View Full Version : AT Safety this Season

02-20-2010, 20:18
Living 30 minutes from the AT has its perks, and one of those is that I get trail gossip quickly. Quite a few early starters are dropping off trail and going home this year already because of the snow at the higher elevations.

For any of you that are starting soon PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep your down bags dry, carry maps, a compass, and be aware of what is going on around you.

Being a tough guy or gal this season is going to get someone hurt. The snow is thigh high in some of the upper elevations, and it is mighty cold.

Have a great hike and be safe. If anyone gets up near Damascus and gets in trouble PM me for my phone number and we can get you out.

02-20-2010, 21:14
same here, I'm near Roan Mountain...PM if in distress, or not :)

02-21-2010, 07:14
I can be at a trail crossing in five minutes, but those that make it this far north usually have things figured out pretty well. I hear those stories though, and I've met one or two dropping out for medical reasons at Waynesboro.

02-21-2010, 08:48
Anyone heard from Darrel and his wife Diane? They were scheduled to start Feb 1 at Springer.


02-21-2010, 09:28

From the snowpack map it looks like they get into it pretty quick after getting out of Georgia. Yikes, not a good year for an early start.


Cedar Tree
02-21-2010, 09:34
. The snow is thigh high in some of the upper elevations, and it is mighty cold.

This is correct. There are many "snow drifts" right on the trail that hit me at upper thigh, especially when I was the first out after a snow. Very tough hiking out there now, hopefully this warm weather will melt some of this.
Cedar Tree

Springer to Unicoi Gap so far.

02-21-2010, 10:55
I was at MRO a few days ago, and apparently Mount Rogers and Grayson are a mess. Trees down on the trail everywhere. Sounds like it is going to be one of those years for trail maintaining.

If it was me starting this year, I'd wait 2-3 weeks and save up a little more cash and let some of the snow melt before I hit the trail. It would suck to have to get off trail for a 2 weeks because the snow and downed trees make finding the trail impossible.

02-21-2010, 11:06
Wanna talk to someone about a cold, early start on the AT? Shoot a PM to Kayak Karl, he'll tell you all about it. Weather like this shouldn't be entirely unexpected for early starters. After all, it's winter and it does tend to snow in the mountains this time of year. For those experienced at winter hiking and adequately prepared for it, hanger or ground dweller, it can be an absolutely wonderful and beautiful thing to be out right now. For those inexperienced and/or unprepared, it can be plain old dangerous. There can be plenty of lessons to learn out there. For many, it can be that winter hiking isn't for them.

Last time I was in Damascus a few weeks ago, Dave at MRO said the trail was littered with blowdowns everywhere. On the day hike at SoRuck, the AT had a few blowdowns, but the blue-blazed Wesser Creek Trail was practically one blowdown after another. I passed through Hot Springs a few weeks ago as well and Daniel at BMO said that info off the mountain is that the AT in that area was the same. Lots of hard winter weather has hit the trail in plenty of areas, making the trail more difficult, however, not impassable.

02-21-2010, 20:34
we were in inbetween unicoi gap and dicks gaps this weekend the trail is in good shape except for tray mtn which is bad... but there is about 3 foot snow drifts up higher but it was 70 degrees! great weather

02-21-2010, 21:00
I just hiked from Springer to Woody gap and although there is ice in the morning the snow isn't bad at all. If you are going to be hiking the AT now, GA is about the only place you can make any miles.

02-22-2010, 09:09
Alot of blow downs here in the Smokies. A Christmas windstorm plus freeze/thaw/rain has really made the ground unstable for slides too. I did a 9.75mi hike this Sat and had to navigate one blow down after another in the low elevations.

This is where I ended up on Cooper Rd trail. The mountain to the far left is Thunderhead on the AT.

02-22-2010, 09:56
yes i have been blowdowned to death on my past two winter hikes. nothing worse IMO than constant, scratchy, crawly, limboing blowdowns every ten yards.

one of those trips was in the smokies

02-22-2010, 10:20
You guys are making me nervous about the condition of the blue blaze trail I maintain in SNP. I haven't been on it for three weeks and was going to do blowdown duty this weekend, but chickened out because while hiking in a foot of snow is fun, hiking in a foot of slush sucks. I'm sure there are plenty of maintainers and overseers feeling the same way down south and that they'll be out there soon. I spent my weekend sharpening my saw :)

02-22-2010, 12:42
...going to do blowdown duty this weekend...
Can you get some on-scene pictures of your Molly Mac Pack configured for Trail Mainenance?

- MacEntyre

02-22-2010, 12:58
You betcha!

... yes is too short a reply.

03-04-2010, 22:43
I'm working on a trip through the smokies in two weeks, anyone know the shape of the trails, or where I could find out?

03-05-2010, 06:53
Funny how no one seems to post concerns about southbounders during the winter. Then again all of us are a little off to start with.

03-05-2010, 10:10
Then again all of us are a little off to start with.
A "little" you say? :tongueup::lol:

03-05-2010, 19:18
A "little" you say? :tongueup::lol:

Ok my little might be a lot to most people.....:rolleyes:

03-05-2010, 20:25
I got some friends headed for a 5-day trip in the smokies. If anyone has heard of bad trail conditions where they're going, please let me know.

Day 1: Cosby Campground to Cosby Knob Shelter on the AT (Approx 7 miles)

Day 2: Cosby Knob Shelter to Tri-corner Knob Shelter to elevation 6621 (7.7 miles)

Day 3: Tri-corner Knob Shelter to Peck's Corner Shelter to (6-7 miles)

Day 4: Peck's corner Shelter to Icewater Springs Shelter to(8 miles)

Day 5: Icewater Springs Shelter to New Found Gap Road to (less than 8 miles)

Thanks, love this forum


03-06-2010, 14:17
Can't say for sure about the Smokies, but the report coming off of some of the trail journals looks like the herd is in town right outside of the smokies and awaiting better trail conditions. A few have tried to start and turned around.