Mt Hotham backcountry skills course

Mt Hotham Ski Patrol is offering a weekend backcountry skills course.

September 11 – 13.

It will provide training in snow safety, and features an overnight camp.

It starts at 5pm on friday September 11, at Mt Hotham resort, then has a weekend of activities in the backcountry, returning at 3pm on the sunday. This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn hands on skills with experienced people from the Patrol.

Ideally people will be able to provide their own camping gear and tents, although some equipment can be arranged. Participants will need either touring skis or snow shoes.

There is room for up to 8 people to attend the course, and the cost is $300 per person.

To register, please contact David Wilson, Mt Hotham Ski patrol.

World telemark day

Following the northern hemisphere world tele day, the southern hemisphere event will be on saturday September 5.

This is an initiative of Telemark Skier magazine who see it as “a day for telemark skiers to get together and go telemark skiing. Wherever you might be around the world let’s gather at our local hills and drop a knee together!”

In Australia, there are events planned for both NSW and Victoria.

Details here.

All welcome.

Mt Geryon

I don’t know any Indigenous stories about Mt Geryon, in the southern end of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. But I do often wonder what it must have been like for the people’s who lived and passed through the incredible mountain country of central western Tasmania. To approach this mountain up Pine Valley and finally to reach the small clearing (the old ‘climbers camp’) where the bulky western face suddenly reveals itself is always an impressive, and to me, spiritual, experience. I wonder if they climbed this peak.

So many of the features of this region have been loaded down with Biblical titles or names from the Greek Classics, something that irks me whenever I scan the map or skyline. There are some great names: I love Innes High Rocky in the south west. And closer to Geryon, there is Fury Gorge, Pencil Pine Bluff, Cathedral Mountain, High Dome, Walled Mountain, The Never Never, and the beautifully appropriate Pool of Memories. These names evoke something of the place. Peaks named after early explorers also make sense. But just reeling off a list of names from western mythology seems lazy and disrespectful. But I can live with Geryon. The three-bodied giant of Greek Mythology.

It is such a dramatic mountain, squeezed up the end of Pine Valley up against the Ducane range, and hidden in behind the bulkier looking Acropolis when seen from lake St Clair. It provides a dramatic and other worldly aspect to dinner when you’re sitting in Bert Nichols hut on the Overland track. If the word charismatic can be applied to a mountain, then it certainly applies to Geryon. Its dramatic rocky faces on the east and west constantly change their moods and even from The Labyrinth it presents itself as a ‘real’ mountain, with another thousand feet of cliffs and dramatic skyline above the Labyrinth plateau. It can be mild in The Labyrinth and storming up on Geryon and the Ducane Range. The Cephessis scree, which runs from the base of the western face down almost to Cephissus Creek, is an amazing feature, and acts as a giant staircase that leads you right to the cliffs.

Full story here.

Casey and Kat blitz women’s XC skiing

Lake Mountain ambassadors, Casey Wright and Kat Paul (profiled here), have blitzed women’s cross country skiing in Australia this season, claiming all the major titles between them.

Their clean sweep of the 2015 race calendar, against some fierce national and international competition, sets them up strongly for the World Championships in Romania in February. While Casey will not be competing, it makes Kat the hot Australasian favourite at the New Zealand Continental Cup from August 28 to 30.

Continue reading Casey and Kat blitz women’s XC skiing

On Injury

After skiing for more than 35 years, I’ve had my first major injury. I broke my ankle at Mt Hotham in mid July. At this point I’m in a cast and waiting to see if I’ll need some work done on my leg. My brain is active, but the body is very limited. Having to sit out the rest of what has turned into a great winter is hard, but I’m doing my best to be Zen.

As a climber, mountain bike rider and general outdoors kind of person, I’ve broken various bones, got frost nip on the toes, and had many close calls in the mountains. An ankle isn’t that big an injury, but takes you out of the game in a very definite kind of way. Sitting on the side lines gives you lots of time to think and reflect, and I’m trying to work out the lesson I’ll take from this.

Continue reading On Injury

Skier rescued from Mt Bogong

There has been a good outcome in the case of the skier who was injured on Mt Bogong, after a rescue yesterday.

The following comes from the ABC.

Rescuers praised for ‘incredible effort’ to help injured skier from Mount Bogong

Mount Beauty police have praised the work of volunteers and personnel who rescued an injured skier from Mount Bogong, in north-east Victoria, yesterday.

The 44-year-old Albury man broke a leg while skiing with friends late on Tuesday afternoon.

Continue reading Skier rescued from Mt Bogong

Lake Mountain skiers show their mettle

Two Lake Mountain cross country skiers are showing their potential for the international stage by snapping up major Australian national titles this season and with the promise of more to come.

Twenty-year old Casey Wright and Kat Paul, 19, recently won their first open women’s national titles at Perisher which Kat quickly followed up with a clean sweep at the Junior National Championships at Falls Creek on the weekend of August 1 and 2.

There is a profile on Casey and Kat available here.

The Bundian Way

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. There are other similar stories from elsewhere in the mountains: for instance, the fact that early Gippsland settlers followed established trails from the Gippsland Plains to what is now Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham, and gold prospectors followed tracks up the Howqua Valley towards Mt Howitt.

Sadly, so much of this story has now been lost. In some good news, a book is due to be released shortly that looks at the Bundian Way.

Continue reading The Bundian Way

The Bluff – Mt Howitt ski guide

This is the premier backcountry touring destination in Victoria.

The high ridges that stretch from The Bluff to Mt Howitt sit to the south and east of Mt Buller ski resort in north east Victoria. The Bluff ridge stretches towards the Great Divide, where Mount Howitt provides incredible backcountry skiing. From here the impressive Crosscut Saw leads north to Mount Speculation and more forested plateau country to Mt Cobbler. The area has a feeling of winter induced remoteness (no trail bikes or 4WDs in winter!), wonderful skiing and camping, and relatively easy access.

An average trip would involve a minimum of four days, as the approach is slow (from the Snowy Plains to the south, via the Howqua River on the Mansfield side or in through the Cobbler plateau to the north).

Track notes available here.

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


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