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Ski pole routes

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Interruptedbyfireworks, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. Interruptedbyfireworks

    Interruptedbyfireworks One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Sorry if this has been discussed before - I had a little search through the forum but couldn’t find anything.

    I’m currently studying my new Kosciusko SUTMAP, and I see that there is a legend for “ski pole route”, with one such route near the Kosciusko lookout, and many near Charlotte Pass and Perisher.

    On my drive between CP and Perisher the other day I also noticed some poles, and just assumed they were a relic of a fence line (if you zoom in you should be able to see them in this photo).

    From side comments I’ve seen on this forum, I thought that only Victoria had pole routes, not NSW. But it seems there ARE pole routes in NSW!!

    How much do they get used? Are they for navigating in white outs? Do they get maintained or are they a relic from a snowy past, like the CP-Thredbo chairlift?

    I’m so curious about these poles. And my google searching keeps bringing up ski poles that you use for skiing, not for navigation, so it’s no help.

    Anyone have any info? Thanks!!

     
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  2. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Brumby tethers

    Just as belonging and controversial :out:
     
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  3. Interruptedbyfireworks

    Interruptedbyfireworks One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Oh no, really?

    I don’t mean to start any arguments haha
     
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  4. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    There used to be a ski pole line from Thredbo to Albina Hut via Rawsons Pass and also via Seaman’s Hut. These are no longer there, bar one or two old poles.
    There still basically is a pole line from CP to Seaman’s Hut.
    There area pole lines on the Perisher Nordic tracks.
    Nowadays you carry a continuous pole line in your pocket, it’s called a GPS
     
  5. skifree

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

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    Yes there are ski pole routes in nsw.

    They are typically tour routes.

    The sutmap is the most accurate for what currently exists.
     
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  6. skifree

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

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    The author of the sutmaps personally followed the pole lines to plot them.
     
  7. Interruptedbyfireworks

    Interruptedbyfireworks One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Wow that is dedication!

    I find the idea of them so romantic - I’m visualising people trekking through blizzards on wooden planks decades and decades ago...
     
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  8. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    Steady! We had fibreglass in the 90’s!!!!
     
  9. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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  10. Interruptedbyfireworks

    Interruptedbyfireworks One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I’m no expert but sir I believe you’re doing it wrong
     
  11. skifree

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

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    @telecrag was mirage checking, an important pole line technique you’ll learn grasshopper.
     
  12. nfip

    nfip Cold n' Rusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Down South in Antarctica they are called a Cane Line.
    They are a known route for safe travel from Station to a field hut or the Runway etc.
    Each Cane is a GPS Waypoint .
    They need to be drilled and set into the Ice , much as they do for a ski race gate.
     
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  13. Myazma

    Myazma One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where's that TR by the Mexican who tried following the poles from Thredbo to Kosi, like the Dangermuss K to K, still brings a smile.
     
  14. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was @gareth_oau
     
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  15. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Seppos use canes/wands on crevasses lots
     
  16. nfip

    nfip Cold n' Rusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    How so ?
    Bridging across ?
     
  17. Myazma

    Myazma One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Marking presence of.
     
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  18. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Down in old Mexico, those pole lines were built the late 1800s to guide gold prospectors and miners who kept getting lost in white outs. A second reason was that it was hoped that they would lead to new gold fields being discovered as Victoria was suffering from declining gold revenue. While the mountain cattlemen didn't really need pole lines as they grew up in the area and were superb navigators, they used them too.

    Most pole lines were on the Bogong High Plains, but there is evidence that they were probably on the Dargo High Plains and the Howitt / Snowy Plains too. Despite heavy lobbying between the wars, no pole lines were ever built on Mt Feathertop.

    By the 1920s the wooden pole lines were getting battered and many poles had fallen over, so skiers and others successfully lobbied to get many lines renewed. These poles had a tin plate with a pole number and a letter indicating which line they were on.

    The main wooden pole lines on the BHPs survived until the 1970s when they were replaced with numbered CCA treated pine poles which are still in use today. They are spaced every 40 metres between Mt Hotham and Mt Bogong with several unnumbered spur lines radiating from junctions such as the summit of Mt Bogong and Pole 333 near Mt Jim. Where the route dips into the Big River valley which is below the tree line, numbers are attached to trees.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. skifree

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

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    And were not so foolish as to tootle about above the tree line in the Winter having taken their cattle down to the nice warm valley where the feed was at that time of year.
     
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  20. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, but there are also summer snow falls with white outs.

    When I was a teenager I was taught pole to pole navigation in a white out. One person stays at a pole while another person attached to a 42 metre long cord heads out in the expected direction. Even if they are blown off course a bit, by swinging around at the end of the extended cord they will find the next pole. Then three sharp tugs on the cord and the person back at the earlier pole follows the cord to the next pole and their companion. Then they swap roles and head out to the next pole... and so on.

