Since 2014, the Thru-Hike Syndicate has supported a select group of thru-hikers who are attempting to complete either the AT or the PCT. Syndicate brands are now excited to open the challenge to thru-hikers attempting the 3,100 mileContinental Divide Trail (CDT).
In 2015, 80 percent of the PCT thru-hikers and 50 percent of AT thru-hikers in the Syndicate completed their respective trails for a total cumulative distance of 32,105 miles. Each hiker used lightweight, thru-hiker approved gear from brand partners and supplied social media content throughout their hike.
“Osprey is very pleased with the success of the Thru-Hike Syndicate. It is fun to be involved in these fantastic partnership efforts, both with the long distance Ambassadors and exemplary outdoor brands,” said Sam Mix, conduit of corporate outreach for Osprey shares. “The Thru-Hike Syndicate has been of great value to us as it provides a unique storytelling aspect via the Ambassadors’ many adventures and thorough product testing opportunities on our packs. We look forward to the addition of our backyard National Scenic Trail, the CDT, to the Syndicate in 2016.”
The addition of the CDT was a natural expansion for the group. Peter Sustr of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition said, “Once people have thru-hiked the PCT, they often attempt the AT and then continue on to complete the Triple Crown, by thru-hiking the CDT.”
On the other hand, thru-hiking popularity on the PCT increased all on its own as a result from the movie “Wild” in 2014, which prompted an influx of hikers attempting to conquer the trail. As a result of this ‘Wild Effect’, as the Syndicate called it, the other trails in the Triple Crown have seen an increase in hikers.
Due to this influx, both the AT and PCT, the Syndicate encourages thru-hikers to register their start date in order to spread out start times, so as to not put undue stress on the natural environments of the trail.
Additionally, the CDT will run a shuttle service to help hikers get to the start of the trail at the New Mexico border during high peak times.
“Vasque is looking forward to the expansion of the 2016 Thru-Hike Syndicate to the CDT, working with our new ambassadors on Leave No Trace principles and encouraging them to register their start dates to help these trails manage the influx of hikers,” states Julie Quinn, Vasque Footwear Marketing Manager. “Our 2015 team of 20 thru-hike ambassadors were talented storytellers on Instagram, and many of Vasque’s fans enjoyed watching their journeys via the Thru Hike Syndicate’s Instagram page. These hikers put our shoes to the ultimate test, day after day, which allowed us to gather invaluable feedback on our products for future performance hiking designs.”
Courtney Laggner, marketing manager at Darn Tough Vermont concluded, “The Thru-Hike Syndicate initiative is like nothing else we are seeing in the industry.”
The application process to become a member of the 2016 Thru-Hike Syndicate for thru-hiking the AT, PCT or CDT is open now through November 13, 2015. Final candidates will be announced on January 11, 2016. Those interested in being a 2016 Thru-Hike Syndicate member should apply here: http://bit.ly/THS2016.
Photos courtesy of Vasque Thru-Hike Syndicate