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  1. #101

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    I "like" the Colorado Trail Association page, so that's the official word. It's good for the latest info and alerts.

    So, with a slightly above average snow fall, it sounds like your likely to run into significant snow in places and having traction for the scary sections makes sense. Make sure you have suitable gaiters for post holing up to your knees, that's mostly what you'll be doing. The worst is when every other step punches through and you go down to the knee.

    Was thinking of going out there in August but given current events, I'll stick close to home this season.
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    [QUOTE=Slo-go'en;2267416]I "like" the Colorado Trail Association page, so that's the official word. It's good for the latest info and alerts.

    So, with a slightly above average snow fall, it sounds like your likely to run into significant snow in places and having traction for the scary sections makes sense. Make sure you have suitable gaiters for post holing up to your knees, that's mostly what you'll be doing. The worst is when every other step punches through and you go down to the knee. "



    Yeah, that sucks, like real bad. The first 14er I did was in the month of June, years ago and I swore I would never put myself in a position to 'post hole' again. As I said, I am up against a hard deadline to finish being a school teacher and all. Maybe I will get lucky and April will be nice to me. I recall once in 1991 I think Colorado Springs got like 9" on May 2nd. So I know anything is is possible.

    You know what may be a factor is locals may be less willing to give a hiker a ride into town this year, because of the virus.
    Last edited by Todd13; 04-06-2020 at 00:28.

  3. #103

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    You need to be at work on August 1st, how much time do you need to get ready before that? In theory you only need about 25 days to thru hike the CT. While it would be nice to hike the whole thing, maybe cutting out a piece so you could start a week or two later would help. I'd suggest skipping sections 1-6 and start at Breck. The only part of those sections I enjoyed was the lost creek wilderness area. No mountain bikes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    You need to be at work on August 1st, how much time do you need to get ready before that? In theory you only need about 25 days to thru hike the CT. While it would be nice to hike the whole thing, maybe cutting out a piece so you could start a week or two later would help. I'd suggest skipping sections 1-6 and start at Breck. The only part of those sections I enjoyed was the lost creek wilderness area. No mountain bikes!
    Yeah man; I may strongly consider that, but this is my first thruhike and I want to be able to say I did the whole thing. But that may become part of the plan. Selfishly, I am wanting to bag a couple of 14ers during the trip and that will consume a couple of days.

    Thanks for your responses!

  5. #105

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    Still, spending a month or so wandering around CO has it's own rewards.

    If possible, schedule to cross the snowed in passes in the early morning while the snow is still hard. In the afternoon the snow turns into mashed potatoes and becomes a PITA. Had this today on a 5 mile loop hike near-by. Nice going up in the morning - sloppy, slippery mess coming down on a south facing trail in the afternoon. And this being the Whites, a pretty steep 1200 foot decent.
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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Still, spending a month or so wandering around CO has it's own rewards.

    If possible, schedule to cross the snowed in passes in the early morning while the snow is still hard. In the afternoon the snow turns into mashed potatoes and becomes a PITA. Had this today on a 5 mile loop hike near-by. Nice going up in the morning - sloppy, slippery mess coming down on a south facing trail in the afternoon. And this being the Whites, a pretty steep 1200 foot decent.
    Agree 100% on the first point, but I might be biased.... On the 2nd point, this is certainly true this time of year when it freezes overnight, less true in early June though, alas.

    My 2-cents to the OP: Consider a creative flip, if the snow this year gets "worse" (I put that in quotes because actually, the west needs water and the more snow the better, overall).

    I would definitely NOT skip sections 1-5, these 4-5 days provides some excellent acclimation for folks not living at higher altitudes, which of course is most folks not living in CO. Plus, there is some outstanding hiking in those 1st 5 sections, even section 2, the Big Burn section has definite charms. I've done sections 1-5 5 times now, I keep doing them as a nice little leg stretcher, I might even go do them again a couple weeks from now and I won't see a soul, almost guaranteed (social distancing at its finest).

    So, after section 5, you're at Kenosha pass, arrange a ride now to Twin Lakes and continue on the CT along the east side of the Collegiates, another fairly low altitude bunch of miles, and basically continue on your trek from there all the way to Durango. As already said, the SW portion of the state is below average on snow.

