Winter CDT Report


I completed the first traversal during wintertime of the Continental Divide of the continental USA. I started hiking on the Continental Divide Trail from Crazy Cook Monument on November 21st, 2022, a little after noon. I started skiing December 20th, north of Ghost Ranch, NM. I reached the Canadian border on April 15th, around 1330MST, with my partner Lukas S.

I was not yet done. I had postponed the heart of the Colorado Rockies and the northern part of the Wind River Range until late spring, due to typically unpredictable avalanche danger. First, I headed to the Winds, and afterwards to Cumbres Pass, Colorado. I finished at the Devil's Thumb Trailhead, near Fraser, Colorado, on June 3rd, 2023, in the evening around 1930MST.

That makes my endeavor 194 days long, with 25 days of hiking, about 123 days of ski-touring, about 3500 kilometers (2200 miles) traveled on skis. On an average ski-touring day I walked 10-12 hours, covered 20-25km (12-15 miles) distance, and climbing 1500-2000m (5000-6500ft) vertical.

I carried all of my food, shelter, and fuel for each section, as such self-supported in typical thru-hiker style. In a typical week, I would walk 5 days, and rest 2 days. I took about 1.1kg of food per day. At the beginning of a typical 5-day ski traverse, my backpack would weigh about 14kg (30lbs).

I suffered no frostbite injuries, no major traumas, and was not caught in an avalanche. The coldest times were when I was in the southern Wind River Range in late January 2023 and when an arctic front blew into the Centennial Mountains in mid-February 2023. I do not know how cold it was. Some reports say -25°F (-30°C) with winds of 30mph (50kmh). It was cold.

An epic ski traverse it was. But just as epic was the winter for much of the Rocky Mountain West! The winter of 2022-2023, a transition season from La Niña to El Niño, was one of the snowiest and coldest on record for most of the Rocky Mountain West. I was thankful that I had plenty of snow to ski on, but getting snowed on often and skinning through fresh snow slowed me considerably.

I skied a lot of powder.

Route choice

Although inspired by the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), I deviated often from the CDT to optimize safety, travel speed, and fun. Downhill skiing the CDT is not much fun, unless there are otherwise too many fallen trees or other vegetation. In a few cases, I also took snowmobile trails for faster travel and, oftentimes, better scenery.


I used the Garmin Inreach Messenger. It worked satisfactorily and the integration with my Garmin Instinct Solar 2 and the Garmin Messenger Android app was not excellent, but satisfactory. The Garmin Inreach Messenger does not record tracks, but merely sends a tracking point to Garmin's satellites at a preset (10-minute) interval. These 10-minute tracking points are all I have for formal verification.

My Garmin Mapshare page is:

