Generally SOBO is the way to go in the fall. Although you have mountains throughout the 800 miles, you'll spend more time in higher elevations as you head north - meaning more time in possible winter conditions. Fall SOBO hikers leave before major winter sets in up north and they hike to better weather. Then, as they hit the Sky Islands in the southern part, they can decide how to handle the elevations if bad weather comes in. Wait it out for a day or 2? Just plow through - up and over in a day? Or, take the right gear and camp a night in the colder / snowier / etc.? I THINK we have a NOBO on the trail right now. Haven't really noticed any posts on the FB page lately, but you may want to check it out and see if he responds.