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feathertop Q's.

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by simo_tele, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. simo_tele

    simo_tele One of Us

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    G'day.
    I've hiked feathertop twice this summer and am really keen to get out there for a few days this winter.
    On the hike in/out I've noticed that it is quite undulating and was wondering what the best way to access Fed hut was in winter. I have G3 Barons and will hopefully be getting my own skins this season (finally!). Is skinning in a PITA due to the up and down approach? If so how do you guys go about it? Just boot pack the uphill or downhills, snowshoe, skins on/off a lot?

    While I'm here i may aswell through a few more questions at you.
    What's the skiing off the cornice like (E-SE aspects). I only ask because it looks like there are some great chutes and steeps on this side.
    Is this a no-go area or anything like that?
    [​IMG]

    And finally, how much snow at hotham (reported) does there need to be to make a trip out to feathertop worthwhile? I'm guessing that it isn't all that much as the NW aspect (think it's NW...facing Melb uni hut) seems pretty grassy.

    Thanks for your help.
    Simon.
    Oh, PS. Seeing as I'm going to melb uni this year which hut do you think is better to stay at? I like the idea ofmeeting people whilst skiing and staying at the MU hut seems kinda isolated but has anyone stayed there?
     
    #1 simo_tele, Jan 31, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  2. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    More woke than thou.
    I'm not sure about skinning in over the Razorback, I've only done it on patterned skis or snowshoes, but walking up Bungalow Spur from Harrietville isn't too hard. By contrast, North-west Spur is a hell of a grunt.

    Please don't go anywhere near the cornices that overhang Avalanche and Hellfire Gullies. In short, people DIE there. There has been an average of more than a death a decade in those two gullies alone. They look challenging, but without getting too preachy, both mountaineers and skiers should leave them alone.

    Huts. New Feder is great, warm and roomy but no bunks (although you can sleep on the benches). I didn't see it crowded last snow season, but that could be due to the lousy snow. The old hut was often packed!

    MUMC is large & roomy with a great top floor for sleeping, but since they pulled the stove out (WHY?) it is really, really cold in winter (or maybe I'm just a whimp). Rarely crowded in any season.

    Oh yes, try and cross the West Face of Feathertop between the two huts in the morning, as some truly huge avalanches (by Aust standards) have swept down there. The smashed up snow gums at the bottom are evidence of this.
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    Yep, I'd leave the big cornices alone too. the good news is that you can getinto those chutes by dropping onto the subsidiary ridges either north or south of Avalanche Gully, then dropping right or left.

    Skinning along the Razorback is fine, if a bit fiddly due to undulations. If there is not good snow cover you will have some walking, though there may still be plenty of snow when you get there. Certainly it would be better suited to pattern bases, but then you need to ski with them when you get there, and there is no way you will climb back out of the Ftop runs on pattern bases.

    Crampons are worth taking for the summit ridge.
     
  4. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Simo.. if you need some winter evidence of reasons to stay back from the Ftop cornices...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #4 VSG, Jan 31, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  5. simo_tele

    simo_tele One of Us

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    cheers guys. i know th cornice itself is no-go but i was jsut wondering about accessing the terrain under it (yes, i know the cornice could let go, just asking though).
    I really want to hit some steeper BC runs as so far i've only done the mellow stuff BC. In the resort I can ski the whole mountain so sometimes I get quite bored hiking for comparitively mundaine runs.
    I figure in order to access the terrain I want i need to head out there with people who have done it before but this seems really hard to do as all the clubs i've looked into seem to stick to stirling or touring on Bogong etc which is fun but not really what im after.
    How did all you guys go about hooking up with more downhill skiing orientated BC folk?

    cheers.
     
  6. Nothing Out of Bounds

    Nothing Out of Bounds First Runs

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    Simo,

    We normally head up the North West ridge. (just go over the peak, and keep following the high ground. It will take you to a 4WD track.)

    This is the shortest route I believe, but very steep in parts.

    As for the cornice. Yeah. Can be a dicey decison, and never do it without a comprehensive slab test first. That being said, its the best skiing in Vic if conditions are right.

    Check out my first part of pics from 2005 for a good idea of one of those chutes you speak of. You must be on your game to say the least. Big bone crushing rocks wait for you if you fall.
     
  7. gusc

    gusc Hard Yards

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    Ditto everyone's cornice comments, and Graeme's about accessing the gullies from the ridges leading down off the summit ridge. The ridges themselves can be quite nice too, although less steep.

