Monday, September 23, 2013

Spring Turns on Mount Kosciuszko

This season has left me… uninspired. False starts, irritable visitors and sunny days has meant my gaze has been focused eastward, towards the coast. While I have had some great resort days, the Backcountry this year has been frustrating. The days I have managed to get out there I have encountered poor weather with even poorer snow, but great company.

A windy day out on Guthega Trig with Rohan and Mark.

Rohan and Mark up Guthega Trig

Windy transition, Mark is Mr Slow!

A wet day touring on Mount Tate with Damian and Dave. I had borrowed Holly's lovely Lumix camera, unfortunately, these are its last photos.

Damian and Dave heading up Mount Tate

The last photo Holly's camera ever took, on our way back to Guthega, saturated

And finally some nice turns in the Perisher sidecountry before it turned to slop with Belly.

Belly and his new lib tech split, north Paralyser trig

Dropping north towards Guthega

Not to be too negative, its always great to get out in the BC with good friends and sometimes the turns are secondary to the funny things that happen and the conversation.

Anyway, contrast this with the surf!

Ledgy reef on the NSW far south coast

A frame goodness

So when my buddy Peter, aka Fast Rimey, made the trek up from the Melbourne for some BC action I was a tad apprehensive. I had just returned from another trip to the coast and scored some great waves and was considering a day relaxing at home. Nevertheless, we arranged to meet in Jindabyne and drove up to Thredbo. At the Thredbo base there is no snow, however, the liftys gave us the heads up that there was snow at the top so we clicked in for the ride up.

Peter's new Praxis BC

There is snow up there!

They were right, there was plenty of snow at the top, and with a dusting of fresh, it actually looked pretty good. So good in fact, we did a few runs on the Basin, the only lift still spinning for skiing at Thredbo.

Top of Kosciuszko Express looking towards The Basin and Signature Hill

The time came to hit the BC and we made our exit from the Basin top station. Our destination was the southern ridge of Mount Kosciuszko, terrain I had scoped out earlier in the season.

Getting out there

We skied out along the base of Signature Hill and came around the northern Ramshead. It was here we encountered our first of a few interesting backcountry travellers for the day. A group on Nordic skiers (the ski style, not the region!) having a tilt at the Aussie 10, the ten highest peaks in Oz. They were really pushing it and managed a quick hello as they shuffled past.

We topped out at the ridge and got a great view to the west. We could clearly see the Victorian high country and the terrain we were heading to looked tasty.

The Pyramid

Looking west into the Victorian high country

We did a terrible run down the western face of the Ramshead through horrible wind affected ice to Cootapatamba Creek.

Fast Rimey works his way down the dodgy ice 

Kosci cornice

From the creek we transitioned and worked our way up the south east face of Kosci. As we approached the top, a fellow skier dropped in and got some nice turns back to the creek letting out a few hoots, the snow looked great. We had a quick drink at the top took some photos then skied over to a steeper face we had been eyeing off. The drop in was a little intimidating, steeper than anything I had skied for awhile. There was some lingering ice beneath the fresh but I got into a rhythm and enjoyed my run down.

View from the top

 

Me dropping into my first run (courtesy Richard)

My turns

Rimey hitting it

 

Stoked with our first run, we hit the trail and made it back to the top relatively quickly catching up to the lone skier we had watched drop in before and also a snowboarder booting up. We had a quick chat then hit it in fairly quick succession. The run was mellower, but way longer.

Me dropping into second run (courtesy Richard)

 Our work

We had a bite to eat with our fellow BC travellers. The skier ended up being Richard from Richards Report, a buddy of my ski bum father. While enjoying the food hit and sunshine we noticed two hikers approaching. Obviously lost, they asked us how to get back to Thredbo. They were heading towards Leather Barrel Creek and I would hate to think where they would have ended up if we weren't around to get them back on track.

Lucky fellas

Richard and the snowboarder started their climb back towards Thredbo but Pete and I were keen for one more. As we got back into climbing mode a large group of ladies skied down from the Ramshead being guided by K7. We gave a quick g’day then started our climb. About half way up it was evident that the ladies were pretty fit, they were starting to reel us in. I managed to hold them off but Rimey, stopping for a drink had them nipping at his heels for the last 50 metres or so.

Climbing back up for more, you can just see us on the right (courtesy Richard)

They're coming!

 

Rimey maintaining his lead for the final push

We had a chat to the group and took some photos for them. A couple of the ladies were keen to have a look at the face we had skied for our first run so Pete and I guided them over to the intimidating drop in. Not everyone was up for it but one of the girls, Melissa was keen to have a crack. I dropped in first then took some photos of Pete and Melissa coming down. As per the first run, there was some ice beneath the fresh at the top followed by beautiful dry fresh snow lower down.

The ladies and Mount Kosciuszko

Pete drops into the face

 

Melissa carving it up

 

 

We met back up with the rest of the girls who had skied a nice looking line similar to our second run. We transitioned then had a pretty easy climb and ski back to Thredbo finishing with some bonus turns to the lift and a delicious beer at the River Inn.

 

 

 Its a great spot

It ended up being a fantastic day out in the mountains, perhaps my best BC day for the season. I'm reinvigorated and ready for a few more, 2013 isn't over yet!

4 comments:

  1. Hi, Melissa here! Thanks for leading the way to the beautiful slopes, that run was a dream. The whole day was a dream. Main range at its finest. Peter pointed me to your blog, fabulous pics from the day. I was snapping a few of my own, lots of smiling faces and beautiful wide landsacpes. I've popped some up on a one-off Flickr page for the ladies in the group: http://www.flickr.com/photos/102653962@N02/
    Cheers!

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  2. Hi Melissa, your pics look great! It was an awesome day out, cheers!

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  3. Hi Pini,

    Big fan of this blog. Skiing, surfing and overseas travel, it ticks all the boxes for me. I can't even remember how I found it now.

    After just doing a Japan trip, I've reached the point in summer where I'm longing for winter again. Your blog has inspired me to want to get into some ski touring. I'm a Telemarker but have only ever done it in resorts, so I will be making my first steps into the sidecountry this year.

    Is there anywhere you can recommend for a novice to develop my backcountry techniques, skinning, etc? I notice you have mentioned the Paralyser as relatively easily accessible and fairly close to civilisation.

    Also can I ask what size pack you use for day and overnight tours?

    Cheers!

    Ben

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  4. Hi Ben, thanks for the comment and stoked you enjoy the blog! Even if it has been a bit light on of late as I've been busy with lots of other things going on.

    If your in NSW there are some great spots for baby backcountry steps. Paralyser is good as is Mt Tate, Guthega Trig and also just poking around off the top of Thredbo. You should check out the backcountry forum at ski.com.au in which there is a wealth of information. Also check out ozbc.net for lots of info.

    Happy to take you out for a ski this season and show you the ropes. The oz bc community is relatively small and everyone learns off each other.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete