The FIFTY project - Down under

jimthetramp

Hard Yards
May 1, 2020
16
61
63
Kiewa Valley
Hello again, while I'm stuck at home waiting for some more snow to fall I've been bingeing on Cody Townsend's popular youtube series The FIFTY which takes inspiration from the book Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America and it got me thinking: if an Australian version of this book existed what descents would make the cut? So I'm interested to hear your thoughts, be it as broad as mountain face or as specific as a chute that only works once a decade when the planets align; the only caveat is it must be in Australia. To kick things off something that has been on my bucket list, and probably will stay there for a long time yet, is Watsons Crags in KNP.

PS If you've got photos please share, be it your own or from the net, even google earth screenshots.

the-crags.jpg

Watsons Crags - Image credit: Mountain Journal
 

Bogong

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Jun 16, 2005
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More woke than thou.
www.australianmountains.com
Well there is such a large skiable area in this country from the Brindabellas in the north down to Mt Mawson club field in the south. So it would be easy to just concentrate on favourite runs in areas we know. But diversity is the buzzword of the moment, so I'll chuck half a dozen ski runs in diverse areas into the mix.
  • Marys Slide at Mt Hotham, a genuine double black diamond run that surprisingly, is inbounds and legal to ski
  • Cairn Gully / Tombstone Gully area on Mt Bogong. There are enough runs in just this huge area of Australia's highest free standing mountain to form a major ski resort on their own, so it's hard to pick just one run in the area
  • The Eagle Run on Mt Northcote on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains. Venue for Australia's only regular speed skiing contests when it was still served by a ski lift.
  • The Mt Buller Chutes at the edge of ski resort of the same name.
  • The Main Run. One of six ski runs in the 1930s on Mt Donna Buang, Australia's first proper ski resort with cafes, multiple lodges, etc. Only a blue run, but has massive historic significance.
  • Rodway at Mt Mawson in Tassie. Australia's steepest lifted ski run since the Northcote Tow blew up. Only open a few weekends each year due to shortages of ski patrollers and lift operators. It's well removed from the lodges and other lifts at Mt Mawson, so it has a seriously remote feel to it and is insanely steep.
Photos.
Marys Slide, Mt Hotham.
marys-slide.jpg

bogong.jpg

About 2% of what Cairn Gully on Mt Bogong has to offer.
Eagle Run, Mt Northcote.
Northcote+tow.png


Buller Chutes.
1421677856758


The Main Run on Donna Buang.
1458024349727


Rodway at Mt Mawson.
1434923007150

The other side of the lift has an even steeper jumble of rocky chutes.
 

skifree

A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe
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CarveMan

I Never Slice
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Well there is such a large skiable area in this country from the Brindabellas in the north down to Mt Mawson club field in the south. So it would be easy to just concentrate on favourite runs in areas we know. But diversity is the buzzword of the moment, so I'll chuck half a dozen ski runs in diverse areas into the mix.
  • Marys Slide at Mt Hotham, a genuine double black diamond run that surprisingly, is inbounds and legal to ski
  • Cairn Gully / Tombstone Gully area on Mt Bogong. There are enough runs in just this huge area of Australia's highest free standing mountain to form a major ski resort on their own, so it's hard to pick just one run in the area
  • The Eagle Run on Mt Northcote on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains. Venue for Australia's only regular speed skiing contests when it was still served by a ski lift.
  • The Mt Buller Chutes at the edge of ski resort of the same name.
  • The Main Run. One of six ski runs in the 1930s on Mt Donna Buang, Australia's first proper ski resort with cafes, multiple lodges, etc. Only a blue run, but has massive historic significance.
  • Rodway at Mt Mawson in Tassie. Australia's steepest lifted ski run since the Northcote Tow blew up. Only open a few weekends each year due to shortages of ski patrollers and lift operators. It's well removed from the lodges and other lifts at Mt Mawson, so it has a seriously remote feel to it and is insanely steep.
Photos.
Marys Slide, Mt Hotham.
marys-slide.jpg

bogong.jpg

About 2% of what Cairn Gully on Mt Bogong has to offer.
Eagle Run, Mt Northcote.
Northcote+tow.png


Buller Chutes.
1421677856758


The Main Run on Donna Buang.
1458024349727


Rodway at Mt Mawson.
1434923007150

The other side of the lift has an even steeper jumble of rocky chutes.
No love for Avalanche / Hellfire?
 