    I reckon Bungalow Spur is the access route of choice - NW spur in plastics is a grind (perhaps not for a young bull like you?)

    If you're going to Melb Uni, join MUMC - prob the best way to hook up with like-minded people familiar with the mountain, who'll have plenty of beta and be keen for trips. I imagine they still do their 'midnight ascent' of the NW spur to MUMC hut, followed by a black tie dinner there on Saturday night.
     
  8. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

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    There is also plenty of terrain around that lies in between mellow touring and Feathertop chutes.

    I agree, it can be hard to hook up with other people that ski.
     
  9. surveyorcam

    surveyorcam Hard Yards

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    Oh Yeah...

    Another vote for Bungalow. Dead easy in all weather.

    Crossing the Razorback is fun though.
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    Well as to direction, I suppose I think of Razorback first because I am coming from that direction and it goes against the grain to drive down the mountain in order to plod up it. Different story in bad weather though - Bungalow is clearly the way. I have been known to go down that way in bad weather and to hitch back to the vehicle at Diamentina Hut.
    The subsidiary ridges I was talking about show clearly in Heli's photos posted by VSG. The top 2 show the ridge between Avalanche and Hellfire Gullies, with footprints at the top. The third pic shows the ridge south of Av Gully in the foreground, right side.
     
  11. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    In response to Graeme's very useful descrptions, here are the full set of Heli's pix from that day. 15 August 2004. Thanks Heli.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 VSG, Feb 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  12. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Graeme, I'd be grateful if you crayoned some more precise markings on this ... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    edit: This is of some limited use...

    [​IMG]
     
    #12 VSG, Feb 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  13. Nothing Out of Bounds

    Nothing Out of Bounds First Runs

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    By Joves those lines look nice! I assume this was 2004 or 2000? It didn't get anywhere near that well covered this year.

    I love the bone crushing rocks just below this picture.
     
  14. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    sometime VSG, but not for a month or so - got a plane to catch (not to snow - walking NZ)
     
    #14 Graeme, Feb 2, 2006
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  15. matt77

    matt77 First Runs

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    simo's first picture - where is it taken? is it near the north peak?

    matt
     
  16. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Matt.. perhaps if your peruse simo's complete set of pix from that day.. it might help. [​IMG]
     
    #16 VSG, Feb 4, 2006
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  17. matt77

    matt77 First Runs

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    great photo's simo

    but no descriptions

    it looks like the north peak

    is this avalanche gully?

    [​IMG]
     
    #17 matt77, Feb 4, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  18. Hopey1

    Hopey1 One of Us

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    if i remember correctly (simo and i hiked it together) that was taken on or very closr to the summit, so according to VSG's crayola effort, i would say that the gully in the middle of the pic is avalanche gully.
     
    #18 Hopey1, Feb 5, 2006
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  19. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    I'd agree, Hopey, when I add up what has been said earlier in the thread... about this pic.
    [​IMG]


    Then I found this on Heli's site.. very enticing!

    (looks to be south and west of the summit, and a few gullies over from Avalanche)..

    [​IMG]
     
    #19 VSG, Feb 6, 2006
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  20. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    And for no reason, other than its a great photo, another Heli masterpiece. It shows the grandstand view that the summit ridge / cornice offers of a large chunk of the Victorian snow country... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #20 VSG, Feb 6, 2006
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  21. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    ... which has led me to produce this. Any corrections, additions are quite welcome. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #21 VSG, Feb 6, 2006
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  22. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looking at VSGs map avalanche gully and hellfire gully are located on the east side of feathertop. The photo above shows the west side of feathertop so i'd say it isn't avalanche gully. Bogong is in the top right hand corner of the photograph.

    VSG,

    I don't think thats mt buffalo in the background of the shot you've labelled. I always though Buffalo was well north of feathertop. Only been to bogong in summer though so i'm a little light on for knowledge of the vic alps.
     
    #22 Snow Blowey, Feb 6, 2006
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  23. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Buffalo it is. [​IMG]


    As far as the photo above, yes, its the Western side, looking south-east, roughly.

