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Blue Ridge Parkway Conditions?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Eastern US. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Eastern US Climbing Partners section.
 

Blue Ridge Parkway Conditions?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:27 pm

I am planning to head down the parkway starting around March 30 to do a few days of hiking and scrambling.

Does anyone know if large sections of the road are still closed? I know there is a section of about 10 miles closed between Asheville and Mount Pisgah, but are there others?

I will be traveling approximately from Peaks of Otter to the Pisgah area, with major stops at Doughton, Linville Falls, the Craggies, and around Pisgah.
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Postby Sarah Simon » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:42 pm

Sorry, I can't provide useful input re: conditions.

I can just say I'm envious. One of my nerdy "back east" things I'd like to do someday, in addition to hiking the length of the AT and hitting all peaks withing "reasonable" distance (whatever that means) is do a "BR Parkway Peak Hiking Mania" outting.

I'm jealous.

:evil: Write a TR when you're through...
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Postby StarMan » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:02 pm

Call (828) 298 0398... follow links to road conditions. Usually updates every day.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:03 pm

I'll be down there (Craggies/Mt Mitchell area) at exactly the same time. I'd love to hear an update on snow levels from a local. But after seeing that it looked like this image:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pJ2CL1oa_PY/S ... G_1493.jpg
in the Craggies two and a half weeks ago, I've been assuming that driving that section will not be posssible--all activities will be on foot.
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Postby StarMan » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:19 pm

The massive snowpack from 2 weeks ago is going fast due to recent warm weather and rain... Mount Mitchell is down from 4-5 feet to about just over a foot now :(. There has been colder weather and a couple of inches of fresh snow the past couple of days, but warmer weather forecast through the next week again. Of course, big snows and cold are always possible into April and may come back in a couple of weeks for you.


chugach mtn boy wrote:I'll be down there (Craggies/Mt Mitchell area) at exactly the same time. I'd love to hear an update on snow levels from a local. But after seeing that it looked like this image:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pJ2CL1oa_PY/S ... G_1493.jpg
in the Craggies two and a half weeks ago, I've been assuming that driving that section will not be posssible--all activities will be on foot.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:54 pm

Thanks, helpful update. I did see there had been some cold weather and precip in recent days, but it sounds like that didn't provide much reinforcement to the snow cover. Still, for the parkway, don't they keep it gated off unless every last speck of snow and ice in that section is gone? So that one remnant in a shady corner at 5500' means no cars from Buck Creek Gap clear over to Bull Gap, for example? Or am I mistaken?
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Postby StarMan » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:21 am

It is true that the Parkway does not do any winter maintenance and keeps most sections closed that have the slightest amounts of snow and ice. However, they "bend" the rules a little on the section from Buck Creek Gap to NC 128 (the Mount Mitchell summit road) as I have driven this section when there were sections covered in snow (and today it was open). I think the reason is that this is the only winter access to Mount Mitchell by vehicle. It is interesting to note that NC state trucks will travel the Parkway from Buck Creek Gap (without doing any plowing or treatment) to the state highway, NC 128, and then plow, sand. salt it to the summit! Guess they can't legally do anything to the Federally owned Parkway. That section from NC 128 to Bull Gap is nearly ALWAYS closed in the winter months (and currently is closed)... as I said earlier the best updates in winter for the Parkway are best obtained calling (828) 298 0398.

chugach mtn boy wrote:Thanks, helpful update. I did see there had been some cold weather and precip in recent days, but it sounds like that didn't provide much reinforcement to the snow cover. Still, for the parkway, don't they keep it gated off unless every last speck of snow and ice in that section is gone? So that one remnant in a shady corner at 5500' means no cars from Buck Creek Gap clear over to Bull Gap, for example? Or am I mistaken?
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:18 am

Now that is some good information! I love it when SP takes you straight to the guy with firsthand knowledge.
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Postby johnmnichols » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:28 pm

They tend to be very conservative in opening the section of the BRP between Cherokee and Asheville (this whole section is currently closed). There are a lot of tunnels and many sections that never see the sun so snow/ice lingers for a while.

Additionally, there is a section of the BRP between Asheville and Mt Pisgah that may remain closed for a while longer due to an imminent slide that would impact the road. Once the the non-slide portion of the Parkway is open, you can access Mt Pisgah and the Shining Rock area either via NC 151 or US 276. In fact you can access Shining Rock/Black Balsam from US 276 even if the BRP is still closed -- just requires a lot more effort.
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Postby Gafoto » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:01 am

The parkway was closed around Apple Orchard Mountain for much of this winter but it is open and they've cleared off all the dead branches and so forth.
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Re: take advantage!

Postby johnmnichols » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:06 pm

Randor wrote:A few years ago, I took this idea to the extreme with a combo bike, hike and ski trip in the Smokies. I had a serious craving for some cross-country skiing, and I figured that the only skiiable snow was up high, around Clingmans Dome in the Smokies.

I rode my bike up Clingmans Dome Road with my packfull of boots on my back, and with skis attached to my ski-compatible pack. When the snow started to appear and the riding got too hard and slippery, I ditched the bike and hiked with pack/skis for a few miles until the snow got too deep for easy hiking, then I stashed the hiking boots and skied the rest of the way. Reverse coming back down.


Did you happen to do that adventure on December 30 or 31 a few years ago? I was with a group of 4 hiking from Newfound Gap to Clingmans via the AT and we took the closed road back to save time on the return. We were highly entertained by a guy who had a different mode of travel every time we saw him (hiking, skis, bike, etc). We were waiting for him to pull a hangglider out from behind the trees and just float off the ridge :D

As far as BRP conditions, the southern end is still pretty rough, but the rangers have started clean up efforts. Rode my bike up to Heintooga Ridge from US 441 this past weekend. Still a lot of trees down, lots of rockslides (nothing that couldn't be ridden around though), and snow above ~4300 ft.
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