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Aussie Alps in winter
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Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Aussie Alps in winter on 06/27/2011 04:17:26 MDT Print View

Hard to believe that us Aussies don't all just sit around playing our didgeridoos and throwing shrimps on the barbie but we do , occasionally, play in the snow.
Finally courtesy of my mate Yair Kellner and his friend Matt, I managed to spent 3 days up in the Victorian Alps not far from the New South Wales border (no passport required)
We started at the Falls Creek sky resort , made our way across the dam , not by walking on water, veered North only to find that the snow was pretty soft, the weather decided to close in on us and give us some of that beautifully cooling drizzle you get at just above freezing.
Start
trip 2
After getting my pants wet and then dry (thanks to the wind) 3 times we thought that we had lost our way in the fog so we turned sideways and down aiming to find some markers.That we did so we followed a longer but safer way to get us to our first destination, Mt Nelse at 1882m/6175".
We arrived at the base , a plateau only a few hundred feet below the "summit" found a more or less suitable camp side and proceeded to make a platform each for our shelters.
Quickly we cooked dinner and by 7 PM I was inside my Summerlite listening to some music.
The clouds had enveloped us before sunset so me missed that and the lovely view of the valley below we briefly had .
At about 2AM I got up to relieve myself only to find a half moon with a firmament showing off the full cast of stars and nebula and almost no wind.
It was crisp but well worth lingering out for a bit.
The next morning we raised with a lovely sunrise and opted to go up more or less straight to the top taking advantage of the iced snow.
next morning

The other two are much fitter than I am but got there nevertheless without too much of a delay.
Mt Nelse
From then on it was sunny for 30 minutes or so, then back in the clouds and windy (gave my new Kestrel 2500 a good workout) sunny again and repeat.
Made it across to Spion Kopje (1835m/6020')
These are really big hills but the weather can and does turn nasty so you need to be prepared.
2E posing
After reaching Spion Kopje we had a good look at the map and during a clear moment we spotted a possible safe camp-site under Little Spion Kopje only a few hundred meters away and 200 hundred meters down.
map reading
That was a gentle stroll where we could easily see each other and a bit in front.
Got to the spot, had a quick scout around and found out that before , above and after it was blowing at least 20kmph more than where we were so we stopped there feeling pleased with ourselves.
This time I worked out a better way of making my platform so I had the tent up before the other two.
Small things make me happy.
2nd night
and a bit later
Nice and warm inside my cocoon I was in bed by 6:30 PM. A wee drop of Jack Daniel and listening to my football team doing what they do best (winning...) gave me a good start for the night.
At some point the other two made sweet noises about the lovely sky so I got out and had a bit of a walk around enjoying another Milky Way show.
The sunrise was lovely too , a nice colorful window before the lights went down again and it was all white and grey one more time.
sunrise
Never mind, we just had to go down 800m or so via a pretty clear wide trail and occasionally 4 wheel drive track.
At around 1100M we took our snow shoes off and that made us float on air, well almost.
Just as we were powering along towards our car park, we spotted a river crossing without an obvious way to remain dry doing so.
It was not a particularly difficult river to spot because it was about 10 m wide and at least ankle deep with several knee deep spots.
river
After some tries up and down I concluded that the only way across was to get wet, so much for my totally dry, till then , boots.
We were already up to around 3c/37f by then so much nicer than the -11c/12f (with wind chill) up at the top a few hours before.
And wet we did get but no falls and finally clean feet.( I love those BD sticks)
A quick 2 mile dash to the car park brought about lunch and several curious birds including a couple of delightful satin bower birds.
lunch at the end
(With a glossy blue black plumage the male is notorious for collecting blue items to show off during the mating ritual.)

And then back to reality a 5 hour ride back home.
Franco
Pictures 2,4,8,10,11 by Yair Kellner. Panasonic TS1
My pics with Pentax WP1

Edited by Franco on 06/27/2011 04:25:05 MDT.

Will Inman
(Empacitator) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Aussie Alps in winter on 07/12/2011 06:27:34 MDT Print View

Great pictures Franco. Would love to do the Australian Alps someday- if any of my hiking buddies were interested at least!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Aussie Alps in winter on 07/12/2011 08:25:12 MDT Print View

Franco,

Nice trip (and report).

I'm curious, what was that non-tarptent shelter in the campsite pics? (and how did YOU allow that to happen, he-he).

And, just one editorial comment regarding "And then back to reality a 5 hour ride back home"

Several years ago I needed to leave a trip earlier than others to get back to my job. My lament of "Oh well, back to the real world" was returned with the reply "No, THIS is the real world, THAT is something else". I try to always remember that.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Aussie Alps in winter on 07/12/2011 16:53:25 MDT Print View

Will
I'll send you some snow if you like...
Jim
The other tent is a Wilderness Equipment Second Arrow.
Matt used that fly only with his ID eVent bivvy.
Nice tent. Integral pitch , has an opening at the back too.
The first shot was taken in the morning after we had some sleet the evening before. That froze on the fabric but as you can see there isn't all that much sag in them. All three shelters are silnylon.

And you are correct. The real world is out there.
Franco