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SouthMark
02-27-2010, 11:47
I am to deliver my 21 yo grandson and friend to Springer Monday morning for their attempted thru. Besides being under funded I think they are not equipped or prepared for the weather conditions. Grandson has a Travel Hammock, JRB 10x11 cat tarp, thermarest 3/4 pad and MH Phantom 15 bag. Friend has tent, blue foam pad and about 35-40 down bag. I have offered help with gear but grandson doesn't want it. He knows pretty much eveything about everything. His experience is limited to about 38 miles on AT in May 4 years ago and a few overnighters locally. Are they in for serious trouble or am I wrong?

sidebackside
02-27-2010, 11:51
You may be right. But as we all know, experience comes from trial & error.

Morning Glory
02-27-2010, 12:00
I am to deliver my 21 yo grandson and friend to Springer Monday morning for their attempted thru. Besides being under funded I think they are not equipped or prepared for the weather conditions. Grandson has a Travel Hammock, JRB 10x11 cat tarp, thermarest 3/4 pad and MH Phantom 15 bag. Friend has tent, blue foam pad and about 35-40 down bag. I have offered help with gear but grandson doesn't want it. He knows pretty much eveything about everything. His experience is limited to about 38 miles on AT in May 4 years ago and a few overnighters locally. Are they in for serious trouble or am I wrong?

I wouldn't say serious trouble...just some misery. You may want to be waiting for them at Woody Gap on Wednesday or Thursday.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 12:14
They will be fine and will figure it out. Make sure they have your number in case they want to bail. Otherwise it could be a great adventure for them.

max patch
02-27-2010, 12:30
The one with the 35-40 degree bag isn't going to be "fine." He's going to freeze his azz off. Seriously.

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 12:30
Thanks guys. Makes me feel a little better.

ARambler
02-27-2010, 12:32
If the average hiker has a 75 % chance of not finishing, maybe your grandson has an 80 % chance of not finishing, which is no reason to be pessimistic. The odds are highly dependent on the group dynamics, and whether they both drop out when something bad happens to one.

I started with a 30 degree bag and lots of extra clothes. I now use a 20 degree bag, but the 35 degree bag can work. The early start on a limited budget shows poor planning, so they will have to get smarter, quickly.

Have you checked on the conditions of the forest service road, or does everyone in AL drive a pickup?
Rambler

Mrs Baggins
02-27-2010, 12:43
The one with the 35-40 degree bag isn't going to be "fine." He's going to freeze his azz off. Seriously.

That was my first reaction, too. I have a 20 degree down bag and we had to bail at Gooch Gap when the air temp hit 20 degrees and there was wind and sleet. That might not bother some people but I couldn't stop shivering. Went back with a silk bag liner, thermarest Z pad, and better clothing. Live and learn.

bigcranky
02-27-2010, 12:51
Sure, they will be cold and probably miserable at night right now. Probably not life threatening. If they can make it 30 miles to Neels Gap, they can figure out what to do about it.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 12:57
Sure, they will be cold and probably miserable at night right now. Probably not life threatening. If they can make it 30 miles to Neels Gap, they can figure out what to do about it.

That is what I was thinking. He will be fine. Uncomfortable, but fine. I've done that sort of weather in Germany with nothing more than a poncho liner.

buff_jeff
02-27-2010, 13:02
I highly doubt they're in any serious danger, but they might spend a few uncomfortable nights out. Even this early, there should be a good bit of people down there and they'll hit at least one paved road a day, for the most part.

As others have said, trial and error is really the best way to learn. My first winter hike I had no sleeping pad and I wore all cotton clothing. It snowed during the day and the trail was a block of ice for miles so I was falling over the place, soaking my clothes. My pants froze overnight, my water froze because I didn't put any in the bag with me, and even my socks froze. I also didn't pack enough food, or at least food that I could enjoy. It was miserable. My bag is rated to 20 degrees and it was probably down to 10-15 degrees or even lower.

fiddlehead
02-27-2010, 13:03
Reminds of my first thru-hike starting out.
I don't see the problem.

I didn't make it that year but it wasn't because of my gear (although i didn't have much), It was because i was underfunded.

If you're so worried about him, send him some goodies once in a while.

Lyle
02-27-2010, 13:05
My only advice is to give them your number, and if they call and want some advice, pleasantly give it and refrain from either saying or implying "I told you so". They will already know that.

