Trip Report Charlotte pass, Blue lake, Caruthers peak: 15.10.16

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on snow shoes, Oct 16, 2016.

  1.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I had the best day out yesterday in clear sunshine out on The Main Range in N.S.W..
    It took me all day to drive from Melb. To Thredbo on Friday 14/10/16.It was sunny so I stopped along the way numerous times for victuals,photos and to stretch my legs.
    The Hume lake is more than full.From just past Corryong one could see snow on the Main Range.It was looking good.:).
    I got my car permit for the Kosci.N.P. At Khancoban.After about 5kms past Khancoban the road became a one lane make shift track not once but twice ,where roadworks were being carried out where the road had been washed away completely.The Main Range was looking magnificent from the Scammel's spur lookout.
    I pulled into Ngarigo campsite at about 5pm.I had brought my own firewood so I got a fire going.It was a sub zero night with frost and ice everywhere at day break.It was so cold on Sat. At daybreak that the water that I put into the trangier pot to boil froze before my eyes!.
    Anyway I was up at CP by about 9 am or so.
    The cars were lined about for about a km down from the turning circle.It was busy with snow fiends and there was a lot of Snow up there.The weather was perfect!.
    I crossed the two streams with boots on and emerged with dry feet after some fancy footwork.I used a compass to make my way 4 Kms NNW to where I veered NNE towards The Blue Lake viewing platform.There were huge cornices out there and the lake itself was frozen and hidden by a blanket of snow.The traverse out to and back from The Blue Lake viewing platform was trecherous with soft steep sun cooked spring snow giving me a hard time in my snow shoes.I had the whippet pole in ice axe mode in case of a slip and the need to self arrest on that steep slope.I ate lunch at the Blue Lake platform and then headed for Carruther's peak.It was busy up there with many outdoor enthusiasts soaking up the spectacular views and clear weather.It was very windy and the wind chill factor was considerable.
    Photos were taken ,amazing views were absorbed for posterity in the memory bank and I headed back.I crossed the streams again successfully and was back at the car at 4.30pm.I was and still am one happy chappy.That was magnificent.:).
    The evening that followed was so windy at the campsite that I went to bed early.The forecast for 16.10.16 was for poor weather,windy and rain .One could not top my day out on Carruther's peak so I packed up after breakfast on 16/10/16 and headed for Myrtleford, my half way over night pit stop at my friend's house.
    I stopped at Geehi and walked around a bit.The snowy views , the roos, the stream all make it a very pleasant place to camp on another trip.The drive back into Vic. was still pleasant even if rain clouds were gathering.
    I shall be back to the Main Range!:rolleyes:
     
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  2.  
    Rimey

    Rimey Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Would you have been the lone snowshoer I saw descending with a couple of kms to go to the Snowy at about 3:00 on Saturday arvo. Self in black with yellow skis.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  3.  
    Gimp

    Gimp Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Yer think self and @Scrap tried to say gidday when you topped out on Curruthers but wind beat us (whippets gave you away)
     
  4.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

     
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  5.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  6.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  7.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  9.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  12.  
    jonathanc

    jonathanc Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the pics - gives a great idea of conditions!
     
  13.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I am easy to spot as "Mr.T. on snow shoes" because I go in snow shoes where most people don't go , in terms of BC , in snow shoes :thumbs:. Other people ski !.
    Yes I might have another go at classic or telemark XC skiing next season but I am happy with snow shoes/micro spikes/whippet pole /ice axe etc. and have learned a lot over the past two seasons of frenetic BC snow shoe touring/winter mountaineering and snow camping.I get my thrills doing this stuff and when it is not a bleeding white out with hypo- effing- thermic conditions , I must say with days like these life is just grand. :)
     
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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    Yes, it was trippy how much snow there was up high. The cornices were huge. There was much more snow than when I last went up this route in snow shoes some 11 years ago around the same time in October.I need to do this every year !:D
     
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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  16.  
    telecrag

    telecrag Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    I glimpse a bit of the new 'track' in one shot.
     
  17.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    Most of the summer walking path was hidden under snow but sometimes you could find traces of it here and there.I just went by a compass reading and found my way to the Blue Lake viewing platform very nicely. I was quietly pleased with myself on that score.The Northern facing slopes are rather showing patchy cover but the Southern and Easterly facing slopes are still very good indeed. It was firm early on but by after lunch the surface was soft .Those surreal wind blown snow areas above the Blue Lake are as close as I will get to seeing some Himalayan or polar scenery within Australia.
     
