Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mt Smythe South Face

Sunday was a pretty ordinary day with strong warm northerlies. We had a leisurely morning of lattes at DP before Stu, Simo and Cavey headed back to Melbourne.
Darbs and I were thinking about The Twins, however the wind was very unpleasant with rain forecast. It was then that we spied Mt Smythe, which has been left even more exposed from the bush fires. 
We drove down the Great Alpine Way and could vaguely imagine a line from the summit, which itself was quite easy to skin to from the road.
It was pretty sketchy in parts, and we had to climb down a small section. We never linked much more than half a dozen turns, as there was still a lot of carbon poking up through the feeble snowpack. 
And only a pitiable 150 meter vert.
Regardless, we're claiming first descent - before the fires it would have been impossible and nobody has been stupid enough since.
There is no doubt that with good snow, there would be some cracking lines with the glades down through mature burnt mountain ash below the cliffs particularly nice.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Mt Blowhard

Mt Blowhard was utterly awesome on Saturday afternoon. The snow had finally packed down and had corned up beautifully by lunch time. We got several nice lines, including one down to almost 1400 metres! The fires have certainly opened things up.
We even found some dry snow (although a little crusty) in the shadows on the south side down below the road.
Over powder in puke, I'd always pick corn in sun. 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Razorback to High Knob

Today I was planning on skiing the Southeast ridge and fall-lines of Feather. I thought about taking the pattern bases, which would have have been a wiser decision. Instead I took the Movements, rationalising that less weight would compensate for all the fiddling around with skins. Unfortunately the brand new Kohla skins turned out to be dreadful. I'm sure they must stick to something, however skis ain't one of them. Maybe shit, but I doubt it. I am glad that I forgot these for France, as climbing Mt Blanc with them could have proven fatal.
It was also quite hard going, with inconsistencies in the snowpack and frequent breaking through into vegetation. There was a full moon at 0500 though, and I hardly needed a torch for most of it. But by the time I got to a magnificent sunrise on Feather from High Knob, I was completely over my skins.
If you can't rely on you're equipment (and you're solo), your decision making should rest on the conservative side, and so I decided not to summit.
I had a couple of very nice runs of around 200 vertical down the east face of High Knob with some dry snow, and then plenty of yo-yoing back along the Razorback with lines down the Twin Knob chute, and several off Bon Accord.
In the afternoon I met up with Stu and Cavey and we did some Ovlov BC touring, mostly of Gallows and Baldy. Again, still some good snow to be found.