    Amended for you, SB. [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    #23 VSG, Feb 6, 2006
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  24. Skiain

    Skiain Addicted

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    Snow Blowey,

    you are correct. The view is looking north along the North Razorback which continues from the North Peak. The main bowl in the left of the picture is between the summit and the North Peak - the western side. The mountain in the top right foreground is Mt Fainter and the top right background is Mt Bogong. Avalanche gully is maked differently on various maps. It seems the most consistent, on current maps is the gully running SW from the summit (marked as Hellfire gully on some old Algona maps). Hellfire gully drops down between the summit and North Peak with the East ridge forming steep walls to the north. The longest, largest and most obvious gully in this rough pic is Avalanche gully - http://community.webshots.com/myphotos?a...security=nINivA

    (hope it shows)

    VSG,

    I believe that your placement of Mt Buffalo plateau is correct. I know the area well. That picture from plane/heli is from the E or SE of Mt Feathertop summit looking to the W or NW. Mt Buffalo is an aloof range that is to the NW of Mt Feathertop.

    great pix all.

    hope this helps, TT
     
    #24 Skiain, Feb 6, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  25. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Thanks TT. In response to your narrative of simo's North Peak pix, to the Fainters and beyond.. I've produced a topo extract for everyone's benefit. Larger one here.

    [​IMG]
     
    #25 VSG, Feb 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  26. Unknown

    Unknown First Runs

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    That last map is INCORECT, well at least the positioning of the Razor Back should now go over the peak of Feathertop
     
  27. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Unkown. You are correct. The software that the Victorian Dept of Sustainability and Environment use is a little dodgy at pinpointing landmarks, at wide to medium topographic views. Gets no better as you zoom in..

    Example. :


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    #27 VSG, Feb 7, 2006
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  28. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks TT and VSG. Realised the photo must have been looking to the north west after VSG's reply. I was basing my comments on the cornice runing north - south but it really runs south west to north east in some spots. Hopefully i'll get up there myself later this year. Hopefully i'll also return weithout getting munched up by avalanche gully.
     
  29. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Speaking of which, I think I've worked it out. Avalanche Gully's locale. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and it's fairly obvious in this shot.. What is the pitch?? 45 degrees? ?

    [​IMG]
     
    #29 VSG, Feb 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  30. Skiain

    Skiain Addicted

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    and further..

    Yes, Unknown you are correct...but there's more! North Peak is not indicated correctly on the above topo maps. It is actually the high point at 1878m, W of the little X on the map. There used to be a steep track leading off the East ridge from near its summit down to the Kiewa River West branch.

    The Razorback track DOES continue over both Mt Feathertop and North Peak summits, BUT the track that is labelled incorrectly was a link track. It branched SW from the Razorback track approx 450m N of the North Peak and followed the 1700m contour under the W face of North Peak climbing to almost 1800m then dropping until it joined the Tom Kneen track to the NW spur (leading to MUMC hut) at just over 1700m. I have not been there since the bushfires of 2002-03 until late Jan 06. You can pick it up directly above the last of the springs under the W face of Mt Feathertop as you cross the little creek (feeding into Stony River West branch).

    I could not locate the N end of this link but did pick it up due W of Mt Feathertop approx 250m before it joined the NW spur track. I guess the fires have obscured some little used tracks and others have been re-routed or not re-established since.

    I have not skiied any of the W facing runs but the E and SE gullies, ridges and bowls are awsome. Almost all the way from Diamantina Hut on the Alpine rd, across the Razorback to Mt Feathertop and North Peak, are interesting diversions as well as the main runs. Ditto for the cornice advice...I have never seen it collapse but I have seen the debris way down below afterward. Avalanche gully is aptly named.

    Enjoy season06 simo_tele. TT
     
  31. matt77

    matt77 First Runs

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    I tried to go from the summit to north peak once but it was too steep. I was afraid of losing my balance and sliding down a gully

    matt
     
  32. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    More woke than thou.
    The track from the summit to the North Peak and down to the North Razorback is no steeper than the track to the summit from the Federation Hut side. This IS the easiest way up Feathertop, but it IS very exposed to weather. In summer you can drive right to the end of the North Razorback road, in winter it is closed near the fire water tank (grid 116 230). Take Dungey's Track along Snowy Creek from near Freeburgh. No probs in a subie or other soft roader.

    The track from the North Razorback to MUMC Hut was cleared 40 years ago so material to build the hut could be ferried in from the roadhead on the North Razorback. (details at http://www.kosciuskohuts.org.au/hutslist%20Vic.htm ) As the track was not maintained after the hut was built, it reverted to scrub and has not existed for 30 years. While VicMap never update their maps (they just reprint them), other map companies like Rooftop don't show the track on their newer editions

    Teletubby, I am impressed that there was ever even a footpad running from the North Peak down the East Ridge to the West Kiewa. We looked hard for any evidence of a track and didn't see anything on an epic scrub (and blackberry) bash on that route over a decade ago. But that was a long time ago, a track may have appeared since.
     