    Not the fastest way of moving, but you will probably get to your destination if you don't die of exposure first.
     
  21. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep
    Often little flags on them too. Super cute.
    Ive had nothing to do with them but read about them a bunch and seen them in videos etc. But have never seen or heard about them in europe
     
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  22. skifree

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

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    Which is what with huts and fire places and rum is for.
     
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  23. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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  24. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Golly, my mind is clogged up with snow pole stories. Here's another one:

    In 1942-ish, a group died in a blizzard near the top of The Staircase on Mt Bogong. Later a cairn was erected to the memory of Georgine Gadsden, John McCrae? and their chums as well as a steel snow pole line. These metal poles were hollow and had holes drilled in them and if there was any sort of wind they made a sort of deep noise. Those poles which could be located by the sound they made survived until the 2003 wildfires when they partly melted and were replaced with more conventional snow poles.

    [​IMG]
    Gadsden Memorial and the "singing" snow poles.
     
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  25. DJM

    DJM One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I remember meeting two cool old Japanese retirees on their way to Kosci while kiting in Cocks harbour. They were halfway to Charlotte Pass on the pole line. Jeans and runners. Totally in control but just heading in the wrong direction.

    Those other two on the K2K were nutz.
     
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  26. nfip

    nfip Cold n' Rusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    yeah thought that too but contrary to what I was thinking re. safest route.
    same in Oz the poles typify safe travel.

    GUess the god damms drive on the wrong side of the road and still measure imperial so ...
    ;)
     
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  27. Interruptedbyfireworks

    Interruptedbyfireworks One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Amazing history, thanks so much @Bogong that’s exactly the sort of info I was hoping for!!
     
  28. Myazma

    Myazma One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You are right, also used to mark safe crossing points
     
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  29. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    By total coincidence, an hour ago I received scans of a pile of old correspondence for another ski history project I'm working on and there's a bunch of incidental stuff on snow pole lines. Like this from the Executive of the Federation of Victorian Ski Clubs, January 1955.

    It's news to me that pole lines were in poor condition at the time, I thought they were pretty good in the 1950s.
     
  30. legend

    legend One of Us

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    Back in the 'good ol'days' we used the Algona Guides sketch map (no contours, just thatching showing main ridges and spurs). Bad weather never stopped us, we just had to learn basic navigation. I remember skiing out to Ropers Hut, you had to find the only remanding pole between Nelse and Timms L/O to get the right direction. The Snowies were completely different - no poles between Kiandra and Kosci. It lead to many interesting epics especially between Jagungal and Tin Hut and finding non cornice routes off the Kerries.
     
  31. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    On the BHP the SEC also had pole lines put in alongside the aqueducts.
     
  32. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    Pole lines not always the answer to not getting lost. A few years ago 2 people got into strife trying to get to cleve cole hut via eskdale spur (Mt Bogong) in a blizzard (and evening too I believe). Turned right at the top instead of left, ended up lost, slightly down staircase ridge (but still in the alpine). Dialled 000 and alpine SAR got to them (1 hypothermic) about 3am IIRC.
     
  33. skifree

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

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    Correct, brains, planning, common sense, plan a, b & c and staying awake are all quite useful.
     
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  34. ecowain

    ecowain One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Still look at that map for the jagungal area.
     
  35. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can't have had a map.
    Reading a pole number would have given them their location.
     
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  36. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    In The KNP in Wilkinson's Valley there are some poles and near Valentine's hut too. I am not sure if they are remnants from The Hydro electricity scheme surveyors' days or can be used effectively the way the pole lines in VIC. can be used for navigation.


    There is a pole line over the Baw Baw plateau from MSG to Baw Baw . There is a pole line over the summit of Mt.Stirling.
    There is a pole line from the Razorback to the tree line on The Bon Accord spur. This seems to be a relic from when this route was the main pony route from Harrietville to Mt. Hotham.

    I helped a working bee team replace a pole that is part of the link between Long Spur and CC hut on Mt. Bogong.
    Some of the poles on the Pretty valley to Young's Hut route on the BHP have fallen over so that there is at least 100 M. until the next pole. In pea soup fog that is L O N G way apart.
    The numerous Pole lines on the BHP are not always the quickest or most sheltered routes available but I am happy they are there.
    The remnants of the pole line from the Mt. Bogong summit to the Quartz Ridge are sparse. I would like to see it reinstalled but it won't happen.
    The Pole line on the AAWT from Dibbin's hut to Derrick's hut is numbered.


