It's been my dream now, and I want to do it sometime between Jan-Mar. I want to do a winter ascent. Not sure when the best time is. Also, I am not in the area, I'm down south, in VA. I'm an experienced hiker and used to much higher elevation gains. I recently started a fitness program to prepare me and continue to hike regularly. I do have some winter gear and I'm used to the cold, but a winter in the Blue Ridge here probably doesn't compare.

I was considering getting a guide in the area, since I don't have anyone besides my husky who would go with me, and I don't think I'll actually be bringing her, even though I have seen others take dogs.

I'm hoping some people can help me plan my trip. I was viewing the Views From The Top forums, but since new people can't register all I can do is read and not ask anyone. So I'm trying here for advice and information on trip planning.