Kosciusko snow camping

Naboo

First Runs
Aug 11, 2009
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G'day,

I'm a keen camper/hiker but yet to get into snow camping. I've bought some new gear and would like to head down to Kosciusko to test out my setup before heading further out. Ideally, I'm after a spot that where I can park a car reasonably close to camp. I was thinking of parking at Guthega & heading towards Mt Tate.

Somebody else suggested I could drive past Thredbo Village to the Dead Horse Gap/Cascade Hut walking track carpark, and just head off into the snow from there.

An established parks campsite would be fine if anybody can suggest one--would Island Bend get any snow?

Also, what are the restrictions on where you can camp in the park? (i.e. not within 500m of the trails or something?)

Cheers
 

Shrek

Old n' Crusty
Jun 16, 2000
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Are you going to be on snowshoes or skis?

for a first experience I've always thought up toward south ramshead from DHG would be pretty good.
 
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cruisin along

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I have very fond memories of camping at Smiggins....and that was before all this brilliant thermal gear.

I also like the thought of camping out again and Dead horse Gap is such a pretty area to wake to.

enjoy it wherever you end up.
 

Untele-whippet

beard stroker
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Hi Naboo, welcome.
smile.gif

For true on snow, close to the car camping, I'd also suggest DHG or another good option is Mt Selywn at the start of the five mile crosscountry ski trail or down on Kings Cross either from Selywn or Cabramurra.
Enjoy
 
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Naboo

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Aug 11, 2009
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Thanks for the replies,

Actually I've only got boots at the moment. I don't mind hiring out snowshoes if they're essential. What's the best way up there--can you walk to DHG from the village?
 

Graeme

First Runs
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Sep 25, 2003
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There's a nice flattish area about 1/2 way up form DHG to South Ramshead. the only camping restriction I am aware of is that you may not camp anywhere that drains into the glacial lakes (Cootapatamba, Albina, Club, Blue, Hedley).
 

Snow Blowey

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I'm a fan of DHG also. Easy walk back down hill if things don't go to plan. I'd suggest finding a nice deep drift. That way you can have some fun building snow furniture, or a snow shelter.
 
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Shrek

Old n' Crusty
Jun 16, 2000
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oh yeah take the snow shovel and build a kitchen, post the photos here. We love trip reports, even beginner ones.
 

currawong

Pool Room
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Sep 17, 2003
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runs are short. runs are not particularly steep. there is a run parallel to t-bar (skiers right of T) that is a true black. Top was nice, the bottom looked a bit tight for me. also a run on skiers right of the chair. long green run out on the chair runs. there is something rated black on Guthries that we didn't get to so can't comment.

when we were there it was breakable crust. otherwise, traversing to skiers right of the chair would have been run, although blue rather than black. they talk about hiking chutes on guthries but I can't comment. would be pretty short I think.
 

Angus_McCrory

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Oct 22, 2005
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The best ski runs at the Pass require a bit (or a lot) of a hike...... Guthries cutes/bowls, Stillwell trees (fast tree slalom) and Foxhole east face (the best but requires 40 minute skin up and a 30 minute skin out). The first two chutes/bowls at Guthries currently don't have enough snow to ski safely, the third was good last Friday for untracked, knee deep freshies. Worth the 10 minute boot pack.
 

Ultra

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Jun 2, 2009
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i am currently thinking of doing the same, over 3 days hike in hike out, snowshoe. got a lot of info on equipment and back country locations from ozbc website. great photos too! im aiming for a weekend early september.
 

Graeme

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Sep 25, 2003
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Ultra, until the resort season finishes, to leave from CP means getting oversnow transport form Perisher at each end of the trip, and many folk go from Guthega instead, saving dollars and some hassle, but putting in a bigger climb. If you are already at CP, it is a different story.
 

Naboo

First Runs
Aug 11, 2009
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Hello again,

Just got back from camping out near DHG. I ended up walking up to South Ramshead. Main aims for me was to test out my gear, and see what I'd change. I bought my camping gear for mountain biking, so its all pretty small & generally three season.

