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Southeast US winter meetup
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Craig Burton
(MissingUtah)

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Southeast US winter meetup on 11/02/2008 10:50:11 MST Print View

As was mentioned in another thread, a Southeast backpacking trip (Jan or Feb) has been suggested with a fair number of interested participants.

Suggested sites so far include,

Roan Mountain
Big Creek (Smokies)
Mt. Mitchell
Slickrock Creek

The most central areas would probably be Roan Mountain and Big Creek; but to include our Georgia brethren, Fontana Lake and Chattahoochee NF could also be added to the mix. Of course, a brutal winter area would probably be preferred :)

January and February weekends seem to be the most popular. MLK weekend works best for me since I believe 2009's day off is MLK Day (my company rotates President's Day and MLK Day each year). Though this may not be best for families wishing to spend MLK weekend with their kids -- understandable!

Let's try to figure some locations and dates that work well for everyone -- even if it is just a one-, or two-, night trip. Personally, I leave work very early on Friday's so I can be just about anywhere in the tri-state area by 6pm on a Friday; but I'm also willing to take a Friday or Monday off if it works well with everyone's schedule.

Let's hear what works!

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/02/2008 17:01:19 MST Print View

I am in. If we are planning on leaving after work friday we should pick an easy to find trailhead as most of us will have to find it in the dark. Big fat gap in the slickrock wilderness comes to mind it is easy to find and there is a trail that leads down to the creek and some big campsites 3 miles or so from the TH that would be fairly easy to find at night.

That said I have always wanted to Albert Mtn in wintertime.

Malcolm Foss
(mfoss01) - F

Locale: North Georgia
RE: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/03/2008 21:55:29 MST Print View

Interesting coincidence, my cousin and I are planning a winter trip in the smokies. We are hoping to make it a 5 day trip though. I would be interested in this trip as well. I have tons of experience backpacking the southern appalachians, but almost all of it has been in summer and the shoulder seasons. My wife and I found ourselves woefully unprepared on a January overnighter on Standing Indian last year. We would have been fine had we stayed camped, but we got caught out for several hours on the move in freezing rain and high wind. We had cheap PU coated shells which failed, and no waterproof protection for our legs. So, what would you guys' clothing system be on a trip like this, provided a brutal winter destination was selected?

Malcolm Foss
(mfoss01) - F

Locale: North Georgia
RE: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/03/2008 22:09:20 MST Print View

Just realized my previous post posed a gear question which was close to being a hijack, so I am posting again to weigh in on a few possible destinations. I would love to do a winter backpacking "assault on Mt. Mitchell" (any other cyclists out there?). Slickrock would probably be awesome in winter. And Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee is great in winter. Most of the many bears are sleeping, and it's closer for me ;-)

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: SE Winter Meetup and Gear on 11/04/2008 00:55:05 MST Print View

I was thinking we needed to start something here to guage interest when it came up in the other thread. Good to see you took the initiative Craig! I'm definitely in, and MLK would be perfect time for me. I could take 4 or 5 days over the weekend off work if necessary.

As for gear, well Malcolm if we're planning the trip here, I say we gotta talk about the gear! :) Alot will depend on conditions, but my probable layering system is:

Base: Icebreaker 260 Tech-T, Icebreaker 200 tights

Mid: None really needed, maybe these things I made ;)

Windshell: Homemade hooded windshirt, taslan pants

Stormshell: Moonstone Gore-Tex or maybe a new project? ;)
and old Red Ledge Thunderlight full-zip pants

Insulation: Patagonia down hoodie, homemade climashield
pants.

Extremities: wool liner gloves and hiking socks, homemade insulated booties, wool mitts, homemade shell mitts, powerstretch mask, light wool hat, ID eVent shorty gaiters.

If it to be really REALLY cold I would swap my windshells for Ibex Skifans pullover and pants, and also my kinda weird, super functional (for me) homemade pieces; a powerstretch hoodie vest, and powerstretch shorts. Probably another hat and Marmot softshell gloves. I think I'm also gonna make some real basic Climashield mitts.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: RE: SE Winter Meetup and Gear on 11/04/2008 03:49:49 MST Print View

This was my system last Winter:

Top Base: Ibex Outback L/S Merino Shirt
Bottom Base: TNF Agilent Short + REI Mistral Pant
Insulation: Montbell Thermawrap Jacket
Socks: Teko Merino Wool
Head: Mountain Hardwear Micro Dome
Gloves: Mountain Hardwear Powerstretch
Rain Shell: TNF Diad

That got me down to the low teens. I might add a windshirt and take different pants and gloves this Winter but those would likely be my only changes.

