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View Full Version : I always see the AT talked about. what about the CT?



Spire
04-07-2011, 15:15
So I've been thinking about going to hike the Colorado Trail. I wanted to know if anyone has hiked it before and if gear requirements would be different than those I see for the AT?

Cannibal
04-07-2011, 15:23
You'll need warmer clothing during the summer months than you would need on the AT. I've done a few sections after blowing out a knee on a thru attempt, but not the whole thing. HF member "food" has covered most, if not all, of the CT. Hopefully he will chime in. Again, biggest issue out here are the nighttime vs daytime temps. It can swing 40 between the two when you're at altitude. So it's summer dress when the sun is out, and fall/early spring dress at camp. If you want to camp above treeline, you'll need some specialized gear to hang your hammock from rocks. I suppose you could sleep on the ground, but I don't understand that line of reasoning. :D

Resupply gets pretty thin the farther south you go, so study the guide and be ready to lug some food and water weight. The scenery is simply stunning, so bring a camera.

Spire
04-07-2011, 15:40
cool beans, thanks. I was mainly thinking of trying to hit the tree lines by night fall, or stay in them depending on the time of day. Something about not tieing to a tree seems odd for other than novel reasons. I suppose it couldnt hurt to prepare for that though. Maybe some realy long tree straps to double for rocks?

Cannibal
04-07-2011, 15:51
cool beans, thanks. I was mainly thinking of trying to hit the tree lines by night fall, or stay in them depending on the time of day. Something about not tieing to a tree seems odd for other than novel reasons. I suppose it couldnt hurt to prepare for that though. Maybe some realy long tree straps to double for rocks?
Camping below treeline isn't remotely difficult on the CT. You'll have to plan your days a little more than normally, but the smart hiker plans his/her days to be on ridgelines early in the day anyway. The lightening up there is fierce and the storms pop-up VERY quickly. Best to not be on a ridge after 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon anyway. This is even more true for the late season hikers. By August, you can just about set your watch to the afternoon thunder bumpers.

Really long tree straps will work in some situations, but not all. I've hung from climbing cams with the cam shoved in the crack of a rockface and my other strap wrapped around a big boulder. It takes a lot of webbing/cord and IMO isn't worth the weight penalty on a hike. If, OTOH, you're just out for a night or two...well, it's tough to beat sunrise from on top of the world. :woot:

ringtail-THFKAfood
04-07-2011, 16:40
I have hiked the Trail and some sections multiple times.

IMO you could hike the trail with a hammock. The sacrifice would be sunrises above timberline and occasionally you would need to push or burn daylight for acceptable camp sites. The areas without acceptable trees for a significant time are:
Segment 2 - mile 0 to 4.6
Segment 7 - 6.6 to 9.6 - but this Segment can be slack packed using the free shuttle, there is a sunrise picture from the crest in my gallery
Segment 8 - 8.0 to 12.5
Segment 11 - 6.5 to 11.3 -Twins Lakes resupply
Segment 18 - 8.9 to Segment 19 - 5.4 - this has been rerouted, there may be trees now.
Segment 20 - 7.3 to Segment 21 - 2.4
Segment 21 - 4.2 to Spring Creek Pass
Segment 22 - the only tress are near Spring Creek Pass and Big Buck Creek
Segment 23 - no trees - 15.9 miles above 12,000 ft.
Segment 24 - no trees until 8.3
Segment 25 - 8.1 to 12.3
Segment 27 - 14.6 to 19.4 - great single hammock spot just past Taylor Lake.

You need a sleep kit that goes to 20 degrees. July 4, 2004 there was snow flurries at mile 11.3 of Segment 25. August 19, 2004 the overnight low in Pole Creek near Segment 23 was about 15.

Extensions for tree huggers would be useful.

Bearpaw
04-07-2011, 16:43
I thru-hiked the CT in 2006. Roni From Israel, a hardcore hammocker, hiked at the same time, hanging every night. There are only one or two sections with more than 3-5 miles in open country above timberline. You can hang the whole way if you like.