Peak#14: March 11, 2016.
Ski Route: Northeast Face to North Face Couloir Direct
Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 15mi / 7,500′ (Includes Missouri, Oxford, and Belford all in the same day)
Ski Partners: Solo until Belford Summit
Start Time: 545am
Reached Summit: 2pm (after skiing Missouri first earlier in the day)
End Time: headed back over Belford to ski back to car by 430pm.
When I got to the bottom of Missouri, in the basin at 12,900′, I took an angle to the southeast and began my ascent of Belford In order to head towards Oxford.
The top of Belford was very windblown and dry. I was hoping to find a line off its west aspects later on in the day, but for the moment I bypassed the summit to the south and got my first glimpse of Oxford.
Oxford looked bad, but I did see a long line of snow from the top down to the saddle of the ridge, so I knew if I could climb up to Oxford, I would be able to ski back towards Belford and get it done.
The winds began to pick up ever so slightly, but I made good time across the long flat ridge to Oxford’s summit. Looking south Harvard and Columbia Looked very dry.
We need more snow! Fortunately I already skied Harvard in Better conditions, but the southern Sawatch peaks that I have remaining definitely concern me.
After a short rest and some food and drink, I clicked in and skied the ridge back to the saddle towards Belford.
I basically went from two of the best skiing peaks of the entire project (Castle and Missouri), to the worst peaks with conditions yet (Belford and Oxford). Honestly, I just wanted to go home at this point. It was a long day, and yet I did enjoy it a great deal.
I climbed for another 20 minutes or so to head towards Belford’s summit (Please see Belford Page as the story and ski continues there.)