Victorian Backcountry Downhill/Steeps Options?

SimonInAustralia

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I'm getting a little bored of the NSW Main Range, so I have purchased a 4WD campervan to use for some Victorian backcountry missions.

Besides the obvious options of Mount Bogong and Mount Feathertop, which I will be heading to initially, what other options are there in Victoria for backcountry downhill runs and steeps?
 

Mr Bent Knee

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Around Howitt..look around.

Chutes of Crosscutsaw...

Hells Window....

Stanley's Bowl at Mt Stirling has some great runs in it with lot's of snow, plus loads of tree runs everywhere....

Some high speed runs off Mt Nelse are always in order.....

After a good fall, head out to the nthrn aspects of the High Plains....Timms lookout etc...all along there are some steller gullies in full sun......

Look at a map, find the right elevation and then go explore....
 

Bogong

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MBK has got most of the Victorian highlights and I'd suggest you try those he mentioned first. Bogong, Feathertop and Mt Howitt (and it's neighbours) are defnitely the best, although winter access to the Howitt area can be problematic. Casting my mind around, I've heard that when there's plenty of snow, Mt Pinnibar can be pretty good.

Also Tasmania probably has the most scenic and challenging backcountry steeps in Austalia, but the snow there is pretty erratic. You can really only plan a trip for this sort of thing once you know that the right areas have a good cover (which may only last a few weeks).
 

SimonInAustralia

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Thanks for the tips.

Bogong said:
Also Tasmania probably has the most scenic and challenging backcountry steeps in Austalia, but the snow there is pretty erratic. You can really only plan a trip for this sort of thing once you know that the right areas have a good cover (which may only last a few weeks).
Been wondering about Tassie for a while...any idea where the 'right areas' are down there for backcountry steeps?
 
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SimonInAustralia

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Ziggy

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Yeah, Mt McKay with good spring cover is great. Also Rocky Knobs (Knolls?) opposite Falls Ck.

Added: +1 to the gullies off Timm's spur on the E. side. Camp at Ropers hut site, or the hut when it's back, and day-trip out. Quiet, great views, great skiing.

There's also some good runs off Mt Loch. Not to mention Spion Kopje.

Got skins?
 
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sidetrack

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Hells window as MBK says is steep but getting the conditions is hard. The other one that is steep is the blowhole. This one is heaps quicker to get to so its easier to get the right conditions.
 

sidetrack

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1 and 2 are Hells window from the entrance and the north side. The 3rd one is the blowhole (sorry for the focus size).

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skifree

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Off the side of Dimantina (spellign agin?) Spur can be good. Several good bowls but for long runs tree skiing is required.

In the right conditions (righ after a dump) there a couple of longer runs along the spine of the spur.
 

Bogong

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Machinery Spur near Mt Loch has some nice runs to both the east and west.

If you know where, you can ski well below the tree line down to the old One Alone gold mine (another Bill Spargo project) near the Diamantina River to the west of Machinery Spur. The route is along the former access track and flattened slag heaps which don't have trees growing on them.
 

PK Sawd

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1 vote for Mt Mackay. It's a dead easy hike out from Falls and has some excellent chutes and bowls.

Buller West Ridge and the long bowl beneath can be worth the hike in the days after the season closes, in a good snow year. or even before season close but it can be a hassle getting up through the operating ski infrastructure and punters.

Off the back of big-D at Hotham is good fun too. I have had a pleasurable couple of hours booting up and skiing down there.

I like the look of runs off Spion Kopje on the Falls side but have never had the time to get out there and do it.

You might also try getting yelled at by the staff at the Tatra ski area at Buffalo while hiking up for some turns......

Loch-Machinery Spur are also good and easy to get to.

Blowhole and Hell's Window have never been snowy anytime I've been out that way but the southern aspect of Magdala is very pleasant down into the trees. I'd love to have a week around the Crosscut saw in a good snow year......ditto for Tassie too. WoJ is often cited as a good spot there, Jaffa Vale particularly. It's a lovely shape for it. Geryon-Labyrinth too. But they are so season dependent.
 

Bogong

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PK Sawd, The Buffalo lifts have not run for several years and it is unlikely they will ever run again.
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So I guess this places the whole mountain in the backcountry category for the first time since they opened the first lift there in 1937.
 
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sidetrack

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This one is of the slopes bellow Spione kop. It is steeper than it looks.

