PDA

View Full Version : 2014 Thru hikers starting later than usual becuase of snow/cold?



TheYoungOne
02-07-2014, 13:08
Follow last years trail journals, it seems 2013 was a bit brutal than previous years. The southern states got hit with late snow storms. Looking at this years weather and the so called "polar vortex" are some of you 2014 thru hikers bumping up your start times to a later date?

Gus9890
02-07-2014, 15:39
I'm still planning on starting my hike within the first couple weeks of March, but I also grew up in Northwest PA and I have a strong outdoors background.

TurboPants
02-07-2014, 16:18
I wondered when this topic was going to pop up hehe.

Here in Ohio we've been breaking cold records weekly for the last month. My 2014 got pushed to 2015, but had I still intended on doing it this year I'd definitely be starting later than March 20. Even the 2nd week of April it was in the high 30s in the gatlinburg area at lower elevations. All I can say is for those on the fence regarding sleeping gear, consider adding a liner of some sort for a few more degrees or even a space blanket, and MAYBE even going to a 0* down bag instead of a 20-30* bag. You almost have to wait until March to see if this jet stream will change. I expect folks to be hanging on to their cold gear a bit longer if this continues.

moldy
02-07-2014, 16:39
It's foolish to walk into this crap at the start of a thru hike. Today is the 7th of Feb and about 25 people have signed in as thru hikers at Springer. Most have tumbled right back home. The rest are still in Georgia. It's not possible to see what March will look like at this point. Everyone out there who can push the start later in the month will be better for it and increase their odds at success.

Jeff
02-07-2014, 17:12
Keep in mind the weather on the AT at an elevation of 4000-5000 foot is sharply different than those forecasts of towns like Hiawassee, Franklin, etc.

sadlowskiadam
02-07-2014, 17:35
Started last your at Springer on April 28th, and I'm glad I did due to the severe weather in March and April. I really never felt rushed and reached Katahdin on Oct. 12th. A LOT of early starters got off the trail last year due to bad weather and most did not return to the trail. For those starting in 2014 who are not used to hiking in winter conditions, I would recommend starting no earlier than April 15. Just my 2 cents. Best of luck to the Class of 2014. Wish I could do it again!

kayak karl
02-07-2014, 17:52
2014 thru hikers bumping up your start times to a later date? will this incease the success percentage ?

Happy44
02-07-2014, 17:56
i start march 1st, lets see if thats a good choice!

moldy
02-07-2014, 20:27
will this incease the success percentage ?
For several years some hiking buddies and myself had a NOBO thru hike "fantasy hiking league". We went on Trail Journals and each picked a 10 person team and we tracked them on TJ. We each kicked in a hundred bucks. 1 point per mile. After a few years we each developed a system for winning. Even though I pretty much sucked at it. Others figured it out, and early starters were not a safe bet no matter how strong, motivated, young etc. a hiker looked. Early starters were right up there with fat and old as far as odds making went. That does not mean that old, fat early starters don't make it every year. It's just that if Las Vegas odds makers were handicapping this stuff, early starters won't have great odds. One of the problems was Trail Journals itself, some people walk and some people talk......

4shot
02-08-2014, 09:10
For several years some hiking buddies and myself had a NOBO thru hike "fantasy hiking league". We went on Trail Journals and each picked a 10 person team and we tracked them on TJ. We each kicked in a hundred bucks. 1 point per mile. After a few years we each developed a system for winning. Even though I pretty much sucked at it. Others figured it out, and early starters were not a safe bet no matter how strong, motivated, young etc. a hiker looked. Early starters were right up there with fat and old as far as odds making went. That does not mean that old, fat early starters don't make it every year. It's just that if Las Vegas odds makers were handicapping this stuff, early starters won't have great odds. One of the problems was Trail Journals itself, some people walk and some people talk......

I have always wondered if there was a way to sit atop the summit of Springer each spring and to identify who would finish and who would not. Interestingly enough, I think that I have heard/read that a higher % of "old" hikers finish than younger ones (of course the definition of what is 'old" varies).Everyone is full of hope and enthusiasm at the start. One thing I would look for is the hiker who says that he/she is going to thruhike OR just hike until the trail is no longer fun.
BTE, the idea of 'fantasy league" is funny.

rickb
02-08-2014, 09:40
For several years some hiking buddies and myself had a NOBO thru hike "fantasy hiking league". We went on Trail Journals and each picked a 10 person team and we tracked them on TJ. We each kicked in a hundred bucks. 1 point per mile. After a few years we each developed a system for winning. Even though I pretty much sucked at it. Others figured it out, and early starters were not a safe bet no matter how strong, motivated, young etc. a hiker looked. Early starters were right up there with fat and old as far as odds making went. That does not mean that old, fat early starters don't make it every year. It's just that if Las Vegas odds makers were handicapping this stuff, early starters won't have great odds. One of the problems was Trail Journals itself, some people walk and some people talk......

