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Question Spion Kopje - vert m available & stuff...?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by snowgum, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    I just had a great long weekend up at Falls Ck and enjoyed a half day tour skinning up and then along Frying Pan Spur. Of course Spion Kopje was just across the valley and was literally screaming "ski me (tele me)". As per the pano above.

    So, in case I ever make the effort to grab some buddies one Sept/Oct and head over from Falls I was wondering if anyone here knows:

    - What's the typical vertical (readily) obtainable (ie, non brush utter/machete style trips), say mainly in the big bowls close to the summit (guessing 1-150m);
    - What vert ms are available BR dropping through some of the better (bigger) tree-lined chutes? I'm guessing this could almost double the former value?? (2-250m?)
    -importantly what's the position of the 'best runs' relative to the summit?
    -are there any gem 'treelined' runs below SK for when the weather is poor but the snow good?
    - any views on the best time to go to SK
    - any views on whether access via Howmans' Gap and the river crossing us feasible?
    - best (close) camp size (I was wondering whether Lt. SpionK is sheltered enough?

    That's probably the main Qs. I think It's fair to say SK misses out on much of the press that the Main Range & Boging/F'Top gain. And it's access that mainly limits the ski potential.

    In fact, I think many Falls visitors believe the resort was plonked in the wrong spot and would have been better placed for a longer season and better snow, should the Valley below SK have been chosen.

    Thanks all in advance for views of indeed any tales, pics or marked maps of/ from the area.

    SG.
     
    Mister Tee on XC Skis likes this.
  2. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can't help you with things like the best lines to ski, but back in the days just after World War Two when Falls creek was starting and before any ski lifts, one group moved a small ski lodge from Falls to below the road, half way between Howmans Gap and Falls Creek so they could use it as a base to ski Spion Kopje.

    Discreetly located, but open to all who knew it was there, Red Hut survived for over 50 years and was used by skiers and hikers until it was burnt in the massive wildfire of 2003.
     
  3. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    We camped on Mt Nice to ski Spion’s Falls faces.

    Went out to the Trig then zig zagged our way back to the tent.

    The very varied from 200 to 100M.

    It took all day to drop pretty much every gully or spur depending on how we saw them.

    There’s a report of some sort somewhere here.

    Did you use the search function?
     
  4. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Hi skifree, Currently looking the search function. SK has 193 mentions (may need to refilter) but I think I remember your trip report a few years ago. (Always a good read!) ( :)

    Just as a BTW, 4 or 5 very fit skater types made it over to SK from Falls on GF day (while I lounged on the lifts and then watched the game!) They left about 7am & returned about 4pm.

    Apparently the walking section was around a third of the 30 km total distance. A good trip apparently - I think I'll wait until I have 3-4 days to make the plod worthwhile and allow time to explore the bowls and gullies.

    I walked Johno Hut to SK one summer so want to ski it 'properly' (turns) next time. ( ;-)
     
  5. Drt

    Drt Hard Yards

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    I skied it all day Saturday with a couple of friends. It was amazing. Basically snow all the way to the creek. It was a slog to skin out each run. Camped at Edmonsons. I'll post some more details soon....
     
  6. Drt

    Drt Hard Yards

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    See my trip report thread for how our day on Spion Kopje went....
     
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have hiked out along Spion Kopje a number of times in green season including approaches from Roper's hut, Ed. hut, the Grey Hills and the Fire trail from Bogong Village and the jungle gym /SAS assault route from Howman's Gap.
    I must ski it in spring .Maybe 2020 could be the year.
     
  8. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Sounds fabulous Drt about to look!
     
  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I met a young lass on A/T gear who was skiing out to S.K. from Falls as a day trip when I was XC skiing out to Ed. hut for lunch on 10/9/19. She was clearly in her element and was very fit. She told me she had skied from Mtn. Creek , up and over Mt. Bogong and out to Mt. Hotham in one day in 11 hours. 11 hours of toil :-0. I presume she stopped for lunch at Big River. She was at the top of Heathy spur just before I skied down towards the dip down and the ascent up to the Ed. pole line . This was about 11 am. As a mere plodder I wondered what being that fit and skilled at Nordic skiing was like .
     
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  10. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    That very fit fast and enthusiastic for any demographic. To cover that ground in one v long day is amazing to me. I wonder if this lass travels with minimal gear? For such speed I assume she only covers such ground on the very best (weather) days in Early Spring? (12-hour daylight).

    In contrast I plod, travel at moderate speeds on heavier tele gear, heavy-ish day pack and prefer to do some XCD along the way. But in my early 50s, I'm cool with this. Know your likes, strengths (& weaknesses)!

