Early September ice climbing at Blue Lake in Kosciusko National Park is always going to be a challenge. Australia has limited ice climbing locations and leaving our trip south until very late in the season wasn’t helping our cause to be honest.
By the time we’d talked it over with the locals (Canberra residents anyway) and considered the conditions (warm and breezey) it was clear the ice screws, rope and rack were going to stay in the car for the weekend. At that point it was clear that trekking in the NP was the next best option available and we’d better get to it!
Once we hit the snow slopes it was evident that we had left our run late as the snow was already at “slushy stage” after the overnight freeze had been melted by the sun and wind.
We took a very direct route to our objective, almost straight up from Guthega dam to the ridge line at 2,000 metres. It was most discouraging. Our snowshoes were constantly punching through what remained of a crust layer, sometimes down in a void that had been melted out from below. It was common to disappear up to knee depth and then extricating leg, foot and snowshoe almost became an exercise in futility.
Reaching the ridge line was a welcome relief and one rewarded with some awesome views across the surrounding valley’s. It’s hard to get excited about the “summits and peaks” of Australia when the highest mountain in Australia is only 2,228 metres high and the surrounding area looks more like rolling NZ pastureland!
Regardless being in the mountains is better than a day job stuck behind a desk!
For the next 3 days we enjoyed being able to set our own pace, our own objectives and our own timetable. And if we didn’t “put then out there” for others to measure us against then we were the only ones to know if we achieved our goals for the weekend.
The weather – well you can see from the pictures that this was definitely a positive. Brisk and clear early mornings, with an awesome sunrise, clear blue skies all day and then both days rounded out with a clear and almost windless evening.
On Monday we discovered the correct way on and off the mountain range, along a gently sloping ridge that closed out beside the dam and walkway back to the car. Next time, and there will be one, that ridge will be our pathway to another most excellent weekend in the mountains (and snow) I’m sure.
Check out the image gallery for this adventure