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Trip Report JB Plain to Paw Paw Plain.XC ski trip.30th June 2019.

Discussion in 'Hotham & Dinner Plain' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    With the recent shortage of XC skiable snow the promise of a snowfall at Mt. Hotham seemed enticing. So I organized myself and drove up to my friend's house in Myrtleford on Saturday June 29th. The weather was windy , wet and wild on the drive up from Melbourne.
    Once I reached Myrtleford the storm arrived and I was glad to be off the roads and indoors.
    The following day I was up early before dawn and I was off to drive over the Mt. Hot Ham and cheese and tomato on toast summit.
    The morning rain began to turn into sleet and then snow began to settle at approximately 1100 M. on the drive up the twisty turny road from Harrietville.
    Quite soon afterwards on the slow and careful ascent , all 2WD motorists were being flagged off the road by men in high visibility garments and fitting chains became compulsory for those vehicles.
    I was waved through . By the time I descended from Mt.St.Benard Hospice it was become seriously sketchy crawling along in Low gear. In front of me a motorist in a Nissan X trail had slid off the road not far from the descent into the saddle near the Blow Hard hut.
    It was evident that the young woman had picked up speed in her automatic car , started to slide on the wind blown ice and hit the brakes and just totally lost it. Fortunately neither she nor the other occupant of the car or the car itself were damaged.
    Being in a 4 x4 or AWD does not make people 'safe' if they have no idea how to drive in those conditions. There is no traction involving tyre rubber on ice!.

    I then decided it was too sketchy and I had fit my own chains. The wind was howling outrageously and the snow was coming at me horizontally. The wind chill factor was considerable.
    My first attempt at fitting my own diamond pattern chains was hampered by the first linking clasp icing up so that they could not be connected behind the wheel. I had to spray them with W D 40 and put them inside the car to thaw out while I tried again with the other set. This worked and after some struggle in the rather unforgiving conditions despite having two pairs of work gloves on , I was chained up on both front wheels and equipped for the enterprise at hand and ready to proceed up the hill very cautiously in icy , windy conditions with poor visibility. The next thing I saw was a sign saying ALL vehicles must fit chains to wheels from thenceforth.
    Finally I went through the tunnel that leads to the resort and having crawled through the Hot Ham resort and out to the Alpine N.P. towards Dinner Plain , I found I was the only person availing themselves of the free car parking at JB Plain car park.
    I arrived at 11 am , an hour later than I had planned. The delays with the ice, snow , chains and traffic had turned a 2 hour drive into a three hour drive one way for a day from Myrtleford.
    I was keen to get on the planks.Having readied myself I put the Op Shop rock hoppers on and away I did ski.
    The snow was J U S T deep enough to ski on and was fresh dry powder snow. Not that icy crud we usually end up skiing on. Only one other person had skied it and I met him en route to Paw Paw Plain.He was skiing on Madshus Epochs, like mine, except he had AT bindings and boots.
    I had a couple of spills and the snow was not very deep so OUCH was the operative term. However I never say die when on XC skis and managed some nice descents with parallel skis, a few step turns, some diagonal stride skiing on one leg drills on flat terrain and some snow ploughs that broke through the thin cover.
    I ate lunch on a rock in the tree cover near Paw Paw Plain .It was properly windy and cold!.
    The thin cover on Paw Paw Plain was driven by wind blown spin drifts but the snow kept falling lightly on and off followed by sunny breaks which meant the outward bound ski tracks I made were partially covered on my return.
    The snowy scenery was Beautiful .
    Being a bit rusty , with only my 6th day on planks this season ;-P I think I did OK skiing on thin, fresh ,dry cover and descending and turning down to JB Plain with some confidence :).
    I went and visited JB hut on planks. The visitor book needs a new pen. Both doors , inner and outer doors on the hut need their latches repaired soon.
    There were no matches or candles in the hut either. There was no firewood either. I will do something about this next time I am up there this season.
    Chains were compulsory on the return trip. I made it back to the Black Hole chain bay where chains were being removed and then I returned to Myrtleford by dusk.
    I was well skied and went to bed at 9 pm and slept until 6.30 am.
    Mt. Buffalo did not get enough snow over the weekend so a half day trip up there was not feasible for Nordic skiing.
    Today on the drive back home down the Hume Freeway my car conked out near Kilmore and I had to be towed back to Melbourne.
    :-0
    The towing fee and the repairs involving installing a new alternator will render me impoverished but without the Tee Mobile I am grounded.
    It was the most expensive Alpine N.P. XC ski trip to the Hot- Ham, JB Plain and D.P. area I have ever had .
    I will return to that place and ski for free yet again.
    Photos will follow.
     
