I've always heard and read on a NOBO hike, don't send the winter gear home until after Mt Rogers, VA. At 5700+ ft, VA's highest peak can get right wintry even into May. During my hike through there with my dad in May of 2002 we read journal entries of how Big Red and others turned back to Damascus to await snow and sleet and high wind to pass before going through the high country. They were 2 days ahead of us so you could hit it on a beautiful day and not need winter gear - but we've all heard "better safe than sorry". As far as having it returned to you somewhat depends on whether you're flip-flopping, how late in the season you're approaching the Greens and Whites, etc. I spoke to a SOBO "Slow Ride" in 2001 who said as he crossed Mt Washington, "It was a beautiful morning with hardly a cloud in sight. 15 minutes later I was crawling on my hands and knees to keep from being blown off the mountain and it was lightning and hailing and visibility was near zero." I pooped my shorts just hearing about it!