    Once finished in Durango, make your way back to Twin lakes somehow, like perhaps rent a car in Durango, return it in Gunnison (Hertz or Budget), arrange a ride from there perhaps (cheaper than an arranged shuttle all the way from Durango!). Head north from Twin Lakes to your finish at Kenosha pass.

    Just some thoughts.

    BTW, the CO trail association, like most organizations like that are always extremely conservative on their recommended start dates. I'm not bad-mouthing them, they are fantastic. And as said, you could easily start in late June and get this hike done, but I would allow 5 weeks., meaning a late June start will push your 8/1 deadline. Even a week though (6/22 start) would help with the old snow situation.

    Finally, there is a HUGE difference, of course, with climbing a 14er in June vs. meandering around at 11-12000 feet in late June.

    Oh yeah, mountain bikes in section 1-3.... try to time it so that you're NOT hiking those sections on a weekend! A quick look at a calendar... if you starting in Waterton Canyon on, say, June 22, a Monday that would time nicely. You'll still see some bikes, but nothing like a weekend. 5 weeks would get you to Monday July 27, giving you the rest of that week to get home and rest up before school.

    All of the above, of course, assumes this Pandemic situation settles down, which is a big if.

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    I am so glad my wife is not on this forum...I plan on starting June 16 (I think) and between us, I want to finish with a few days to spare so I can fly fish some before I have to return home before Aug 1st. So yeah I should have plenty of days to bag a 14er (if the snow remains 'ok') maybe a zero here and there if my partner needs it or if I have some feet issues AND STILL have a few days to fish right before August.
    Ok the cat is out of the bag. Just keep it here on this forum please. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd13 View Post
    I am so glad my wife is not on this forum...I plan on starting June 16 (I think) and between us, I want to finish with a few days to spare so I can fly fish some before I have to return home before Aug 1st. So yeah I should have plenty of days to bag a 14er (if the snow remains 'ok') maybe a zero here and there if my partner needs it or if I have some feet issues AND STILL have a few days to fish right before August.
    Ok the cat is out of the bag. Just keep it here on this forum please. Thanks!
    Cool, June 16 is a Tuesday, you should avoid the worst of the MB traffic in sections 2-3. Those are the sections that are really "gravelly", and on blind curves, those bikes are sometimes cruising along and their stopping distances suffer, can be kind of scary... so, all good. The other heavy MB traffic areas are mostly dirt/rocks, easier for them to stop on a dime.

    As you probably know, you pass within about a mile or so of the summit of San Luis, a gentle and seldom climbed 14er, plus of course you pass right by Massive and Elbert (the #2 and #1 highest 14ers). Huron is a really cool 14er, but is on the Collegiate West side..

    Anyway, good luck and enjoy! Last news report I saw is that we're right at about average snowpack, though there is a system coming this weekend. Today, statistically is apparently the peak of statewide snowpack, meaning anything that falls now is offset by melting, on average.

    I might be sticking in CO this summer myself, going to try to complete the portion of the CDT that's in Colorado and maybe New Mexico, if things settle down on CV19. So, we might cross paths, who knows.

  9. #109

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    I hit section 3 on Labor day. It was a little scary in places. Nearly got run over a couple of times. A lot of them creep up on you unannounced. You definitely can't use earbuds on the CT.
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    Thanks again for all the tips and advice. I think this will shape up nicely.

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    Just a quick update on Snow levels: Looking decent for hikers wanting to start a tad early this year (like Todd's 6/15 start)

    https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/W...R%20BASIN.html

    Below average a bit; it has been really warm lately, and forecast for the same. (I'm closely following because I plan a CO-CDT hike asap, the CO CDT follows the CO trail for 300 miles or so)

    I'm going to have boots-on sections 4-5 this next weekend, there will be a couple annoying snow patches in 4, but again, melting fast.

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    Hey Rob, looking at Fremont vs Red Mountain snowpack and melt rates, what are your thoughts regarding NOBO for the CT? As of May 11, that kinda looks like a smart plan. I

    I know the obvious trade-off: HUGE climbing on days 1-3 while strong, but will struggle with altitude obviously. I will be pretty well adapted, but my partner will be less so.

    What did you observe this past weekend?

    As always, I appreciate your insights.

