View Full Version : any wacky early Spring starters?

03-21-2008, 08:49
Hello all,

I'm just curious to know if there's anyone out there who has ever attempted or completed an early southbound start (late April?)....although the park is closed until May 15, and although I may cross some ethical lines here about respecting entrance rules and such, I'd like to know what you all think . . .. I consider myself to have decent winter sports experience (snowshoes) and I follow Leave-No-Trace.

I included the word "wacky" in this thread's title because that's exactly what you'd have to be in order to tackle the 100 mile wilderness on snowshoes, but I'm left with that option. I really dont want to start in GA, and I dont want to wait for the snow melt, especially given the river crossings and bugs.

I can only imagine, however, that the 100 mile wilderness would be a helluva lot tougher and the knife edge a helluva lot scarier . . ..

Thanks for any thoughts - comments such as "you're out of your mind" are totally welcomed too.:sun

03-21-2008, 08:57
Joe White and Bryan Wolf from cincinnati hikes to raise money for the make a wish foundation

you can PM Live Karma if you would like more info on their experience..the article has been removed from the local newspaper about their southbound hike thru the winter months

actually not sure if they had snow to start in oct/nov

03-21-2008, 09:06
Lots of challenges on a late April SOBO start.
River/stream crossings, not only high but ice cold.
Blowdowns...not much trail maintenance before June up here.
Late and wet Mtn snow/rain storms.
Slow going with winter boots and snowshoes
and the list goes on............
You might make it to Monson

03-21-2008, 09:08
Should be no problem if you like challenges. Where did you get the idea that the knife edge is on the AT? It is not. The Park is not really closed until May 15. Many people use the Park in the winter and some even climb the big K. You should contact the Park for specific details and regulations, but I believe that those who can show that they are prepared and experienced can be given various options. A single hiker heading out probably won't be seen as a viable option. You could start outside of the Park and head South and then flip to do the last section later. Before you get too far into this idea I would suggest a shake down trip on snowshoes up here in Maine or maybe in New Hampshire. For those who don't have a lot of winter camping experience "dumb idea" doesn't begin to describe my assessment of the plan. I maintain a leanto in the 100 mile wilderness and I'm always amazed on my first trip in each Spring. Even when I have green grass at home I find deep snow drifts, much mud, and high streams.


03-21-2008, 09:09
so it's basically unheard of for people to cross the 100 mile wild. this time of year? and the river crossings are hair-raising until early summer?

03-21-2008, 09:19
Hi Doc,

I called Baxter today and they said that dont allow anyone into the Park from March 31 to May 15 . . . looks like anyone wanting to get in would be sneaking in, eh?

03-21-2008, 09:19
I don't have direct experience hiking overnights in March, but I think LateMarch / EarlyApril would be even more challenging than January/February, at least until the bulk of the snow is gone. The old timers that spent some years in logging camps would say you could never keep the men in the woods in March. January/February would be bad enough, but March is supposed to be the worst. It would be worth having a poke in to see for oneself though.

max patch
03-21-2008, 09:23
You're from Atlanta?

Start at Springer. It will simplify travel to/from if you are one of the 85% who drop out. :)

Besides, mid April is the "best" time to start a NOBO re following spring as you hike.

03-21-2008, 10:09
Knife edge is hard enogh with ice axe and crampons. i don't know about SS up thier. If you did I would do Backcountry skiing and a sled but were talking lots of gear and weight.

03-21-2008, 13:02
April is typically regarded as the worst month to climb mountains in the whites and I expect that probably appies to most of Maine. There are high water detours around most of the stream crossings in Maine although the kennebec would be a challenge. April can get deep snowstorms, but long sunny days turns the snow very quickly into a fairly sticky consistency that sticks to snow shoes making it very difficult to crank out miles. The other thing that happens is that the snow can get "rotten" and even with snowshoes, you can post hole.

Its probably a great challenge but will burn up a lot of time that you could be cranking out miles south of VT

03-24-2008, 14:02
I thought everyone already considered us SOBO'ers "whacky", "arrogant" or "all that."

Starting June 1st, 2008 at Baxter... will wave at Kitahdin and the Black flies and start my long trek home just in time for the southern winter, hurricanes in the Carolinas and Senior Olympic time trials!

Anyone else heading SOBO on June 1st?


03-24-2008, 19:56
Stream crossing will only be extra tough (deep and fast) if it gets really warm or rains a lot.
If it stays cold, they'll be ok i would think.
Katahdin could be tough.

I'd go for it if I knew i could get up and down Katahdin. (and knew i could do 15+ miles on snowshoes. if they're needed???)
I wouldn't let myself get talked out of it just because of the fords. (if you are experienced at these things)

Keep in mind "Ice-out" isn't until around May 15 up there on a normal year.