Photo:The Sentinel, by James Morrow,

The western slopes of the Main Range in the Snowy Mountains are the premier backcountry ski and boarding destination in Australia.

And while people have been riding out there since at least the 1940s, the slopes have been getting a lot of coverage in recent years.

While the classic book is still Skiing the Western Faces of Kosciusko, by Alan Andrews, there are lots of other reports and even films coming out about skiing and boarding these impressive slopes. John Blankenstein has written a number of great trip reports from the Slopes, and Nic Rivers recently released a short film, called Find Your Line, of John snow boarding Watsons Crag.

There’s a brilliant front cover story in the current edition of Transfer magazine, the upcoming Roof of Oz film project, and a number of other magazines have covered the western faces. Stephen Curtains classic telemark film, Winter Dreaming, has a lot of action from Little Austria and other sections of the Slopes.

No matter which way you get to the western slopes, the main drop of mountains from Abbott Peak to about Mt Tate, you’re in a for a few hours of work. The shortest routes are from the top station at Thredbo or via Perisher to Charlotte Pass. You can also skin up via a number of routes from Guthega or, if you’re hard core, Dead Horse Gap.

But who would think of climbing from the west side? The views from The Alpine Way (the road between Thredbo and Khancoban) are some of the best alpine vistas in the whole country, but the slopes of the western faces sit so far above the road that they feel like they’re on another planet.

Enter Jack Skilbeck.

Continue reading “Climbing The Sentinel – from the west”