They will be ok. As others have said, you Grandson will be better off with his 15* bag, as long as he understands how much warmer he will be on the ground instead of in the hammock. His buddy may actually suffer a bit, but if they work together and share what insulation they have, they will be fine.

Lone Wolf
02-27-2010, 13:17
neel gap will be glad to take their cash

Doctari
02-27-2010, 13:21
They will be ok. As others have said, you Grandson will be better off with his 15* bag, as long as he understands how much warmer he will be on the ground instead of in the hammock. His buddy may actually suffer a bit, but if they work together and share what insulation they have, they will be fine.

Yea, I can only get to 15 degrees in my hammock with a similar set up, as opposed to 15 degrees on the ground. OH, it's the same, never-mind! :p

Conventional wisdom says:
You can NOT winter camp in a hammock! With JUST my summer set up I routinely get to temps in the low 20s.
You can NOT use an alcohol stove below freezing! So, is 6f Below freezing? If so, I often cook with my alcohol stove at that temp.


I think both will survive, & as stated they only need to make it the first 30 miles & can upgrade if need be. The friend's gear is much like what I started my first section hike at the same time of year & I not only survived, I had a great time. If worried / as back up, get them a few chemical hand warmers (1 pair a night each for lets say 4 nights) They can take the edge off if too cold at night. They do not HAVE to be just for the hands.
Also, if he isn't already aware: direct Grandson to Hammock forums for a few tips

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 14:01
Thanks. I guess I'm over reacting based on my 62 yo warmth needs. I can take my hammock gear into the teens with Go Lite Ultra 20 bag, under quilt and wearing most of my clothes and down jacket. It's hard to identify with the younger crowd now that my doc says with a 43 heart rate and the meds I take it's hard for me to get warm. Once again thanks for the help.

JustaTouron
02-27-2010, 14:06
Thanks. I guess I'm over reacting based on my 62 yo warmth needs.

There is a reason why half the people in Miami are over 60 and speak with a Northern accent.

Still, they might be more willing to take your help after three nights in the woods.

Mrs Baggins
02-27-2010, 14:08
neel gap will be glad to take their cash


And I was positively jubilant to give it them! :sun

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:09
There is a reason why half the people in Miami are over 60 and speak with a Northern accent.

Still, they might be more willing to take your help after three nights in the woods.

Probably so. Maybe you should camp out around Neels Gap and wait for them.:sun

JustaTouron
02-27-2010, 14:14
Probably so. Maybe you should camp out around Neels Gap and wait for them.:sun

If "help" is cash, he doesn't have to hang around. Even if it is loaning gear he might not have to. Just have it ready to be mailed when they call and they can take a couple of zeros.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:17
Naw I was thinking help may be a ride home. It could also be loaning gear, helping to buy some new gear, advice on how to fix problems identified, etc. I think if my boy went to start a thru it would be fun to wait at Neels Gap and be a fly on the wall when he walked in.

JustaTouron
02-27-2010, 14:24
Naw I was thinking help may be a ride home. It could also be loaning gear, helping to buy some new gear, advice on how to fix problems identified, etc. I think if my boy went to start a thru it would be fun to wait at Neels Gap and be a fly on the wall when he walked in.

I don't think that is a good plan. As protective as I am of my kid, I think in this situation you have to wait for the kids to ask for help. Tell the kids you are still willing to help and then wait for the call.

Showing up at Neels Gap with a warmer sleeping bag and coat without it being asked for is treating them too much like babies. And this is coming from someone who has been accused of being overprotective multiple times on WB.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:28
I don't think that is a good plan. As protective as I am of my kid, I think in this situation you have to wait for the kids to ask for help. Tell the kids you are still willing to help and then wait for the call.

Showing up at Neels Gap with a warmer sleeping bag and coat without it being asked for is treating them too much like babies. And this is coming from someone who has been accused of being overprotective multiple times on WB.
You don't have to stand there with the gear ready to hand it to them. Just be there to say hi and offer to take them to town for a celebratory steak for making it that far. I know the guys at Neels Gap and hanging out there for a couple of days wouldn't be out of character. They can still ask for help if they want it, then you can handle it as you see fit.

I don't think I've ever been accused of being over protective - I like to let my kids learn from their mistakes.

jesse
02-27-2010, 14:29
Good life experience, however far they get. He's 21.

