Pics: Stockyard Spur / Mount Gingera

mholling

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Aug 3, 2006
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Some pics from a recent (July 10-11) trip up Stockyard Spur from Corin Dam to Pryor's Hut and Mount Gingera (ACT). Good cover - about a foot of snow around the hut. Ski touring 30kms from home - gotta love living in Canberra!

Google Earth map of Stockyard Spur route:
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Hiking up the spur:
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Afternoon view from Mount Gingera:
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Looking back to Canberra:
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Mount Gingera summit:
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Sunset:
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Summit:
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Mount Ginini from Gingera:
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Pryor's Hut:
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Mount Franklin firetrail:
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freeheeltim

First Runs
Jun 26, 2007
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Excellent pics of the Brindies! Did you manage to get a glimpse of bimberi? Interested in doing a trip out to morgan, murray and bimberi and just wondering about snow conditions. Also, how far up stockyard could you start skiing?

cheers
 

mholling

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Aug 3, 2006
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> Did you manage to get a glimpse of bimberi?

Yeah, looked pretty well covered on the top. You can see Bimberi from Corin Dam if there's no cloud.


> Also, how far up stockyard could you start skiing?

I skied from about 1500m, just after joining the firetrail on Stockyard Spur. It had melted out a bit on the way down, of course. If there's more ACT snow I reckon there might actually be a "base!"


> So the road's open down to the dam then?
> TAMS keeps muttering about it being closed.

Yep, I think the road only ever closes for a day or two at most. The website doesn't seem to be updated with short-term closures - I think calling Canberra Connect is the best way of getting road closure info.
 

Telestrom

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Jun 3, 2002
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Ah, plenty of memories there for me. Had the bucks night for a friend at Pryors Hut and then a year later, I had my bucks night there as well.

Looks like a reasonable cover. Last time I skied around that area was over 10 years ago when there was around 1m of snow on Mt Ginini.
 

Tantangera

Hard Yards
Sep 16, 2005
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Great work, like the pics...

I am planning a trip up Mt Morgan with freeheeltim, kieran you up for a reunion?
The date set is the 29th July...

Tant,
 
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VSG

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yes, I've got the southern edge of the Act border skewed. It cuts across from south of Mt Murray to Yaouk Gap and beyond.
wink.gif
 
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Kieran

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Tantangera said:
Great work, like the pics...

I am planning a trip up Mt Morgan with freeheeltim, kieran you up for a reunion?
The date set is the 29th July...

Tant,

Maybe, maybe. Let me know. Could also be up for a two day trip to Bimberi that weekend if the snow stays good...
 
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DavidL

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Jul 30, 2015
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Reminds me of the great snow conditions I encountered on my day trip ski from Ginini to Gingera and back many years ago. Luckily, I had access along a deserted, snow covered Franklin Road. I got there in a Suzuki Sierra that made light work of the soft, fresh snow. Coming back, I got a good serve (the never ski alone rant) from a ranger who was in the process of closing the Franklin road at Bull's Head as more heavy snow came tumbling down.
 
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teleroo

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Kinda sorta yes if decent coverage. Might only be viable for a week at a time nowadays. Bigger problem is access I believe. Authorities more trigger happy about closing access via My Franklin Rd if "too much snow". But Gingera can be clearly seen from much of Canberra, so if you've got a sense that the snowpack has consolidated and has some depth, can be ok.
 
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zapruda

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Is this area actually skiable these days (as in enough snow)?
As @teleroo mentioned you have to be quick in the northern end of the alps.

When it dumps you have to be ready to go. When I was more energetic, I would often head up Stockyard spur after work if there was a good fall. A bit of night skiing was fun but often it was the challenge, rather than the skiing, that drew me in.

Between Kiandra and Tabeletop is a bit more forgiving. You have a little bit more time after a good fall. Northeast of the snowy mountains highway is often disappointing. Tantangara mountain can be the exception.

To me it’s all part of the fun.

A shitty skier chasing shitty snow.
 
