November 30, 2020
Good morning folks,
The high yesterday was 39 degrees. The overnight low was 29 degrees. It was 28 degrees at 7am observation. We received 0.65 inches of precipitation. It’s currently 23 degrees and dropping!
It’s SNOWING! We finally have snow for the winter season. Winds have calmed and there is a light snow falling on the mountain. Snow fall amounts are unclear at this time but could see upwards of a foot of snow. Conditions will worsen as the day progresses with temps dipping down into the low teens with wind chill readings in the negatives. If you venture out prepare for winter conditions. Micros spikes will definitely be needed tomorrow to reach the summit. It’s going to be a wonderful day at 6593’. See you at the top!
November 29, 2020
Yesterday’s high reached 47 degrees. The overnight low was 30 degrees. It was 32 degrees and partly cloudy at 7 am observation.
Winter weather is on the way just in time to kickstart the winter season at LeConte. Wind Advisory will be issued from 7pm Sunday - 7am Monday. Rain moves in tonight then transitioning over to snow later Monday. Temps will plummet Monday into the low teens which makes for very dangerous conditions if you are not prepared! Traction devices will be needed to reach the summit. Also, the lodge is closed and there are no services until Spring. Plan your trip accordingly and allow plenty of time to get down before dark. I have had a wonderful weekend on the mountain. Myrtle and Cliff Tops were high on the list for areas to soak up the warm weather before the arctic air moves in. Who’s ready for some snow on the mountain? Now we wait! See you at the top!
Good morning from your favorite mountain,
Well morning folks! All is well on the mountain. First sunrise of the season was a great way to start the winter season. Low lying clouds hovered over Mt.Kephart and made for a great show as the sun came up. Yesterday’s high was 48 degrees. The overnight low only dropped down to 31 degrees. It was 32 degrees at 7am observation with clear skies. Winter weather looks promising for later Monday into Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone! See you at the top!
November 27, 2020
Good morning folks,
It’s shaping up to be a great morning on my favorite mountain top! Yesterday high reached 49 degrees. The overnight low was only 33 degrees. Its was 34 degrees at 7am observation. The weekend looks to be great to get out and walk some of that Thanksgiving feast off. Snow is looking promising for next week so stay tuned!
Well folks, I’m back on the mountain. I look forward to keeping everyone updated on weather, trail conditions, and anything that arises up top. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve settled in to the mountain now it’s time to sit back and see what’s in store this winter. See you at the top!
November 26, 2020
Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving from high above East Tennessee!
As we shake off a few clouds to start the day, conditions are clearing up and should make for a beautiful holiday to be in the Smokies. The mountain stayed pretty cloudy yesterday, and it sure was windy. Temps managed to get up into the mid 40s before the rain moved in, misting us with about a quarter inch of liquid precip. Our low only got down to 35°. We’ll be in the 40s again today and light winds are still expected, so use caution out on the trails.
Since the lodge is now closed for the winter, day hikers will need to be extra diligent about preparing for their hike. There are no day hiker services available, so no snacks or merchandise being sold. Water is only accessible from the spring heading down Trillium Gap Trail, so bring filters or purifiers if you are nervous about drinking natural spring water. There are no buildings open for seeking shelter, so what you decide to wear and pack is your best protection from the elements and temperatures. And know when to turn around. Getting caught out late in the day with an inappropriate amount of warm and dry layers can easily be one’s undoing, and there are no guarantees that someone would be readily available to rescue you.
Even though the lodge is closed, our winter caretaker will be present surveying the facility and communicating with the NPS. Camping of any kind on lodge grounds is strictly prohibited and will be reported to NPS law enforcement immediately. And bribes of any kind to the winter caretaker will not be accepted. Seeing as how we are still in a pandemic, visitors should respect the health and safety of our caretaker and other visitors while on premises, as safe social distancing practices are still encouraged.
Our caretaker continues to get settled in to his cozy cabin confines and is excited for what the winter off-season has in store. We are equally excited to have Pnut back up top keeping folks in tune with what’s happening on the mountain. Thank you and have a great holiday.