I find this hard to believe.

(The part about having buddies, I mean)

4shot
02-08-2014, 10:09
I find this hard to believe.

(The part about having buddies, I mean)

your comment is either TIC and very funny OR the petty comments of another anonymous internet tough guy. If it's the former, good job and well done. :)if it's the latter, why post it? Regards,

rickb
02-08-2014, 10:31
Post deleted -- Meriadoc's post below makes a good point

Meriadoc
02-08-2014, 10:37
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, let's remember to discuss what was said and not the person saying them!

Cheers and a merry morning to all.
-Merry

rickb
02-08-2014, 10:41
Best not to bet real money on the success or failure of a fellow hiker, though. Just one person's opinion.

lonehiker
02-08-2014, 11:42
Appears to me that they were betting on success (at least for their team). What is wrong with that?

4shot
02-08-2014, 12:03
The bets are an example of an observational study - data is collected without altering the outcomes of each's hikers chance of success or failure. Success in this case being used in the statistical sense of the word. I think that would be an ethical study (providing that modest sums were being wagered for entertainment purposes only. had to get that legal disclaimer in there). An unethical bet would be an experiment where something was being done to alter the outcomes of the hikes. The hikers are unaware of the study so their hikes are unaltered and data collection is unobtrusive. The data is available as a public record.I have had some background in statistics and design of experiments and don't see anything wrong with it. perhaps if moldy's group was making the results of their wager public but I doubt that they are doing so.

Sly
02-08-2014, 13:15
I find this hard to believe.

(The part about having buddies, I mean)


your comment is either TIC and very funny....,

That's how I took it. :D

Theosus
02-08-2014, 16:39
Best not to bet real money on the success or failure of a fellow hiker, though. Just one person's opinion.

Why not? They are all just building a team and hoping their own team succeeds, and having fun in the process. But even if they are betting the other team fails... it's not going to affect the outcome of what happens in the real world.
A hiker who is going to fail, is going to fail, no matter what someone sitting at a computer 500 miles away is hoping for. A hiker who is going to complete the task, also will not be influenced by any hopes or prayers on the part of some desk jockey he's never heard of.

This is the first "fantasy sport league" I have ever found interesting. All the other ones seem like thinly veiled Dungeons and Dragons for jocks...but this is something that could be fun. Although I limit my bets to about 5 bucks... so this wouldn't pay well for me for the work involved.

4eyedbuzzard
02-08-2014, 16:53
. . . Interestingly enough, I think that I have heard/read that a higher % of "old" hikers finish than younger ones (of course the definition of what is 'old" varies).I would think money and hiking experience and physical fitness all also factor into this.
Many young hikers have not done a lot of backpacking and/or long distance hiking. Some are out there as a coming of age experience, etc. Some also run out of money. Some have school or job pressures/commitments that they must return to. But as a group they tend to have less health/physical problems.
Many "old" hikers are probably more seasoned hikers that have waited many years for their chance to thru-hike. They are as a group probably more experienced hikers and know they want this challenge/experience, more financially secure and/or retired, and don't face as many time restraints. But, physically, older hikers probably drop out more due to injury/illness or just physical tiredness.
I can see where it would be an interesting "fantasy league" to some.

canoe
02-08-2014, 17:15
WOW this got off track quick

4eyedbuzzard
02-08-2014, 17:32
WOW this got off track quick8 posts. It's winter and the weather sucks.
Back on topic: For many years the traditional start date for a NOBO was April 15 due to general/average weather. As thru-hiking become more popular, people began starting earlier and earlier for a variety of reasons that I've heard - college starting in September (students would take off spring semester only), more time to complete hike (October finish in ME can be iffy weather wise for a 6 month hike), a string of years that saw milder winters in the south.
So, are thru-hikers really starting later than usual, or have they more recently simply been starting earlier than what was once usual?

WorldPeaceAndStuff
02-08-2014, 18:52
Keep in mind the weather on the AT at an elevation of 4000-5000 foot is sharply different than those forecasts of towns like Hiawassee, Franklin, etc.
So true. The weather at 3k feet is not the same as 5k feet. While this town isn't on the trail, it's just over 5k feet up. You can check their weather here then click towns at lower elevations like Banner Elk, which is around 3.7k feet. http://averyweather.com/Forecast/Beech+Mountain

Son Driven
02-08-2014, 19:33
I'm still planning on starting my hike within the first couple weeks of March, but I also grew up in Northwest PA and I have a strong outdoors background.

