It's a beautiful, clear morning on LeConte. The high yesterday reached 27 degrees. The overnight low was 7 degrees. It was 7 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation yesterday. Our snowfall total is still at around a foot. The trails are still pretty deep, although Old Sugarlands to Bullhead is packed down due to 6 tough guys who came to stay in the shelter last night! I'd still recommend Microspikes, winter boots, wool socks and gaiters if you want to ascend in comfort.
I spent an hour last night wandering around at dusk, marveling at the snow laden trees and darkening sky. I talked to the tough guys in the shelter. At first, I was concerned when I saw the tracks, but I could hear them laughing before I saw them and knew that I had nothing to worry about. If you're laughing at 15 degrees, you're fine. I noticed their Feathered friends jackets and Reactor stoves and was able to discover - (I'm basically a backcountry Sherlock Holmes) - that they'd been mountaineering all over the world for longer than I've been alive. It's always a pleasure to meet other crazies, it makes me feel more at place in the world. There are others who chase experiences like leaves in the wind, who risk everything in efforts to create more memories, who feel most alive challenging themselves in wild places. The deeper the cut, the better the scar. I am not just a lonesome outlier, but a part of a community that lives in moonshadow. My brothers and sisters are out there, for reasons just as difficult to pin down as my own. We will meet in the best of places.