My travel

Map link Start date End date Stretch Alpine units Days Rest time Units per day Notes Town stop Co.
U6110 2022-11-21 12:30 2022-12-19 13:30 Mexican border to Ghost Ranch 1329 28 0 47 I took 4 rest (zero) days. Cliff, Pie Town, & Cuba, NM
LEJSH 2022-12-19 13:30 2022-12-23 18:30 Ghost Ranch to Cumbres Pass 192 4.2 4.6 46 Skied! Storm Elliott kept it cool.
1DRC3 2022-12-28 08:54 2022-12-30 11:54 Fraser to Grand Lake 69 2.1 0.1 33 Grand Lake, CO
LEMN2 2022-12-30 14:18 2023-01-05 17:18 Grand Lake to Buffalo Pass 169 6.1 2 28 Pineapple Express snowstorm slowed me. I hitched on CO 14. Steamboat Springs, CO
11AF0 2023-01-07 17:18 2023-01-14 17:18 Buffalo Pass to Rawlins 244 7 2.9 35 I hitched last 12 miles to Rawlins. Rawlins, WY
NLSRN 2023-01-17 14:54 2023-01-22 12:54 Rawlins to South Pass City 219 4.9 1.9 45 1 false start, with wife. There were two feet of snow in Rawlins, and more at South Pass. South Pass City, WY Wife
CNRFF 2023-01-24 10:30 2023-02-02 17:30 South Pass City to White Pine Resort 192 9.3 4.9 21 Bad decision to attempt. Pinedale, WY
FGJ8K 2023-02-07 15:06 2023-02-16 15:06 Togwotee Pass to Reas Pass 261 9 1.9 29 2 nights at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. West Yellowstone
N0PCC 2023-02-18 12:42 2023-02-24 16:42 West Yellowstone to Monida Pass 194 6.2 1.75 31 Hitching on I-15 is difficult. Lima, MT
0MD5H 2023-02-26 10:42 2023-03-03 19:42 Monida Pass to Bannock Pass 235 5.4 1.6 44 I skied off of Horse Prairie. Leadore, ID
C000J 2023-03-05 10:06 2023-03-11 11:06 Bannock Pass to North Fork 252 6 1.05 42 Avalanche situation was too dangerous past Fourth of July creek headwaters. North Fork, ID
53H4R 2023-03-12 12:18 2023-03-16 13:18 Lost Trail Pass to Georgetown Lake 156 4 2 39 Avalanche situation was too dangerous past Pintlar Pass. Anaconda, MT
1GU1H 2023-03-18 13:18 2023-03-21 19:18 Anaconda to MacDonald Pass 112 3.3 0.8 34 Anaconda Cutoff taken. Helena, MT LS
QQT14 2023-03-22 14:30 2023-03-26 16:30 MacDonald Pass to Rogers Pass 189 4.1 2.8 46 Lincoln, MT LS
R8F63 2023-03-29 11:42 2023-04-08 15:42 Rogers Pass to Marias Pass 315 10.2 1.8 31 Resupplied at Teton Pass Resort. East Glacier, MT LS
62M05 2023-04-10 10:54 2023-04-15 18:54 East Glacier to Waterton, CA 197 5.3 4.9 37 Chinook winds melt off snowpack quickly, east of the Continental Divide. Some bridges are deconstructed. St. Mary lake can be a scary ski. Kalispell, MT LS
GB1MC 2023-04-20 16:30 2023-04-28 15:30 Togwotee Pass to HWY 353 250 8 3.15 31
VBEB2 2023-05-01 19:06 2023-05-04 12:06 Cumbres Pass to Wolf Creek Pass 138 2.7 1.85 51 Pagosa Springs, CO
849FR 2023-05-06 08:30 2023-05-11 18:30 Wolf Creek Pass to Spring Creek Pass 260 5.4 1.75 48 Creede, CO
FU8S0 2023-05-13 12:30 2023-05-18 13:30 Spring Creek Pass to Monarch Pass 219 5 1.8 44 Salida, CO
TPLM7 2023-05-20 08:42 2023-05-25 17:42 Monarch Pass to Tennessee Pass 226 5.4 2.5 42 Leadville, CO
TFD6S 2023-05-28 05:42 2023-06-03 19:42 Tennessee Pass to Devil’s Thumb TH 252 6.6 38
Totals: 5670 148.2 46.15
averages 206.7 5.7 2.3 37.9
units winter 34 ← Counting vertical gain and distance, not down
units spring 41 ← Approximately after March 1st

Skipped portions

Going over a mountain versus maintaining elevation and traversing around usually requires the same amount of effort. I rerouted often, but also skipped portions entirely. Due to avalanche danger, my unwillingness to walk on the side of a road, my unwillingness to walk a wind-scoured ridge to a pass as opposed to skiing off the ridge, or my need to make a up time, I skipped some of the parts typically considered part of the CDT. I list them in chronological order.

  • Road walk, US-180, turn off to Silver City: I skipped about 22 units. Excuse: I don't like dangerous road walks, especially when I have CoViD-19.
  • Road walk, County road A083, north of Pie Town: I skipped about 20 units. Excuse: I don't like road walks, especially when I have a sprained ankle.
  • Road walk, Zuni Canyon Road, south of Grants: I skipped about 8 units. Excuse: I don't like road walks, especially when I have a sprained ankle.
  • Road walk, NM 197, south of Cuba: I skipped about 4 units. Excuse: I don't like dangerous road walks, especially when I have a sprained ankle.
  • Road walk, CO 14 and US 40 to Rabbit Ears Pass: I skipped about 17 units. Excuse: I don't like dangerous road walks, especially at night.
  • Road walk, WY HWY 71: I skipped about 22 units. Excuse: I don't like dangerous road walks.
  • Ridge walk, east of North Fork, ID: I skipped about 60 units. Excuse: Avalanche danger going through the north and south forks of Sheep Creek.
  • Skiing, northern part of the Pintlars: I skipped about (105-41) 64 units of good skiing. Excuse: Avalanche danger! On March 15th I awoke to a natural avalanche on the north face East Pintler, with a crown of about 20 feet. That was my cue, though that bail was demoralizing. Skiing the Pintlars was awesome, and the bail was much longer.
  • Skiing, Anaconda Cutoff: I skipped about 207 units of skiing. Excuse: Insufficient time and little faith in the snowpack of the mountains surrounding Butte helped make this decision.
  • Trail walk, US 2: I skipped about 30 units. Excuse: There was not enough time and the avalanche danger was supposedly high. Originally, I intended on going over the saddle southwest of Calf Robe Mountain, but the conditions forced us to stay lower.

An overview can be found at, which contains an import of my GPS-tracks from the Garmin Explore website (red), and routes of the portions that I skipped (blue). This map contains an import of my GPS-tracks in red, and routes of the portions that I skipped in blue.

There are many reasons people have at most attempted only parts of the CDT in wintertime, the most common reason being personal safety. I am the first person to attempt to traverse the entire CDT in wintertime. My example sets the tone for future attempts.