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Who is brave enough......LeConte­ (Difficult Winter Hike)

  • Rainbow Falls Trailhead - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Cherokee Orchard Rd, Gatlinburg, TN (map)

    35.675877 -83.486570

  • Red Jeep Wrangler
  • Due to the nature of this hike, it has more information than most. You should check out all the links, especially the one about winter hiking.  

    Winter hikes and challenges can be fun in the Smokies, but if you have not hiked with me prior to this hike you will not be able to attend.  You must be up for this distance and challenge to attend and comfortable being outside in the cold and snow.

    There are a lot of things you could be doing this January, but your best option would be to join us for a trek up to Mt. LeConte.  Five years ago, I started January hikes to Le Conte because we needed a new challenge and something to do in January.  I have done Alum Cave, Rainbow Falls and out Bullhead but we have not done Rainbow and Trillium.  Now, is the time to try that route out.  

    If you are considering hiking to Le Conte in the winter you need to be aware of the challenges of winter hiking and avoid the Boulevard trail.

    This hike is difficult for the distance and the weather.  Total mileage will be almost 16 miles. 

    Yes, it will be cold, yes, you should see snow and ice, but you will be proud to know you could do this hike in this type of weather.  This is a pic from when we went up Alum Cave.  For more pics from that adventure, click here. 

    For pics from the trip the week after that adventure, click here.  These are from Rainbow Bullhead trip.   These were the first two January hikes that the group did to Le Conte.

    To see the latest on Mt. LeConte check out this link.  This link will show you the latest going on at Le Conte.  You will have some idea what to expect before we do this hike. 

    Picture below was taken by JP Krol the caretaker for the winter of Mt. LeConte Lodge.

    How will we get there?  We will go up Rainbow Falls and just maybe it will look like it did in January of 2010.

     This is a really great sight to see when it is frozen.  John and I  only got to Rainbow Falls, that year.  

    This year the plans are to go up Rainbow to Mt. Le Conte and check it out in the snow or cold.  Yes, it will be cold on top, snow may or may not be present.  We will check out the mountain top and then head back down Trillium back to the parking lot. 

    What you need to bring?  Gloves, 2 Hiking poles (essential for this hike, you will understand why when it is over), traction for your shoes Mircospikes work great in this weather. Yaktraks are not recommended for heavy snow or ice.    

    We will be crossing the area at Grotto Falls so you will want to have traction for your shoes when we reach the area with ice. Yaktraks will not offer that traction.

    Rain pants and jacket are strongly recommended for this hike. Check out the pics links above and you will see why.

    Food, water, handwarmers, and warm clothing. Thermos with something warm, or stove making warm stuff on top.  Ear and head covers are a must.  HEADLAMPS (a must).   GORETEX BOOTS OR WATERPROOFED BOOTS REQUIRED, low top shoes will not work on this hike.  Gaiters are useful for this hike.

    You think you still want to hike in the winter.  For information on winter hiking and suggested tips, click here.

    Why the early start time?  It works out best for everyone on this hike so that you have time to hike up the mountain and get off the trail before dark or close to dark.  

    Flexibility is this hike may have to be adjusted for the weather.......and road conditions....  

    Total distance for this hike is 16 miles.  We will hike at the speed the trail allows us to hike due to weather conditions.  This will be a cold hike, with the potential of seeing the smokies the way most only see in pictures.  

    !!!!!!!! Camelbaks may be useless for this hike.  You may prefer several large water bottles or thermos for water or whatever you are drinking.   Camelbak tube may freeze even if you are blowing the water back into your bag.  The temps on top can be extremely cold due to the windchill.  

    You will want handwarmers for the top when stopped.....   Glove, glove liners will be useful.... Dress in layers as you may want to get rid of layers as you go up, but want to put them back on as soon as you are at the top.   

    You will need to bring enough water for this hike as there is no water at the top.  HOT drink in a good thermos is strongly suggested for the top........  WEATHER  .....  come prepared for anything and cold and hope for the best.... HIKING POLES ARE A MUST....   NO JEANS..NO COTTON.. anticipate being late getting off the trail... do not plan to be any place by a certain time as you may not make it........  !!!!!!!

    IF YOU ARE ATTENDING THIS HIKE AND YOU HAVE NOT DONE A WINTER HIKE IN SNOW AND ICE WITH US BEFORE YOU MUST HAVE TWO HIKING POLES WITH METAL TIPS.  

    HIKING STICKS DO NOT COUNT.  

    YOU MUST HAVE MICRO SPIKES IN YOUR POSSESSION FOR THIS HIKE..... THIS IS A TOUGH HIKE IN NORMAL WEATHER... BUT I WILL NOT RISK SOMEONE GETTING HURT FROM NOT HAVING ICE TRACTION DEVICES FOR THEIR SHOES.....  

    YOU MUST HAVE WATERPROOFED SHOES.... PREFERABLY GORE-TEX... GLOVES PREFERABLY LEATHER .... not cotton...... not just a liner..... not just a fuzzy glove.

    This is a great way to challenge yourself for the new Year. 

    For a profile of the hike, click here.

    For a map of the hike, click here.

    If you RSVP for this hike and are removed from the list, it is because  there is some concern about your ability to make this hike in the time limitations for this trail at this time of year. 

    Maybe it should say Who is Crazy Enough? 


Join or login to comment.

  • Kelly Engle T.

    Wow! I have hiked LeConte in mid November and spent the night at the top! January would be amazing AND COLD! Brrrr! Ooshi!

    October 11

  • Yuyan Z.

    Looks exciting. I won't sign up now either and would join if available then. I'll mark it on my calendar.

    October 11

  • Gina

    I want to try and make this hike. I'm not gonna sign up because we usually got o FL for a month in the winter and I'm not sure of our dates yet and I don't to sign up and take a spot and have to drop out. So if one is available at the time of the hike I will take it.

    October 10

    • Dale

      Now, you know this would be more fun than Florida in the winter. We will see that you get a spot.

      1 · October 10

  • Laura N.

    Check out the Devil's Race Track & Tanks Springs -Cumberland Trail hike we did in Jan. this year with JD.

    October 10

    • Dale

      I used to live within 10 minutes of the Devil's Race Track. Still work up there. That is fun stuff, never stays around long there. Doesn't get as cold as LeConte, but nice to play in there.

      October 10

    • Dale

      Looks better in the snow, then the summer going up. Sort of like Rainbow Falls trail is so much nicer covered with snow.

      October 10

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RSVPs close: Jan 12 at 5:00 PM

  • Dale
    '900 Miler', Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Ahmad I.

    Egyptian in Tennessee

  • SteveH

    Rejoining the group after a couple of years away...

  • Lisa S.

    Hi! I am newly tranplanted to the Knoxville area from NJ. I moved from Metuchen (Middlesex... more

  • Patrick J.

    I enjoy exploring the Smoky Mountains with fun people. Sometimes, we forget the most fun we can... more

  • Beth J
    '900 Miler'

    900 miler class of 2016. I live in Georgia but like to travel to the Smoky Mts on... more

  • Chris

    AT Class of 2015. Moved to Knoxville and want to hike 900 in the Smokies.

  • Lane D.

    recently retired and living in Maggie Valley. long time backpacker with an interest in hiking,... more

  • Sam D.

    I love the great outdoors. Looking forward to doing some fun adventures with this group.

  • Beth M

    I live in Knoxville and do some hiking in the area. I'm looking to meet others and try out some... more

  • John P.
    '900 Miler'

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