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  1. #1
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Smile winter thru hike

    I have recently been planning on doing my thru hike. I was gonna do a nobo but would it be better to do a sobo seeing as how I want to start it around october 9th.I am geared for a winter so I can do either.. does anyone know the cut off for katahdin? I think its oct 15th? so I could make it up in time. would a sobo be safer instead of heading into deep winter be heading south? please respond to this post if you have winter expieriance .I really need some input seeing as the time is drawing close...thx

  2. #2
    GA-ME 78, sectional 81-01 HIKER7s's Avatar
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    YOUR SERIOUS, do you have extreme winter backpacking experience????
    I hiked that ridge Pop told me not to that morning.
    Each time out, I see that same ridge- only different.
    Each one is an adventure in itself. Leading to what is beyond the next- HIKER7s


  3. #3
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Smile winter

    yes I am very serious, and yes I do have quite a bit of winter hikeing expieriance, just not on the AT lots of hikeing in california, north carolina and indiana. I have the proper gear but was just wandering if it would be smarter to go south bound.I dont particularly want to spend the whole time in a blizzard or attempt anything like summiting in the snow. thats why I asked for input from people who have either done a winter thru or live in the area ..thx..but yes I am gonna do it ..if you have any ideas or advice it would be appreciated

  4. #4
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    Assuming you start your trip in October:

    *You'll have ample time to climb Katahdin, but you probably don't
    want to do it after the 15th. In fact, better to do it around the
    9th or the 10th.
    *It takes most folks 22-27 days to hike Maine
    *It takes most folks 12-14 days to hike New Hampshire

    I suspect Maine will be easier for you weather-wise than NH, though there are a few higher-altitude places (Whitecap, the Bigelow Range, esp. Mt. Avery; the Crockers; Sadddleback; etc. that could be interesting).

    You will certainly run into cold weather in New Hampshire, and possibly, snow.
    You'll be going thru the high peaks of the Presidential Range in mid-November.
    Expect it to be winter there.

    Keep in mind that by the time you get there, most of the AMC Huts will be closed for the season and you will NOT be able to count on them for meals, shelter, etc.

    With adequate clothing and gear, you should be OK. A few ideas: ALWAYS carry something warm and dry to change into at the end of the day; never
    let your long underwear get wet during the day (from either sweat or weather) if you're planning on sleeping in it at day's end. You might want to carry an extra set of long johns. Be sure your storm gear is top quality; consider carrying extra socks; bring a good hat, and make sure your gloves are both wind and waterproof. Some kind of wind/rain pant is probably a good idea, even if you don't normally wear these. Pack extra food when you leave towns in Maine and NH; protracted periods of bad weather may cause your mileage to go down, or you might have to shorten your hiking days because of bad weather. This means that certain stretches of Trail might take longer than you'd planned; therefore, you might neeed extra rations. Remember, there will NOT be many other hikers around to help if you run short. Absolutely carry current maps with you in case you need to get off the Trail in a hurry.

    Things will get much easier in Vermont, tho in a few places (Killington or Stratton) it could get interesting. Vermont generally takes 10-12 days to traverse.

    Once you get into southern new England (Mass. and Conn.) it'll get MUCH easier. It can be cold and wet there in late November/early December, but it'd be rare to see much snow.

    Trerrain-wise, it'll be fairly easy going til you get to Northern Virginia. You'll see some snow, mostly in mid-January to early March, but you'll have long stretches without it.

    Good news is that from mid October on, you'll ALWAYS have shelter space if you need it, at least til you get down South. Make sure you bring along plenty to read!

    Things will get interesting again in the Mount Rogers area of Southwestern Virginia, and then again in the Roan Highlands, but it'll almost be spring by the time you get there; you should be fine.

    The Smokies will be fine by the time you get there; assuming your trip takes seven months or so, it'll actually be pretty warm by the time you get there, so you probably won't encounter any of the cold weather problems most Northbounders do.

    North Carolina and Georgia in April and May are wonderful, it's a great time to be down there.