  18.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    The Plowking

    The Plowking Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Crikey, still heaps of snow out there.
     
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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    There is still a shiteload of snow up there on the Main Range :woohoo: and It think CP is getting top up of snow :emoji_cloud_snow::skier: today !.I wonder if the snow:skis: plough machine will have to go back up the CP road again...?. It looks like snow sports addicted people will get at least another two weeks of half decent snow up there.

    I am now hanging up the white season gear and I finished on a real high as you can see from the pictures. It has been quite a season from June until October, some white outs , some rain soaked aborted missions and at least 4 sunny days with superb conditions in the Oz Alps Back country. Green season bush walking is now on for me !!.
     
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    Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    And no one bothered skiing Guthries? Looks prime.
     
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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I saw some ski tracks in the snow fanning off the road sides as I drove up and back from CP to Perisher . Perisher is done and over for 2016 but higher up as you can see the generously proportioned Lady has yet to sing!:p.
     
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  24.  
    Lord Back Country

    Lord Back Country Active Member

    .

    Thanks Mister Tee.

    I've also been thinking about snow shoes. Can you tell us about what you wear, as well as your boots.

    And while you are at it, give us your top 5 snow camping tips...!

    cheers

    .
     
  25.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I own and use MSR REVO Explore snow shoes with the matching tail extensions . They add floatation in heavy snow when carrying a pack . These snow shoes have the heel lift feature which makes going up steep slopes as seen the pictures easy , just like walking up stairs. The Crampon at the toes and the metal frame with teeth all around grip well in steep icy conditions such as we saw in early Aug. 2016 going up the Eskdale spur of Mt. Bogong( see this forum for my trip report and photos ).
    I use an adjustable exped hiking pole with a snow basket on the bottom and a whippet self arrest pole.The whippet is handy and the snap lock is easier to adjust than the screw lock exped pole in freezing conditions. Ski shop hire gear XC ski poles don't usually do the job because I need to shorten or lengthen the poles for the ascents , steep uneven traverses and descents.
    I use my summer Keen hiking boots which are goretex lined. I smother them in saddle wax and the spray them with water stop spray , all the hail the German made magic spray that the cobbler sells.I use only one pair of woollen socks. Two thick pairs of socks leads to cold feet because of constriction of circulation.
    Snow camping.
    1. Always take a snow shovel and always keep it inside the tent at night. If there is a blizzard overnight you will never find any of your gear again in the morning. Black diamond make whippet poles and good snow shovels that you can clip to your pack with carabiners.
    2.Alway dig your tent into a low site so that 50 % of it is sunk out of the wind and is below the rest of the snow surface. Use/make snow bricks snow to stop spin drifts in wind driven powder snow conditions but do not completely block the ventilation at the ground level so that the tent fly cannot breathe.
    3. Use a tent that is high roofed and has 3 crossway poles to be able to withstand dangerously strong winds and heavy snow falls. I use the Wilderness equipment 4 seasons tent. It is not ultra light but has never let me down in some atrociously abysmal weather conditions. The floor is like tough rubber on the inside.
    4. A huge space blanket is a must as the floor liner of your tent before you put the insulated sleeping mat and negative 18 sleeping bag down as your bed. Plus it can be used to save a life if you find somebody has been hit with 'hypo effing thermia' as Ubiquitous Steve would describe itLOL. It weighs F.A. x 2 and can be carted around in a dry bag that can be strapped to your pack.
    5.I like to dig a trench at the front door of the tent so it is easy to put your boots on, kind of like sitting on a chair and leaning down to your toes. Of course wrapping your knee high gaiters and boots up in plastic bags and keeping them inside your tent at bed time is a must or they will freeze like rock overnight and you won't be able to wear them the next morning.
    5.1 microspikes are handy for walking around icy campsites at dusk and dawn, such as at Edmondson's hut on the Bogong High Plains.( see my trip report on this forum for that ).
    5.2
    I do NOT snow camp above the tree line. Some people do BUT , IMO too much can go wrong up there because the winter weather in the Oz Alps can kill you and that is where it is the most exposed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  26.  
    SMSkier

    SMSkier Active Member

    Well some are -:) - skinned up there on Friday (see pic from below the trig) for a few runs. It was in pristine condition with great main range views from the top. Plan is to head back out that way on Thursday however the gate to Charlottes is closed (again) at Perisher as of today!!

