February 27, 2010
sNOw joke! There were nearly 4 FEET of snow at Mt. LeConte in the Smokies this weekend. I know because I was there, along with my dad and a few other curious (crazy?) hikers.
Four feet is a lot of snow.
We left from the Alum Cave Bluff trailhead along Newfound Gap Road (US 441), which was remarkably open despite a 30″ snow depth report from the top and a closure notice on the park website. The trail was well packed for the most part, and we passed several other hikers who were seizing the day. And it was a fantastic day.
We didn’t have snowshoes, but thanks to the combination of a well traveled trail and a solidly frozen base, we didn’t need them. I carried my crampons, but they stayed in my pack all day. It sounds absurd to talk about snowshoes and crampons in Tennessee, but we have been sorely lacking without them before – never underestimate the Smokies in winter.
I could try to describe the experience, but pictures are probably a better medium for that. In a word, it was amazing.
In addition to our pictures from this weekend, I found a some excellent sites worth checking out:
Our (slightly less cool) pictures: