After Melbourne's 4th (!!!!) lockdown, I needed to get away someplace as far from Melbourne as legally possible. With mandatory covid tests (!!!!) ruling out heading off from the Great Alpine Road, I was curious to see if the Cobberas Plateau, which is in the Main Range' and Vic Alps' rain-shadow from traditional winter westerly systems, had benefitted from the East Coast Low which had brought heavy snow for the opening weekend the week before. It's something I've always thought likely - but I also just love this range. These are serious mountains of pink granite outcrops within a wilderness zone, providing headwaters for the Murray, Buchan, Snowy and Tambo Rivers, and the most isolated alpine range on the Australian mainland.
After throwing out invites to some of the usual suspects, I finally got a bite from my friend Perry, who couldn't really have understood what he was in for. The last time I saw Perry smiling over the next few days was at Dinner Plain on Monday night when he treated me to his awesome bouillabaisse, accompanied by a seriously good Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In return, I found some old wonky planks (and an EPIRB!) for him in the garage.
By this time, Perry had almost hit the wall. When he lost one of his kicker skins, I left him to sort it out and made a final push for the summit trig. Whilst the trig itself was covered in ice, the granite tor next to it was easy enough to climb, and the views were amazing. I gazed enviously into the Murray Valley and the State with more sensible Covid restrictions than Victoria. Whilst I'd left my SLR and tele lens down in the tent, the Main Range seemed almost at hand, and huge. The Pilot was well loaded, as were Davies Plains.
However I fear I might have lost yet another ski partner...
Whilst warm and comfy enough, a howling northerly kept us both from much sleep - and with 100mm of rain forecast, we were quick to up stumps and backtrack the next morning under a foreboding sky.
The road from The Cobberas to Gelantipy through snow gum forest in heavy rain was stunning.
Then the long haul back to Melbourne.
Not a bad start for June, here's hoping we can keep skiing through winter with this dumb virus, and a government not a whole lot smarter...