John Klein
02-27-2010, 14:32
SouthMark, we met at Neel Gap before Thanksgiving. My first reaction was that I don't understand why they wouldn't take your advice based on the experience you have. Still, as others have said, they're not kids and need to learn from mistakes, within reason.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:32
I also wouldn't require them to carry a SPOT. :sun

JustaTouron
02-27-2010, 14:36
I also wouldn't require them to carry a SPOT. :sun

Yeah, that was the thread were I was accused of being overprotective.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:37
Yeah, that was the thread were I was accused of being overprotective.

I remember. Seems I backed you up some, you know your kids better than someone sitting behind a keyboard who has never met you and yours.

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 14:51
Probably so. Maybe you should camp out around Neels Gap and wait for them.:sun

Wish I could or stay and keep Pirate company but I have to be back at work. I guess it's just hard to remember. Was looking at some pics of when I did the Smokies sexton in March 30 years ago. 14 inces of snow, knee deep post holing. Wore nylon running shorts and tee shirt some of the time. I would be to bury if I tried that now. Hell I have to run the heater in my car when it's 50 and sunny. Was hanging last Saturday night on the Pinhoti with a low of 29. Was uncomfotably cool. I just may need to move to South Florida.

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 14:53
Wish I could or stay and keep Pirate company but I have to be back at work. I guess it's just hard to remember. Was looking at some pics of when I did the Smokies sexton in March 30 years ago. 14 inces of snow, knee deep post holing. Wore nylon running shorts and tee shirt some of the time. I would be to bury if I tried that now. Hell I have to run the heater in my car when it's 50 and sunny. Was hanging last Saturday night on the Pinhoti with a low of 29. Was uncomfotably cool. I just may need to move to South Florida.
Pirate ain't there. He went to Florida last I heard. Cool Breeze is working their still, you could ask him to keep an eye out for them and send you a private spot report when they come through.:cool:

ed bell
02-27-2010, 14:55
I heard 2003 described as one of the rainiest years on the AT in recent memory. I'm thinking 2010 will be remembered for snowfall and snow on the ground. Mount LeConte in the GSMNP currently has 45 inches on the ground with more on the way. Pretty remarkable base layer for the beginning of March in the south. I wonder how long it's going to stick around? Folks trying to get by with a minimal amount of gear in the next couple of weeks are gonna have quite the adventure. Should make for some interesting journal entries.:cool:

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 15:04
SouthMark, we met at Neel Gap before Thanksgiving. My first reaction was that I don't understand why they wouldn't take your advice based on the experience you have. Still, as others have said, they're not kids and need to learn from mistakes, within reason.

Hey John. I remember you. Well he did ask but I volunteered more than he wanted I guess. Others here have helped a lot and as most have said you can lead a horse to water but...

You couldn't tell me anything when I was that age either.

Happy Hiking to you.

Feral Bill
02-27-2010, 15:09
. Cool Breeze is working their still,


This place is sounding more and more interesting:)

SGT Rock
02-27-2010, 15:11
It is great. You also have Rambler and Dartman. Winton of course. And Alpine and his wife Jen, but I think they plan to move on too.

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 15:16
Additioal Note: he did accept some gear; pack, 15 degree bag, rain fly, puffball pullover, MH Polar Stretch zip-t, pack cover, rain gear for friend, blue pad for friend and other small items. Friend had almost no gear so he loaned his stuff to friend. I guess I was mainly concerned about the sleeping. I know he will not be able to sleep warm in the hammock with just a short thermarest for under insulation. The bag will be compressed at shoulders and hips and offer no insulation.

Spirit Walker
02-27-2010, 19:10
Remember, there are a lot of us starting the trail right now. They won't be alone. We'll keep an eye out for them.

Blissful
02-27-2010, 19:45
Neel Gap isn't too far away. Might likely bail out by then.

Ha ha saw Sgt Rock said the same thing :)

Lone Wolf
02-27-2010, 19:50
these guys are in their 20s. nobody needs to look out for them. :rolleyes: christ you'd think they was goin' on an arctic adventure

Blissful
02-27-2010, 19:54
you'd think they was goin' on an arctic adventure

This is the year for the polar region

Far cry from when I started in '07. 60's on Springer, no snow until Easter in April and 70's in the Smokies

gunner76
02-27-2010, 19:59
Let us know how it turns out

ARambler
02-27-2010, 21:38
It is great. You also have Rambler and Dartman. Winton of course. And Alpine and his wife Jen, but I think they plan to move on too.
In 2009, that is Ramblin Man.
Rambler

SouthMark
02-27-2010, 22:00
Many thanks everyone. I guess it's like they say "there's no fool like an old fool". I'm just not able to cope with being miserably cold any more, not on purpose anyway, and it influences my perception. I will drive them to FS42 parking lot, hike with them to top of Springer, take their photo, walk back down with them, shake their hands, wish them a wonderful adventure and drive back to Alabama content in the wisdom that all of you have shared here.