Bogong

Part of the Furniture
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More woke than thou.
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No love for Avalanche / Hellfire?
Well people accuse me of having a slight Feathertop bias, so I decided to give it a miss as there are probably a dozen Australian mountains that are almost as good.

In any case, I've known two people who died in Avalanche Gully and I was on the mountain when another person died there, so I can't recommend such a place to anyone. Hellfire Gully possibly, but Avalanche Gully is just too dangerous.

BTW, I was really bopping out to the Patti Smith soundtrack of the Du Cane Range video that Skifree posted.
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
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Well people accuse me of having a slight Feathertop bias or even obsession, so I decided to give it a miss.

In any case, I've known two people who died in Avalanche Gully and I was on the mountain when another person died there, so I can't recommend such a place to anyone. Hellfire Gully possibly, but Avalanche Gully is just too dangerous.

BTW, I was really bopping out to the Patti Smith soundtrack of the Du Cane video that Skifree posted.
Yep I’ve looked down them and said yeah nah.
 
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Barmstro

One of Us
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Jul 7, 2013
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if an Australian version of this book existed
Funnily enough, I'm currently trying to make this a reality. I'm looking at listing thirty-ish lines (with a focus on the steeper ones) in a photo-intensive, coffee-table style book. We've got a fair bit of content already, but will be spending the entirety of the coming winter (conditions permitting) skiing and shooting as much of the list as possible.
 

jimthetramp

Hard Yards
May 1, 2020
16
61
63
Kiewa Valley
Funnily enough, I'm currently trying to make this a reality. I'm looking at listing thirty-ish lines (with a focus on the steeper ones) in a photo-intensive, coffee-table style book. We've got a fair bit of content already, but will be spending the entirety of the coming winter (conditions permitting) skiing and shooting as much of the list as possible.

That's awesome! Sign me up for a copy when it goes to print
 

Bogong

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
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More woke than thou.
www.australianmountains.com
94004093_550004935651321_2302584065338900480_n.jpg
96086183_1097050270680308_6071449650336890880_n.jpg


I've been amusing myself doing hand drawn topos for each one.
Oh wow, it looks like my dream book, especially with drawings like that.

BTW. In the unlikely event you want text editing, indexing, old photos or historical commentary from an "award winning ski historian" (although I cringe when I hear that phrase), I can knock a few pages out in almost no time, at no charge (unless you have a cashed up commercial publisher on board).
 

satanas

Addicted
May 26, 2005
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I have no desire to ski on Feathertop ever again, though it looks impressive from a distance. There are usually huge cornices, it's often horribly icy especially in some places lower down in the shade (+ Avalanche Gully) and a lot of fairly desperate survival skiing happens there. The west side is much more pleasant, but it's a huge slog to get there too. Personally, I find Bogong or NSW much more enjoyable, and then there's the deaths... :-(

PS: Agreed on Du Cane Range & Patti Smith. There's a chute out on the Crags that looks like it's been ruled there when viewed from Grey Mare Range; one day conditions might be right...
 

piolet

Better make it three
Ski Pass
May 27, 2004
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in the cupboard covered in dust
Funnily enough, I'm currently trying to make this a reality. I'm looking at listing thirty-ish lines (with a focus on the steeper ones) in a photo-intensive, coffee-table style book. We've got a fair bit of content already, but will be spending the entirety of the coming winter (conditions permitting) skiing and shooting as much of the list as possible.
effing IN

shutupandtakemymoney
 

lightfoot

Hard Yards
Jun 27, 2012
58
154
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I have no desire to ski on Feathertop ever again, though it looks impressive from a distance. There are usually huge cornices, it's often horribly icy especially in some places lower down in the shade (+ Avalanche Gully) and a lot of fairly desperate survival skiing happens there. The west side is much more pleasant, but it's a huge slog to get there too. Personally, I find Bogong or NSW much more enjoyable, and then there's the deaths... :-(

PS: Agreed on Du Cane Range & Patti Smith. There's a chute out on the Crags that looks like it's been ruled there when viewed from Grey Mare Range; one day conditions might be right...


