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  1. #1
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    :banana CDT flip planning help!

    hikerFolk,

    I had a great time on my PCT flip "thru" hike, started Nobo early-ish on April 15th & got a nice cool desert walk, then flipped up from Bishop Pass when the snow got deep to Castella near the CA/OR border (right before the snow started in OR) and walked south to Tahoe where ... the snow got deep, then flipped back up to Castella and walked north, got to Canada without seeing any snow in WA, then flipped back down to Tahoe and did the Sierras snow free & mosquito free. I attached an image of the route, in case that description was confusing.

    So! That might sound like a complicated flip, but I loved it because 1) it was almost never too hot or too cold for comfort, I didn't have to deal with much snow, missed most of the mosquitoes (although I did get hammered in OR for a few weeks), saw no rain, river crossings were all super easy, & I never had to wait.

    I'd like to do the same thing on the CDT & I'd love some help planning from peeps who know the terrain & points of entry. Questions:

    1) When should I start hiking Nobo from Mexico? I'm thinking March 15th. I'd like to be above 20 degrees F most nights.
    2) Where should I flip north from? (i.e., where will the snow likely get deep?)
    3) Where should I flip north to, if I plan on hiking south from that spot? (i.e., I don't want to go too far north or I'll hit snow again)
    4) Where should I flip north from the second time? (i.e., where will I hit deep snow heading south from #3?)

    At that point, I assume I can just flip back up to #3, hike north, get to the terminus, flip back to #4, head south & fin.

    I have Yogi's book, but the section on flips isn't very useful, it doesn't say where I'll hit snow, & then it just says, "depending on the snow level in the Wind River Range, you could flip up to any place between Colorado and Glacier." Not very specific. The 2018 CDT Planning Guide says to flip north at Cumbres Pass, so that might answer #2. It also recommends flipping up to Butte. So that might be #3. The difference is, the guide says to hike north from Butte, but I'd rather save Glacier for later on in the summer. & I have no recommendation on #4. I'm going to guess Rawlins or Encampment? I attached a second image to explain what this whole thing might look like. I could also flip from #2 Cumbres to Rawlins and then just hike to Canada before coming back for #4, that would save me one bus ride. But I like to keep the option open of doing Co before Glacier, it'd be nice to finish in Canada. Please stamp it FAIL or PASS, or provide totally different and incredibly complicated instructions, those are my favorite!

    To review the objectives: see as many sections in their best light, avoid mosquitoes, stay warm but not hot, be able to find water.

    Cheers,
    Raphael

    Also,
    Q: What did Baby Corn say to Mama Corn?
    A: Where's Pop Corn? Duh.
    Screenshot 2020-01-25 14.49.18.png

    .cdt_flip.jpg

  2. #2

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    I'm no expert on the CDT, but the timing is highly variable depending on the year. That's why the suggestions are not very specific.

    Like last winter Colorado got hammered with snow and the CT/CDT didn't really open up until end of July.

    You'll just have to wait until you see how the rest of the winter pans out. Then work out how to time the jumps.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Finish Glacier by Mid September or sooner, or you might be road walking outside of the Park in late September or early October.
    The Great Divide Basin is snow free when everywhere else is impassable.
    Then there is the Climate Change factor to consider.
    Good recent videos at Seeking Lost and Dixie’s Homemade Wanderlust of heavy snow in Colorado and early snow in Glacier.
    Wayne

  4. #4
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    Thanks @Venchka, it sounds like it's better to be in CO than Glacier late Sept? I.e., which would you do last, CO or Glacier?

    Thanks @Slo-go'en, I'm hoping to identify the sections that are free of snow every year & do those first. So far that seems like Mexico -> Cumbress, & Rawlins -> Butte? If I do those sections first, it'll likely be July b/f I'm looking at CO or Glacier. The section I'm less sure of is Rawlins -> Butte, it looks like there are some mountains in NW Wyoming that could have snow. I'm just getting my head around this one.

    Cheers,
    Raphael

  5. #5
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    Very much appreciate the image/reference to your PCT flip

    I had to do a wacky flip on my AT hike, so I totally understand!

  6. #6
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    The WY section that you refer to is probably Sage Cr rd (about 24 miles north of Hwy 70/Battle Pass) to South Pass. North of South Pass you have the Winds and Yellowstone.
    Lonehiker

  7. #7
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    Thanks @lonehiker. Is there snow to be worried about in Wind River Range & Yellowstone. I.e., are those doable in, say, early June?

  8. #8
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    Barring a historically low snow year, the Winds will be quite snowy in June. I used microspikes and an ice axe on the Wind River High Route this past Labor Day

  9. #9
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    I don't have any magic words other than to say this is my method for long trails as well, skipping around and cherry-picking huge sections depending on snowpack, bugs, "crowds", etc.

    One little tidbit: I use Southwest airlines a lot to get around simply because of their "no change fee" and no baggage fees, PLUS you can find really cheap fares. When I did the SOCAL section of the PCT two years ago. I was flying to/from LAX for $49 each way. I'm booked to Tucson for $89 this spring (fares are to/from DEN) to hit the NM section of the CDT myself.

    CDT starting shuttle: I assume you know about the CDT coalition shuttle? It's a decent deal, for $120 they drive you from Lordsburg 3.5 hours to the southern terminus then set out 4 water caches for you for that first section back to Lordsburg. I signed up for a late March date. Most CDT hikers start later (because they don't want to flip around) so the CDT coalition doesn't do many March shuttle dates, but I see there is one for Saturday March 14th... only one spot:

    https://continentaldividetrail.org/s...minus-shuttle/

    There is another prominent shuttle service, that may do other March dates, I cannot remember their name. I bet you already have all this figured out.

    Colorado is running a bit high on snowpack this year, but so far, nothing like last year, BTW. Too early to tell though.

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