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art

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Ive skied on Gingera most years in the last 5.
If you want to ski rather than snow play you have to pick your days carefully. I only go if I think I will be able to ski from around the helipad on stockyard spur and for that you need to be out there on the tail end of a good fall, or soon after. Being prepared to park and ride at corin forest helps.
I went twice last year including all the way through to the snowy mountains highway. Really should have been more organised and kept going to Thredbo.
 

purpleonesie

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Nov 16, 2015
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Ive skied on Gingera most years in the last 5.
If you want to ski rather than snow play you have to pick your days carefully. I only go if I think I will be able to ski from around the helipad on stockyard spur and for that you need to be out there on the tail end of a good fall, or soon after. Being prepared to park and ride at corin forest helps.
I went twice last year including all the way through to the snowy mountains highway. Really should have been more organised and kept going to Thredbo.
Nice
 
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mholling

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I went twice last year including all the way through to the snowy mountains highway.
Fabulous! I would love to read more about that trip, if you have any pics or words to share. I think maybe I remember your photos from Pockets Hut a winter or two back.
 
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art

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This is long and picture heavy but i figure many have spare time to browse at the moment.

So about 5 years ago some mates and I did a day trip from Corin Forest to Gingera and back with a bit of an epic mix of bike, hike and ski. We followed this up about a week later with a k2k crossing. I joked that we need to combine the 2 some time and so started looking over maps and elevation profiles and then watching for conditions that would let me ski from ACT to long plain.
My work is generally pretty flexible so each season I was mentally prepared to go on the right fall. I think 2018 or 2019 there was a brief window of opportunity but I couldn't get a ski partner organised and wasn't keen to do it solo at that stage. I ski with a few others but 1 guy in particular is up for this sort of trip but unfortunately he is less flexible at short notice.
Late August 2020 presented another opportunity and again it was looking like a solo trip but I managed to get a buddy to ski with me into Gingera and turn around at lunch time. This time around I had an inreach and was more prepared to do it solo as I had ridden much of the route over summer.

We started late afternoon at Corin Forest where there was quite a bit of snow and mobs of snow players all packing up and heading home. We strapped skis on bikes and got riding stashing bikes at Corin Dam. Climbed up Stockyard spur on a cool calm evening with snow lightly falling. Head lamps on part way up. Skis on about 2/3rds of the way up. Came across a couple of people camping at the helipad but had the rest of the evening to ourselves breaking trail through surprisingly dry and deep fresh.

Pryors Hut was spectacular under torch light with all the trees loaded with snow and plenty of snow all around. We arrived about 10pm had a late dinner and slept very well waking to a bright sunny clear and still day.
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The little porch over the door of the hut was very heavily loaded and didnt look very well attached. I commented that it looked like failing and I wish I had followed through and cleaned it off because later that day it had failed. Hopefully parks got it fixed up later.

We got going and stopped for water at the usual spot not far after the hut. Plenty of photo stops as well. We had been up here in early August with much less snow and the fires had made it easy to ski off track. Was even better today. We headed for the top of Gingera noting the snow was quickly turning from mid winter to spring conditions in the space of a few hours.

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A couple of photos, below, from on top. Including the tree every one takes a photo of. I spend a while up here scoping my lines but a bit differently to looking for the way down I was looking at my route all the way through to Long Plain. I have a few variations in my mind.
1) turn around and head home after a fun day on Gingera. I was still in 2 minds about the trip.
2) stay on the ridge lines to Leura Gap hoping that the fires had cleared out the undergrowth and it would be deep enough snow.
3) stay on the main fire trail and climb over Leura Gap. This risks ending up below the snow line before the climb.
Beyond Leura Gap I was pretty happy with the plan of following the fire trail to pocket saddle and jumping on the AAWT. The snow looked good in the distance although I was sure it would melt off fast below 1300m and there is quite a bit of the route below that.
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We headed south off Gingera. I had never been down this side. Was a beautiful tangle of old snow gums full of snow. The snow was getting gluggy after dropping a bit of height so not the easiest skiing. It got really hard a bit further down and we ended up in a world of shallow rotten snow in thick half burnt saplings. Option 2 was removed from consideration. We eventually punched through to the trail just short of Blackfellows Gap which we continued on to for a lunch stop. It was decision time.

We switched a bit of gear around and said goodbye and went in opposite directions. I got into kick and glide mode as best i could in t4s, g3 bindings and pattern based fisher boundless skis. I had quite a few km of gentle downhill to cover, before a 2km steepish climb over Leura Gap, and more long gentle elevation loss.