Feathertop is awesome, I've spent alot of time there over the last two seasons. The thing about it, like many mountains is you have to be ready to get up there when conditions are on and also patient/flexible with your ambitions/goals once there.

Bogong offers more options depending on conditions, but for skiing 'lines' in Victoria you can't go past feathertop. If you head up there with intentions of hitting up hellfire/avi gully etc be prepared to go home without skiing them. It took me five trips before conditions were right but I like to head up just before big storms.

The book would be awesome! As much as i wouldn't want to encourage people to add feathertop to a potentially dangerous ticklist, it would be remiss to not include at least hellfire in my opinion.
 

Team Weasel

One of Us
Sep 19, 2015
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Bogong offers more options depending on conditions, but for skiing 'lines' in Victoria you can't go past feathertop.

This is a worthy discussion in itself. I think I used to agree about FT having the edge for truly scary, consequential skiing. The cornice, the cliffs, the ice, the avalanche debris...it is an intimidating place. Even though I've done lots of time there, I still get nervous walking up Bungalow almost every time.

Lately I've explored more of Bogong...and now I'm not so sure that FT has it covered. If the north faces off the peak are in shape, if can can catch West Peak area when it's not a block of ice....hell, even if you venture a little more afield than Cairn Gully, you can find some steep and challenging routes...but yeah, maybe it comes down to objective hazard, and FT wins there.
 

sidetrack

One of Us
Apr 20, 2005
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Sunbury
You may be thinking of this old blog, it's an excellent read. Victoria's gnarliest ski runs.
They also did a similar blog post for gnarliest ski runs in NSW.
... and promised to do one for Tasmania, but sadly they never got around to it.
I hate it when people use your pics without asking and or crediting and getting the places incorrect. The pic of Hells window is actually The Blowhole in between The Bluff and Eadly Stone.

I might be being a tad harsh, sorry
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
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Funnily enough, I'm currently trying to make this a reality. I'm looking at listing thirty-ish lines (with a focus on the steeper ones) in a photo-intensive, coffee-table style book. We've got a fair bit of content already, but will be spending the entirety of the coming winter (conditions permitting) skiing and shooting as much of the list as possible.
Well I can take care of online sales pro-bono.
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
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Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
I have no desire to ski on Feathertop ever again, though it looks impressive from a distance. There are usually huge cornices, it's often horribly icy especially in some places lower down in the shade (+ Avalanche Gully) and a lot of fairly desperate survival skiing happens there. The west side is much more pleasant, but it's a huge slog to get there too. Personally, I find Bogong or NSW much more enjoyable, and then there's the deaths... :-(
I saw a on old pic of Feathertop I looked up to post in another thread, and it did get me thinking if/when I’d go back there. I am super comfortable on Bogong and it scratches a lot of itches, and NSW is also great.
 
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Bogong

Part of the Furniture
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Jun 16, 2005
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More woke than thou.
www.australianmountains.com
I hate it when people use your pics without asking and or crediting and getting the places incorrect. The pic of Hells window is actually The Blowhole in between The Bluff and Eadly Stone.

I might be being a tad harsh, sorry
Oh I can do long and passionate rants about people pinching text I've written and claiming it as their own work.
I can do that, but today I won't. :deadhorse:
Well I can take care of online sales pro-bono.
For all either of us know, he may have a deal with a major publisher, and unlike most people publishing books, he won't lose money on it.
Now back to proof reading and correcting the manuscript of a ski club history that I volunteered to do for a non forum person.
 
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GS

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
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I hate it when people use your pics without asking and or crediting and getting the places incorrect. The pic of Hells window is actually The Blowhole in between The Bluff and Eadly Stone.

