Trip Report Southern Du Cane Range Traverse

Outdoors

Addicted
Jun 19, 2012
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269
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Hi Folks,

With many of you not able to get out to the mountains due to COVID I thought you might enjoy a virtual tour of Tasmania under snow...but hopefully it does not make you too frustrated if you are stuck at home. :)

A week ago I returned from a 6-day trip with legendary mountaineer/climber/bushwalker/photographer Grant Dixon. We sea kayaked up Lake St Clair and then undertook a traverse of the southern Du Cane Range which has perhaps only been done a handful of times in winter. I was on skis whilst he was on snowshoes. From Gould Plateau we battled some very typical Tassie unconsolidated snow conditions combined with scrub. We then sidled around Mt Gould and onto the Minotaur. From there we headed out to The Guardians before waiting out a storm for 20+ hours in our tents. The trip was all about trying to be where we were after the storm to get some photos as we are both keen photographers (he is pro and I am very much amateur). We then descended to The Labyrinth before heading down into Pine Valley and back to our sea kayaks. It certainly was not an easy trip but it was well worth the hard work and effort required to undertake it.

Apologies that the full trip report is on my site but its impossible to display the photos as I'd like to here. In fact I tried to upload my favourite 35 photos but discovered I can only upload 20. So if you would like the full story with LOTS more photos it is available at: https://markoates.exposure.co/southern-du-cane-range
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jonathanc

One of Us
Ski Pass
Aug 4, 2014
2,238
3,572
363
Hi Folks,

With many of you not able to get out to the mountains due to COVID I thought you might enjoy a virtual tour of Tasmania under snow...but hopefully it does not make you too frustrated if you are stuck at home. :)

A week ago I returned from a 6-day trip with legendary mountaineer/climber/bushwalker/photographer Grant Dixon. We sea kayaked up Lake St Clair and then undertook a traverse of the southern Du Cane Range which has perhaps only been done a handful of times in winter. I was on skis whilst he was on snowshoes. From Gould Plateau we battled some very typical Tassie unconsolidated snow conditions combined with scrub. We then sidled around Mt Gould and onto the Minotaur. From there we headed out to The Guardians before waiting out a storm for 20+ hours in our tents. The trip was all about trying to be where we were after the storm to get some photos as we are both keen photographers (he is pro and I am very much amateur). We then descended to The Labyrinth before heading down into Pine Valley and back to our sea kayaks. It certainly was not an easy trip but it was well worth the hard work and effort required to undertake it.

Apologies that the full trip report is on my site but its impossible to display the photos as I'd like to here. In fact I tried to upload my favourite 35 photos but discovered I can only upload 20. So if you would like the full story with LOTS more photos it is available at: https://markoates.exposure.co/southern-du-cane-range
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Amazing pics - thanks for sharing
 

Outdoors

Addicted
Jun 19, 2012
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I can just imagine how frustrating it must be Boodwah to be locked down in Melbourne and for the Alpine NP to be closed!! I'd be in tears every time it snowed I think. Crazy times.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
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Definitely the best Tassy trip report I’ve seen

Yep.

We're planning our move back to the island in 2022. A huge amount of work to do beforehand, but reading through Marks trip reports makes it seem a bit easier.

Won't show my partner some of those photos though, she will be whipping me harder. Although she hasn't had the 'pleasure' of a western Tas wet snow scrub thrash to know that it's a lot 'easier' in photos....

Truly exhausting moving in those conditions through the scrub bands.
 

Outdoors

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Jun 19, 2012
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Certainly no regrets for my wife and I for making the move. I do miss Bogong and Feathertop and Howitt, 'real snow' and getting nice turns in but the scenic rewards of undertaking winter adventures down here just blows me away. As you know because Tassie weather and snow is so fickle, every trip is completely different and every trip an adventure. Sometimes you get lucky and other times you get smashed but it just makes the good trips feel so much more like an accomplishment and a gift. Hopefully I'll bump into you down here sometime. Cheers
 

telecrag

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Oct 12, 2007
31,902
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What camera gear do you lug?

Also Im thinking those packs are stronger than they look. Just don't put it down and ski off for a bit in a whiteout!
 

Boodwah

A Local
Ski Pass
Jun 20, 2006
6,108
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StKilda,VicBC,Prom,France
boodoir.blogspot.com.au
I can just imagine how frustrating it must be Boodwah to be locked down in Melbourne and for the Alpine NP to be closed!! I'd be in tears every time it snowed I think. Crazy times.
Yup it’s not ideal, but can’t do anything about it! Have to make up for it next year.
(And last year was actually a bit ott!)
Missed our annual Tassy trip tho this year, and rreally want to get over to ski there one day!
 
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telecrag

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Oct 12, 2007
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Also using that technique, you want to be careful with Backcountry Cuisine selection, don't want to open the wrong one at the wrong time!
 

