Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,071 feet
Iowa Pk  -  13,831 feet
Emerald Pk  -  13,904 feet
Mt. Oxford  -  14,158 feet
Waverly Mtn  -  13,292 feet
Mt. Belford  -  14,202 feet
Pecks Pk  -  13,270 feet
Date Posted:  10/15/2015
Modified:  10/17/2015
Date Climbed:   10/15/2015
Author:  Jazzob
 Belford Group Grand Slam - Round II   

Elevation Gain: 9,200ft
Distance: 20 miles
Start: 4:48am
End: 5:50pm
Time: ~12 hrs

Standing at the base of Emerald Peak, my legs just didn't have it in them. Too tired, too sore, and not fit enough to complete the Belford Group Grand Slam with enough speed to be off summits before the weather rolled in. I'd have to return for Missouri, Emerald and Iowa. It was time to turn back. A big goal was out of reach and I was disappointed. That was back in 2013...

At 4:48am, Rio (my Labrador-mix) and I headed up the trail towards Missouri Gulch. The plan was to do the second half of my previously shortened attempt as a reconnaissance mission, but in reverse order: head up Missouri, Iowa, and Emerald, then return to Elkhead Pass, consider a Belford attempt, and then head home and preserve my still-recovering hamstrings and Rio's city-slicker paws. But that's not what happened.

We arrived at the Missouri summit at 8:08am. It took 20 minutes to reach Iowa and, after hanging out for a bit, another 35 minutes to summit Emerald Peak. Once atop Missouri, the traverse to Iowa and the base Emerald is mild and quick, especially without snow.

Looking north at the route from Missouri down to Iowa, from Emerald Pk.

Many folks take the steep talus climb up the north face of Emerald, but I found it efficient to ascend and descend the east ridge. We enjoyed the view from the lakes on the way across the basin and arrived at Elkhead pass an hour later. It is worth dropping down to the flat terrain as opposed to trying to traverse below Iowa and Missouri for the sake of not losing elevation.

If I'm being honest, it was at this point I made the decision to complete the entire seven-peak journey. With the wonderful weather looking to last into the evening if needed and a reasonable amount of food and water remaining, the seed was planted. We hiked up and over the ridge to Oxford and arrived at that summit at 12:08pm.

Harvard from below Emerald Pk.

The descent and subsequent climb back up to/from Waverly adds 800 ft of descent and subsequent climbing on the return back to Oxford. If attempting the entire route in this direction with this leg at the end, carefully consider fatigue and weather before heading down to Waverly; the climb back up to Oxford (and subsequently to Belford) is not insignificant. We arrived at Waverly 50 minutes after leaving Oxford and were back up onto Belford at 3:10pm after re-summiting Oxford and heading up the saddle. It was time for the homestretch.

It took us about 45 minutes to descend and reach Peck's Peak along the ridge north of Belford. We descended the grassy west slopes easily, but it is advisable to scout these on your way up the gulch early in the hike as there are some places where one can get above some steep, rocky terrain.

Looking north from atop Belford at the route down to Peck's Pk.

After a much needed water break at the creek, we made our way down the switchbacks and were back at the car at 5:50pm...after the obligatory 25 burpees.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 3 5

Comments or Questions
Cool Hand Luke
Solid Day
10/19/2015 16:09
Nice job on a seldom done route! A buddy and I did the same route starting with Peck’s about a month ago. Adding Waverly to the group seemed like much more than 800 ft!

If I were doing it over I would bushwhack to Waverly first to make Peck’s the only out and back in the group.

re:Solid Day
10/19/2015 17:50
Thanks, and yes, Waverly somehow though not a huge elevation gain/loss or distance, was when mentally I got fried (and when my pup started licking his paws and giving me dirty looks)! I considered the bushwhack into it; perhaps that’s a logical way to add Huron into the mix, starting east and working west.

10/21/2015 09:22
Nice job! 9200 feet is nuts. Hey – ever heard of anyone nabbing Waverly via an approach from the north, from the 390 road? I’ve heard Waverly Gulch is not appealing, but wondering if you could get up on the north ridge of Waverly from the 390 road. I’d love to make a Waverly, Ox/Bel loop back down Missouri Gulch, but I’m wondering if there is a reason I’ve never really seen trip reports or routes that describe it.

looks awesome
10/22/2015 21:10
I’m looking to do something like this group next summer. Would you base camp some where like Missouri gulch or carry all your gear. Also what about Bears? Thanks

Mountain Ninja
Thanks for this report!
09/18/2016 08:29
Hey Jazzob, thanks so much for this report. It was my main source of info for planning the Miss-Ox-Bel combo, with Emerald as a side dish!

Wonderful job nabbing Waverly and Pecks too. What a day!

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