Well, It seems the previous post drew some heat. Nature is a powerful force that isn't controllable, I'm not saying anyone, including myself, is immune to winter. But, there are proper precautions with gear and supplies. When I see people wandering around up here in T-shirts and jeans in the snow on a regular occasion, it's frustrating. The reason I am here is to watch the lodge and assist people that need help. The sleeping bag situation happened recently, I did not turn them back to the cold. Because I am up here isn't an excuse to come to Mt. LeConte unprepared. Please be prepared and know your own limits. I apologize if I came off as rude.
3" of Snow Already Today, More on the way.
Kombucha is a fermented Tea with Medicinal qualities. Black Tea, A cup of sugar, and a kombucha scooby on top. yumyum. goodnight.
1/5/2011 01:05:23 pm
I didn't think you came off too strong with your previous post, I completely understand that it is not your job to be on the mountain and provide lodging to everyone that ventures up. I would be upset to say the least if there were folks that came up there without any overnight gear and expected to bunk with you.
1/5/2011 01:20:18 pm
1/5/2011 04:07:20 pm
1/5/2011 04:14:34 pm
Mt. Le Conte has no monopoly on morons expecting nature to meet them on their own terms in the Smokies. They’re everywhere. This ain’t Disney World, and you can suffer mightily and even die in these mountains through ignorance and hubris. In the winter the risk is multiplied. Glad it's you and not me that has to put up with the morons every day.
1/5/2011 11:35:00 pm
No need to apologize. No need to bail them out. There is no one associated with the Park who would let them go up there unprepared if they would just ask first. In this modern world everything has been sanitized and you can just push the reset button if things don't go your way. Nature does not suffer fools well.
1/5/2011 11:57:17 pm
Alex, I didn't think your remark was out of line at all. People need to consider all the possibilities and take the appropriate gear. Your advice could save a life.
1/6/2011 12:15:15 am
Alex! I think you were right on the money to express yourself as you did. I think a lot of people do not understand the seriousness of getting themselves stuck on the top of a mountain with 2 feet of snow on the ground.
1/6/2011 01:14:39 am
1/6/2011 01:15:48 am
No need to appologize. Things do happen, but there is no excuse for being unprepared. Even the most experienced can get caught with unexpected circumstances. However, i do believe a lot of people that stay in the shelter think "If i get cold then i will just knock on the door at the lodge till someone lets me in." And that is not right. I too would be aggravated if i were woke up in the middle of the night for essentially a non-emergecy matter because they were unprepared or had that "backup plan" mindset.
1/6/2011 01:24:38 am
I aggree with all previous posts. No need to apologize Alex. Thanks for all the pics and info.
1/6/2011 01:44:35 am
Never apologize for speaking the truth. I am continuously amazed at the people I see on the Leconte trails in any kind of weather. People up past Alum cave in 90+ degree heat with NO gear asking if you can get a bottle of water somewhere up top. I have helped many people who were ill prepared and I'm sure I will help many more. I totally agree with the others that most people have no understanding of nature's harshness and do not get the meaning of survival of the fittest.
1/6/2011 01:46:21 am
Yep, I agree with Ernie. There are many whose personal Super Hero is El Stupido!
1/6/2011 01:47:02 am
I hear what is being said about Mt. Leconte's conditions, but have already planned a trip to the area. I have hiked in the smokies during the summer but this is my first true winter hiking trip. I am arriving this weekend and staying in Sevierville for a week. I have the additional gear needed for day hiking only. I see on the 10 day forecast that snow is possible each day. I was wanting to do some lower trails but also want to cap the trip with a climb of Mt. Laconte or Rocky Top. I have yaktrax, trekking poles, and good waterproof clothing-boots, what else is a must before trying a difficult climb. What trailheads may be open when new found gap is closed, can I still access rainbow falls and lead cove trails? Also looking for hiking partners between Jan. 9th-Jan.13th firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks
1/6/2011 02:01:53 am
Alex you are right on the money! In my 35 years of backpacking and hiking I have seen all kinds with either no water, inadequate gear, no first aid kit, etc, etc. People have to realize they live by their own decisions and should prepare for the worst when backpacking in the high country during winter. and not be pre-disposed to depend upon others.
1/6/2011 03:48:25 am
I understand your frustration and agree with your comments. So after your post about people on the mountain in t-shirts why is there a picture posted of someone up to their knees in snow wearing only a t-shirt shown?
1/6/2011 03:51:23 am
Alex, it's "Dang if you do and dang if you don't." It seems no matter what you post or don't post somebody is going to complain. It's just the world we live in. Thanks for the pics and info you post.
1/6/2011 03:55:04 am
Alex, I don't think that your comments were wrong. It is a common sense thing. I have seen many people, in good weather, not be prepared for what may happen while hiking. True, a person may not be able to be ready for everything, but it is kind of a given that at higher elevations, it is colder, the wind blows more, and there is just more weather to deal with. On another note, I love the pictures you are posting. Keep warm.
1/6/2011 04:51:51 am
I am the one that posted the picture of the guy breaking trail in a t-shirt. I knew the person was fine because he has on quick dry pants and a back pack, which has his dry layers. The idea when you are hiking is to stay dry. You want to have on wicking layers. The shirt this man was wearing is a quick dry shirt. When he stopped, he had the appropriate clothing necessary to keep him warm and dry.
