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Victorian Alps Summer Bogong High Plains with a skier’s eye

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Chaeron, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Over the past few weeks my skier’s eye has had about 10 days on the Bogong High Plains, and while Google Earth has its advantages, developing one’s own overview is always difficult. Difficult to develop an overview in winter.

    I know it’s flat, but there’s SO much to ski. These are my amateurish conclusions - what I wish I could have told myself 5 years back.

    Best vertical gain for effort in rank order, but the skiing gets better as one goes down the list.

    1) Mt Loch & Machinery Spur out of Hotham.
    2) Mt Mc Kay out of Falls.
    3) Baker Spur & Nelse out of Falls.
    4) The Fainters from the Fire Trial.
    5) Feathertop along Bungalow Spur. (Overnight)
    6) Bogong from along Granite Flat Spur/ Eskdale. (Overnight)


    Feathertop from near Mt Jim

    (Thx @CarveMan for correction)



    Mt Cope - I first understood how the BHP hangs together from here - it’s only a summer hour’s walk, but you can see what’s skiable from one place at once:



    Pretty Valley, Damsite Hill, and the Fainters from Mount Cope:



    Looking out towards Kelly’s and Fitzgerald’s - Marum Point from Nelse South (false horizon, so you don’t see the slope down towards Johnson’s hut.):



    Spion Kopje (I think) from Mt Unnamed (Nice) North-East of Nelse:



    Feathertop, Razorback, from Mt Fainter North:



    Feathertop from The Fainters:



    Mt Mc Kay Northside from Fainter South:



    Grey Hills, Tim’s Spur, Spion Kopje, Nelse, Falls (from the Fainters)



    Bogong and the Long Spur in the background and Mt Arthur and the Grey Hills in the foreground from Fainter North:



    Spion Kopje, Mt Unnamed, Nelse, Baker Spur & Heathy Spur & Falls Creek from Fainter North:



    Fainter North Eastern slope from Fainter South:



    Mt Loch & Machinery Spur from the Fainters:

     
    #1 Chaeron, Jan 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  2. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Epic.

    First pic is Feathertop though ;)
     
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  3. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thx - Fixt!
     
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  4. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, there is a lot there.
    Feathers is the most traditionally alpine of the mountains. Elsewhere if you get socked in by cloud you wouldn't know where you were, as Cleve Cole's mates found.
     
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  5. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bogong in winter - to complete the set.
     
  6. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ski a chute (not pictured, off to lookers left for those who don't know), skin up a bowl. Such a dream.
     
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  7. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  8. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    So right. Takes quite a while to scope out the territory and get the feel of it especially in winter.

    Even getting to know the distinct ridgelines I’m glad I carry GPS & compass/ map in a whiteout - remarkable how quickly it can roll in on Heathy Spur, for instance...
     
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  9. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    To tempt you New-South Wailers across the border into Mexico...

    South-West face of Fainter South:

    Just east of Nelse North:



    Heathy Spur, Falls & McKay with Jitmaithaings, Fainters & Feathertop & then Spion Kopje in the background from Nelse.



    Eastern side of Baker spur/ north of Nelse in the foreground, with Spion Kopje to the right & Fainters to the left in the distance

     
  10. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have looked down this after 4 old school tele turns in leather (might have been T4s, same same) and determined that i was gunna fall badyif I continued and i would spend all day climbing back up somewhere other than that face. It’s was a pretty intimidating slope then maybe 15 plus years ago.
     
  11. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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  12. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree - Fainters North and South’s south-eastern and northern slopes seem far more manageable...
     
  13. weerab

    weerab One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are an awful lot of dead Snow Gums out there. Not to worry, another hundred years or so and you won't even notice!
     
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  14. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There’s quite a lot of Snow Gum recovery growth - it WILL take time.

    I’m more worried about the impact of drier summers and ferals on the sphagnum bogs....

    Not sure how the sensitive Alpine biome will survive in the very long term, given marginal climate change coupled with the impact of fire and invasive flora and fauna.
     
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  15. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    I'd hazard a guess that in a hundred years, many currently treeless ridges will be sprouting 'runs' of young snowgums. Perhaps long Tele runs will become quite hard to find in the future?

    ..of course one or two major fires could change this theory.
     
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  16. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Bogong , @Xplora - do you reckon the snowgum line has gone up or down over time - on Feathertop for example?
     
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  17. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG] Photo: Kath Magill

    Well, above is a photo of cut ski runs on Bungalow Spur in 1934 and below is a photo of the treeline at the site of Federation Hut in 1937. Perhaps the trees might be a little denser these days, but basically things haven't changed that much.

    [​IMG]
    Photo: Gerard Wardell

    HOWEVER, further down the spur at the site of The Feathertop Bungalow (a hotel that once operated on the mountain), things went from this in 1931 ... to this in 2005. So your guess is as good as mine.

    [​IMG] Photo: Alan Brockhoff.[​IMG]
     
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  18. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Splendid photos .....the wood in snow gums once dead doesnot appear to be very durable ......so most decay and fall down in several years.

    The ligonotubers seem hardy and just keep shooting new growth prolifically once original trunks have been fried!
    Snow gums don’t appear to be under threat ........the trees just appear different for considerable time till growth is acquired.
     
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  19. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Couple other entries for BHPs, at polar opposite ends, and neither ever skied much.
    But the eastern faces off Tim’s are steep and very long - and then the southern gullies into the BunDara wilderness are gentler but long and collect craploads of snow.
     
  20. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    But your list is spot on.
    And it’s increasingly hard to make the effort for anywhere else when Machinery, Razorback, Dargo, Avalanche, or a hundred other unskied lines are just an arvos’ stroll from Sapporo on tap.
     
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  21. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Up & infilling.
     
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  22. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Regarding the snowgums - I have not seen anything yet that indicates they are growing above 1800m which seems to be the height all over the mountains still. Given the time it takes for them to grow or establish then it may be several generations before we see a noteworthy change and my life is just a spec. I often check the height of the tree line when I walk up or down places like Bogong and they stop around 1800m. What Skifree says about infilling could be relevant as the nutrients in the soil are becoming more available for longer periods (not locked up by cold) which will encourage more plants to take root.
     
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  23. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    View of Falls Ck, Spion Kopje and Bogong on the horizon. Taken maybe 6 years ago IIRC.

     
  24. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Couple of views of Bogong from Tawonga Gap, on the same day at dawn and dusk.



     
  25. neilmny

    neilmny Addicted

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    Great photos Ziggy.
    The Big Fella has many moods. (taken from Tawonga Sth.)


     
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