Colorado Trail

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Colorado Trail

Postby RockyMountainMustang » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:12 pm

Anyone who's thru-hiked it have a gander if it's be a go for May 1 ~ 2nd week of June. I know we didn't get as much snow as usual but most places said not to try it until mid-June (right when my summer job starts).
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Re: Colorado Trail

Postby mtn_nut » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:11 pm

RockyMountainMustang wrote:Anyone who's thru-hiked it have a gander if it's be a go for May 1 ~ 2nd week of June. I know we didn't get as much snow as usual but most places said not to try it until mid-June (right when my summer job starts).

If we start having a huge melt off, it might be ready to start by early may. last year there was a major melt off in march and april.

However if that doesn't happen, you'll be snowshoeing or postholing many of the passes. Depending on your route finding abilities, that might not be a good idea in some parts. From the image below, you can see why last year was such an early melt off year, where the snowmelt was a full month ahead. If it turns into a normalish year, plan on starting near the end of may at the earliest.

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Re: Colorado Trail

Postby matt pierce » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:10 pm

Ive spent considerable time on the trail and am a volunteer in the LaGarita's

Are you traveling N>S? If so your first big hurdle will be Georgia Pass. I NEVER advise anyone to start a thru-hike in early May. There's a LOT more snow up there than you think. As you get to about segment 4 you will start to see more and more snow as you steadily ascend up to Kenosha Pass - this isnt even a good indicator as Georgia Pass (north of Kenosha) is quite a bit higher in elevation. Beyond that it only gets worse alone segments 8-9 etc. Remember - the CT runs THROUGH Copper Mt ski resort - do you think it will be snow free by then? Ever look to your south from Copper and see that huge STEEP ridge? You will be descending that along the way - just to give you an idea...

I would never advise anyone to start before mid June - you will regret it - sorry :wft:
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Re: Colorado Trail

Postby epacalicious » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:39 pm

I did the CT thru-hike last summer mid-August to early Sept, but wanted to start earlier in the summer. That being said, if you start much earlier than June 1, you'll be looking at a fair amount of snow, esp at the higher elevations. Starting May 1 & depending on your schedule, you'll run into deep drifts within the first week, and that's the easiest stretch. For me, the 2nd week from Breckenridge to Salida was the hardest 100 miles of the trail.

Have you thought about pushing your plans back to the end of the summer? The water is more scarce, but the guidebook is really good about telling you where to find water, and if you'll have any long stretches without reliable sources.
Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the tops of mountains, but to improve the man ~ Walter Bonatti
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Re: Colorado Trail

Postby DaveLanders » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:10 pm

I thru hiked the CT in 1994, starting on June 14. That worked out well; I would have hated to start
much earlier. I met a couple of guys who had started from Durango at about that time; they had to
skip a bunch of sections due to snow, so they wound up missing the best part of the CT (the San Juans).
Sorry, I don't think May 1 is a realistic starting date, even in a low snow year.
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Re: Colorado Trail

Postby ak47 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:56 am

I started my thru-hike in a low snow year (2001) on June 7, finished July 14 with some peak bagging along the way. I encountered significant snow above treeline in the 10 mile range which slowed me down but was managable. May is definitely pushing it even this year. Some folks begin their cdt hike in new mexico in may...

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