It is a nasty sunday morning on the mountain. We are currently watching the rain pour down and melt the snow. The temperature is 37º which is creating a big ole' slushy mess. We have about 5" of snow still on the ground and we received a little over half an inch of rain over night. If you are hiking up today, please remember to bring extra clothes to change into. You ARE going to get wet. On the flip side, when you reach the top, we have comfy flannel pants you can purchase and sport around camp. We are selling them for $27. Speaking of selling, we had a run on the Yak Traks. We currently have 7 pairs of small on the mountain. We are hoping to get restocked some time next week. Please do not hike up here over the next few days thinking you will purchase them at the top, because we are almost out of them. I don't expect our stock to last much longer. I will keep you up to date on availability.
Just when I thought we might start seeing a glimpse of spring, no, we get six more inches of new snow. The defrosting that took place on Thursday was quickly covered up by new fallin snow. The total accumulation on the ground is 15". On a brighter note, the temperatures are warming. Our low last night was 16 and the high was 30, which is our current temperature. The warm air seems to be making its way to our mountain. Hopefully that will bring rain which will help melt the snow.
I think the crew is ready for a little warm weather to come our way. I guess we are ready for Easter weekend??? I think will not dye the eggs, that way they will be easier to hide in the snow. Hard to believe that the vegetation is blooming below when I all I see are icicles and snow drifts.
I love those blue sky white powder days. The sun was bright and made for a brilliant day up top. The high was still only 24º with a low of 12º. The icicles are hanging on for dear life. I did not hear of anyone coming up Alum Cave yesterday, although we had a ton of day hikers, so I am sure the trail has been broken. People were making it up here with not much problems at all. We have sold a ton of yak traks on the mountain, that tells me the trails are still slick and people were wanting them for the trip down. Yes, I did say "yak traks". We are now selling them for $22 on the top of the mountain. We are looking forward to a busy Easter weekend. If the weather doesn't wash us out, there may be some easter egg hunting going on. A few years ago, we established the first ever "LeConte Night Time Easter Egg Hunt". I bet you have not ever seen someone hunting for eggs with their headlamps on? Hopefully the rain will pass and we will get to hold the second one on the mountain.
The weather is looking much better for the next few days. The high temperature for yesterday was 24º with a low of 10º. The sun came out and recharged the crew. They should be good to go for a little while. This morning brought a thin cloud layer on top of camp, but we can see the valley below. That is always a good sign. Hwy 441 opened yesterday. That means Alum Cave trail is accessible. Now, remember that no one has been on Alum Cave so it is going to be deep in places and you may be the first one breaking trail. Some of the crew hiked down Rainbow yesterday and said it was in great shape. Unless you are experienced hiker, I still recommend Rainbow. All of our guests made it up yesterday. We had 48 in camp. Everyone seemed happy and warm once they reached the top. Well, it is time to get breakfast ready. Happy hiking and be safe out there.
The Mt. LeConte Electric Company came to the rescue. They arranged for the sun to make an appearance which helped our electricity issues. Now that my computer has some juice I thought I would update you on the mountain status.
The sun is currently shining, which is making the crew happy, and the snow has stopped, which is making the crew even happier. We ended with about 18" to 20" of snow and the drifts are much higher. The high yesterday was 15 with a low of 9. As Christi stated below, all guests made it with no problems. We have not heard an update on Hwy 441. I am not sure if they are trying to clear it or not. You can call the park service phone line to find out.
Those of you waiting patiently for the new crew photos, you will be happy to know that is next on my list. They will be posted in a few minutes.
Good Morning. Allyson is having computer problems, she will be posting as soon as possible, but in the meantime, the low yesterday was 9 and high 15. The Lodge has about 18-20 inches of snow. All guests scheduled yesterday made it up by way of Rainbow Falls trail which should be very compacted by now. The Lodge is still in the clouds, but hopefully the sun in the valley will make its way to the top today.
Good morning from the Great White South??? We are huddled around the heaters and drinking up all of the hot chocolate. It is a balmy 10º at the moment. The low last night was 9º with a high of 12º. We currently have about 12" of powder and drifts of even greater amounts. We had 24 guests show last night, even some kids. No one had problems. They all had great gear and were very well prepared. Rainbow will be well traveled today. Hwy 441 is still closed. This closure is only until they can get the road cleared of ice and snow. Rainbow is going to be your best bet again for travel to and from the lodge.