    One more question - do you hike in trail runners or a real hiking shoe? How about tent footprint? I use Tyvek, but thinking of leaving it home for this trip. I think I need the space in my pack for longer sections.

    Thx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd13 View Post
    Hey Rob, looking at Fremont vs Red Mountain snowpack and melt rates, what are your thoughts regarding NOBO for the CT? As of May 11, that kinda looks like a smart plan. I

    I know the obvious trade-off: HUGE climbing on days 1-3 while strong, but will struggle with altitude obviously. I will be pretty well adapted, but my partner will be less so.

    What did you observe this past weekend?

    As always, I appreciate your insights.

    One more question - do you hike in trail runners or a real hiking shoe? How about tent footprint? I use Tyvek, but thinking of leaving it home for this trip. I think I need the space in my pack for longer sections.

    Thx
    That altitude acclimation is a biggie for some, zero issue for others, hard to tell. Fitness levels tend to have nothing to do with altitude issues some say, though I personally take that little tidbit with a grain of salt.

    But from a snowpack standpoint, early NOBO's should be more feasible this year. Tough call. Do you have other compelling reasons for going NOBO? What is your planned start date, still June 16?

    Snow is melting quickly, but yeah, a June 16 SOBO start will still probably involve annoying snow patches in section 6 near Georgia pass, and certainly the high ridges of 7 and 8 will have snow travel.

    Sections 4 and 5 will be completely clear soon, but 4 still has patches now, as does one part of 5. I'm planning on a section 5 to 1 hike next week, probably still a few patches. Denver is forecast to be in the upper 80's next week, big time melting up high.

    Another aspect you will want to monitor is Covid county closures, I think Chaffee (Salida area)will be open, but not sure about San Juan and Gunnison counties. My guess is that all will be legally open by July 1, probably sooner, but this might affect your NOBO/SOBO decision with timing of the counties with restrictions in place.

    I do use trail runners, but they are good rugged shoes, New Balance Summit KOM's or now I've tried and like Solomon XA3d's. Footwear is a personal thing though, everyone likes something different!

    I rarely use any tent footprint, though when my wife is along, she likes to use one, a piece of Polycryo from Gossamer Gear. Tyvek is heavier by a couple ounces, no biggie.

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    Thanks again Rob, as always. I was not thinking of looking at individual counties for information regarding the virus and community recommendations. I know catching rides into to town will be a challenge.

    NOBO is just a thought to avoid the most snow. Nothing more. I have to shuttle from one point to the other (either bus or plane) regardless which direction. I will park my Jeep at the end.

    Yeah shoes are a personal preference for sure. I used to run a lot (like a lot), but my feet haven't aged well as I have bunions. Bunions sounds 'cute and all' but they really limit mobility of the big toe and part of the foot. Yeah I have real orthotics from the podiatrist. It's all good - I have several more training hikes planned to help me prep. We will be fine.

    Would love to spend some time hiking in CO this month! I used to live in the Springs area a long time ago and return to CO each summer to dirtbag out of my jeep for a few weeks, so I kinda know my way around. Keep sharing updates on the conditions as you discover them - I truly appreciate them and your time.

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    Rob - Your thoughts on navigating that stretch of sections that will likely have snow? sections 6-9 is what you said or I wrote down.

    Safe assumption someone hiking before me? CT or CDT hiker should leave some prints, right?
    I don't need Guthook do I? I don't want to carry a heavy recharging device (or buy one); maybe I should.
    I have the Data Book.

    I tried to find this answer with the search feature, but did not.
    Yeah, still June 15 or 16 start is my plan and yes, I am starting to look at counties.
    Thx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd13 View Post
    Rob - Your thoughts on navigating that stretch of sections that will likely have snow? sections 6-9 is what you said or I wrote down.

    Safe assumption someone hiking before me? CT or CDT hiker should leave some prints, right?
    I don't need Guthook do I? I don't want to carry a heavy recharging device (or buy one); maybe I should.
    I have the Data Book.

    I tried to find this answer with the search feature, but did not.
    Yeah, still June 15 or 16 start is my plan and yes, I am starting to look at counties.
    Thx
    Yeah, the route should be fairly well tracked out, but that being said, there are many time a LOT of different boot-tracks around and it can get confusing.

