Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Stop just dreaming about a thru-hike; make it real! Our online Thru-Hiking 101 class covers everything you need to plan and finish the long-distance hike of your dreams. Start it instantly, complete it at your own pace, access it forever. Sign up now!
Plenty of hikers have completed the Pacific Crest Trail, the 2,650-mile route stretching from the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border. None, however, had dared attempted it in winter, when sub-freezing temperatures and deep snowdrifts complicate an already-difficult endeavor.
Until now, that is.
On Sunday, Justin “Trauma” Lichter and Shawn “Pepper” Forry, completed the first ever winter thru-hike of the PCT. The duo began their trek on October 21st at the northern terminus of the trail in Washington and completed it on March 1st, a total time of 132 days. That’s a pretty fast time even by summer hiking standards, making it remarkably fast for a winter journey.
“People have always thought winter thru-hiking was too dangerous. Justin and Shawn are strong backcountry skiers though, so if anybody could have done it, it would have been them,” said Jack Haskel of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. “They are also great advocates for the PCT, so we are happy that they were able to do this.”
Lichter, originally from New York, is a ski patroller who has hiked some 35,000 miles since 2002, equal to almost one and a half times around the Earth.
Forry works as an Outward Bound Lead Instructor and Wilderness Adventure Musher. He is originally from Pennsylvania, but currently resides is California. Since 2003, Forry has hiked about 20,000 miles through 26 states and 7 countries.
Read more: PCTA