Friday, February 8, 2013

Rear View Mirror: 2012

Well, a new year and probably time for a bit of reflection on 2012 before the current year really takes off. 2012 was definitely a transitional year for me with some major experiences and changes occurring in my life. A warning, this post includes a bunch of disjointed and disconnected photos.

The year began with a fateful ski trip to Japan. We had enjoyed an amazing week of powder snow, food and good times before tragedy struck. While walking home after dinner, a member of our group fell down an embankment and struck his head on a concrete culvert. Tragically, he died from his injures. The incident was my first experience of death as an adult and it definitely took some time to get over. I will be returning to Japan Feb 2013 to mark Fitzy’s passing.

Otaru mall

The Japanese are so quirky

Festival of love Otaru, everyone was laughing at me wandering  around alone

Again, the quirkiness is awesome, Hirafu fire station

After Japan we knuckled down for a bit, working, saving money and doing the occasional hike and weekend at the beach. I did buy myself my first proper mountain bike and started to explore the local fire trails and single tracks. Our region also experienced a massive flood event with rivers bursting banks and Lake Jindabyne at full capacity.

New bikes and riding with my sister Dom and Holly

Coolamine homestead

Jindabyne sunset

Island Bend spilling during the big event of Feb 2012

Snowy River raging and flooded picnic area Thredbo River

In April, Holly and I visited Holly’s brother who lives with his wife in Chang Mai, northern Thailand. Her parents also flew over from the UK. We had an incredible time eating amazing food and hanging out with Holly’s family. I also snuck away for a few hikes. We were there for Thai new year, Songkran. For about 3 days everyone goes crazy throwing water at each other, it is a lot of fun. I am working on a blog post for this trip, but for now, here are some photos.

The country would not run without these

Hiking with Holly at Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest mountain

Wat at Doi Inthanon

Mountains of northern Thailand, Burma is over the valley

They are happy bunch in Northern Thailand, and they like to sit in the back of utes

Chang Rai and the Golden Triangle

Massive Buddha on the outskirts of Chang Mai

Songkran craziness, Chang Mai

We stopped in Singapore on the way home for a few days. We ate some delicious food, did some shopping and checked out the famous zoo.

Busy Singapore and tasty dumplings

Holly loves giraffes

Biggest nose in Borneo

Evil squirrel


It was really nice eating ice cream watching the sun set

Arriving back in Australia after our trip to Asia we were excited for the snow to start falling and to be skiing again. An early snowfall presented an opportunity to ski the Main Range in May with buddy James.

One of my favourite places in Australia, the Main Range

I managed one last coastal weekend in June and scored some really nice waves. I tried surfing with my gopro camera for the first time and made a little clip.

I scored some nice waves around Shellharbour

After this we settled into the ski season, working all week and skiing all weekend. Work was challenging as we implemented some changes to our winter operations that required constant consultation with the local stakeholders. We had plenty of visitors and scored some great days out on the slopes with friends and family.

Another day skiing at Perisher with Holly

Holly is starting to get pretty good, some sidecountry powder

My Mum the ski instructor and Dad the lifty, classic!

Lunch ski break

Kate and Dane came to visit

Dad has still got it, Thredbo

We had a memorial day at Thredbo for Fitzy and Steff

Despite the great start, the 2012 season was kind of frustrating from a backcountry perspective. Early in the season we had a work overnight search and rescue BC training night. The evening corresponded with a full moon and we skied the dry powder past midnight. I had hilarious and sort of scary overnight BC trip with by buddy Matt where we nearly got blown off the mountain by a crazy storm that hit in the middle of the night. I had a day out with Damian who was out from Japan teaching avalanche courses. This was followed by a solo day trip out to Mt Twynam where I encountered bullet proof dangerous ice and gale forced winds. The following week I had another crack and again encountered ice this time at Mt Tate.