Firstly, hiking in snowshoes with a pack was pretty hard! I had a pretty heavy pack, and had dressed overly warm, so I ended up pretty sweaty. I should have gone larger snowshoes, as I sunk in a few times--up to my knees or so.

I tried to hike next to a creek, but the terrain was too hard, so I ended up turning around and basically going directly north to the top. From there I moved to a sheltered area to set up camp. Thankfully the winds were calm, so this was pretty easy. I think it was about 2 hrs to get to the top (including a fair amount of exploring & checking out different areas).

First fail for the day was leaving my spare socks at home--the toes were freezing, and my socks were wet. I ended up wearing spare gloves as socks during the night, which worked ok.

I actually found my sleeping bag OK, I think most of my heat was lost though the thermarest--I've got a three season one. I think rather than dropping alot of extra cash on a new bag I'd rather get a thicker thermarest.

I'd heard different things about gas cookers having problems in the cold, but it seemed to work fine.

There were severe winds this morning...so trying to pack up was pretty difficult by myself. Little branches were flying by & my pegs were frozen in pretty well, so it took a while to do-next time I won't stick the pegs in so deep.

Anyway, thanks to everyone that suggested the location. The trip was an ideal distance away from the car, and a good introduction to snow camping. I was amazed how many stars I could see at night too!

I'd post up some pics but can't figure out how to do it...
smile.gif
 
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Snow Blowey

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Good effort naboo. I'm a big fan of having a crack and learning on the go over the guided trip and/or formal tuition (sorry Bogong). As long as you don't try to bite off to much in the early days you're sweet.

Sounds like you made a few mistakes you'll rectify for next time. A close cell foam mat (about $5 from coles) placed under the thermarest should do the trick for you. As telewhippet suggested Down booties are nice for snow camping. A pair of ugg boots can be used in leiu of the booties but have a bit of extra weight.

What did you use for pegs?

I learnt a good lesson on my first snow camping trip. The pegs you use on a k-mart tent dont work in the snow. Not great finding this out on top of Alice Rawson Peak. We ended up burying the sides of the tent fly and it froze in pretty solid. I spent the day walking in leather slip on steel cap work boots. Had wet feet all day but didn't think it was an issue as my feet were warm while walking. When we stopped walking my feet started to freeze. By the time we had cooked a meal for dinner (at about 4.30pm) i was going mildly hyperthermic. I had no choice but to go to bed. Didn't sleep very well. Luckily the next day was fine and sunny so was able to warm up pretty quickly once i started moving around.
 

Naboo

First Runs
Aug 11, 2009
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Cheers,

I'll certainly take one of those mats next time--that should really help. I bought some snow pegs during the week, about 4 inches long. I think the mistake I made here was pushing them in too far--they ended up under the snow (about 5 inches), and were a pain to get out this morning. I had to use a little shovel to dig them out, and cut one of my guy ropes in the process. Is it better to leave the peg basically exposed? The reason I didn't do this was because the snow felt too soft, and I was worried they'd come out.

Wet feet were a problem for me too. I've got some really comfy boots that I use hiking, but they have cloth gussets on the side. I think this is where the moisture got in, so I'll try a waterproofing spray on them, or try the booties next time. When I was moving my feet were fine, but once I'd stopped to set up camp the toes in particular got really cold. Same again this morning, with the wind it was quite chilly, and my feet were starting to freeze up whilst I was trying to pack the tent. Literally I only just missed the rain--by the time I got back to the car it started, and once I got to Jindabyne it was pretty intense. Looking at the snowcams this arvo made me glad to be home!
 

IglooEd

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Jun 20, 2009
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I use some small branches for tent stakes and leave them when I tear down camp. I bury the sticks horizontally about 6 to 10 inches down. How the guy ropes are used is the trick. I tie the rope to the tent and then loop it under the stake before burying it and bring the other end of the rope up to the tent and pull it tight before tying it to the tent. This way the knot can be untied and the rope just pulled out. Sometimes the rope will freeze to the snow but generally it can be just pulled out.
Be careful trusting an inflatable pad, if it springs a leak you will have a miserable night. A closed cell foam pad is more reliable.
 

john_k

Addicted
Jul 21, 2008
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Well done on your first snow adventure - sounds like it was a lot of fun.

