A New Year’s Resolution of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I have resolved to be the first to ever hike the entire Colorado Trail in winter conditions. I am doing it in yo-yo hikes. While a yoyo is twice as long, it enhances safety as there’s never terrain between me and my car that I haven’t already seen. And when I finish the last hike, not only will I be the first to complete this epic trail in the winter, I’ll also become the second. :-)
I am hiking on holidays and weekends and breaking the trail into segments that maximize safety and comfort. The CT has many miles of prolonged avalanche exposure in terrain traps. So, I’m ditching the traditional definition of Winter and going with the local view – summer is July-September; winter is everything else.
I’m ordering the segments to be on snow and in cold virtually the entire time. Lower, gentler terrain comes first saving the higher, more rugged miles for later. Shorter early hikes will prepare me physically for longer hikes.
Winter travel is slow, but I greatly prefer steady, methodical, well-planned hikes where I can enjoy the amazing views, keep my mind off my gear, and stay focused on changes in conditions. For those who have not spent long days and nights in the mountains, a small change in elevation or exposure can mean a huge change in trail conditions, and weather compresses, becoming extremely dynamic when it travels over and between the peaks.
The most important things for me are to control not only the temperature of my body, but also the accumulation of moisture on my skin. I wore a Short Sleeve Ultralight Shirt under a Long-Sleeve Ultralight Shirt for great breathability and some additional core warmth. I wore Ultralight Hiking Pants to keep the wind and sun off my legs and to maximize moisture wicking. Over that, I wore our Ultralight Hooded Wind HL Jacket which is windproof and breathable. And most of the time, I wore our HL Hooded Down Jacket over everything. I also brought an Ultralight Hooded Storm Jacket for additional defense against the cold and wind if I needed it.
In my Backpack Light 70, compackted down to 25 liters, I brought 2 1/2 pounds of food and water, which was the perfect amount for my journey. Gear, clothing, and electronics, added another 6 1/2 pounds, and with the broad suspension system on the Backpack Light 70, it was a super comfy ride. With my Injinji socks and Blackstrap balaclava, I was warm and dry from head to toe, and enjoyed myself and the views thoroughly, all while knocking down the first section of a trail no one has completed in winter conditions.
I’ve attached a pic from my journey. I’d love to see where you’re going. Post to Instagram and tag us #ThisIsMyTrail. Or Share Your Adventure to our blog for 30% off your next order.
Founder & CEO
My Trail Company, PBC