Traversing the Divide for Crossing the Divide


To set a fastest known time on the Great Divide Trail, Crossing the Divide Experience board member Andrew Cotterell plans to cover the 1130 km in 21 days in July and August of 2021. That’s an average of more than 52 km a day. Carrying a full pack. Over some of the most rugged terrain in the Canadian Rockies on a trail that is little more than a route he’ll have to figure out as he goes in places.

In the process, Cotterell hopes to raise $10 for every kilometer--a total of $11,300--for Crossing the Divide Experience.

“I’ve been fascinated by the trail for years, the more I heard about it the more I’ve wanted to hike it. I feel more peaceful, more connected, more hopeful when I’m outdoors. I’ve always liked to challenge myself, but I’ve never been the fastest or most athletic. This is a challenge where my determination and persistence counts for a lot too,” says Andrew. “I’m incredibly privileged to be able to undertake a record attempt like this, so it seemed natural to use it as a way to help youth who otherwise won’t have opportunities to experience the mountains. I’m so grateful for every moment I get in the mountains, and I want to pass that on to others.”

Follow Andrew on His Traverse

The current fastest known time on the Great Divide Trail (GDT) is by Elaine Bissonho, who set the record of 23 days and 8 hours in August of 2019. In mid-July of 2021, Andrew will begin at the northern end of the trail at the remote Kakwa Lake in British Columbia’s Kakwa Lake Provincial Park and follow the Continental Divide to the trail’s southern terminus at the Canada/U.S.A. border in Waterton National Park. His attempt will be classified as “supported,” which means he has pre-planned help from others, such as food drops where the trail crosses the highway. Andrew’s wife, Megan Smith, will join him for some sections. Donors will be able to follow his progress at and send messages of support to his Garmin InReach.