    Like you Mr T, SK definitely still on the radar one September in a good snow year. (Done my dash for now!)

    Could be worth holding a future BC forum trip there one year?
     
  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I think a Forum based B.C. Spion Kopje trip in September would be brilliant. I am wondering how deeply does the 4 X4 Ford at the S.K. fire trail flow in September?. The one closer to Bogong Village that crosses the Rocky Valley Creek is usually shallower than the creek crossing below Howman's Gap is.
    If I do this trip next year in September then I would be looking at not parking at Falls Creek and saving some $.Yes it is a big hike up the hill with snow camping gear and skis and ski boots all strapped to the pack. Then there is the Spring slog up to the Fainters to camp and ski out to Tawonga huts. My Septembers are filling up for the next decade!
     
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  12. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Mm choices? Have done the Fainters. Quite a technically simple walk/ski up in September to BJ Hut.
    Good fun touring and turning but we did it in early October so missed out on some of the better steeper stuff off Fainter South(?). The biggish East bowl off F Nth is good fun in corn conditions.

    I think SK seems to offer more turning /XCD reward but for a lot more effort. Might depend on your focus.

    Given I have a small family (10 Y old lad) to maintain, I'd be a bit reluctant to do SK from below without a buddy of two & I'd finally get an EPerb(?) ⛷
     
  13. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've got a mate who skated from Perisher Car Park to Jagungal and back in a day.
     
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  14. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    FFS!
     
  15. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have a PLB and I prefer to ski tour with another person if possible but it doesn't always happen that way.That Lass who said she skied from the foot of Mt. Bogong at Mtn. Ck. to Mt. Hotham in a day had nearly zero gear on her back. I usually carry about 10 kgs on my back when XC and BC skiing . I carry safety gear, food, water, additional garments etc..
     
  16. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    I couldn't / wouldn't do that. Would take take bivy in winter, light mat, few outer layers to survive night - if not be v happy!
     
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  17. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    For a ling open traverse like Bogong & most BHP!
     
  18. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I always carry an emergency bivvy bag, the weather proof space blanket mummy sleeping bag model .It packs up into a tiny wee package that weighs very little.
     
  20. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Sounds like a funky item.
    I generally have just a fold out sheet style space blanket. Would need a hut or a snow cave to really keep one in good nic overnight.

    My bivy is about half Gtex (top) & half nylon, weighs about kg, has a screen & a small pole at the head end. With a mat it may make life in a depression /lee possible - not sure Id really want to test though.

    One reason I recently bought a v compact & light down jacket was to help ‘survive’ a night/stranding. Its also v cosy when stopping & lunching on a summit etc...like Mt Stirling.

    Probably as warm a heavy soft shell weighing ~ 3 times as much!
     
  21. telecommuter

    telecommuter One of Us

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    I've skied SK a couple of times, gone in via Howman's Gap for day trips. The river crossing below Howman's is usually pretty gnarly (late August, early September) but the skiing was superb. I would also love to do a 3/4 day trip out there from Falls to give those lines the attention they deserve, and leave some nice tracks to evoke the envy of those Wombat's Ramblers... :)

     
  22. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Sounds good TeleC.

    Many think Falls should have placed at the base of SK? Flat land would have been a big issue. Above treeline not a great option!

    Esp. In these enlightened times.
     
  23. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Years ago i went mad and skied out and camped for about 3 days and skied most of SK gullies.
    Due to the fact that they all face much the same way, it is important to check that it is a freeze thaw period so you dont have all ice or all stodge.
    With skins they werent bad climbs, about 150-200 m vertical , mostly convex slopes .
    I think the trees close in pretty quickly so I cant recall any extended chutes like you get on Bogong .
     
  24. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I would be pleased just to ski The summit area from Little Spion Kopje to Mt. Nelse including all that rolling cruisey terrain above 1800 M. North of the SK Aqueduct. Has anyone crossed the creek at the jeep ford at the bottom of SK fire trail in early September?.Is it any easier than the water crossing below Howman's Gap?
     
  25. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Interesting RW, I spent a bit of time gully gazing at SK on the (AFL) GF LWE.

    I reckon there’s one or two that extend a bit further into the trees - I took some IP pics from FPanSpur, have to see if resolution is good enough to ID gullies.

    One of the Oz ski mags featured an article a few years depicting a big day trip from HG.

    Perhaps snow was v good & trees yet to thicken up but I believed they skied most of the way down a gully to the creek.

    Would have been pretty gnarly down the bottom and ended in a walk the last bit but would surely have been a buzz just with a day pack??

    I think their route was NE to SW and more on the Lt SK end of the summit ridge.

    Must dig it out, scan & post! (;-)
     
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