    The actual pole line on Young's spur bifurcates so that the one that leads to the hut becomes lost in post bushfire regrowth. I had to use a map, compass and GPS to locate the hut in late Dec. 2019. The other pole line on Young's spur leads along the spur line and then stops dead :-0.
    There is a saddle along that route which offers possibly a better way to Young's hut.
    I located this pole line with a map and compass and delivered myself from a true wilderness area having ascended Paling Spur solo in 2018-19.
    This prompted me to buy a GPS with the map software micro card.
     
    #36 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jun 4, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  37. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    Yes and absolutely and I still carry a hundred metre length of brickies because of this
     
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  38. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    NPWS has let pole lines disappear in Kosciuszko NP, either by natural decay or (possibly) active removal. No one should go anywhere in the expectation of pole lines being present, continuous or any use at all for navigation. It is irresponsible to present any information that suggests that this may be possible. Why am I not surprised?
     
  39. skifree

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

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    These poles are a snow depth measuring set. You'll find a matching set near Cootapatamba hut, on Guthie Ridge, on Club Lake Creek and elsewhere. Some still have black and white stripes for the snow depth measure process, some the paint has come off. I'm sure they have not been used actively for this for many years.
     
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  40. skifree

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

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    The most dangerous KNP pole line is the remnants of the Thredbo to Charlotte Pass kine which look very beckoning and look like they might get you to Kosi. But no, they lead you through a swamp and away from Kosi. The poles close to Thredbo should be pulled down to reduce the risk of folks following them in lieu of the steel elevated walkway to Nirvana.
     
    #40 skifree, Jun 5, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  41. kylep

    kylep Cage rattler Ski Pass: Gold

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    Would it not make sense to attach some poles to the walkway? It's a key asset
    Probably a double edged sword. Helps with safety to get people back to resort, but could be seen as too encouraging to get people out to Kosi
     
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  42. skifree

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

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    I suspect (but have no real idea) that Parks do not put poles on the hardened walkways to reduce their visual impact through the main range area.

    @PiniPowPow any thoughts?

    I'm certainly happy enough there are no poles on these walkways. I do not think they are required.
     
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  43. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Walkway is half exposed on the windward bits most years anyway. Puting poles would probably encourage less prepared people to venture out in winter and get into strife.
     
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  44. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh, and things like the Yellow Brick Road or the Kosi metal walkway are unobtrusive? Those things stick out like a dogs proverbials, they can be seen several kilometres away. Get yer hand off it Daryl.

    By contrast, down south in Victoria, the lines of thin poles are usually invisible more than 100 metres away, but gosh, they have saved a lot of lives.

     
  45. skifree

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

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    Yes they are quite obtrusive and they are quite visible as you point out. But I think the reduction in erosion which is their real purpose is more important given the numbers of people that do want to visit the area. Poles do not address erosion and if anything encourage it.

    Its a sacrifice a small area (with obtrusive walkways) for a large number of people thing. If you want to have vistas with walkways go a little further out.
     
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  46. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fair enough. :)
    I suspect the removal of the vital, life saving snow pole lines goes back to the same hard-line zealots in the NPWS who also destroyed so many wonderful huts in NSW in the 1970s. :cry: It's great that they and their ideas are long gone, but tragic that their destruction hasn't been rectified and the pole lines reinstated.

    There, I reckon that is a well balanced and totally unbiased post. ;)
     
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  47. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Imagine how much of a circus Albina Hut would be today if it was still around. You can keep that shit in VIC.
     
  48. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    More woke than thou.
    The nearest Victorian equivalent is Cleve Cole Hut on Mt Bogong. The Mt Bogong Club who own it make sure that the hut and surrounds are immaculate. And visitors respect the volunteer work they do, so they clean up after themselves anyway.
     
  49. skifree

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

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    This is not actually the case at all.

    Lack of funding or revised funding prioritises for Parks are the causes for pole lines to be abandoned such as the Perisher to Rainbow Lake trail.

    I'm not especially aware of any rescues in years that would have been mitigated by a pole line. If anything the lack of poles reduces the numbers of folks who rely on pole lines from going out and being caught out to the point of being rescued.

    Two rescues were tents being buried by a storm, which would have been avoided by not going out or pitching in a better location.

    And a cornice collapse that resulted in a death and an avalanche.

    All the other rescues I am aware of have been injuries or very serious health (heart attacks in one instance) issues.

    I really do not see the need for additional pole lines, the cry for them as a safety measure is a nanny state reaction in my view.
     
  50. skifree

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

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    This I am very sad about as it is a beautiful route, the poles are generally out of the vistas of others, the route undulates and is OK for families who can make the few km distance it is. It is also a rare protected slightly lower route possible in weather that would preclude Main Range wandering. I think this route could have been incorporated into the Iconic Kosi Walk Thingy as per notes in that thread.
     
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