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Thread: Ice in March

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    Default Ice in March

    How icy is the trail in GA/NC in late March? Does it justify the weight of microspikes?

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    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Really hit and miss depending on weather, of course, but a definite possibility. I really don't think it justifies spikes, though. By mid Feb, we start to get some bright sunny days pushing 70. Of course, its 20 the next day, but point is that accumulated ice starts to melt. Maybe spikes would be good for an early Feb start.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Townie View Post
    How icy is the trail in GA/NC in late March? Does it justify the weight of microspikes?
    It's very unlikely they'd be helpful in Georgia by late March.

    It's not unusual to encounter ice at higher elevations in the Smokies well into April. Watch the weather - if there has been recent rain or snow and colder temperatures are forecast, I like to have them with me.

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    I haven't ever witnessed spikes on the AT. Neither on feet or hanging from packs. I would say there could be some ice patches but not enough to justify spikes

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    You won't need them for both weather reasons and terrain reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnacraft View Post
    It's very unlikely they'd be helpful in Georgia by late March.
    It's not unusual to encounter ice at higher elevations in the Smokies well into April. Watch the weather - if there has been recent rain or snow and colder temperatures are forecast, I like to have them with me.
    GSMNP is your wild card. Temperatures can be 20 colder at its upper elevations. But even in the middle of winter, the average "climate" in GSMNP has day time temperatures rising above freezing. So the only time there is snow and ice even in the upper elevations of the Smokies is during a cold front/snow event. Usually, within a week, the snow is all gone.
    It has snowed at the upper elevations of GSMNP every month of the year except July and August (that's what the employees at LeConte Lodge have told me). But you shouldn't reach GSMNP until April, and playing the odds, your are unlikely to encounter snow that time of year.

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    Four years ago I would've have said---Yes, bring the spikes. Now after seeing how bad microspikes ball up wet snow underneath I'd say no way---you don't need them. BUT . . . you will need a good boot with a decent deep lug sole---to keep from slipping in wet snow.

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    I don't think so for myself. I can't crystal ball you specifically how icy or the snow depth your specific late March and through April will be. If you're accustomed to ME in March outdoor conditions I feel it safe to predict the conditions in GA, NC, and TN will be less harsh than perhaps your accustomed. For all I know you may get dumped on this yr and your uncomfortable backpacking on icy or snowy single track. YMMV

    I find an acceptable lighter wt alternate for late March going forward on an AT NOBO to be: https://www.zoro.com/zoro-select-rep...yABEgJpyfD_BwE You can also by a handful of stainless steel hex head screws at HD or Lowes for less than $1.50. Either get the hex head screws with a slot so you can screw them in with a knife or tiny flat screwdriver or bring a tiny cheap socket wrench. REI sells a current LaSportiva kit with the wrench for a ridiculously over priced $50. They used to, and may still, as well as other outfitters, offer a $12 kit with a tiny very light hex head driver and different length hex heads. Throw them in your pack with a good way to screw them in and call it a wrap is my suggestion.

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    I've lived here 5 years, and have seen maybe 2 days where they would be helpful. Chances are you won't need them.

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    Exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!

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