November 25, 2020
The time has come! The 2020 season has officially concluded, and as the last guests of the year make their descent of the mountain after a hearty breakfast, the crew is rumbling down the trail like a herd of buffalo right behind them excited for the holiday. All hikers leaving the lodge today will have a significant tail wind, as we are entrenched in a Wind Advisory that lasts into the early part of Thanksgiving. Sustained winds out of the south will continue to hammer the region at 25-30mph, with gusts of 55mph expected. Strong rainstorms are moving across the state and should arrive not long after lunch time. Temps will remain mild, as we start out in the mid 30s and should see the upper 40s later, although the wind may keep it feeling cooler today. Please use caution if you are deciding to be out in these conditions.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, we continue to express our thanks to everyone who helped make this season a success. To the overnight guests and record number of day hikers, thank you for choosing LeConte Lodge and Tennessee’s most famous mountain (yes, we’re biased) as your destination of choice this year. Despite the changes and limitations encountered in place for the pandemic, people were still inspired to conquer the climb and partake of this unique mountain getaway. Your understanding of operational modifications geared towards health and safety, your patience in light of epic hiker traffic and gift shop lines, and your overwhelmingly positive support of the crew gave all of us the fuel to keep going. Once again it was our sincere pleasure to serve you for an experience of a lifetime, and we hope to welcome you back soon.
Last but certainly not least, we give one final shout out to the people who brought it everyday and against unusual odds to keep this engine humming. From the frontlines here on the mountain, to our folks behind the scenes down in the valley, we are honored to have such caring and committed people seeing this task through from start to finish. There have been plenty of records and firsts throughout the year. No crew has ever served as many visitors in a season, day after day, wave after wave of climbers. No crew has ever put in as many steps, scurrying up and down the slopes toting blankets and hot meals in all types of weather, still with a smile on their face. No crew has ever had to alter their expectations and adjust routines and traditions in light of a pandemic, and then done so admirably. It’s enough to charge hard through any “normal” lodge season, then to throw the countless challenges of 2020 into the mix, and so it takes a special kind of person to be a LeConte Lodge crew member with a no-quit attitude to become the fantastic finishers that these folks are. Congrats and thank you to our crew, llama wranglers, llamas, reservations and office staff for your hard work and dedication to seeing this job through once again.
And with one last shoutout, a special thank you and congratulations are in order for some of the most passionate, selfless, and dedicated people you will ever meet. Yesterday, Chrissy Householder made one last trek with her beloved llamas, completing an illustrious career of provisioning the lodge and caring for our fuzzy friends. Chrissy has committed the last 10 years to serving this operation as crew, an assistant cook, and a llama wrangler, and the lodge and llama experience is so much better for it. Her next endeavor will be travel nursing, and we know that wherever the stars lead her, someone’s life will be touched in a most positive way. And to Alan Householder, even though he won’t be hanging it up officially until the spring, we are also extending our thanks. The man in the Tilley hat, after an amazing 19 years of service to our llamas, the farm, and the lodge mission. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has walked more miles on this earth in a lifetime than Alan. Through thick and thin, good times and spur of the moment challenges, Alan has always been there for us and for our animals. The Householders will leave a lasting impression on the hearts of everyone who has ever had the privilege of working with them these past decades. They’ve raised the bar for llama wrangling in the East, and we are so appreciative of all that they’ve done.
We could keep going, but there’s plenty to do to get this lodge ready for winter. Have a safe and prosperous holiday season. Thanks again for allowing us this opportunity to host and participate in your mountain memories. Happy trails!
November 24, 2020
We’re entering our final day of hosting guests for the 2020 season, and what a season it has been. Shaping up to be a picturesque day on the mountain as the pink hues of sunrise streak across the pre-dawn sky. Conditions are expected to be fairly decent throughout the day with the potential for increasing cloudiness. Temps will remain mild, already in the mid 30s, and could see us climb well into the 40s in the afternoon. Winds out of the south are going to be a bit breezy today and then pick up for Wednesday, especially once the rain moves in tomorrow afternoon. It would appear we will escape seeing any autumn snowfall before the lodge closes, but current forecasts show a chance by the end of this month. Today is the last llama trip of the year, so if you happen to catch them up top or in passing on Trillium Gap, give them a big thank you and wish them a prosperous winter slumber.