    #1 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jul 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Seth and Fonster like this.
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Pictures from the drive up to JB Plain in COLD conditions. 30/6/19.
    Almost fresh tracks in powder snow . I did break through the surface a few times so the Op Shop rock hoppers were a good choice for early season XC skiing.
    I now remember why I don't like automatic NNN BC bindings. They clog up with snow and ice and become a nuisance to reattach after a ski off lunch /hut visit break . Manual NNN BC bindings work even in negative 6 degree weather when everything freezes, the Rottefella Magnum NNN BC Manual bindings remain compliant and there is no need for swearing at them, hitting them with your stocks, spraying them with Fischer pattern base de- icer and just stuffing around with cold hands.
    With slim pickings for classic XC skiing closer to Melbourne so far, JB Hut and environs will be worth at least two more trips this ski season.
     
    #2 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jul 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Photos from my solo half day XC ski touring from JB Plain to Paw Paw Plain and back . The ski trail will have deeper snow cover in August but perhaps not as fresh and dry as it was on Sunday June 30th 2019.
     

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  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Heading back to JB Hut on Planks. The sun came out :) and my skiing improved. It can only improve!.
     
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  5. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    That's dedication, or has it become obsession? 12-15 hrs driving, 2 nights away, fitting chains etc for a half day ski tour! You are keen, indeed. Fresh snow looks great.
     
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  6. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not knowing the area can someone explain to me how the winter and summer routes to the village are both 7.1km with the arrows pointing in completely opposite directions!?
     
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The winter route from DP to Hot Ham crosses Paw Paw Plain via a temporary pole line , lest some poor soul not become disorientated in a white out in the treeless expanse. The Summer route follows the set path through the trees. As you approach Paw Paw Plain from JB Plain you reach a junction where the summer and winter routes bifurcate but meet each other further up towards Hot Ham. Verily at that rejoining of routes is where I ate my lunch.
     
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Scenery back at JB hut and the return drive. June 30th 2019. I am keen, I will admit that ;-P but I prefer to ski on fresh snow not on icy hard crud so I go when and where I can to get that experience. Next time I go up to JB hut I will probably snow camp and extract maximum value out of the travelling involved i.e. a full day ski tour to Wire Plain/ Mt.Hot ham area and back as well as a half day tour to Dinner Plain and back.
     
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  9. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice report....Hotham Rd can be arduous after a dump of snow.Lovely pictures.
    Yes you will have to get JB Hut on track in regards to fuel etc.

    RACV Total Care is worthwhile in regards to breakdowns and towing!
    Can you get alternator from the wrecker 2nd hand?

    Saturday Team Bears huddled iindoors most of the day ....it was not pleasant even at sea level!

    Good to see you making tracks early in the season.
     
    Mister Tee on XC Skis likes this.
  10. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    That pole must be exactly halfway. ;)
     
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  11. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mr T is just warming up for a trip from Hot Ham Airport to Maccas ,Young’s ,Ryder’s Hut then out along BHP Road to Barrier on Shannonvale side of Highplains.

    Mr T will need to coordinate a car shuffle...perhaps returning to JB hut for couple of nights.Replenishing wood supply while he recuperates.He has just been warming up on those Dinnerplain Trails!!He is ready for some high class backcountry action!
     
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  12. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The trip turned out to be as much as about the photography & a superb nature fix as it was about improving at Nordic skiing.
     
    #12 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  13. Gimp

    Gimp One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why the Helmut?
     
  14. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sugar glider head protection ?

    The forum likes the pics....we don’t care how far or fast u ski ...as long as we have beautiful photos to flick through!
     
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  15. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The Drop Bears in Victoria are vicious!. Good news , Doug at EMC will swap the automatic bindings on my now tried and tested vintage Op Shop rock hoppers , the rock hopper skis as seen in this trip report for my preferred manual NNN BC bindings . Now that is service with a smile :).
     
    #15 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
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