I met Paul and Cameron for my last tour for MRBC Thursday 8th October, to hunt for some spring snow and explore the Australian backcountry. My clients, Paul and Cameron, were accomplished skiers. Paul had some experience in sidecountry and was keen to expand his knowledge of backcountry skiing. Cameron, whom resides in the French Alps, had a very high level of ski touring experience, however had not toured in Australia's alpine region of the Main Range.
We left the Charlotte Pass car park at 7.30am and decided to hike the road toward Mt Kosciuszko. The alternative was to cross the Snowy River under a heavy knee-deep, possibly waist-deep melt. We all decided, starting the day wet and cold was not a good option, choosing the walk toward Mt Kosciuszko. After walking at least 2.5km or just below Seaman's Hut, we found access to the receding snowline. Although some grass skinning was involved we managed to make it up to our first peak of Mueller at 2125m by 9.30am. From there we rode a mellow line down the backside, enjoying some gentle swooping turns.
Our next move involved skinning to the top of Mt Townsend of 2209m. This provided a stunning view of Watson Crags and showcased the potential of the Australian alpine terrain. From the trig point we dropped a line down the guts, where our hearts skipped a beat, down the steeper section. This then opened up to a gentle decent slope of perfect spring softening snow which we rode until we lost momentum.
Photo: Paul. Base of Townsend
Stillwell Lodge provided the boys with a gourmet lunch of chicken salad while I had my staple guide food of tuna in a can. As we devoured our lunch, we pondered our descent down the chutes of the south face of Carruthers and dropping into Club Lake. We skinned to the summit of 2142m, again admiring the view of where we had toured thus far in the day. Standing with our hearts in our mouth we decided to take the plunge down to the bottom of Club Lake. The snow had softened desirably but was not sticky. We skied the rollover down to the dogleg chute which accelerated you into your final few turns. Cameron was amazed at the pitch of the Australian alpine terrain.
Photo: Paul. Tracey Creedon–Snowboarder and Cameron–Skier
We then headed back to cross the snow via some patchy snow and grass skinning. The water over the rocks was only ankle deep and very refreshing.
The day ended back at Stillwell Lodge for a cold ale and we relaxed in weary merriment from our day’s events.