In the spirit of the coming holiday, it’s only appropriate we start doling out thanks to the numerous groups and individuals who help in making this entire backcountry experience possible. Since there are so many and simply too many to list here, we’ll break it up and use this time to thank our park and business partners first. Each of them have had to overcome great and unforeseen obstacles, just like this lodge, to be able to continue to operate and provide services in spite of the pandemic. Despite setbacks and inconveniences, their commitment to our operation has remained steadfast, and for that they should all be commended.
To the fine people donning the green and gray uniforms on behalf of GSMNP - from administration, law enforcement, medical, interpretative, resources, maintenance, and volunteers to name a few - thank you! To the countless business partners who provide our expanse of provisions - from food to merchandise, to cleaning supplies and laundry services, to hiking gear and llama tack, to furniture and DIY fixer-upper parts, and of course flying a big helicopter - thank you! To the behind the scenes folks who make “house calls” to a place not accessible by road or in close proximity to a home improvement store - from mechanical to plumbing, from electrical to carpentry, and any other obscure trade necessary for maintaining a unique backcountry lodge - thank you! And lastly the hardworking team of people who took time away from their own jobs and families to help us get the season kickstarted back in March, both on the mountain and at our airlift staging sight, even in the face of the pending pandemic - thank you!
Again, there are surely folks not mentioned here equally deserving of thanks for providing us with the goods and services to keep this train rolling. Know that you all are appreciated and we look forward to doing it all again in 2021!
Have a great day.
November 23, 2020
Starting off this Monday above the clouds but beneath the stars. A cold front pushed through in the middle of the night bringing some rain and much cooler temps. What rain we got eventually froze on the surface so there is plenty of slick ice around the mountain. We dipped down into the lower 20s before sunrise and are not expected to escape the 30s as the day progresses. The sun will be out and shining, but these winds are going to give the air some significant bite. Sustained winds of 10-15mph with gusts of 25mph are happening already, so windchill factors will have it feeling like the low teens up here at times. Layer up and come ready for cold if a summit is in your plans today. And know when to turn around - day hikers - as it will get even colder tonight, wasting no time as soon as the sun drops.
Today and tomorrow are the last opportunities to partake of any visitor services, whether they be purchasing merchandise or snacks. Once we halt hosting overnight guests on Wednesday, all other on-site services stop for the season as well. They will resume in late March 2021, although our reservations office and online store will keep charging hard through the winter months. Until then, visitors to Mt. LeConte will need to come fully prepared for their hike and the elements. That means plenty of food, hydration, and the appropriate gear to safely and comfortably traverse the mountain in typically harsher climates.
Have a great start to the week.
November 22, 2020
Looking like a breezy and cloudy Sunday is in store for Mt. LeConte. We’re kicking things off in the upper 30s for breakfast, although a biting wind can make it feel cooler. We expect to see the mid 40s later on. Clouds will continue to thicken as the day progresses, and sometime after sunset the rain chances ramp up. By tomorrow morning the precip should clear out, and Monday will turn into a beautiful day to play in the outdoors.
Today marks our annual Mountain Thanksgiving for the crew, and our cooks have been hard at work preparing what will undoubtedly be a delicious and hearty feast. Always a treat and a great way to conclude any lodge season. Today will also be the penultimate trip for our awesome llamas, and their last venture of 2020 will be on Tuesday if you hope to catch them in transit on the trail on more time.
Have a great finish to the week.
November 21, 2020
What a picture perfect day in the Smokies. Our final Saturday of the season is making out for one epic opportunity for the weekend warriors. The sun is beaming across the sky in all directions and the temps up top feel great. Enjoying the lower 50s as we speak, and lows continue to hang around the freezing mark but not for very long once the sun rises. Tomorrow should be a pleasant day in the mountains as well. The possibility of increasing clouds and a chance for some rain will roll in later that evening.
Have a great rest of the day.
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