We live to long, so long I will, and jounce down that mountain highest perfect knowing or no highest perfect knowing full of glorious ignorant looking to sparkle elsewhere. Kerouac
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 18 degrees overnight. The low was negative 14 degrees. It was 16 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new rain or snow and still has about 3 inches of snow left up top. There are patches of black ice underneath the snow, so be careful. I would definitely recommend Microspikes if you intend to summit in the coming days.
Top photo: Views towards Newfound Gap from just above Alum Cave. Above: Rhodo tunnel!!
It appears as though the Polar Vortex (what a name!!) has passed and the mountain has survived. I am sure it has seen colder temperatures in it's days back when it was higher than the Himalayas, so I am not surprised. The mountain sets a fine example in stoicism. It has been enlightening to see just how uncomfortable the weather can get to a mortal like myself, because now 16 degrees feels positively tropical. Perspective is a beautiful thing. I'll always have this experience of the 'coldest I've ever been on Mt. LeConte' to tell old man stories to whoever will be listening when I'm too tired to climb mountains. Just making memories, as my friend JimmyJam would say. I have to soak in this snowy wonder while it's still here, so I'll be on my way. Enjoy the trails, folks.
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