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Brad L
09-20-2016, 11:23
Thinking of hiking from Unicoi Gap thru the Smoky Mtns starting late Oct through Mid to late Nov. Any thought on weather and water. Have already done Springer to Unicoi that's why I'm starting their. Figure change of foliage would be awesome then as well..... TIA

LoneRidgeRunner
09-20-2016, 12:11
I live not very far from that area (foothills of NC) So I know how the weather can be. In these mountains that time of year you can expect weather from 80 down to single digits and any thing in between. It can be VERY unpredictabe so be prepared for COLD just in case. I regularly see SOBO thrus in this area woefully unprepared IF a real winter storm hits (which IS possible). Many people from northern states have the idea that the southern Appalachians can't get cold. I have seen temps near 0 in October at 1200 feet where I live. Add 5000 feet elevation to that and you can have SERIOUS cold of 20 or even 30 below zero. Farenheit.

Brad L
09-20-2016, 12:37
WOW! I was thinking low to mid 30's by night maybe, but not as low as below zero for mid to late November.

LoneRidgeRunner
09-20-2016, 12:47
What you were thinking IS closer to normal. I was giving you what is possible and what CAN happen. Example.. October 2014. In my town at 1200 feet we had temps in single digits and as low as 2. Unusual..but possible. I don't know what year or month but I do know a hiker was found dead from hypothermia in Tri-Corner Knob Shelter in GSMBP. Better to be prepared for the worse than risk freezing. Just my motto. That zero sleeping bag makes a decent mattress if too warm for it. But a 40 bag won't keep you comfortable at 0 if that happens.

Brad L
09-20-2016, 12:54
I will be using a 15 degree down quilt with 2 1/2" thermorest and of course the rest of the normal cold weather gear. I don't mind cold but not that dam cold! lol

HooKooDooKu
09-20-2016, 14:37
...I don't know what year or month but I do know a hiker was found dead from hypothermia in Tri-Corner Knob Shelter in GSMBP.
It was January. I currently can not find any news stories to confirm, but I thought at the time the death was reported, wet weather was a contributing factor. The hiker set out on Jan 12th, 2013 from Newfound Gap and reported overdue when he didn't show up at Davenport Gap on Jan 14th. Archived Views of the Look Rock web cam shows rain on Jan 14th and Jan 15th.

I've frequently been camping in GSMNP in October. Generally speaking, my 32 bag has been more than warm enough at lower elevations, while I usually take a 20/15 if I'm going to be camping at the upper elevations.

The climate data (as reported by the "Little Brown Book") indicates the average low temperature at Clingman's Dome to be right about 40, and I know from experience that "normal" temperature fluctuations can be +/-15. It would take an extreme weather event for temperatures to get below mid-20's.

Check the Mountain Weather Forecast before you head out to see what expected temperatures are for the upper elevations. I think the report for Andrews Bald (http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Andrews-Bald/forecasts/1786) might be a good indicator of what conditions you'll likely face along the ridge.

soumodeler
09-20-2016, 20:38
Excellent time to hike that section. Did unicoi to NOC a couple of years ago in late October and loved it. I had perfect weather and the trail was not at all crowded.

-Rush-
09-20-2016, 22:25
I've frequently been camping in GSMNP in October. Generally speaking, my 32 bag has been more than warm enough at lower elevations, while I usually take a 20/15 if I'm going to be camping at the upper elevations.



I'm headed to knock out the Smokies along the AT around October 20. I was thinking all I would need is 35 bag, but this has me thinking I need my 15 bag. Are there any other considerations I should be thinking about HooKooDooKu? I'll be carrying these items:

Base layer bottom
Tank top
Long sleeve shirt
Down puffy
Rain jacket
Zip off pants
Gloves
Wool beanie

Thanks!

HooKooDooKu
09-21-2016, 02:23
I'm headed to knock out the Smokies along the AT around October 20. I was thinking all I would need is 35 bag, but this has me thinking I need my 15 bag. Are there any other considerations I should be thinking about HooKooDooKu? I'll be carrying these items:

Base layer bottom
Tank top
Long sleeve shirt
Down puffy
Rain jacket
Zip off pants
Gloves
Wool beanie

Thanks!

Plan for night-time lows to be near freezing and you should be fine (just check the forecast for temperature extremes).

I like to sleep in only shorts and tshirt, so if night time lows are expected to be below 40, I'm usually going to take the warmer of two choices (currently 32 or 15 degree rated bags). But that's just at the upper elevation. I've used the 32 degree bag well into November at the lower elevation.

If you are taking a good base layer and temperatures aren't expected to be particularly cold, your lighter bag might do fine.
I hiked the JMT this summer where I was warned freezing temperatures could occur. So I took the 15 degree bag and a wool.base layer and regretted it so bad as I don't think temperatures ever fell below 45.

The only thing I possibly see that you might be missing is a pair of rain pants.

I believe I camped at LeConte Shelter late October of last year (highest elevation camp in GSMNP). I think I had my 32 degree bag, a wool base layer, wool cap, shorts, tshirt, rain jacket, rain pants, and down jacket. Before going to sleep, I think my legs were a little cold with just the base layer and rain pants. But I recall sleeping plenty warm enough in the 32 degree bag wearing my shorts, tshirt, base layer, cap, in the 32 degree bag.