     
  27.  
    tele-whippet

    tele-whippet beard stroker Season Pass Gold

    Whippet good :emoji_dog2:!
     
  28.  
    telecommuter

    telecommuter Well-Known Member

    Great stuff! Must head out there ASAP!
     
  29.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    :thumbs:You better you better you bet, ooooh oooh....:whistle::whistle:
     
  30.  
    SMSkier

    SMSkier Active Member

     
  31.  
    SMSkier

    SMSkier Active Member

    Pic is just of the bottom section of Guthries when you hit the road - the whole run from the trig was better today than last week!!
     
  32.  
    SMSkier

    SMSkier Active Member

    And the top was pretty decent as well....no one is getting up there so lots of tracks to be made!!
     
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  33.  
    Lord Back Country

    Lord Back Country Active Member

    .

    Many thanks Mr Tee, that's really useful and informative.

    Snow shoes sure are exxy in Australia, second from US ebay seems the way!

    cheers

    .
     
  34.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I bought mine brand new from Bogong Equipment in the Melb. city centre. My Snow shoes have had at least 20 trips in two seasons. They look a bit beat up now but they still work and the damage is merely cosmetic. Any other maker of snow shoes will not be as good as MSR although Salomon do make good ones. I hired different ones over 5-6 seasons and tried many kinds before I bought the MSR REVO EXPLORE snow shoes.I would support a local business if I were you. Things cost what they cost so once you convert the currency etc. you will find the price difference is not that much really , comparing a local specialist outdoors shop with e bay.
     
  35.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    Did I spell treacherous without an 'a' in my trip report?...:confused: oh the shameo_O.
     
    :thumbs: skifree likes this.
  36.  
    Roger Caffin

    Roger Caffin Active Member

    I do NOT snow camp above the tree line. Some people do BUT , IMO too much can go wrong up there because the winter weather in the Oz Alps can kill you and that is where it is the most exposed.
    Ah, but the best scenery is up there.

    We were on the Snowy River, somewhere below Seamans, headed for Anton. Exactly where ... no idea because when we stopped we could only see about 2 metres.
    Cheers
    Roger
     
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  37.  
    AndrewA

    AndrewA Active Member

    Haha. Reminds me of a campsite we had just near the top of the Staircase on Bogong - they had 80-90kph northerlies at Hotham that night, and the tent made a lot of noise, but stayed up. The most amazing issue about the night was that my 17yo daughter got out of the tent to have a pee, and wasn't bothered by the conditions! Very functional girl. Going to make a good mountain woman.

    And Roger, I haven't seen you on this forum before - noting the Caffin tent in photo. I still think your bushwalking FAQs, or whatever it was called, was the turning point in my thought process about designing gear most appropriate to my needs, and making it.

    A
     
  38.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    Yes the scenery above the treeline is inspiring in winter but the wind is diabolically strong and cold up there.
     
  39.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  40.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I am posting some more Main range pic.s that I took using a film camera on 15/10/16. :)
     
  41.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

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    BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Well-Known Member

    excellent! :thumbs::D
     
  45.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

  46.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    And a pic. from down in the valley area at Geehi camping grounds, the next day on 16/10/16.By hook or crook I will do this same trip again in October 2017 !!!.To paraphrase Charlton Heston, you will take my whippet ski pole from my cold dead hand ! ;-P .
     
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  47.  
    neilmny

    neilmny Active Member

    Nice pictures Mr. Tee.
     
  48.  
    Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Mr T is ready for Hannels Spur from the picturesque Geehi Campsite up and at em..:p:p:p
     
  49.  
    Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Mr T better do a summer recee to check out the track which goes up and up and up for eternity..a camp in the Wilkinson Upper Valley close by Townsend and then a stroll over walkway to Eagles Nest Chairlift and a hitch hike back down to the kangaroo/kookaburra haven of Geehi Campsite...;););) or perhaps steal a Mt Bike for the return Leg down there..

    Bears say Mr T is fit enough after his winter adventures to run up Hannels saving time..:)
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  50.  
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I am pack carry fit and I do quite a bit of stuff outdoors in green season. Some of this year's blue sky snow photos could scoop the pool in the Blue sky snow pic.s forum thread.I am going to scout out either Mulhuaser and/or Long Spur plus Mt. Wills this Jan. 2017 .The word is that Scammel's/Hammel's (??) spur is the toughest and highest Alpine ascent in all of Ozstriya. Yes that has appeal.