1/6/2011 05:03:24 am
I have a comment on t-shrits. Looking back at 12-29's post:yes, he does have on a t-shirt, my guess would be that it is a quick drying material. Being hot natured I have hiked alot of trails in short sleeves (not cotton but quick drying material-under armor is good) in snow on the uphill climbing. Be assured that I have layers in my pack for the downhill descent. Agian I say...Research-Research-Research before heading out. No one is beyond getting into a crisis but it makes it alot easier if you are prepared. Happy Hiking!
1/6/2011 05:04:22 am
Just discovered your blog. I live in Asheville and enjoy winter hiking in the high country. Don't know if you're familiar with the Barr Camp on Pikes Peak, but that stay open year round and is a great place to drop in on to warm up and have a hot drink. You guys should do that too. If we're up there mind if we pop in for a visit (will be wearing microfleece, wool and gor-tex!)
1/6/2011 05:07:51 am
Allyson-We must have been thinking the same thing because you posted your comment while I was typing mine. Well said..:)
1/6/2011 06:09:47 am
1/6/2011 06:48:00 am
There are many opportunities for folks to get great information at the GSMNP visitor centers or GSMA visitor centers on their way to the park. You can even have your gear checked at Sugarlands to make sure you have what you need. People wander out into this wilderness without a clue no matter what season. I think this blog has given them in some ways a false sense of security when climbing the mountain. Alex I beleive is just giving them information that will keep them safer. We seem to have become a nation where we accept no responsility for our own actions. Yes bad things do happen and every action has some sort of reaction...good or bad. At 6000# feet you better plan for the worse and be prepared. You can always hike another day. There is no shame in turning back. It is better to be safe than sorry, or have to risk the safety of others to fetch you off the mountain.
i have just discovered this site. it is great. thanks for all of the pictures. my family and i have been coming to the mts for years and we have done some hiking but have never gotten to leconte. we have come as far as alum cave. we look at pictures and read everything and now this is just great. we may never get to get up there even for just a day hike but with this site we will get to see some of it.
1/6/2011 08:46:17 am
Alex is so right. My husband and 10 year old hiked out to Charlies Bunion this past Sunday (did Leconte 12/24..ice!. We ended up only going to the Icewater Springs Shelter because the sky started looking a little unnerving to us, although we knew they weren't calling for anything to move in. The trail was very icy most all the way and had tons of snow and slush and melt-off. We saw a family - Dad, Mom, and two little girls - on the trail with no snow gear, just regular clothes...and it was freezing and extremely windy! And you definitely needed at least Yaktrax...but we had our Microspkies on. The Mom looked terrified! We made some small talk as we passed them and she said she was petrified of heights!!! I said to my family..why in the world would you get on a trail in the snow and ice unprepared AND afraid to begin with??? The only actual equipment I saw were two hiking poles..and the mom had them both.
1/6/2011 10:24:25 am
Keep up the good work my man !! Great pics. nice blog, and EXCELLENT advice to all.
1/6/2011 11:14:51 am
I can understand your frustration that people are not prepared.Being outside in winter and not expecting the weather to change is nonsense.Especialy in the mountains,We allways prepare when we come to the mountains no matter what season.P.S. I love the pics very much,thanks.
1/7/2011 03:16:59 am
Absolutely no need to apologize. Sometimes folks just need a reality check and perhaps being blunt is the way to give them that reality check. I suspect you'll always have some though who either lack the knowledge needed to prepare adequately or either lack the general good sense to prepare adequately! Keep up the good work Alex!
1/7/2011 05:59:59 am
Kevin, I've done very little winter hiking in the Smokies, but I'd be very concerned about going into deep snow without gaiters. I've hiked Blood Mountain in Georgia (4458 feet) while wearing above-the-ankle day hikers and found that even 2-3 inches of snow was enough to get under my rain pants cuffs and soak my ankles and socks. At 19F with a 30-mph wind, it got rough. If I'd been wearing cotton, I would probably have lost some toes. At 6500 feet on LeConte, I'd want to be 100 percent certain my feet would stay dry!
1/8/2011 09:25:20 am
I lived at 4300ft. in the mountains of North Caroline for ten years and rasied my four kids there. I can not tell you how many times we had a foot of snow at my house and the base of the mountain had a dusting. People would try to drive up the mountain in 2-wheel drive. I think a lot of people in this area have not seen that much snow at one time and they do not realize how dangerous it can be if you are unprepared. Alex, you are doing them a favor by firmly warning them. Keep up the good work.
1/12/2011 09:22:04 am
The easiest, most sensible way to eliminate the annoyance of 2 AM guests ... simply remove the Lodge. While there are sure to be unprepared hikers even after the Lodge is no more, their numbers will be far fewer -- at least, on top of the mountain. Without the Lodge as a crutch, the majority of miserable and taxed hikers will retreat back down the mountain rather than pushing on. Meanwhile the Park Service talks out of both sides of its mouth, rightly citing "unacceptable resource damage" as the reason for the campfire ban at the LeConte shelter, while a few yards down the trail sits the humpin' Lodge -- the largest backcountry "resource" disturbance in the entire park. It's impossible to deny no matter how many updates or "improvements" have been made, might be made, could me made or should be made. Is it any wonder that those less than inclined to follow rules for their own sake continue to have bonfires out front of the shelter. I don't condone it -- in fact, I condemn it -- but I understand how they can't see the sense in the mixed-message policy, because there's not a drop of sense in it to be found.
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