Being from MN, I did not show enough respect for the North GA mountains, last season. My 3/6/13 arrival was met with a night of hypothermia.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

hoppy from GA
02-08-2014, 21:09
Georgia is hit or miss with bad weather. May be good, may be bad. I have the luxury of waiting til the last minute to hit the trail. For others, I recommend the average temps posted on accuweather. Just subtract about 5 degrees from the Hiawassee, GA forecast and you'll be about the average for the higher elevation lows/highs in GA. Subtract about the same from Franklin, NC weather forecast for NC weather until you get to the Smokies. Be prepared, though. If you have a 20 degree bag, take a liner and be prepared to sleep in some extra clothes, if need be. If you take a 0 degree bag, expect to ship it back after about a month. Remember that most hypothermia around here occurs in getting wet in 32-50 degree rain, so have good rain gear. Hope this helps!

Slo-go'en
02-08-2014, 22:16
So, are thru-hikers really starting later than usual, or have they more recently simply been starting earlier than what was once usual?

I belive they have been starting earlier due to many of the reasons you listed, the spell of mild winters being a big factor. Now that we're back to having more "normal" winters, maybe that trend will be reversed.

4shot
02-08-2014, 23:24
Being from MN, I did not show enough respect for the North GA mountains, last season. My 3/6/13 arrival was met with a night of hypothermia.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

happens all the time...people from up north have the wrong ideas about spring in the southern mountains. don't know how or why this idea is so prevalent and it's slightly worse with the tourists than the hikers. this ranks up there with "Virginia is flat" with most common trail misconceptions.

daddytwosticks
02-09-2014, 07:59
Looks like north Georgia is gonna get hit with a real weather mess starting Monday night. The folks on the Weather Channel are starting to freak out. Wonder if any thru hikers are starting early this week? Atlanta will probably shut down for days again. :)

Slo-go'en
02-09-2014, 13:20
Looks like north Georgia is gonna get hit with a real weather mess starting Monday night. The folks on the Weather Channel are starting to freak out. Wonder if any thru hikers are starting early this week? Atlanta will probably shut down for days again. :)

It doesn't take much to get the folks on the WC to get excided. Oh, aren't they out of Atlanta too?

Acording to trailjournals, three are suppost to start this coming week, one on the 9th and two on the 14th. But I think at least two will be no shows and the one who says he has a 52 pound pack - well good luck if he does show. The line up for next week doesn't look too promising either. Of course, these are just the people who recorded some arbitary start date on Trailjournals.

Majortrauma
02-09-2014, 15:40
[QUOTE=moldy;1845768]For several years some hiking buddies and myself had a NOBO thru hike "fantasy hiking league".
That's a fantastic idea moldy. I'm going to see if I can get a few of my hiking buddies to do this.

Son Driven
02-09-2014, 16:04
happens all the time...people from up north have the wrong ideas about spring in the southern mountains. don't know how or why this idea is so prevalent and it's slightly worse with the tourists than the hikers. this ranks up there with "Virginia is flat" with most common trail misconceptions.

I agree, however being from Minnesota, I had experienced hypothermia before, my previous experiences, gave me the ability to get through the night, and I eventually finished the trail. If this had been my first experience with hypothermia, I might have panicked, and been among the many calling it quits.

TheYoungOne
02-10-2014, 12:38
For several years some hiking buddies and myself had a NOBO thru hike "fantasy hiking league". We went on Trail Journals and each picked a 10 person team and we tracked them on TJ. We each kicked in a hundred bucks. 1 point per mile. After a few years we each developed a system for winning. Even though I pretty much sucked at it. Others figured it out, and early starters were not a safe bet no matter how strong, motivated, young etc. a hiker looked. Early starters were right up there with fat and old as far as odds making went. That does not mean that old, fat early starters don't make it every year. It's just that if Las Vegas odds makers were handicapping this stuff, early starters won't have great odds. One of the problems was Trail Journals itself, some people walk and some people talk......

While I didn't have any bets, or had Fantasy Hiking League, I have been following Thru hikers for the last few years on Youtube. Its kind of fun to do a search "AT thru hike" Between now 5/1 and see all these people getting ready to start their thru-hiking adventure.
Itís sad but sometimes you can just look into their eyes when they make their first video from Springer, or see their first post of what they are packing for the trip, and just know that they are not going to make it. Sometimes I am surprised and the one I thought would not make it past Neels Gap makes it all the way to Maine, while the one that looks like a pro thru hiker bails out early. I find myself focusing in on maybe 6 to a dozen youtube thru-hiker trail journals every year. You canít help to cheer them on, or to see if they bailed yet. I hate to say it, but itís really interesting viewing and would make a great reality TV show.

Mumbles_2014
02-10-2014, 19:12
Little nervous about my March 5th start date but still going through with it, hopefully we don't get any record lows.

sadlowskiadam
02-10-2014, 20:36
Here are a couple of early starters who got injured and likely leaving the trail. Not sure if the injuries are cold weather related or not. Hopefully they can return to the trail.

http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=442325

http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=442393

ChuckT
02-10-2014, 21:55
All the prep in the world still will be trumped by plain bad luck.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk

Slo-go'en
02-10-2014, 22:25
With the way this winter has been going, you'd be best waiting until June to start :)