Training night, it got down to -12, pretty cold for Australia

Good food and chatter

Full moon turns

Our campsite

A day at Guthega Creek with Rohan

Crazy overnighter with Matty

Snowy conditions touring with Damian

Main Range view, very icy day

Nice pitch below Mt Tate

Despite the lack of action, my blog post on Mt Twynam was picked up by Mountainwatch, my first piece of published work! My edit from a day out around Guthega Creek also won clip of the week.
Amongst the action of winter I passed a milestone, I turned 30. I celebrated in Sydney with friends and family and scored some amazing presents. A beautiful Neal Purchase Jr. surfboards, an Atomic coffee maker, a kindle and a trip to Tasmania! Turning 30 was completely different to expectations. I had thought I would be apprehensive but in fact it is a really exciting time. I enjoyed my 20’s, sometimes a little to much, it feels good to be moving into the next phase of my life.

My beautiful new Neal Purchase Jr. quad

We went to Tasmania in October and did an amazing hike around Cradle Mountain. We encountered everything that Tassie could throw at us. The hike made us stronger and brought us closer together. After the hike we spent an incredible week exploring Tasmania.

Tassie, its all happening

Just another day driving around Tasmania

The snow storm we experienced at Cradle Mountain

Gordon River

The incredible MONA

Southern giant petrel, Bruny Island, incredibly rare apparently

Australian fur seals off Bruny Island

Baby fur seal, so cute!

Southern tip of Bruny Island, next stop Antarctica

Arriving back in the mountains after our Tassie trip there was still plenty of snow to be skied. I had a great boys weekend camping and skiing the spring slush. My season finished with a lovely morning ski to Carruthers with Holly who battled on despite some nasty blisters.

Boys camp out at Island Bend

Now that's a fire!

Transition at the top of Little Austria

Holly and I hiked up to Caruthers in late spring

Last turns of the season

It was a bit patchy at the end

Crazy stuff going on at the Snowy River crossing

My season in the backcountry, 23 days, 10,800m climbed, 12,800m skied and 170km travelled

As we enjoyed the spring skiing we were also in midst of house hunting, mortgage comparisons, lawyers and settlement. We bought a beautiful house in Berridale, close to the mountains and work. We are currently painting and doing some other minor work and hope to be in very soon.

Our new house!

As spring turned to summer we started visiting the coast again and some great weekends surfing, fishing and even got into some prawning.

The drive to the coast is spectacular

Nerriga church

Gerroa meat raffle, we have a winner!

Prawning at Gerroa

Some nice spring waves

The sunsets are amazing

Sunset skate session

Hello from Gerroa

Again, just beautiful

Found this guys driving home, not sure what's going on with Holly's glasses

Another friend on the road

The year concluded with a bang. I convinced Holly to ride up to Mt Kosciuszko with me one Saturday morning. Near the peak, and away from the tourists, I dropped to the knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes (of course!). Me being me, I filmed the whole thing on my gopro!

She said yes!

We got up to heaps of other stuff which I mostly covered on the blog. We are currently in the midst of renovating and moving so things have been a bit quiet on the adventure front. I have managed a few weekend surf trips and heaps of local mountain biking but nothing ‘blog worthy’ at this stage.

In addition to the house I am working on a few other projects, more to come on these once they are further developed. I have also started a new blog, ‘Wander Lost’, focused more on photography, travel, surfing and random thoughts that pop into my head, check it out! I'll still be posting to this blog with trip reports and other interesting outdoorsy stuff from the oceans to the mountains.



  1. What a year! Great read mate.

  2. Thanks Darren, it was a a big one. Hopefully see you hanging around Thredbo this year.

  3. Mate, great post. Late seeing it. Very nice looking house. And congratulations!

  4. Don't know you, and only found this site because I was trying to find instructions to install a rear vision mirror on my pushbike, however, I did enjoy your beautiful pictures and story. Lovely. Hope you and Holly have a very happy marriage. Anthea

  5. Thanks Damian, its all starting to happen! Thanks Anthea, glad you enjoyed the post, good luck with the bike!