Two hikers recently finished trekking the entire Pacific Crest Trail. This is the first time it was accomplished during the winter months.
Two men finished hiking 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail on March 1. They started on the trail Oct. 20 and hiked from Canada to the Mexican border. The Pacific Crest Trail is a notoriously challenging feat, and to do it in the winter is unheard of.
Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter, both from California, took 132 days to hike the entire trail.
The two men are no strangers to the mountains; Lichter has hiked over 35,000 miles and Forry over 20,000. Both men even have trail names, “Trauma” and “Pepper,” and currently live in Truckee, California. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs through multiple mountain ranges including the Sierra Nevada, where Lichter is a ski patrol at Sugar Bowl Resort and Forry is an instructor for Outward Bound alpine backpacking courses.
It was incredibly brave, and maybe a bit foolhardy, to attempt the PCT in the last several months. Avalanche danger, deep snow and freezing temperatures are factors when attempting the trek during the winter. The two men were prepared to hike with snowshoes and skis and were ready for the conditions. The Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range are experiencing an unseasonably low snowpack this year, and though this certainly wasn’t the sole reason the men finished their trek, I’m sure it was welcome.
Even with the lack of snow, the two men did have their setbacks on the trail. Both men suffered frostbite around Christmas when the region, and most of the country, witnessed extremely cold temperatures. They were later forced to swim across Grider Creek in the Klamath National Forest because the bridge had been washed out. They also had to plan for many of the supply stations to be closed that normally serve as summer access points.
The men planned this trip for five years and it took a lot of preparation, guts, and stamina to make it a reality. They were understandably emotional at the finality of their trek. Maybe next year their story will be the premise for “Wild 2.”