The snow almost ran out before the Leura Gap climb but quickly got back to being deep enough as I climbed. The Leura Gap Fire trail area has big trees and had been heavily burnt. It was a calm day but I did not want to hang around and get squashed.
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I crossed into NSW and felt like I had entered a horse farm. The burn here varied from light to heavy. The snow started running out at about 1400m and there is a quick drop in the fire trail here to 1300m so after picking my way down about half of this it was skis off for approx 5km of late afternoon walking to pocket saddle hut. Photo is of the low point at about 1150m. I think if I had been here a day earlier I would have been able to ski right through. I got to pocket saddle hut in failing light at about 6pm with a heavy freeze setting in and very thin snow cover.

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After a feed I decided that the only way to avoid a days long slog through horse shit and mud carrying skis was to get up early and ski what I could to gain some elevation before the mid morning thaw. The only problem was I was worn out from a long day on skis without any ski focused training. So after a restless very cold night I was on skis with all my clothes on at 6:30am. Im not a morning person even though I understand the attraction of mornings and enjoy them when I manage them.
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the first 30 minutes was a climb up the fire trail covered in a crappy refrozen mix of mud, rock, snow, horse turds, all having been churned over by horses the day before. This was punctuated by regular stops to adjust clothing levels to get the balance between freezing and sweating just right while shovelling some food it to approximate a breakfast.

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Once I got up to the frost plains I was greeted by more horses and a view like in the above photos. The skiing was surprisingly good. I could see far enough to pick a route that stayed on snow. Its flat and the playing surface was fast but grippy enough to kick on. If I got the route wrong the grass was frozen so I could ski across bits of it with no worries so I made good time. A few hours later would have been very different. Luckily the horses tended to run on well ahead of me .

Once I climbed out of the frost plains the snow cover improved and I felt I could relax from the mornings mad dash although I kept moving steadily while the snow was firmer getting to Hainsworths Hut for lunch. I was feeling quite worn out so had a long break and enjoyed the sun and ate as much as I could fit in. I had brought food for quite a few days and obviously I was knocking this over quicker then I thought.

Hainsworth's didn't feel like it would be a very warm hut to overnight in and what was I to do with the rest of my day. I was also still working out how this trip was going to end. The snow looked good enough that I could go on to Kiandra or beyond but I wasn't really enjoying being solo, just wasn't in the right frame of mind, and I was aware of a child's birthday coming up at home and that someone was going to have to do a long drive to pick me up. So I headed out for a glorious afternoon ski heading for Long Plain Hut.

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The cover was amazingly good and there is so much space out there that you can just ski your heart out in any direction for kms. The horses were mostly in large groups and I think I spooked them so they ran and ran with huge clouds of snow billowing out behind them.
I picked a route that took me much closer to the Murrumbidgee than the fire trail and really enjoyed seeing the river I've spent my life living near meandering through the snow.

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to be continued.....
 
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art

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The icing on the cake was corn snow turns on the banks of the river. I had to do a few laps.

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My route choice hit a snag while trying to get onto the Port Philip Trail to be able to cross the Murrumbidgee. A major side creek was running very full and I wasn't about to cross it like the stallion I had just spooked did at full speed in deep snow. I eventually found a confluence with a small grassy island and did the sketchiest creek crossing on skis I've ever done.
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Shortly after I found fresh ski and snowshoe tracks and I wondered if I could chase someone down and get a lift back to Canberra saving a family member a long drive. So off I went getting to the snowy mountains highway about 4pm to watch the last car accelerate up the hill. I sat down for a while ate some more food and turned back to long plain hut for the night.
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Finished off with a lazy morning and a gentle ski back to the road for a late morning pickup.

At the time I didn't share many details as technically both ACT and NSW had closures in the area and I didn't want to encourage rule breaking. Before going I couldn't actually find details online of what was and wasn't closed in NSW and only worked it out as I left closed areas and found signs. In ACT I went over Gingera and apparently the closed sign was on the bit of fire trail that I missed. Anyway I felt a bit bad about my rule breaking after the fact so didnt say much.

I hope you enjoyed the story. It was a great trip.

Next time I will get my head in the right space and plan for the full crossing ACT to Victoria....... haha...... just kidding.....

..... or am I....
 
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