Malcolm Foss
(mfoss01) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Southeast US winter meetup layering on 11/04/2008 15:25:04 MST Print View

My Appalachian winter layering system is looking like this so far:

base top - Smartwool merino wool longsleeve
windshirt - Marmot Original Driclime Windshirt
insulation - Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL jacket
rain shell - Outdoor Research Zealot jacket

base bottom - Smartwool merino wool long johns
pants - need to add softshell pants
rain pants -Outdoor Research Celestial pants

hat - REI micro-fleece beanie
gloves - Black Diamond Polartec fleece gloves
socks - Smartwool trekking
boots - Vasque Summit GTX

Things I'm debating:
Whether I need a puffier, warmer, lighter insulating jacket.
What softshell pants to add.
Whether I need to add insulating pants (e.g. Montbell Thermawrap)

What do you guys think?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Southeast US winter meetup layering on 11/04/2008 15:41:17 MST Print View

Malcolm - do you run warm or cold? I obviously run warm but knowing that would help me help you.

Malcolm Foss
(mfoss01) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Southeast US winter meetup layering on 11/04/2008 15:56:03 MST Print View

Chris, I can see from your clothing list that you are one hardy son of gun. I on the other hand, definitely run cold.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Southeast US winter meetup layering on 11/04/2008 16:07:31 MST Print View

I've gotten chilly in camp a time or two but generally that list works well for me. In regards to softshell pants, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Rab Vapour-rise trail pant. They were awesome on the WT3 trip in all conditons we experienced. With those pants I never had to use my insulating pants where most of the other guys did. As far as the jacket goes, a thermawrap jacket won't be as warm as the compressor you have now. I'd look at the thermawrap parka if the new BPL line isn't out before you need it.

Edited by simplespirit on 11/04/2008 20:16:34 MST.

Malcolm Foss
(mfoss01) - F

Locale: North Georgia
RE: Southeast US winter meetup layering on 11/05/2008 18:02:41 MST Print View

Thanks for the info Chris, especially the heads up on the Rab pants. I was not aware of those.

Edited by mfoss01 on 11/05/2008 18:03:45 MST.

Andrew Wolff
(Andrew)

Locale: Chattanooga
Southeast US winter meetup on 11/09/2008 20:45:45 MST Print View

Count me in. As far as timing goes I'm very flexable. I would second the Big Frog idea but a bunch of those other suggestions sound good too. Glad to see the Southeast representing with the meetups - the west coast has been having all the fun for too long.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/10/2008 15:37:02 MST Print View

Great. Big Frog sounds good to me too its alot closer than driving all the way to the smokies or slickrock. I have never done too much hiking there though what trailhead would we park at?

Andrew Wolff
(Andrew)

Locale: Chattanooga
Re: Re: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/10/2008 19:06:58 MST Print View

Jesse, probably the easiest Big Frog trailhead for a group meetup would be Low Gap because it is only about 4 miles behind the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Not too far to drive on the forest roads and easy to find. From there you can make a loop up Chimney Top to the Big Frog summit and then down Licklog Ridge. I've done this as a winter trip before and I think its about 15 miles, although there's plenty of trails to go as far as you want up there.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: SE US winter meetup on 11/12/2008 12:32:20 MST Print View

In all my outdoor travels in the southern mountains over the last 25 years, I've never been to Big Frog. It seems some of the forum members are pretty knowledgable about the area, so my vote is for a new hiking spot for me. I second the Big Frog idea. 15-20 miler sounds about perfect; I wanna do a great challenging hike, but I'm also looking forward to some great comraderie with folks who share my passion!

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Southeast US winter meetup on 11/12/2008 15:38:13 MST Print View

Well thats 3 votes for Big Frog if you count me.

Scott if we are going to be hiking saturday sunday AND monday don't you think we could do a little more than 15 or 20 miles? I was thinking of closer to 30 that way we hike 12 or 15 miles on sat and sun and have a super easy day on monday. But hey I'm cool with whatever.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Mileage on 11/12/2008 23:19:25 MST Print View

Yes I think you're right Jesse; I was thinking overnighter for some reason. That gives us 10-12 miles a day; even hiking at a moderate pace, we're still only walking about 5-6 hours a day.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Southeast Winter Trip on 12/10/2008 16:14:35 MST Print View

I'll try and keep up with this thread. If I can, I'll love to make the trip.

Thomas Bennett
(DavidMakalaster) - F
Pisgah on 12/12/2008 23:24:27 MST Print View

I'm planning a January loop on the Art Loeb Trail to the Mountains to Sea ultimately connecting to Black Mountain and back to the ranger station on 276. I haven't calculated the exact mileage but it should be a little under 70 miles total. I'm still up in the air about exact dates but if anyone's interested in maybe joining me let me know.

Andrew Wolff
(Andrew)

Locale: Chattanooga
Southeast Winter Meetup on 01/15/2009 20:01:45 MST Print View

Just wondering if people are still interested in this trip.