Divinity must live within herself: Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued Elations when the forest blooms; gusty Emotions on wet roads on autumn night; All pleasures and all pains, remembering The bough of summer and the winter branch. These are the measures destined for her soul. Wallace Stevens
It's a beautiful, clear, cold morning up top. The high yesterday reached 31 degrees. The overnight low reached 12 degrees. It was 12 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received .71 inches of freezing rain yesterday. There is still about 3 inches of very slick, hardpack snow up top. I would definitely recommend Microspikes if you intend to reach the summit. As of this posting, Highway 441 is closed. Check out the Park Service's twitter feed for updated road status.
I went out for a short jaunt yesterday afternoon, just as the impressively raw weather was cresting. Freezing rain was flying sideways, leaving you to cinch your hood and shake your head at just how real reality can be. We are typically selective with our days in the backcountry, but when we limit ourselves to 'nice' days, we miss a great deal. I will remember the cruel winds whipping my face at Cliff Tops and the way the sleet was just solid enough to hurt far more than every non-descript sunny day combined. I am the luckiest man alive.
2/17/2015 12:48:54 am
There's nothing like periodic exposure to nature's essence to keep us grounded. Too much dying weather, like yesterday, really tests our mettle!
2/17/2015 12:51:31 am
11 inches of snow here in North east Kentucky and -7 deg last nite and I hate it!!!!
2/17/2015 09:35:31 am
I hate it too! If I could live close to the mountains I would appreciate the untouched beauty of it but since I live in the city, snow and temps below zero is just a huge, annoying nuisance.
2/17/2015 01:09:19 am
"What is divinity if it can come
Dick K, your comment brings to mind a line from a movie which is certainly true for me personally: "Get busy living or get busy dying" !
2/17/2015 05:06:36 am
Gatlinburg Library lets "out of town folks" borrow 2 books if you ever come up here to read! They have an excellent "Smoky Mt Collection"! The Wiley Oakley Book I checked out had been checked out 100 years before me! Still a small town! lol
2/18/2015 12:41:59 am
I have that book and it is really interesting. I bought it at one of the Visitors Centers but don't remember which one
2/17/2015 01:30:34 pm
Interesting site Steve...thanks for sharing
2/17/2015 02:42:06 am
I have attached a line for those of use think it is cold.
2/17/2015 04:00:48 am
I just re-read my entry. Sad. It should read a "link" and "those of us". I would like to attribute it to cold fingers but it is really brain freeze.
2/17/2015 06:09:33 am
To me, the most interesting thing to take away from this photo is that you can identify the direction of the prevailing winds. The frozen tops of these conifers point in the direction of wind flow. Nice catch, JP! Intended or otherwise.
2/17/2015 07:22:03 am
I'm looking to run/hike up the Rainbow Falls Trail, to the summit of Mt. LeConte, and then back down Bull Head Trail on Saturday. I've never been up this Mt. before and I'm wondering if someone knows if Rainbow Falls Trail will be safe to climb with all the creek crossings or if I should just go up and back down Bull Head Trail? Any suggestions or info would be great.
If the forecast is anything near correct, Saturday will be a miserable day to climb LeConte. There's already crusty snow and ice on the trail, we're going to get more snow between now and then with temps staying below freezing until Saturday--and then we're supposed to get more precipitation that will be rain (snow at higher elevations). Those wet conditions around the freezing point can produce hypothermia faster than colder, drier conditions. Unless you are superhuman, you won't be running--you will be slogging.
2/17/2015 01:06:56 pm
Hey Jenny B thanks for the reply. I know weather forecasts can always be wrong, and from what I'm seeing on the web its showing the temp being around 29F down in Gatlinburg when I plan to start and 27F up on Mt. LeConte when I plan on getting up there, with the temp rising to the 35F by the time I hope to get back. Is this what you are seeing also? I also see that they are currently projecting snow during that time. Now that I've never been up there soI don't know how rough the weather can be, and when I think of snow or even a light sleet I'm totally okay with all the way down to 19F with 10mph winds. I don't expect to really run up the mountain, it would be more like a slog anyways, until its time to descend. I have the Mt. Cheaha 50K the following weekend and I really want to push my cardio for a long time up a mountain, that's why I want to run/slog up the mountain. If it rains then I'm not going to attempt it at all, and might not run at all, it just wouldn't make sense, or be safe. I've experienced the early stages of Hypothermia and its not fun at all. Seriously any additional clarification or info is totally appreciated. I am human and I do bleed, but I also like attempting things that people just wouldn't normally consider doing.
tomk in SC
2/17/2015 01:19:11 pm
I'm thinking first time hike under these conditions is a light to moderately bad idea. I'm also thinking you are going to do it anyway. My advice is to look at sundown time and just before you launch do some math that determines your turnaround time and wherever you are, turn around at that time. I did a winter hike up Rainbow some years back, got a late start and turned around at West Point. I knew the lodge was so close, but that is just what you have to do in winter. You'll need a backpack with enough gear to overnight on the trail should you crack a foot or ankle. Best of luck, you'll need it. Post how it went next week. There's a 90% chance it will be awesome!
2/17/2015 07:34:00 am
Ed, in S. Indiana I got 8 inches of snow and ten below zero this morning, and I love it!! When JP talks about enjoying snow up there, I can completely relate to that. Nothing beats a snowy winter.
Joseph N., the forecast I'm looking at shows 30 degrees and sleet at 7 a.m., 37 degrees and rain at noon, and 43 degrees and rain at 4 p.m.--all for Gatlinburg, not for the summit. (Obviously, an hour-by-hour forecast this far ahead has to be treated with several large grains of salt.) So that would translate to snow through most of the period on the summit with rain probably more on your way down than your way up. The other thing, of course, is the footing. Sounds like there'll be a sloppy mess on the trail, a mix of snow, ice, and slush. I hear what you're saying about doing things in tough conditions and second Tom's advice about just being very careful if you go up there. Regarding creek crossings on RF trail, you'll have log bridges for most of them (I do vaguely recall someone saying one of the bridges was out). Of course, those bridges can be tricky if they have ice. Maybe given your goal stick with BH up and down. But honestly, I don't recommend either one.
Comments are closed.
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!