Boodwah

A Local
Ski Pass
Jun 20, 2006
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StKilda,VicBC,Prom,France
boodoir.blogspot.com.au
@Boodwah fortunately you are already in credit (as am I) which helps a bit with the FOMO.
Yup!
June was the 17th straight month of skiing for me after a significant birthday last year, was hoping to get to 21 months in a row. Now it’s starting to look like it could be 17 in a row stuck in St Kilda.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
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Certainly no regrets for my wife and I for making the move. I do miss Bogong and Feathertop and Howitt, 'real snow' and getting nice turns in but the scenic rewards of undertaking winter adventures down here just blows me away. As you know because Tassie weather and snow is so fickle, every trip is completely different and every trip an adventure. Sometimes you get lucky and other times you get smashed but it just makes the good trips feel so much more like an accomplishment and a gift. Hopefully I'll bump into you down here sometime. Cheers

Yep. Think we've got a few friends in common. Used to bump into Grant regularly living at St Clair. Stoic bugger.

Can really relate to the lake being serious for small craft, one particular scoundrel sandbagged me with the climbing rack in bow of my kayak of a paddle approach to Ida. Worked a treat in the short, sharp lake waves....

What sort of pack weight for your Gould trip? Can't have been much under 50kg with winter gear & photo gear?

Can be so frustrating down there, quite decent snow surface conditions suddenly turn to wet, hypothermic soup as the next mass of mild maritime air moves in.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
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Jul 15, 2008
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Different perspective on Geryon, Pine Valley & the Labyrinth is very cool.

Took a while to orient with the winter mantle in your photos.
 

Outdoors

Addicted
Jun 19, 2012
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Totally awesome report @Outdoors

Did you just camp with an outer layer on the tent ?

https://markoates.exposure.co/southern-du-cane-range/photos/6953540

Cheers DidSurfNowSki. No. I had the inner for this trip but its a wide angle lens and I may have pulled the inner back a little to get the shot so it does look like I haven't used the inner. I do want to see if both my wife and I can fit in there without the inner but with just a floor/footprint. Haven't tried it yet though.
 

Outdoors

Addicted
Jun 19, 2012
61
269
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What camera gear do you lug?

Also Im thinking those packs are stronger than they look. Just don't put it down and ski off for a bit in a whiteout!
Hi telecrag, I go lightweight on my gear so I can carry decent camera equipment. I lug a Sony A7iii with Sony 20mm 1.8, 35mm 2.8 and an 85mm 1.8. For this trip I left the 35mm at home but regretted saving the 280g as it would have been ideal in many situatotions. I went with primes because when I bought my first lens I felt there were no decent affordable zooms and I don't have the money for the decent ones which are heavy. These days I'd be looking at some of the Tamron zoom lenses plus probably the Sony 20mm for astro and wide landscapes. I carry a small Manfrotto Pixi Evo tripod but only use if for night shots.

Yep, Hyperlite packs definitely stronger than they look. They are obviously not indestructible and they do have a limited life span but I personally can't go back to canvas. If you were doing 14-day off-track SW Tassie walks they wouldn't probably be ideal. That said I know others who use them for such trips. They suit me and the trips I do down here but certainly aren't for everyone. Note that Hyperlite do support me with gear but I'll always say what I honestly think about them if asked. If they didn't support me I'd still buy and have one (Porter 5400) but not the number I own :)
 

telecrag

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Oct 12, 2007
31,902
47,248
1,063
Hi telecrag, I go lightweight on my gear so I can carry decent camera equipment. I lug a Sony A7iii with Sony 20mm 1.8, 35mm 2.8 and an 85mm 1.8. For this trip I left the 35mm at home but regretted saving the 280g as it would have been ideal in many situatotions. I went with primes because when I bought my first lens I felt there were no decent affordable zooms and I don't have the money for the decent ones which are heavy. These days I'd be looking at some of the Tamron zoom lenses plus probably the Sony 20mm for astro and wide landscapes. I carry a small Manfrotto Pixi Evo tripod but only use if for night shots.

Yep, Hyperlite packs definitely stronger than they look. They are obviously not indestructible and they do have a limited life span but I personally can't go back to canvas. If you were doing 14-day off-track SW Tassie walks they wouldn't probably be ideal. That said I know others who use them for such trips. They suit me and the trips I do down here but certainly aren't for everyone. Note that Hyperlite do support me with gear but I'll always say what I honestly think about them if asked. If they didn't support me I'd still buy and have one (Porter 5400) but not the number I own :)

I had some Tamron back in film days, and they were a good lens. I have a 5D with 300 zoom, its 2.5kg, which is a killer. Nice results you got!
 

Outdoors

Addicted
Jun 19, 2012
61
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What sort of pack weight for your Gould trip? Can't have been much under 50kg with winter gear & photo gear?
.

Good question Rabid. Guessing(!) started with a 20-21kg pack weight (7 days food) plus another 4.6kg for skis and ski boots and perhaps 2.3-2.5kg camera gear. Only though had to carry the skis for 1.5 hours on first day before putting them on.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
5,911
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Good question Rabid. Guessing(!) started with a 20-21kg pack weight (7 days food) plus another 4.6kg for skis and ski boots and perhaps 2.3-2.5kg camera gear. Only though had to carry the skis for 1.5 hours on first day before putting them on.

Jesuus. I need to leave some gear behind, eat less, or spec down some things, or get my kids to carry more eventually.

My old Manfrotto that has done a few rounds of that area weighs in around 4kg on it's own, but can't get myself to leave it behind. What tripod was Grant carrying?
 
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