First Winter Crossing of the Pacific Crest Trail
The Feat: It takes heaps of fortitude to tackle the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in its entirety. But to hike the length of the continental U.S. from border to border in the dead of winter, as outdoorsmen Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry did earlier this year, takes something else entirely. The pair traversed some of the highest parts of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges in their snowiest mid-winter glory, clocking in about 560 miles of the North Cascades in snowshoes and about 450 miles of the High Sierras on backcountry skies. They emerged in the Mojave desert by February and made it to the Mexico border on March 1 after 131 days on the PCT, becoming the first to pull off a winter hike-thru.
Previous Record: No one has ever successfully completed the trail in winter. Gerald Duran and Jodi Zatchick, the only others known to have attempted the feat, fell off an icy slope to their death in 1983 near Wrightwood, California.
The Near-Miss Moment: Lichter and Forry estimated at the start that they had a 17 percent chance of succeeding. Among the obstacles that nearly proved them right were roaring blizzards, bouts of frostbite, falls into frozen rivers, and 1,750 miles of mind-numbing solitude.
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