May 6, 2017
2:30 PM Update:
US 441 has just been re-closed due to ice and snow. We are now up to 6" of snow on the ground with flakes still falling. A new wrinkle to the conditions are the increasing winds. We are getting gusts in excess of 20 mph currently, which is causing snow drifts to form. Temperatures remain in the mid 20s.
11:30 AM Update:
It's definitely been an interesting week on the mountain. Late yesterday evening, before the last of the light faded from the sky, we witnessed a quick shift in the precipitation. The clouds that had been misting on us much of the day quickly skipped from sleet to snow. Temps slowly creeped below the freezing mark, leaving us to wonder what kind of scene we would wake up to in the morning. Once again, we were to be blessed with another day in May with snow.
We received 4" of snow during the night, coming after 0.3" of rainfall. The melted snow accounted for another 1" of liquid precipitation. Yesterday's high temperature was a meager 47, and our low bottomed out at 25. It's been holding in the mid 20s ever since, with snow flakes once again coming down. Given the forecast, it's highly likely that we'll see a bump in the accumulation before this system moves out.
US 441 is now open. Cherokee Orchard remains closed above Twin Creeks. It should be said that if you are intent on ascending this mountain, please take all factors into consideration. We had a handful of guests start early and arrive late yesterday, all of whom made the climb up from the visitor center. This inclusion of Old Sugarlands Road with Rainbow Falls makes for a long day, one made even longer given the severity of downed trees. And now there is snow and ice that isn't done falling yet, which will certainly require more energy and more time to hike through. If you aren't used to hiking in these conditions, or equipped with the gear that would allow you to do so safely and comfortably, please think through your options. The mountain is not going anywhere. Please don't put yourself or others at risk.
Temperatures are expected to remain frigid up here throughout the day. The sun is slated to take back control tomorrow with a rise in day time temps. Trail conditions will be soggy as the snow melts. We won't be seeing the llamas again until the roads and trails are cleared of all debris. We gathered reports yesterday of numerous trees down on all trails to and from the mountain.
Have a great weekend and be safe.
5/6/2017 01:10:02 pm
Thanks! WHat's your latest Spring season snowfall?
5/6/2017 02:09:32 pm
I'm coming up in 2 weeks and I'd love to see this snow then!!!
5/6/2017 04:53:26 pm
Unbelievable!!! Keep thinking SPRING!!!
5/6/2017 02:13:27 pm
Wow! That Smoky Mtn. weather can be extreme and change so suddenly! We came up last weekend for a short hiking weekend. We didn't hike LeConte, but some of the trails we did hike had fallen trees even then. Looks like the NPS might have their hands full with clearing all the trails. For those of you planning to hike up soon, make sure you are equipped with plenty of "potential" gear and prepared for whatever the mountain gives you. Spring can be so unpredictable. To the Lodge Crew: Your view up there is beautiful with all the snow! Hope you have everything you need until the llamas can return! Thanks again for the updates & pics!
5/6/2017 02:40:51 pm
Reservations for Wednesday night. Chances for 'unimpeded' hike? Guesstimate?
5/6/2017 04:44:26 pm
FANTASTIC video! THANKS!
5/6/2017 05:40:28 pm
Thanks for the directions down Rainbow Falls and into town John. I made it into Gatlinburgh in 3 hours. I'm so glad that I made it down the mountain before the snow hit!! Although I would love to have been up there to see it! see you guys Wednesday.
5/6/2017 06:15:18 pm
LeConte is always full of surprises!
5/6/2017 06:41:25 pm
Nice video! Enjoy.
5/6/2017 07:04:16 pm
Thanks for the updates - please update if you can in the morning or if the open 451. Thanks!
5/6/2017 08:02:14 pm
Wow! Beautiful! Thanks for keeping us updated.
5/7/2017 11:38:00 am
There is nothing more beautiful than waking up to Leconte in the snow. This was our unexpected pleasure during our annual climb April 20016. No ice so we were able to just enjoy the beauty and have a safe hike back off the mountain. My most treasured Leconte memory. Be safe and be prepared!
5/7/2017 01:27:09 pm
I was part of a group that made the ascent on May 5. We were definitely prepared for the weather and included down bags, shelter, stove, and food...just in case. Fortunately we didn't need it and we all had a great time! Thank you for the hospitality and the great (and very welcome) food and hot coffee! That snowfall was a real treat to hike out in May 6.
5/8/2017 08:44:46 am
Almost exactly a year ago, I awoke at Icewater Springs shelter to 29 degrees and a dusting of snow. I proceeded up The Boulevard to the Lodge with the snow getting deeper by the mile. The rest of the family was coming up Trillium from balmy temps and clear trails. When the got to the lodge, they looked shell shocked! We are coming up in July this year!
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