TR: Mt. Bogong Slight Return (25th - 26th September)

telecommuter

One of Us
Sep 10, 2009
211
643
263
In the Backcountry
A belated trip report. Came off Bogong and straight to a Cub Scout camp in Melbourne with my son and 3000 of his best friends. Then back home to find ADSL out - has just returned now.

Anyway, after having such a great time at Bogong in early September, I returned two weeks later sans father and kids - just me... Weather heading up the Kiewa Valley was foggy, road to Camp Creek Gap was open and clear. Most pleasant walking weather and an lovely uneventful climb brought me out to Michell Hut in fine sun - the summit still in cloud. After putting on suncreen, skins and skis I arrived at Granite Flat Jct soon after, with the summit just visible. Met up with a cohort from the previous trip there, and made a poor decision (in hindsight) to set up the tent. The apparently clearing weather clagged in again, so by the time Home Sweet Home was ready, I couldn't see it due to the fog.

Not to be deterred, we donned skis and headed up the spur towards the top. Or we might have been heading to Mars, for all we could see. The left side of the spur (looking up) was invisible, so we took off down the right hand (Staircase) side where the trees and rocks gave us some perspective (and a scratched ski). We enjoyed some nice steep tree skiing down there before reaching the gully in fairly rotten snow at that level.

Once atop the spur again, it cleared ever so slightly so we could leap off the pinnacle near the top of Eskdale and ski the runs into the gully. Most enjoyable.

Spitting rain drove us back to the tents, and I switched on the radio that I had recently discovered lurking in my MP3 player and tuned into AFL Grand Final Mk I, although we didn't know that bit just yet. Half time and it looked like the Pies were in for an easy one. Spitting rain soon turned into p!ssing rain, then hail, thunder and lightning. The hail continued for half an hour or so, pounding the tent so loudly that I could barely hear the frantic commentary through the final minutes of the match. The scores level, the hail pounding, the siren going, and a huge flash-bang of lightning and thunder signalled the drawn game, and the fact that Thor was obviously not pleased with the results.

The fog and murk persisted until about 9:30pm when the skies cleared and a moon - just a shade off full - beamed down upon our camp.

The sunrise on Sunday was beautiful, and a decent freeze had bound the waterlogged snow to a decent imitation of damp concrete.

Brekky at 6:00am, climbing by 7:00am, atop Audax Point by 8:00am. The sunward faces were just softening up for us, so we soared off down the main Audax Gully to the dogleg at the bottom, where the snow ran out. Awesome. Perfect snow - just watch the shady spots. Another bunch of skiers came hurtling down just as we were starting to boot up the ridge. We were nice and shared the work with them!

Climbing up the ridge, we greedily eyed the Audesk area, but sweating up out of Audax cooled my desire to go into that area just then. It would have to wait for another trip.

After a quick break, we set off down the steep chute on the northern side of Audax and I tried the steeper face next to the rocks. Perfect snow. Awesome run.

The climb out was much easier with a staircase installed! Lunchtime, and what better place than by Cairn Creek. A speedy run down Cairn Gully and a comfy rock by the gushing creek at the bottom made for a better lunch than at the finest of restaurants.

After lunch and the climb back, we had to head down. Rather than skiing to Eskdale Point and down the spur, we decided to ski the down-and-up route from Audax Point. The broad chute down to the Snowy Creek headwaters was just grand, and apart from a couple of decent crevices, good snow. I had always wanted to ski down there. Another tick off the bucket list...

The traverse back up to Eskdale wasn't too bad either, even though I was on my resort tele skis with no grip and I couldn't be bothered putting skins on!

Back at camp it was pack up, load up and walk down. We came across a group of young blokes near the creek who seemed to be loaded like pack mules and who were carting downhill skis/boots up (not AT gear) - oh to be young and fearless! They seemed to be enjoying the hot slog upwards. I envied them - I would much rather have been heading back to the top for that "one more run"...

Sorry - no pics yet - you'll have to make do with the sunrise pano... I'll post some soon.
 
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chriscross

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jul 1, 2005
2,676
1,679
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The Foothills
Great report, envious, the stoke comes through in your writing but I can't see your sunrise pic. Hoping to get up there again soon just for a Springtime look around.
 

telecommuter

One of Us
Sep 10, 2009
211
643
263
In the Backcountry
Hmm - that panorama is a pain... I have restarted my web server and applied updates - I took advantage of my ADSL outage by installing the gigabit switch I have had sitting here for a few months, so that the YouTube and online gaming pressure groups (i.e. kids!) couldn't complain as the network was down anyway... Some of the computers had an issue connecting to the new network so it may have been that?

However, the panorama wouldn't work until I updated my Java version from http://www.java.com for some reason... Weird since the applet hasn't changed since 2004.

Anyhoo, here are a couple of pics:

The moon appears after a day of crud:
normal_b002.jpg


Happy camp in the fine sunrise:
normal_b003.jpg


Moon and snowgums:
normal_b005.jpg


The start of something sweaty - bottom of Audax:
normal_b014.jpg


Lunch at the bottom of Cairn Gully:
normal_b019.jpg


Our alternative route from top to camp:
normal_b021.jpg


More and larger images here if anyone is interested:
 
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