    Bottom line is that I do highly recommend getting Guthook. It's cheap and uses very little battery power. I also recommend getting a 6700-ish mAH Anker battery pack, they are something like 4 ounces and what, 22 bucks on Amazon? I recently bought a new one to replace the older version I bought 4-5 years ago:

    https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Upgrade...5-4be35d7258cc

    Just my opinion. Some people shun electronics on the trail, but Guthook is sooooo handy with its real-time water source info and the comfort afforded by seeing that little blue dot (your position) nicely sitting on the red line (the trail) confirming your not "lost".

    In case you didn't know, Guthooks works 100% in battery saving airplane mode.

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    Thanks Rob; I owe you a beer for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd13 View Post
    Anyone on this forum ever started June 15? I am a school teacher and must be back by 1 Aug. I know I am looking at postholing some after Breck.
    Any idea how much?
    FWIW, I'm now looking at a June 16 start, and I expect some bothersome snow, but nothing too bad. I'll be doing some alternate routes here and there, not a pure CT. Also, when I get south to where the CDT leaves the CT, I'm planning on following the CDT.

    I was hiking in the Collegiates last weekend (climbing Yale) and the snow on the trails was only really annoying above 11K. Sure, lots of the CT miles are above that, but by the time I get to the Collegiates it will be 5 weeks later. We'll see how it all goes. As of now, I'm planning on having microspikes for sections 7 and 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    FWIW, I'm now looking at a June 16 start, and I expect some bothersome snow, but nothing too bad. I'll be doing some alternate routes here and there, not a pure CT. Also, when I get south to where the CDT leaves the CT, I'm planning on following the CDT.

    I was hiking in the Collegiates last weekend (climbing Yale) and the snow on the trails was only really annoying above 11K. Sure, lots of the CT miles are above that, but by the time I get to the Collegiates it will be 5 weeks later. We'll see how it all goes. As of now, I'm planning on having microspikes for sections 7 and 8.
    Hmmm. Planning on having microspikes for 7 and 8 around June 22 if I read that right. I know 9 almost hits 12,000 and 10 is above 11,000.
    I am no expert, but Rob am I reading Fremont and Red Mtn SNOTEL right? Looks like the NOBO will definitely be wide open sooner. SOBO vs NOBO snowpack seems to be favoring NOBO by about 12-18". Maybe I should go back and reconsider the NOBO and just make my decision June 1. Hiking miles in 12-18" is not great when I iknow I have to be back at work on Aug 3, no matter what.

    I got my Anker and Guthooks app. Thanks again. Seriously, maybe I can buy you a beer this summer.
    Last edited by Todd13; 05-22-2020 at 14:03.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd13 View Post
    Hmmm. Planning on having microspikes for 7 and 8 around June 22 if I read that right. I know 9 almost hits 12,000 and 10 is above 11,000.
    I am no expert, but Rob am I reading Fremont and Red Mtn SNOTEL right? Looks like the NOBO will definitely be wide open sooner. SOBO vs NOBO snowpack seems to be favoring NOBO by about 12-18". Maybe I should go back and reconsider the NOBO and just make my decision June 1. Hiking miles in 12-18" is not great when I iknow I have to be back at work on Aug 3, no matter what.

    I got my Anker and Guthooks app. Thanks again. Seriously, maybe I can buy you a beer this summer.
    Well, I'm not 100% sure I'm following you onn the 12-18" stuff, but regarding going NOBO, if any year would work for a mid June NOBO, this might be the one, with the SW Colorado snowpack being pretty low.

    Because of other logistic considerations, I pretty much have to hike SOBO (basically, I have a couple of commitments during my hike and I have to travel to them).

    It's not so much about snow depth in sections 7&8 regarding microspikes, there definitely will still be a lot of snow around June 22, I've just hiked both the actual trail through there plus many other trails in the vicinity to know that microspike traction will be very helpful in a few steep places here and there. Microspikes don't help prevent postholing, of course, and postholing will be annoying here and there going SOBO starting on June 16th, but I can deal (I think) with this annoyance. I just want to have microspikes for the climbs in 7/8, and I'll dump them when my wife meets me in Leadville a few days later (wedding anniversary, can't ignore that!).

    Keep me posted on your SOBO/NOBO decision!

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