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Thread: PA in January

  1. #1

    Question PA in January

    Hello there ladies and gents,

    I am an Israeli academic who will be visiting the US to lecture in January. I will be in Philly and have a few days before my next stop during which I would like to hike. From my web reconnoitering, it looks like the AT near the MD border might be a good place for 3-4 days of day hiking (maybe stay in the Iron Master hostel).

    I would love to hear from anybody who knows what to expect in this area in January in terms of weather and equipment for day hiking. Need winter specific boots, crampons, snowshoes?


    Suggestions for different areas also welcome (needs to be near cheap lodging).

    Any and all advice most welcome.

    thanks,
    NM

  2. #2

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    It depends on the winter. Most years, the area around Pine Grove has some snow (6-12 inches) on the ground in late January. Not enough for snowshoes, unless it's fresh, and the park gets enough visitors it gets tromped down quickly. South of there or in MD there would probably be less snow. Some stretches might have ice. There might not be anything at all. One forecast I read says that January-February will be cold and wet this year - but the weather service gets it wrong as often as not.

    Check to make sure the hostel at Pine Grove will be open when you're there. I don't know what kind of plans the new owners have for year around use. If not, the motels in Chambersburg are pretty cheap, or you might be able to stay in Harpers Ferry and hike around there. The hostel in HF does close in winter, but Hilltop House used to be pretty cheap. Bears Den might be open.

  3. #3
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    I hike this area fairly frequently, including Jan. of 2012. It was a warm winter last year and it was not necessary to wear any special boots/ crampons/ snowshoes. I just wore normal keens and bundled up, it was about 17*. There's always a chance of snow in PA around that time, but unless a blizzard hits, it's nothing too impressive most years.

    Ironmaster's isn't bad for lodging. It's pretty nice since they redid it. The guide I had said they served spaghetti dinners. That was not true. It was frozen restaurant food that I really did not care for. Personally, I'd pay for lodging and skip the meal.

  4. #4
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    Just regarding the weather for PA in January, I live down the street from the AT...I remember EVERY January getting a warm spell meaning 50's F where we would hike up the AT for a long day hike. My cousin from Europe was visiting a couple of years ago and the temps actually got up to the 60'sF. Seems to be a pattern. You could get lucky.
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

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    Just regarding the weather for PA in January, I live down the street from the AT...I remember EVERY January getting a warm spell meaning 50's F where we would hike up the AT for a long day hike. My cousin from Europe was visiting a couple of years ago and the temps actually got up to the 60'sF....perfect for hike. Seems to be a pattern. You could get lucky.
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

  6. #6
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    ice is really pretty when you aren't scared! i suggest you buy a pair of katoolah microspikes and bring them along. you can always slog through some snow if you're lucky enough to have any -- but you need to be prepared if you want to enjoy hiking on icy trails. those microspikes can make a day on ice into a safe bragging rights adventure. actually, just bringing a pair along makes the trip sound like an adventure. enjoy! (what do you teach?)
    Lazarus

  7. #7
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    I've gone out in late Jan several years running. Regular boots supplemented by the Kahtoola microspikes are fine for nearly all conditions in PA. If there is a nor-easter blizzard, the trailheads won't be plowed out anyway so you couldn't get onto the trail even if you did want to try conclusions with snowshoes on rocks.

  8. #8

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    Thanks to all for the quick answers. Sounds good to me--not having to worry about too much snow and ice (I have some instep crampons that I got for a trip a couple of years ago and used in a winter storm in Bear Mt. NY). 1azurus: I teach medical ethics in a Jerusalem nursing school and write on that along with other topics.

    all the best to one and all,
    NM

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