    A few last things to remember: When you get down South, don't ditch your winter gear too soon (it can snow on Mt. Rogers well into May); remember that a lot of hostels will be closed from October to February; at some point, most likely somewhere in SW Virginia or Tennessee, you'll start encountering Northbounders so don't take for granted you'll have shelter space; and lastly, whatever your budget is, add 25%, as you'll be taking some unexpected town/motel stops due to bad weather in the first 3 months of your trip.

    Best of luck, maybe we'll see you in Hanover when you come thru.

  5. #5
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Smile winter

    yes I remember my other thread but wasnt getting many replies so I thought I would try again. Jack thank you so much for all your info.I know you have extinsive knowledge of the trail and all of your advice I will gladly take to heart. I want to start october 9th and head south.I have plenty of layers and good rain gear a 0degree bag, good pad, duel fuel stove.weather radio. I do have a good tent .but shouldnt I have the shelters pretty much to myself at that time of year? was hopeing to leave that weight behind if possible. I am hopeing to finish in mid march. does this sound doable? it would be great to meet you in hanover and get more advice and maybe have a cold one .thx ..pm me with anymore info you think would be useful for me

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
    Assuming you start your trip in October:

    *You'll have ample time to climb Katahdin, but you probably don't
    want to do it after the 15th. In fact, better to do it around the
    9th or the 10th.
    *It takes most folks 22-27 days to hike Maine
    *It takes most folks 12-14 days to hike New Hampshire

    ...
    Aren't the above estimates based on the "usual" thruhiking season? And the Vermont ones too?

    You would be better off going SOBO IMO, as you have the opportunity to scoot past New England before deep winter. Also, you might be able to solo up Katahdin, rather than needing a winter party.

    I've done many winter trips on the southern portion of the AT. If you have some winter experience, you will be fine down south. It is rare that you would need crampons and even rarer for snowshoes. Granted, you'll be out there 24/7, so you may run into some icy/snowy conditions more frequently. But if you have the necessary warm gear, it's really not that tough.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjuan70
    ...I do have a good tent .but shouldnt I have the shelters pretty much to myself at that time of year? was hopeing to leave that weight behind if possible....
    That would be foolish.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  8. #8
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    I think a five month Southbound hike starting in mid-October is pretty ambitious, unless you're in exceptional shape and also, that you get real lucky with weather.

    Five months is fast time for ANYONE to thru-hike, never mind someone hiking all winter. Most regular thru-hikes take 24-27 months, never mind winter ones.

    There will be mornings when bad weather causes you to get a late start, or will cause you to take extra breaks (usually in shelters) til the weather improves. You'll also have abbreviated days, i.e. you'll get to a place at three PM and you'll know the weather is deteriorating quickly. If the next shelter is nine or ten miles away, you may well stop for the day rather than hiker on. (Remember, it'll be geting dark very early in the day so unless you enjoy night-hiking, your hiking days will end before five). Also, you'll almost certainly spend extra time in towns or the hostels that are still open, and you'll probably take "extra" days ins some places, as well as laying over in places you'd originally planned on skipping. Bad weather might cause to take zero days in shelters or perhaps even your tent. Any or all of these factors will slow you down, never mind the slowing down caused by rain, sleet, or acumulated snow.

    For al these reasons, I'd give yourself extra time for your trip. I'd look at six months minimum for a wintertime hike, and in my case, it'd certainly take longer. But then, you presumably have two working knees.

    Re. your tent, yeah, you'll be pretty much guaranteed shelter space for the first half of your trip, but who knows....you might run into a group you don't expect, or more likely, you might not make it all the way to a shelter due to injury, horrible weather, etc. There will be places you'll WANT to tent, just because they're pretty. There will be times you might stop hiking in the middle of the day and you'll be nowhere near a shelter. For all these reasons, you'd better plan on carring some sort of shelter ALL the time. (Plus, you'll also sleep warmer in your tent!).

  9. #9
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Default response

    Jack what was the 24-27 months? for what? well I am pretty sure even going really slow in winter I could do it in 7 months

  10. #10
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    I obviously meant 24-27 WEEKS, not months! Sorry bout that.

    And Alligator is correct, which is why I think you should plan on giving yourself some extra time, carry extra food, etc., as I mentioned above.

