[Cdt-l] Reccomend snowshoes in San Juans?

Jim and_or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 9 12:37:22 CST 2011

2006 was a year somewhat like this one, with very low snow in the south, but normal snow past Creede.  My journal is at http://spiriteaglehome.com/cdt06.html  We left Chama June 4.  Because snow levels were so low, we didn't carry an ice axe.  In a normal year we would have.  There was some snow in the San Juans, but it was not continuous.  There were only a few places where we wished we had an ice axe, but as it turned out it wasn't essential with the snow conditions we faced.  People ahead of us needed them - or they did road walks around the San Juans.  We did end up doing a detour from Blue Lake to Elwood Pass  due to thigh-high postholing and another  down Trout Creek to avoid the snow/ice chutes near the Knife Edge.  Definitely carry the TI Ntl. Geographic maps of the San Juans as they show alternate trails.   By the time we got to Creede on June 17th, most of the on-trail snow was gone.  The only iffy part after that that I remember was the cornice above Lake Ann.



Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 06:14:38 -0700
From: nglintner at gmail.com
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [Cdt-l] Reccomend snowshoes in San Juans?

Hi Everyone,

Question for people who have hiked the CDT northbound: Do you think it would be worth carrying snowshoes north of Charma, NM? Our tenative schedule for this summer has us leaving Charma on June 16th and we are considering whether to send ourselves snowshoes, crampons and/or iceaxes. We know that there will be lots of snow but what we would like to know from previous NOBO hikers, was the snow generally the soft type that you posthole in or was it generally hard snow that you can stay on top of? Approximately what percentage of the trail would you say was snowcovered? Did you carry snowshoes? Did you wish you did? How about iceaxes; were there lots of steep traverses where it would be good to have one? We would really like to do the whole San Juan loop and not the Creede cutoff.
Nathanael Lintner

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