Not Sunshine
02-27-2010, 22:53
i certainly don't know the boys, but it kind of reminds me of the bickering that went on between Bryson and his buddy katz, according to the book. 2 miserable, cold, hungry men = 2 bickering men. sounds like fun. i'd camp out at neels and wait for them; might be amusing.

Skidsteer
02-27-2010, 23:24
Many thanks everyone. I guess it's like they say "there's no fool like an old fool". I'm just not able to cope with being miserably cold any more, not on purpose anyway, and it influences my perception. I will drive them to FS42 parking lot, hike with them to top of Springer, take their photo, walk back down with them, shake their hands, wish them a wonderful adventure and drive back to Alabama content in the wisdom that all of you have shared here.

You're not an old fool. Those boys will be cold, maybe even miserably cold, depending on the weather. I reckon they'll live though and you'll be a genius in their eyes if you play it right. :D

betsi
02-28-2010, 00:04
and, someday, you can show them this thread.

Trailweaver
02-28-2010, 02:39
I'd have them check out the weather reports for the area on

sophiaknows.com/atdb/weather.php

and remind them that a 40 degree bag doesn't necessarily mean he'll be comfortable in 40 degree weather. (And right now it's not 40 degree weather!) He's going to freeze, and that's the truth of it, right there. He will probably "survive" it, but he's in for some serious misery.

CaseyB
02-28-2010, 03:21
Its yer job to worry
its their job to be young & dumb

trailangelbronco
02-28-2010, 03:34
Stick a silk liner in that other boy's pack when he isn't looking on the way to Springer.

futureatwalker
02-28-2010, 04:18
Your grandson's friend's equipment, in particular, doesn't sound warm enough for winter conditions. Could the friend be persuaded to take a warmer bag and a more substantial sleeping pad? If not, having a few hand-warmers to throw into the sleeping bag might be very welcome.

I guess one way to sell advice to them is to align it with their goals. If the goal is to have fun, then perhaps they can be persuaded that they'll have much more fun if they aren't freezing at night!

Bronk
02-28-2010, 05:28
Cold is a relative term...I started from Springer early March and encountered temperatures below 20*...my sleeping bag was rated at 50* and was purchased at Walmart for $10. I slept with all my clothes on and was never cold until it got warmer and I sent my warmer clothes home. Had a cold night coming out of Pearisburg with only shorts and a tshirt and woke up to snow on May 21st...I survived.

jesse
02-28-2010, 05:40
people are treating these men is if they were children,

mudhead
02-28-2010, 10:28
It is easy to forget some of the questionable things that got pulled off during that young period.

Laugh about it later.

Wish them fine times from Maine.

yaduck9
02-28-2010, 11:18
Well, they are hiking together, so if it gets too cold at night they can do the dreaded "man spoon". Some Alpine Climbers have done this to lighten their load and be more "efficient" in their climb. Takes ultra lite to another level.

When you do meet them, just don't ask and I am sure they won't bring it up.;)

berkshirebirder
02-28-2010, 11:34
Stick a silk liner in that other boy's pack

It's true they'll learn better from mistakes. On the other hand, they want to hike. Maybe wrap a silk liner and present it as a gift before you leave?

Appalachian Tater
02-28-2010, 23:54
I would lend your grandson's friend a warmer bag. Otherwise he can wear all his clothes to bed and will probably be fine.

Cool AT Breeze
03-01-2010, 00:25
If you could here the cold wind ripping by my window you wouldent say the friend will be fine. I'm sitting 2 feet from the trail right now and i woulden't want to be out there right now in my 20 deg down bag. It's warmer tonight than it has been.

Crazy Larry #1
04-22-2010, 08:33
Well them boys made it to Damascus. Alabama Mike has been here staying with me for a week and working for me and the Hikers Inn some and Ronnie as well. Mike is a good kid and I think we will see him summit Kathadin.

Your grandson made it here as well a week after Mike did, just met him briefly.

Seems to be a good crew on the trail this year.........

sbhikes
04-22-2010, 13:50
There's a difference between discomfort and trouble. There's also a difference between sitting around in a warm building all day and walking yourself into exhaustion.