Allyson is out of power for the blog, they are charging batteries now that they have sun. She is taking pictures and will post some later when they get some power. We have had four hikers come up so far today. They all came up Rainbow Falls trail and advised the the path is very distinct and the snow is being trammeled by day hikers especially up to the falls. The few trees that are down are easy to navigate and other than a few rhododendron thickets to scramble through, they had a good hike. One report has the trail above the falls in better shape than below as far as trees down. Hikers will need some type of ice stabilizer (yak-traks, crampons, etc) as once the trail packs, melts, and refreezes it will be slick. Trekking poles are also a good idea. The Lodge will be open for business as usual tomorrow. Guests trying to pay for 2013 reservations please continue calling or you may mail a check. The due date has been extended through 5:00 pm ET Monday, November 5 because of the snow event and Hurricane Sandy.
If you have a reservation for this evening, we are asking you to please not hike up. Please call our reservations office and they will take care of you.
Well, we are hanging in there. It was a long night last night, for us and the hikers who came up. We had ten more guests show up between 7 pm and 11 pm. There were a few experienced hikers who love hiking in winter conditions. They said it was extremely difficult for them. It took some of them 10 hours to hike up Rainbow Falls trail. There are a lot of trees down on the trails. The hikers were telling stories of crawling under some of these blow downs. We currently have 34" of snow. The drifts are up to the roof on the dining hall. Chris and I snowshoed out Alum a little ways to check it out, it was hard with snow shoes. John and Bonnie hiked through waist deep snow to check out Cliff Tops. The temperatures are in the teens. The high yesterday was 20 with a low of 16. We are expecting another 3 inches on top of this snow.
We have heard that the Park Service is going to attempt to work on Rainbow today. We hope they will make some headway on the trail and clear it out for people to be able to make it up tomorrow. I believe between people hiking down and the trail crew working their magic, the trail will be in much better shape. If you have any questions, please call our reservations office.
Once again, I can not stress enough, please do not attempt to hike up in these conditions. We are asking all overnight guests to call our reservations office and make alternative plans. I apologize for any inconvenience, but this is for your safety. We look forward to seeing all of you at the lodge in better conditions.
I want to start off by saying the crew on Mt. LeConte sends their prayers to the north east United States. We know that while we get to enjoy the beauty of what hurricane Sandy delivered to us, there are so many people and communities who are suffering at the moment. We want you to know our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Peace to you.
17" and counting. The snow is coming down hard as I type. We have drifts up to 4 ft and higher. The temperature is currently 17, which was the low last night. The high yesterday was 20º. We have 15 guests who made it up the mountain yesterday. They said it was tough with just the 8" we had gotten during the day. Today is going to be even worse. I can not stress enough how important it is to have the proper gear if you are going to attempt to hike this mountain. The conditions are extremely dangerous if you are not prepared. Please do not get on the trail if you are wearing low cut shoes. You will need boots and some thing to keep the snow out of your shoes. You do not want to get wet. The wind chill makes it seem even colder on the top.
As of now, Hwy 441 is closed. Cherokee Orchard is open. Rainbow Falls, Bullhead, and Trillium Gap trails are open. I am not sure how far down the snow starts. We are going to send a crew member down Trillium a little ways to assess the conditions. I will keep you posted.
I had a few questions I thought I would answer.
1.) John won the snow pool.
2. ) We had 15 guests last night. Most of them are staying a second night. We will find room for the others who can not make it down today. We just want people to be safe.
3.) We have cell service and solar power on the mountain. I am sending out these posts on a broadband connection that seems to work for well.
4.) By the time the snow ends, this may be the most snow I have seen up here in my decade on the mountain.
Once again, I can not stress enough, how important it is for everyone to use common sense about attempting to hike up here. Please make sure you have the appropriate attire. This weather is not forgiving. Make sure someone knows you are on the trail. Practice safe hiking. I hope everyone stays warm today and I will keep you posted.
"Hey JP, There is more snow then the winter of 2011-2012. Love- the Leconte crew"
Just a joke for our good friend and winter caretaker, JP. We thought we would rub it in a little. It is currently 20º and has stopped snowing for a bit. We have about 7" currently.
I posted so early this morning that I could not get pictures until day light. I thought I would show you what camp looks like right now.
7 AM and we have 6.5" of snow. It is coming down pretty hard at the moment. The temperatures dropped to 20º last night. The winds were howling all night long. We are settling for a long day of more snow. If the forecast is correct, today and tonight will bring most of our snowfall. Hwy 441, through the park, is closed. That leaves Trillium, Bullhead, and Rainbow Falls trail. Please make sure you have plenty of clothing, snacks, and water when you start out. I beg every hiker out there, do not set foot on the trail if you are wearing blue jeans or any other cotton clothing. That type of clothing could become deadly in weather like this. Hikers will want to stop at a local outfitters and purchase some sort of ice walker. Yak Trax, Micro spikes, or Stableicers are good brands. I know several of the outfitters in Sevier county carry these. Please be safe out there and we look forward to seeing you up top. We will have the hot cocoa waiting for you.
Biscuits are waiting to be put in oven for breakfast. Sun is on the rise. Life as usual at the lodge. We still do not have snow. I can feel it coming. The skies are starting to have that "look". The high yesterday was 52 with the low of 36. The snow boots are dusted off and ready for some action. Hopefully tomorrow's picture will be a winter wonderland, or a dusting of one.
The birds have left their summer homes for warmer parts of the country. That leaves the crew to hang out on the mountain, anticipating the arrival of the first snow fall. Excitement is in the air. The predictions are out there and we are wondering when the first flakes are going to fall from the sky. I have had a lot of questions about what happens if it snows. We will keep you posted on here and as well as our main website, www.lecontelodge.com. We wil let you know of any road closures or other issues that may occur. As of now, there is no snow on the mountain and I am still wearing my sandals. You will know as soon as I put my snow boots on. The high yesterday was 56 with the low of 42. It is currently socked in. The temperature seems to be hovering in the mid 40s.
On a side note, we would like to say Happy Birthday to one of our favorite crew members, Henry Neel. We miss having him on the mountain and hopes he has a wonderful day.
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