I've attached a few photos for you all to peruse. There's no other news to report regarding our status for Sunday. We'll try to reassess Sunday morning after we get updates from the Park Service. All the folks at the lodge are in good shape--happy, well-fed and warm.
Please don't try to hike up today. We'll have plenty of snow hanging around for a while. We are closed, except for taking care of last night's guests who felt is wise to stay over. The Park Service has its hands full with lots of work. If you do choose to get out in the backcountry, be prepared for a self rescue. Last night we had two people destined for the backcountry shelter show up after 9 p.m., one of them in blue jeans and tennis shoes in (at that time) five inches of snow. If we were not here, he almost certainly would have died last night. This weather (snow depth, wind and temperature) is not to be taken lightly. Happy trails (just don't try it today).
Update -- 10:19 a.m. : General manager Tim Line just received word that all roads accessing trails leading to LeConte should be closed most of the day. Thus, in a rarity, LeConte Lodge is closed to new guests hiking up today.
Some of last night's guests chose to hike down together this morning. Others chose to stay at LeConte Lodge and depart Sunday. We will reevaluate our opening status Sunday morning when we get the latest road condition and weather reports. We have quite a bit going on. If we get caught up with work, I'll try to post a photo of the continuing snowfall.
Good morning to you all. I wanted to provide a quick update on weather conditions at LeConte Lodge.
We received a significant winter storm beginning last night. Friday's high was 38 with a low of 14. We currently have 17 inches of snow on the ground with more snow steadily falling. Additionally, the wind has been quite stout, creating deep drifts around the lodge grounds. Conditions for hiking will be quite difficult and strenuous.
The forecast calls for more snow throughout the day. The high is expected to be in the 20s with windy conditions Saturday.
As far as access to the trails leading to LeConte Lodge goes, we know that U.S. Highway 441 was closed last night and remains closed. Current feeling from Park Service officials is that 441 may be closed all Saturday. Park road crews are stretched quite thin now as there is also snow at the bottom of the mountain, which has taken down lots of trees because they still were holding on to their leaves. At this point, we are unsure about whether the road to the Rainbow Falls/Bullhead parking lot will be cleared today.
As you may imagine, we have plenty of chores to do around here, too. Snow makes everything harder. If we get more information throughout the day, we'll try to pass it along via High on LeConte. Happy trails.