Mt. Belford (14,197')miles hiked: 7.68
elevation gained: 4,537 feet
Beautiful Mt. Belford is a simple climb: a series of switchbacks through the trees, a series of switchbacks up its northwest ridge. There is a soft, solid trail all the way from the bottom to the top, and an excellent summit block of jagged rock. The views are excellent, and the day was perfect.
After a day in Buena Vista (our first breath of civilization for five days) that was more frustrating than refreshing because of the crowds of people, we decided to backpack into Missouri Gulch and set-up a high camp just below treeline at 11,300'. Contrary to the day before when there was a virtual city burgeoning in the wilderness, this well-worn high camp was almost empty. We shared the beautiful expanse with only two other tents. This seemed odd to us, since it was a saturday night. We had worried before setting out that we might even have trouble finding a spot.
Though the steep approach was difficult with fifty pounds of gear on our backs, we were the first on the trail in the morning and had the mountain seemingly to ourselves all the way to the summit.
|A beautiful view of La Plata on the climb up Mt. Belford|
|On the way to Belford's excellent summit block|
|View to the southwest of Mt. Emerald, Iowa Peak, and Elkhead Pass|
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