The LeConte Lodge llama farm had an exciting visit from the west coast. One of the nation's leading llama trainers, or llama guru as we like to refer to him, John Mallon paid them a visit. He was in the area for a conference and stopped by to take a look at our operations. He was extremely helpful and full of knowledge. I am sure you all remember Chrissy and Alan from seasons passed. They are the new llama wranglers for this season. They were super excited to soak up all of the knowledge John had to offer. He gave them the "thumbs up" for the season and they are ready to get these llamas on the trail, after the snow melts a little, that is.
Nothing like a few inches of snow to start off the 2013 season. I apologize for being late getting the post up. We are having a bit of a time with our internet connection. The wind and snow are whipping between the cabins. We currently have about 4 inches of snow and it is coming down hard. The high yesterday was 42 with the low of 10. It is currently 10º on the mountain.
Here is the trail information we have at the moment.
Hwy 441 is closed. That makes Alum Cave trail closed. The only trails you will have access to are Rainbow Falls trail and Bullhead. Bullhead is still in bad shape at the moment. I would only recommend Rainbow. Now, with this being said, I only recommend Rainbow if you are extremely well prepared. That means warm layers with a water proof shell on the outside. You will probably not need yak traks for most of the trail, the snow is good traction. You will need them for the hike down. Once the snow has been traveled on several times, it will become very slick.
If you are not sure about making it up the mountain and you have a reservation, please call our reservation office at
865-429-5704. They will be happy to discuss your options. I have nothing to do with the reservations on the mountain, so I am of no help in that department.
If you decide to attempt the hike, please be safe. Make sure someone knows you are on the trail. I will keep you informed of any changes as we hear about them.
From atop Mt. LeConte to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Sitting in my room on this rainy sunday morning, I drifted back to my winter adventure. It was interesting comparing how we resupply the lodge to how the porters resupplied our camps on Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was forced to put into perspective the small daypack I was carrying to the top.
Our devoted volunteers run ragged for a couple of days to make sure we get the supplies on the mountain to take care of our guests. I was in awe to watch our porters risk life and limb to get supplies to camp each night. After talking to them I realized how important these jobs were to them. The jobs brought money to their communities that normally would not be there. After watching these courgeous souls, I declared I would never gripe about my commute up Alum Cave trail again. They helped make our adventure a trip of a life time.
That is the start of many stories to come. I am saving them for rainy days on the mountain.
As for the weather up top, the low last night was 31 with a high of 39. We received a little over 1/2 an inch of rain. It warmed up enough to help melt off a lot of the snow of top. I do not know what the trail look like. We did not see many day hikers yesterday. I would guess from experience, that certain areas of the trails still have patches of ice. Make sure to wear your rain gear and bring layers of clothing to put on when you get to the top.
The t-shirts are on the mountain and ready for people to hike up and buy one. We have a lot of new items for sale this year. I will post pictures over the next week of all of the new LeConte Lodge items for sale.
Now to the technical information. The trails are going to be a wreck this morning. We had more snow yesterday during the evening. The temperatures warmed up to a little above freezing which turned the snow to rain. It then dropped again, freezing the concoction. It is now a slushy, wet, cold mess. If you are day hiking today, please keep this in mind. You will need a good pair of water proof boots to keep you feet warm. Bring extra clothes to change into at the top of the mountain. Better yet, today is a great day to stay inside around the fire and read a good book. I wish I could do that.
Now, as for people hiking up with their kids for a their reservations. You do not need to spend the money on "micro spikes". Yak Traks are just fine for the hike up and they cost a fraction of the price. Garbage bags are great for protecting their feet from the wet snow. Just make sure you bring extra clothing for them to change into when they get here. Also, make sure they drink plenty of water on the hike up and make sure they have yummy snacks to munch on. The extra calories will help them make it up the mountain and still have energy to make snow men when they get here. Plenty of children have made it to the top in these conditions. They will do better then you could even imagine. One suggestion, I did notice several families hiking up for the same night stay up top. You may find it helpful to meet up at the trail head and hike up together. The kids will have fun meeting new friends and it will help take their mind off the hike. Just a suggestion.
Welcome to the LeConte Lodge blog. We hope you enjoy the information we provide to make your trip to the lodge the best it can be.