15-06-05.      Day 55.   The Slide – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail

Mark Trail CDT 2015

I wanted to get an early start to avoid the post-holing. I put on the snowshoes and was hiking by 6:20 am. Crunch, crunch as I traversed along the slope. I could see where trees were freshly snapped off and bent over. I looked down and could see the pile of greenery… Humm…. Avalanche? Well at least I’m not post-holing…. As I made my way I could see I had two traverses to cross at the start of Spring Creek drainage. As I looked at the map I could see the first was below a 13,285 ft peak with relatively wide contour lines. It meant that it wasn’t too steep above me, so I wasn’t too worried about avalanche. I could feel my hiking boots dig into the sides of the snowshoes as I crossed the approximately 60 degree slope. I gasped in relief when I passed into the next drainage at 12,400 ft. I only had one more to go before I dropped down below snow line. I began to cross and could see the “trail” crossed tight to the 12,935 and 13,155 ft peaks.


The contour lines were very tight and I could see snow above me. I came to one drift facing me with a six foot wall of snow. I dug in the snowshoes and they did quite well and with the Black Diamond Whippet Ice Axe, I pulled myself up. I was snowshoeing on top of the next obstacle when BOOM………my heart was wailing… Not Good…. Nothing moved, just the snow settling….

Then I had a twenty foot cornice to get down. I found a dip that had the least amount of drop. I sat down with my snowshoes on thinking it was just a short slide. With my Ice axe on my side I gave a wiggle. The ice axe was too deep in the ice crust and lifted it to slide. In a second, I was off to the races. I was spinning as the snowshoes dug into the ice. I had to get onto my stomach and get the whippet into the ice. It was all a blur. By the time I stopped, the skin on the back of my left hand and three chunks on my right had been scraped off by the ice.

I was alive but now had a new challenge. I climbed the 200 ft. back up to the original planned stop and found a spot where I could take my pack off and get something to cover the open wound on my left hand. I put a large band-aid on it and wrapped it with elastic bandage. My main concern was infection and to get some medical help.

I hiked on hoping I might run into someone on the dirt roads that I could see ahead on the map. It started snowing as I descended and dropped below the snow line. The notes on the map noted that there was a bridge crossing the Cochetopa Creek but someone forgot about the snow melt now two feet above the bridge that only went half way across the creek. Be Safe, Be Safe rolled through my head as I entered the rushing water. The freezing ford only went up to the bottom of my pack and the feeling of being swept away quickly passed as I crawled up the opposite bank.

No one crossed my path so I hiked till 6:30. Found a spot in some trees, set up the tarp, ate some cheese and sausage and went to sleep.

Wow… To much excitement for one day on the CDT.

Past Quemado Creek.  22.5 miles

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