View Full Version : Late May Hike
12-22-2008, 10:24 PM
Hello everyone, I am new to this board and im just looking for some guidance, a few friends and I are starting to prepare for a several day hike through NH along the Appalachian trail, Im just starting to gather information on what to expect weather wise in late may, especially atop Washington. any information, and suggestions about the weather, and anything else recommended would be great.
12-23-2008, 11:09 AM
I can remember a couple of Memorial Days when snow was still a big problem at higher elevations. Most of the time, you'll be okay by late May. Completely depends on what kind of a snow year it is. If we keep going the way we've started out this winter, you may be running into some snow!
12-23-2008, 06:59 PM
I guess ill have to prepare for snow! just to be on the safe side
12-24-2008, 07:55 AM
You'll probably be fine. I would say 9 times out of 10 the snow is gone by late May. The last places to lose snow are the shady areas in the spruce-balsam evergreen zone around 3000 to 4000 feet--it'll be gone above treeline and below in the hardwoods. Sometimes through this zone the snow gets packed down and icy on the trail from hiker traffic even when it's all melted off to the sides of the trail. Most likely scenario is that you'll maybe run into some old snow on north-facing slopes, but it won't be enough to cause problems.
I would check back here next spring to find out what snow conditions are like. Another great place to find out about trail conditions is Views From The Top: go to http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/ and click on "Trail Conditions" for the area you're interested in.
12-24-2008, 08:28 AM
Unless its an exceptional year it would only be a problem in Tuckerman Ravine. The snow only lingers in a few areas and most are not near trails. Where snow does cross a trail its only in short sections that can be carefully negotiated.
12-24-2008, 04:52 PM
Here is a picture of what conditions were like on the Glen Boulder trail above the boulder on May 23, 2007. It was just that stretch of 0.7 miles that was bad:
That year was a big snow year, and we also had a lot of snow ten years before that, in 1997. Usually it's not this bad!:)
12-24-2008, 11:53 PM
So i guess what it boils down to is just wear some warm waterproof gear, and check the weather quite frequently throughout the month of may. thanks for all the info thus far, keep it coming, the more i can learn of the area the better off i will be.
12-24-2008, 11:58 PM
also, what temperature sleeping bag is recommended for may?
12-25-2008, 11:36 AM
I would think that a 20-degree bag would be more than enough to keep you warm. You probably won't experience many temperatures below freezing at night at that time of year at places you would be camping. I was just looking at some of the historical weather data for the summit of Washington in the month of May, and it looks like temps in the 30's are typical lows for late May, but you will be camping at lower elevations. The valleys will easily be 20 degrees warmer than Mt. Washington summit temps. Even though there might be old snow hanging on in shady places, it'll still be above freezing! And (famous last words) unless we have an early spell of really warm weather, you probably don't have to worry about bugs. They tend to be bad late June and early July. But throw some bug dope into the pack just in case!
12-25-2008, 12:58 PM
i figured 20-30 degree bag would be sufficient, also is there a requirement for a permit to set up tents and sleep along the Appalachian trail in NH, or do you have to stay at designated camping areas? thanks again for all the help
12-26-2008, 08:45 AM
There are some established campsites along the AT, and you can also camp many other places in the White Mountain National Forest (with some rules about things like staying a certain distance from streams and no camping above treeline). The AMC White Mountain Guide has all the information you need, and there are probably some books about hiking the AT that would be helpful too. Good luck with your planning, and post some pictures on this forum when you've had your trip!:)
12-27-2008, 06:50 PM
thanks, and dont worry, i plan on taking many pictures
02-03-2009, 10:23 AM
also what would be recommended clothing to carry during mid-late may in the area?
02-03-2009, 11:19 AM
I went up Mt Washington last Memorial Day, and we definatley had some snow (I slid down a patch, I'm bringing microspikes this year :D)
It was really neat to see the snow....on some parts the hike was a bit easier since we were just walking on snow rather than the rocks. And on the way down we got to see some skiers, very cool.
We're going again this Mem. Day.....I can't wait!
02-04-2009, 11:20 AM
You said you were planning a "several" day trip. Depending on your milage you can very well run into snow in late may. I will post pics of snow last year in the middle of May. The ridge is actually the least place to expect snow. IMO on the AT places like the saddles between Lafayette, Haystack, and the Carters tend to hold snow longer as they are in the scrub and trail runs the north side of the mtns. Postholing sucks in shorts :) As for clothing, basic underlayers, shells and a light insulator should be fine.
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