    #32 Bogong, Feb 8, 2006
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  33. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Bogong, re your comments about accessing Ftop via the north Razorback. Certainly looks a far gentler gradient, the way you describe. But how far exactly, can you drive, in summer?

    See my map. [​IMG]

    larger version

    [​IMG]
     
    #33 VSG, Feb 8, 2006
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  34. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well, I did say NEAR Freeburgh. Directions from Bright. Head Sth-east to Germantown. Then either take the Tawonga road over the Ovens River and turn south immediately after the bridge onto Old Harrietville Road, after about 5 km this becomes Snowy creek Rd and then Dungey's Track. There is another bridge about 2 km north of Freeburgh, but it has a load limit of about 2 tons on it.
     
  35. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    In summer you can drive right to the end of the road labelled 'Stony Top Track' on the map above. Like all dirt roads the condition depends on then they last put a grader over it, but most 2WD's would have no probs at least getting to where the road leaves Snowy Creek. They could probably get to the fire tank. Most AWD's and all 4WD's would easily get right to the end of the North Razorback road which is only a 4 km walk from the summit.
     
  36. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    A little comparison of that route, vs NW Spur. Interesting, and predictable. [​IMG] Am I close, Bogong? [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    #36 VSG, Feb 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2013
  37. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, it's that easy via the North Razorback, but no huts and it is far less sheltered than any other route, so you have to have excellent weather. Even in winter you only have to ski 3 fairly level km further, it's still the easist way up Feathertop.

    Routes up Feathertop (Going anti clockwise.)
    - North Razorback. Fairly easy, but exposed
    - North West Spur. A steep hardish slog
    - Bungalow Spur. Built for pack horses, so pretty easy
    - Champion Spur. Hard pre fires, scrub makes it very hard now
    - Bon Accord Spur. A slog, steep in parts but not too bad
    - Razorback (South). Long, but easy.
    - Diamantina Spur. Shortish, sharp, steep, loose shale
    - East Ridge. Strictly heros only, steep, scrub & blackberries
     
  38. matt77

    matt77 First Runs

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    Yes your right

    But there is not track, no steps, nothing to hang onto. Just grass.

    But one day i will get to the north peak

    matt
     
    #38 matt77, Feb 8, 2006
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  39. Nothing Out of Bounds

    Nothing Out of Bounds First Runs

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    The road you speak of (stony top track) was almost rendered useless in Sep this year after the big big winds. We went up early morning(2am) and it took about 3hours just to clear all the trees over the road. In the end, we had to stop about a km or so short of the gate as a huge tree rooted to the road had fallen over on the lower edge, taking half the road with it. There were about three of those. I assume this was all fixed before Christmas, but it would have taken a MASSIVE effort, and I have some doubts that it could be done at all. My mate has pics, so will try to get him to post.
     
  40. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    out of bounds and Bogong. The exposed nature of the North Razorback is clearly evident in this Landsat image... not a place to be in a thunderstorm or blizzard.. I'd guess. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #40 VSG, Feb 9, 2006
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  41. Hopey1

    Hopey1 One of Us

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    not a very helpfull input, but i think it would be wayyyyy over 45degrees. it looked damn steep to me from the top
     
    #41 Hopey1, Feb 9, 2006
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  42. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    Well, I've gone all techo on you. If you measure the vertical drop over horizontal run in these two places... you get about 45 degrees, in the first, and perhaps 48 in the second..

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #42 VSG, Feb 9, 2006
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  43. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can we get the red crosses fixed?
     
  44. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    #44 VSG, Feb 9, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  45. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Curious, the red crosses work at home but not at work.

    Alanche Gully and Hellfire Gully are so close to cliffs in the Summer. I think the setout of the contours on the map might be a bit too far apart for the top 4 or so.
     
  46. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    With a contour interval of a larg-ish 20m, more than likely.
     
  47. matt77

    matt77 First Runs

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    [​IMG]

    so where is avalanche gully?

    matt
     
    #47 matt77, Feb 10, 2006
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  48. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    My best guess.

    [​IMG]
     
    #48 VSG, Feb 10, 2006
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  49. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    That said all the gullies experience avys or cornice collapse and long debris falls. Sme of the chunks are car size.
     
  50. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator

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    [​IMG]
     
    #50 VSG, Feb 11, 2006
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