Climbed Belford and Oxford in the Sawatch Range near Leadville, CO, on Sunday Dec 13 after camping out at 11,650 feet in Elkhead Basin. The county road 390 leaves Hiway 24 at the Clear Creek Reservoir and goes 8 miles into the trailhead. It was mostly packed snow and easy enough for my rear wheel drive car.

The trail was snowcovered the entire way up to the basin, but mostly packed and although I brought snowshoes did not use them. I also brought tele skis, but had no opportunity to try them out. Not enough snow. I didn't bring them up on the mts.

Campsite at 12,000 feet--Elkhead Basin
Belford Summit
Waking to a cold 10F Sunday morning, I left for the summits at 03:30 A.M., climbing with headlamp. It was a clear sky with frequent shooting stars--a sliver of a moon cast a shadow from Belford across the basin. Arriving on Belford at 06:00 A.M. the horizon to the east was turning orange, portending a glorious sunrise--which I witnessed in the saddle on the way to Oxford.
Although the views were stunning and the air was as clear as I've ever seen, the wind was bitter cold with temps around 10F. I didn't linger on Oxford's summit, but upon returning to Belford found a nice little wind-sheltered spot facing directly into the sun, where I had the chance to revel in the moment.
Oxford from Belford
Final ridge walk up Mt Oxford from the saddle between Belford and Oxford.
Oxford Ridge
Belford from Oxford
The knob to the right is the actual summit of Mt Belford.
Sam on Oxford Summit
Sam on the summit of Mt Oxford
View towards Mt Harvard from Mt Belford. Mt Harvard from Mt Belford
Looking toward Mt Missouri, which is the farthest peak to the right on the left ridge. Sam with Mt Missouri on horizon
Sam the Wolfdog with Mt Missouri on horizon
Missouri Basin to the left and below Elkhead Pass...A glorious place to backpack into, surrounded by 14ers. Missouri Basin

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