I might be being a tad harsh, sorry

speaking of which, I think @Boodwah posted some pics of skiing the Blowhole a few years back?
 

Endless_Winter

One of Us
Apr 23, 2013
536
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Melbourne
The north face of feather top is very under rated as far as I’m concerned. Not as steep as the other side of course.

The window to ride is short. Late winter to very early spring, when the sun is out.

In winter it’s just thin, bony as f&*k and wind hammered. It fries early in spring being a sunny aspect.

I think I posted these photos at the time, but this was late August last year, on a a spring like day. I had intended to ride one of the “glory faces”, but as I ascended the summit ridge, I was not even getting ski crampon penetration on anything shady, so I changed my plan as the north face coverage was great and softening in the midday sun. Great

A460F802-1711-4BE4-9044-FA6D910BF753.jpeg


Here’s the top of the line. Personally, I think the north view back down the ovens valley towards Bright and Mt Buffalo is better than back towards Hotham.

539FA281-0DFC-41F5-A79C-56BC29F7624F.jpeg
 

lightfoot

Hard Yards
Jun 27, 2012
58
154
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This is a worthy discussion in itself. I think I used to agree about FT having the edge for truly scary, consequential skiing. The cornice, the cliffs, the ice, the avalanche debris...it is an intimidating place. Even though I've done lots of time there, I still get nervous walking up Bungalow almost every time.

Lately I've explored more of Bogong...and now I'm not so sure that FT has it covered. If the north faces off the peak are in shape, if can can catch West Peak area when it's not a block of ice....hell, even if you venture a little more afield than Cairn Gully, you can find some steep and challenging routes...but yeah, maybe it comes down to objective hazard, and FT wins there.

I was up on bogong doing a food drop yesterday and it always blows me away how much variety of terrain in terms of steepness, aspect and length that mountain has. It's also a way quicker approach.and can be seen as an early start day trip. 1.5hrs to summit and ski a bunch of laps.and head home. Feathertop isn't as convenient.

In some ways the obvious hazards screaming at you at feathertop make you more cautious, or at least they should. Also the fact that feathertop doesn't roll into the steeps as much of Bogong does makes it pretty hard to ignore the consequence when you on ftop' s ridge.

The mountains aren't a risk to themselves, only to us as we chase our way through them. If our mindset is one of caution then we are less likely to put ourselves in a position of danger. Then by that reasoning perhaps Bogong is more dangerous than feathertop.
Complacency is the killer and Bogong has plenty of burly terrain, it's just not as obvious.

The term 'classic is where things are beautifully subjective. Length, position, history, exposure, steepness, features, access.....etc and on and on.

When it comes to a book on Australian ski lines an image that springs to my mind is that classic mountain shape with splitters running down from the peak. That's what feathertop has over bogong. The turns, risk, effort etc are very similar but when i am too old to do this stuff and I sit mindsurfing previous missions, the splitters will fill that classical mountain image more often than not.

If I had one trip for the season planned i would choose Bogong. Thankfully I'm not in that position and our family has called 2020 the season of 'hike it or pike it'.
 
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SkiEverything

First Runs
Jun 10, 2020
1
1
3
Funnily enough, I'm currently trying to make this a reality. I'm looking at listing thirty-ish lines (with a focus on the steeper ones) in a photo-intensive, coffee-table style book. We've got a fair bit of content already, but will be spending the entirety of the coming winter (conditions permitting) skiing and shooting as much of the list as possible.

If you need additional people to take photos etc for any of the main range components let me know!
 
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lightfoot

Hard Yards
Jun 27, 2012
58
154
83
I must be carrying some excess belly ballast :emoji_pig2:, you quicker :emoji_zap: than me!

No skis/board on pack just a barrel of food and I probably rounded down to make myself feel good about it.

Even if I rounded up to 2hrs that's a doable day trip although with a low safety margin. I was involved in a rescue a number of years ago on bogong for folks without a tent in winter and I'm certainly not advocating bogong as a waltz. For people keen and with the experience it is definately a good option.
 
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