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  1. #1
    Registered User medestar's Avatar
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    Default Weather on southern part

    Apologies if this is on another thread, please post the thread if so. I am looking to start NOBO next late February and I am trying to find out conditions on the trail going north from Amicalola falls through Georgia, Tennessee, etc. I keep hearing it can be cold and snowy. But I am trying to find out the temp ranges on the trail. Nearby towns may not be accurate due to elevation changes. Also about snow - is it snow on the ground, how much, and does it snow regularly? Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I followed a youtuber (Jay) on his hike starting late January '22. He reported some data at the end of each day. From January 28 to the end of February, the average low temperature he experienced was 32*, with a range of 15 - 53*. Plenty of mornings waking up to temps in the twenties. The average high was 56, with a range of 37-75* He ran into plenty of snow, but I don't recall that he had to deal with more than a few inches, and he had pretty clear weather in the Smokies.

    BUT - it's a crap shoot! Spring came late, and hikers that started later ran into much worse weather, at least in terms of snow.

  3. #3
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    In June 2022, I met early NOBOs in the White Mountains. Most of them had started between 2/22/22 and March 1, and told me they had experienced winter conditions 5 times.

  4. #4
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    In general/on average, it will not be "cold" and "snowy" as you might know those terms in Minnesota. I'm originally from St. Paul (MSP's better half ), have lived in southern Indiana for 30+ years, and hiked northern Georgia this past February. It is definitely NOT like February back home (seasonal variations notwithstanding) -- but it CAN and it WILL feel colder. It is much more humid down south, and the cold will feel colder faster and sink into your bones before you know it. Don't underestimate that humidity. The wind on the mountains or even just roaring thru the passes can be daunting and a bit chilly, but wasn't bad in my experience.

    Don't skimp on your sleeping bag (a Western Mountaineering Antelope for me, being as I'm female and a colder sleeper; a WM Versalite might be adequate for you), plan on sleeping in a tent for the warmth, use the good sense Minnesota gave you, and you'll have a blast!
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  5. #5
    Registered User medestar's Avatar
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    I appreciate the information everyone is providing, it sounds like I should be okay to start around mid February. I know to take precautions on having warm enough gear. I was concerned about it getting to cold (think temperatures in the low teens to single digits at night for many days), but it sounds like the temp situation is going to be okay. I was just on the superior hiking trail a couple of days ago, and 40-50 for daytime temp with low 30s at night was fine for me. Hopefully not a lot of snow on the ground down there at that time. Thank you again for all the info.

  6. #6
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    Also --

    I brought Katoola microspikes because I figured it was a good bet. I didn't use them, but I'd bring them again. There were some ice patches, and you don't want to end your hike all for the want of 11oz (or something like that.)

    And finally:
    There are plenty of places to get off the trail and spend one, two, or more nights in town if & whenever you want. Which I did, and enjoyed every minute -- I have been out in the cold & snow long enough, plenty enough to know I have nothing to prove (and perhaps maybe even maybe I could teach a thing or two by now.... Except for Tipi, of course!) The South is a great place to hike & visit -- take advantage of it!
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  7. #7
    Registered User medestar's Avatar
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    Thank you for the info. I found Jay wanders out on you tube. It has been very helpful.

  8. #8

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    I may see you as I too want to start NOBO in late February. I have strap on cleats, a 5F synthetic bag, balaclava, gloves, thermal underwear, and a secondhand ABU bib. During one of my section hikes in the area, another hiker reported postholing. Snowdrifts are the main worry, IMO. The coldest night I experienced on an AT section hike was at Rice Field just north of Pearisburg VA, with a strong bitter wind and below freezing temperatures. I expect the weather will often be too cold, too hot, too wet, or too dry.
    Hot water, hot ramen, burning alcohol, all in my lap

  9. #9
    Registered User medestar's Avatar
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    I am tentatively setting a start date for February 15th. So you may run into me along the way, depending on our relative speeds

  10. #10

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    I started on February 29, 2020. Somewhere in Georgia the coldest it got to was 18 F one morning and windy. I was warm enough in my 0 UQ and 20 TQ but, getting packed up that morning was torture. I couldn’t feel my hands. I ran into snow further north but not too deep to walk through and usually by afternoon the temps would be above freezing and you had to be careful of the slick mud ( I was thankful for those trekking poles.). I had micro spikes but never used them.

    Every year is different though so, it could be much colder with more snow than I experienced.
    Check the forecast often and get to a hostel/hotel when in doubt. I can’t imagine trying to posthole through 2’ of snow in freezing temps. Add some in some wind and That’s a recipe for hypothermia.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Just to reiterate what's been said: Don't underestimate the winter storms in the Southern Appalachians! If you're not experienced in camping and traveling in very harsh conditions, pay attention to forecasts and sit out the storms if you're not confident. I have winter mountaineering experience in the Rockies and Cascades, and even with my April start on the AT, I walked through two storms that were as harsh as anything I've ever experienced.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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