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  1. #1

    Default Average Evening Temperature Lows in May, from Springer through Smokies?

    I'm starting May 1st from Springer. What should I be expecting for the average night time temperature lows from Springer through the Smokies...

    Does it typically go below freezing?

    I'm not really worried about the day time lows because so long as I'm moving, I'm warm. It's the evening that kills me. I'm a cold sleeper, so I really want to make sure that I bring enough cold weather clothing, in addition to my already warm bag and pad.

    Also, since I'm starting in May, should I bring a coat? I was planning on just bringing a heavy fleece, in addition to my thermal baselayers.

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    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    No, not below freezing probably at all. Likely that you'll be around upper 40s to mid 50s norm. Certainly, watch the weather because there is a possibility of 30s lows before mid-month. Smokies might be a bit more of a crapshoot before Memorial Day.
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    Average lows for the MONTH of May are 39F - but those temperatures includes the latter and warmer part of the month.
    The median (as many above as below) MONTHLY low is 25F. Typical range of MONTHLY lows in past years are 17 to 30F. These are the low temperatures you should expect to encounter at some point during the month, likely only for a few nights in the beginning of the month, but you should be prepared for them.
    Recent coldest temp recorded during May is a low of 17F in 2004.
    This all taken from Mt. LeConte weather data at 6493 ft ASL

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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Add to above, temps in Blairsville GA will run about 10F warmer than GSMNP the same time of year.

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    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    On 5-10-11 I was at the Overmountain Barn shelter where the temp dropped to 36*. Add 30-40 mph winds across the open high balds there and it was cold.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasebrooklyn View Post
    I'm starting May 1st from Springer. What should I be expecting for the average night time temperature lows from Springer through the Smokies...

    Does it typically go below freezing?

    I'm not really worried about the day time lows because so long as I'm moving, I'm warm. It's the evening that kills me. I'm a cold sleeper, so I really want to make sure that I bring enough cold weather clothing, in addition to my already warm bag and pad.

    Also, since I'm starting in May, should I bring a coat? I was planning on just bringing a heavy fleece, in addition to my thermal baselayers.
    Just be very cautious in the Smokies. They're called the Smokies for a reason.

    While it's not likely you'd experience freezing nights, you may experience thick fog, which can be just as penetrating as freezing temps. I've experienced a combination of fog, wind, and rain, that I have not experienced anywhere else, except in the Smokies. This can be a deadly combination.

    So you want to have enough warmth to allow for this. I would want a 20 degree bag for night in the Smokies.

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Climate data for GSMNP indicates that average seasonal temperatures for May is a hi/lo of around 80/50 in the valleys and around 55/45 on top of the mountains.
    Typical temperature fluctuations are at least +/-10 around these seasonal averages, but heat/cold waves can easily push these averages by +/-15 and more.
    As an example, I've been told that it has snowed up at LeConte Lodge at one time or another in every month of the year except July and August.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the prompt and very helpful information.

    My bag's EN rating is 0 degrees, but I always add 30 degrees to the EN rating due to my cold sleep issue. Also, my sleep pad is an R6.

    I'll be sure to bring extra layers and a fleece for sleeping. Not worth the risk.

    Yeah, ultralight hiking will never be an option for me... except for when I'm in the desert.

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    For the GSMNP, you might like this site, especially the link for the "Monthly graph of temperature & precipitation averages" near the center of the page under the heading "Climate & Past Observations"?

    https://www.outragegis.com/weather/grsm/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasebrooklyn View Post
    Thanks for the prompt and very helpful information.

    My bag's EN rating is 0 degrees, but I always add 30 degrees to the EN rating due to my cold sleep issue. Also, my sleep pad is an R6.

    I'll be sure to bring extra layers and a fleece for sleeping. Not worth the risk.

    Yeah, ultralight hiking will never be an option for me... except for when I'm in the desert.
    The desert will fool you. Freeze your behind off just as often as the Smokies.
    Ok, sounds like your 0 degree bag isn't really a 0 degree bag. I understand sleeping cold, but you're carrying the weight off 2 bags just to be comfortable in the Teens. Can you give us some details of your bag? Fill type and weight of fill? Top loft or total loft? Brand and model? Total weight?
    Perhaps you just think that you sleep cold because your bag is really cold. Your pad is fine.
    Wayne


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    EN ratings are in Celsius. So 0 degrees (and you didn't say which rating that was) is the freezing point.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by error View Post
    EN ratings are in Celsius. So 0 degrees (and you didn't say which rating that was) is the freezing point.
    Oh dear. That explains a lot. However I did have a North Face Hightail 3S for 3 days. The EN temperature numbers were in Centigrade and Fahrenheit. However, in the conversion process they rounded the Fahrenheit temps down. That and several other reasons conspired to make me return the bag.
    Sleeping bags are all about the details.
    Wayne


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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    If this is your bag, you are a COLD sleeper.
    http://www.gearinstitute.com/hiking/...face-inferno-0
    Good luck.
    Wayne


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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Ps: Low temperature occurs in the wee hours of the morning. Usually about sunrise. Evening temperatures are generally quite comfortable compared to low temperatures.
    Wayne


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    I'm guessing in three weeks time (a moderately quick hike from Springer thru the Smokies) you'll get a handful of nights below freezing.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    I'm guessing in three weeks time (a moderately quick hike from Springer thru the Smokies) you'll get a handful of nights below freezing.
    The kind of nights/mornings that folks in Texas dream of. I think we had about 6 this winter. 12 degrees was the coldest. My 20 degree bag and wool underwear were fine.
    Wayne


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    Memorial Day weekend 2013 at Siler's Bald shelter just north of Winding Stair Gap, NC, there was frost on the ground one morning. Last year in mid-May at Walnut Mountain shelter south of Hot Springs, NC, it was 32 degrees and very wind one morning after a front went thru. Be prepared for cold fronts to push thru the south and drop the temp significantly this time of year.

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    Leonidas
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    If I remember correctly, May 15th 2016, it snowed 3-4 inches in the Smokies. The further north the worse it was, recall many vloggers complaining that they had sent their cold weather sleep systems home.
    AT: 274.5 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 192.7 mi

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    There's a reason why the Smokies support vegetation also found in New England and Canada.
    ELEVATION!
    Wayne


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    Hey I sent a you a msg.. Im actually just going to start from new york and go Nobo, have a safe trip man! Goodluck

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