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RE: [at-l] departures

Another consideration is ice. I hiked the northern half of the AT through
the Smokies this january and had one day where the trail was completely
frozen over. It snowed then melted then refroze over the trail. I walked 10
miles on a sheet of ice on a ridgetop. If I had not had my two poles with me
I could not have made it and would have had to turn back. It was bad enough
that if I had a partner with me (I was solo) i would have tied us together
with rope for safety in case one of us slipped over the edge. I was wishing
for crampons that day.

With an early start you have to be prepared for snow or ice conditions in GA
and NC. Ideally crampons and snowshoes are what you need. But the weight is
prohibitive and you have to make tradeoffs. I think if I were to start off
on a thru-hike in Feb I would watch the weather and make a decision at the
last minute based on the wather patterns. The I'd be prepared to come down
off the trail temporarily if conditions worsened.

Jim McBride

> ----------
> From: 	Cora Drake[SMTP:cora_drake@hotmail.com]
> Sent: 	Friday, August 06, 1999 12:44 PM
> To: 	big_g@linuxfreak.com; at-l-digest@backcountry.net
> Cc: 	wthorneloe@excite.com
> Subject: 	Re: [at-l] departures
> Could be a lifesaver?  I, too, love winter hiking and camping but have 
> wondered what I'd do about heavy drifting or one of those snows that just 
> keeps coming down...  I suppose there are so many road crossings it would
> be 
> hard to be in real trouble, but if you're going that early I can see how 
> you'd consider it.  Weather radios are lighter...
> >From: Big G <big_g@linuxfreak.com>
> >To: at-l-digest@backcountry.net
> >CC: wthorneloe@excite.com
> >Subject: Re: [at-l] departures
> >Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 12:34:48 -0400
> >
> > > > Anyone else thinking about starting in February?  Anyone else start
> in
> > > > February in years gone by?
> > > >
> > >
> > > The past few years have shown a lot of people leaving Springer pretty 
> >early.
> > > This year was a particularly good year, with very few snows and only 
> >brief
> > > cold snaps. There was one brief snow in the 3rd week of March. Of 
> >course,
> > > 1992 had the blizzard that endangered a heck of a lot of hikers in the
> > > Smokies. Yet, the NC bomber started his marathon "hike" in Feb 97, and
> > > apparently has been moving along with few hinderances.
> > >
> > > A benefit of leaving in February includes fewer bugs, fewer people
> (I'm 
> >not
> > > sure which is more irritating), and more selection at Neel's Gap when 
> >you
> > > figure out what you really needed when you started. A problem is the 
> >need
> > > for more clothing, hence weight, to deal with the cold and weather
> that 
> >is
> > > likely. It would be a very good idea to learn survival skills
> regarding
> > > snow, ice, freezing rain, and cold _before_ loading you pack. 
> >Hypothermia
> > > kills, and enjoys a snack on fingers, toes, and noses.
> > >
> >
> >Thanks for the info.  I've been culling journal wisdom from early
> >starters trying to figure out what the environment will be like.
> >Personally, I enjoy winter camping and backpacking but as I am
> >originally from Ohio and now Michigan I just don't know what to expect
> >on the southern AT in February and March.
> >
> >Currently my great debate revolves around whether or not to take my
> >snowshoes along in the beginning.  No journal writer that I've read has
> >done so but a few have mentioned (one in UPPERCASE) how they wished for
> >a pair.  One journaler mentioned seeing a snowshoer cruising merrily
> >along so I know some people see the merit.  Anyway, my distilled
> >thoughts on the subject are 1) snowshoes aren't needed, but 2) shoeshoes
> >don't have to be worn all day to become worth their weight, and 3) I
> >really want a picture of me standing on top of a drift next to someone
> >postholing their way through it. :)
> >
> >Any thoughts?  I can't guarantee that I'll heed all advice but I would
> >like to hear it so I can make more of an informed decision.
> >
> >-=G=-
> >* From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List |  http://www.backcountry.net
> *
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