
    Round-Trip Distance:18 mi / 29 km
    Grade/Class:primarly 1 with some
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Sunny mostly
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5597 ft / 1705 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5397 ft / 1645 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:13.5 mi / 21.7 km
    Route:Pine Cr. Tr. to Elkhead Pass
    Start Trailhead:Pine Creek TH  8800 ft / 2682 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:Same down to Elkhead Camp 2
Ascent Part of Trip: Collegiate Wilderness (4 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Belford2009-08-27 a5597 ft / 1706 m
2Iowa Peak2009-08-28 b2461 ft / 750 m
3Missouri Mountain2009-08-28 c1087 ft / 331 m
4Mount Harvard2009-08-29 d4345 ft / 1324 m
Total Trip Gain: 13490 ft / 4111 m    Total Trip Loss: 9293 ft / 2833 m

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