Well I only have one bad experience; it is also what hooked me on winter hiking. It happen back in 1997 when a buddy who I had been 3 season hiking with for three years and I decided to test our grit with winter hiking. Even though we were ill equipped (cheap rain poncho was the extent of our rain/snow protection) we thought how tough could it be. We decided to do a back tracking trip on a section of the AT that runs boarder of NC and TN(Yellow Mt. shelter over Little Hump Mt. and Hump Mt down to Apple House shelter) one day across and one day back I believe the total mileage was 17 miles. We arrived at the Yellow Mt. shelter Friday night to a temp. of 28 degrees and just patches of snow here and there, we both slept great and stayed warm. Saturday morning we got up and headed across Little Hump and Hump Mt. since these two are bald the wind was quite fierce it was hard to walk without being blown sideways still there was only patches of snow. We made it to the Apple House shelter around 2:00pm plenty of time to gather firewood and sit back and talk about the dayís events. Around 5:30 two more people came and joined us they were headed out to 19E the next morning, they told us that rain was forecasted for lower elevations on Sunday. Well that got us concerned just a little by the time we got to bed the temp registered 38 degrees since we had came down in elevation from the night before. The next morning we woke to sleet hitting the metal roof on the shelter the other guys suggested that we hike out with them and that they would shuttle us over to our car, we respectfully declined. We ate a light breakfast and suited up in our rain ponchos took a temp reading of 36 degree. Well about half way up the backside of Doll Flats it turned to snow. As we made our way up Hump Mt the snow got deeper and the wind got stronger. Just as we were about to clear the wood line and head out into the bald section we decided to grab a bite to eat and drink of water, after that everything that could happen did. As we made our way over the first bald the snow ended up being around 18" of course we didnít own any gaiters at the time ďnot funĒ. The wind got so bad that the only way we could communicate was to stand shoulder to shoulder with are backs against the wind and yell back and forth. Of course we had water issues caps on our canteens froze to appoint that we were not able to open them. I checked my watch when we got in between Hump Mt. and Little Hump we tried to get water and food in us it was around 1:00pm, thatís when I notice as we stood there that we going into the first stages of hypothermia. Our speech was becoming slurred we could comprehend what each of us was saying it was even hard to put our thoughts to words. About five minutes later my buddy decided to sit down and started dozing in and out, still not all there myself I donít know if I was seeing things or not but there was a break in the clouds and everything got bright the sun was poking through the clouds and I kind of snapped out of it long a enough to see that my friend had fallen asleep. I realized that wasnít right so shook him awake and forced him to get up and keep moving as long as we were moving I thought we were okay. From the point when we took that break to when we got to the car everything was a blur. When we got the car of course I got it going and turned up the heat, as the car warmed up we changed into some dry cloths that we had left in the car. Just as the car started to warm up my legs locked up it felt just like a cramp shortly after it eased up. I donít remember none of the drive off the mountain, all I remember is pulling into McDonaldís parking lot to get something to eat.
Sorry for the long story but in the end that trip is what hooked me into winter hiking.