  11. #11
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Smile lol

    O ...ok thanks for clearing that up..lol was wondering just who was crawling the AT these days.I kinda thought you meant weeks ..well I will just estimate for 6to7months worse case, so hopefully no later than very early may

  12. #12

    Default dear carl castanada and other jokers

    you are going to not thruhike the at. this is due to your lack of exspirience and common sence. you will fall to your death if you try due to not knowing anything about high angle ice or how to walk on it. you have no common sence due to being insane. you will never even go to katadhin ever in your life due to not wanting to. and not careing and being dumb. you will never go thru hiking in any direction at any time of year on any trail because you are a dreamer and a fool. and once again ,...you will die.love mat.the end.

    replie rants welcomed and urged.
    matthewski

  13. #13

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    Consider that you will have less traffic, which has multiple meanings. There will be fewer people on the trail to help you, fewer cars in remote areas to get you to town, and occasionally road closures. For instance, in Jan this year, Skyline drive was closed while we were hiking in the park. Not necessarily a big deal because the rangers were on the lookout, but it could affect resupply. It's probably worse if the road you were counting on was some minor forest road or such.

    BTW, other than my concern about the NE hiking times, Jack's other advice was all very good.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  14. #14

    Default and by the way called

    if i was doing what you propose,... i would be utilizing all my hard earned lifetime skills in the feild of high altitude winter mountaineering to stay alive warm feed and on track to thru by your enddate. so unless your an exspert at 15000feet and have years in the bush under your belt , i doubt if we have similer talents. and to walk the walk you propose would take each and every lession i ever learned.do you know what to do in each cold wheather emergensy to save your life?are your responses second nature from so much exsperience? have you recently practiced and upgraded your technique?are your navigation skills adiquit? do you posess the calm nature and cool head it requires? are you familiar with meteorology? do you know how to get found,make fire,dig a bolt hole,melt water,keep dry and walk in deep snow?
    matthewski

  15. #15

    Default cause if you do......

    then i take back my post and welcome you to try. just allow me to bet heavily for or against you when the wagering starts.and if you are doing this,.... actually,.... i might be of use as a source of info. my passion is winter hiking. ive never postholed further than port clinton to the pinnicle. about 6.6 and i doubt if i ever could. snowshoes for sure. not boots.
    matthewski

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    then i take back my post and welcome you to try. just allow me to bet heavily for or against you when the wagering starts.and if you are doing this,.... actually,.... i might be of use as a source of info. my passion is winter hiking. ive never postholed further than port clinton to the pinnicle. about 6.6 and i doubt if i ever could. snowshoes for sure. not boots.
    My cold advice to you is to quit being an attention whore.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  17. #17
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjuan70
    I want to start october 9th and head south.I have plenty of layers and good rain gear a 0degree bag, good pad, duel fuel stove.weather radio.
    I would not be comfortable starting in october with a 0 degree bag; I would go for something a little warmer. At least consider a warmer bag when you get further south...You will most definitely have nights well below 0F...and if you are in a shelter rather than a tent, it will feel even colder due to the draft.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  18. #18
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Default reply

    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator
    My cold advice to you is to quit being an attention whore.
    am I to assume you directed this comment toward me?

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Donjuan70
    am I to assume you directed this comment toward me?
    No, I quoted mweinstone. That's who it was directed to.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  20. #20
    Gettin Lighter..All the Time!!! Biloxi's Avatar
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    Default reply

    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    you are going to not thruhike the at. this is due to your lack of exspirience and common sence. you will fall to your death if you try due to not knowing anything about high angle ice or how to walk on it. you have no common sence due to being insane. you will never even go to katadhin ever in your life due to not wanting to. and not careing and being dumb. you will never go thru hiking in any direction at any time of year on any trail because you are a dreamer and a fool. and once again ,...you will die.love mat.the end.

    replie rants welcomed and urged.
    do you have nothing better to do than try to pad your post numbers. you know nothing of me, nothing about me ,nor my expieriance and actually you sound like quite the @sshole.I am constantly amazed by some of your comments and statements that you make to damn near everyone.I respect the fact that you have completed a thru hike but for you to act as the authority on thru hikeing is a joke. if you are half the man you claim. you would either keep your snide comments to yourself or I invite you to meet me on the trail during my thru hike so I can insert my trekking pole in your mouth.BE SURE WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO..

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