As others have said get a $5 closed foam cell mat and put this under your thermarest - works a treat. You can also just sleep in all your clothes or take a fleecey blanket (extra weight) to improve your sleeping bag warmth.

Dont worry about your snow pegs - put them in the snow deeply so they can freeze and provide the maximum protection from any bad weather - just make sure you have something to dig them out.

In 7 years of snow camping I have never taken a snow shovel - snow shoes, especially Youies make great snow shovels but take one if you can carry it - plastic plates also make good digging tools.

Go light, fast and warm and you'll have the time of your life - nothing beats waking up in a frozen wonderland!

Would suggest that your next buy might be some some really good footwear as it's crucial to having a good time with warm feet.

Stay safe out there.

John K.

 

TheBigJ

Hard Yards
Aug 13, 2009
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Well done Naboo,

I am a big fan of getting out there and learning (much like the time-on-snow concept) as long as you stay within your limits. Beginners aren't unsafe, its when people extend their gear and ability that they run into trouble. So again, well done.

I note you mentioned waterproofing the 'cloth gussets' on your hiking boots. Can I suggest that you rethink this. I have a pair of Scarpa 'Go Up' hybrid boots that I bought for the Australian Alpine Walking Track a few years ago. They did over 700kms in 7 weeks and had no smell whatsoever - unbelievable but true. They are still going strong and I probably do a few hundred kms in them a year. I made the error of spraying the Gore Tex gusset with suede waterproof spray and they immediately stank like old runners. They had lost all their 'breathability'. It has taken many months and quite a few washes to break down the waterproofing and the smell is gradually fading.

Can I ask what tent you use? I tried to get by with my 3-season tent but in any wind I was being covered in tiny ice particles. I went for a Bibler Tempest and can't speak highly enough of them.
 

Naboo

First Runs
Aug 11, 2009
12
0
0
Hello again,

Thanks for the tip re: the boots. I'll just leave them be, and come up with a better solution for when I got to the snow.

The tent was a Wilderness Equipment Second Arrow. I've mainly used a bivvy bag before, so it was great try out a proper 4 season tent--it didn't really seem to get blown about by the wind at all.

Another thing I was trying to work out was clothing. I wasn't sure what would work best for an outer layer--I've got a ski jacket that is quite breathable, however I wasn't convinced how it might hold up in heavy rain, so took a japara as well. For general hiking, I've always had some kind of warm outer layer, and a thin (but not breathable) rain coat in the bag in case of rain. Is there any particular type of jacket that is rain proof but still breathable--I'm guessing Gore Tex is the best to go for? I was wondering whether it might be worth trying to pick one up in a post-winter sale, or just to stick with the ski jacket,
 

Ultra

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Jun 2, 2009
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How would a Driza-bone go as a waterproof outer layer? i have only used mine in heavy rain. and loose enough to wear over ski jackets and pants
 

TheBigJ

Hard Yards
Aug 13, 2009
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I have used a MACPAC Copland as a shell layer for a number of years - very breathable, dry and windproof. It's also quite light and compact, so allows for good movement.

Unsure if MACPAC still run the Copland in their line, but I'm sure they have something similar (as would Pallin or Mountain Design).

Depending on the temp, I have just a thermal underneath, of if cooler, a polar fleece as well.
 

telemark fred

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Driza-bone Pros:
Is waterproof, and looks good when you are sitting on a horse.

Driza-bone cons:
Heavy, bulk inhibits easy movement, heavy, you get REALLY hot if you are even a little active, heavy, packed size is seriously large.
 

The Bush Patrol

Addicted
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Feb 3, 2004
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Also try the left over water from the mornin brew to melt the snow pegs out (can require a few litres if you have a 4 maner with 12 pegs or so ).
 
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