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Belly

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Yeah I reckon Fainters terrain looks real interesting, but like many Vic area's quite a mission.
Stirling (Stanleys) is 'fun' in good snow but given SIA is used to main range I don't think it would do it. Better off to get a Buller ticket on a snowy day and once tracked bomb the NW face.

SIA, what split did you get? Didn't it come with skins?
 

Squidly

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When the snow is good there is some tremendous stuff in Tassies backcountry, however you have to pick your time. Accessibility can become a problem (have to walk a long way). The best places are the mountains ranges along the overland track, mt rufus, mt anne, mt field, walls of jerusalem and the Ducanes/labyrinth. The highest ranges obviously have the best cover, like the Pelion Range (containing Mt ossa), I've heard some amazing tales of deep extensive cover and exciting runs, there's a good hut nearby (Pelion Plains). But of course its not reliable, most of the time you have to be prepared to go when the big snows arrive, in case its not washed out by big rains 2 weeks later.
Western Tas can be seriously wet, and when its cold, seriously snowy, but hard to pick.
 

SimonInAustralia

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Belly said:
SIA, what split did you get? Didn't it come with skins?
Bought a 2007 Burton S-Series 168 splitboard...you buy the Voile Splitboard Interface, skins, and crampons to go with it seperately.

Bought it, along with a Burton Fish powder board, for $1100AU from the US.
 
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sidetrack

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I was in the Walls late June about four years ago when it snowed about 2 foot. Even with that small amount some amazing lines appeared. I could have cried as I was just out walking with no ski's, it was so beautiful.
 

mr

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i've seen 2 foot of baseless snow in there too, but snowshoes were no good as they just sank through to the scoparia underneath....Tassie snow seems to need consecutive falls or a bit of time to settle..but in the right conditions the walls would be stunning for some touring

Simon i'd be tempted to say June / July as its colder but the best bet would to be flexible and just go after a fall....which is just after a fall
 

Squidly

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SimonInAustralia said:
Beeper said:
But of course its not reliable, most of the time you have to be prepared to go when the big snows arrive
Is that usually, or most likely to be, in August?

It varies, but August is usually the best bet, last year there were some moderate falls in July and early Aug, then heavy snow in early October with some great skiing. Because of the inconsistency its hard to plan, usually the higher ranges do have something later in July into August. Most of the time you have watch for a big fall or a couple of moderate falls in a row, then get out there.
 
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mr

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talk to beeper SiA, seems to be the man (or woman) on the ground, seen some great trips / pics over the years
Beeper

Canberra is tough SiA, at least in Melb i can get my gold-pass from the family, hop on the boat friday night, be at cradle village 8am Saturday....well at least thats the plan for this year
 

mr

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that bowl at the back of rufus would be good, whats the hut there called beeper?
 

SimonInAustralia

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mr said:
Canberra is tough SiA, at least in Melb i can get my gold-pass from the family, hop on the boat friday night, be at cradle village 8am Saturday....well at least thats the plan for this year
Yes, much more of a mission to get down there and back, with the hopes there might be a base to ride on.
 
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Squidly

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mr said:
that bowl at the back of rufus would be good, whats the hut there called beeper?

Its called the Gingerbread Hut, it was supposed to house the motor for the proposed tow (decades ago), heres a photo;

Gingerbread Hut

If hopping off the boat at Devonport it would only take 1-1.5 hours to get to Cradle. The webcam operated by the Tas Parks Service pointing at Cradle may become public, as communications in and out of the valley have improved dramatically (telstra put in a next g tower).
 
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iGlenn

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sidetrack said:
I was in the Walls late June about four years ago when it snowed about 2 foot. Even with that small amount some amazing lines appeared. I could have cried as I was just out walking with no ski's, it was so beautiful.

Same thing happened to me July last year. It is an amazing area, but is a reasonable hike in and you would have to pick the right time.
 
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Mr Bent Knee

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Snow quality in Tas would be very hit and miss. I am not experianced at all, but the 2 occasions I have been dumped on down there (middle on winter, bloody cold, over 1100 metres...), the snow was very wet. We had waist deep snow on the Overland for 3-4 days and we were there when it fell....but I would never think to bring my skis over there.

I have had some mad fun climbing at Ben Lomond, but that's it....

I do remember reading an article in a small Falls Ck based mag (the one that is stashed at Michelle hut I think) about a bunch of nutters (snowboarders) hitting some BIG lines around Mt Anne....access is not hard there at all in my opinion.

SIA, in all honesty, you want Mt Howitt.
 

tasskibum

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Mt anne is great, really want to get some more backcountry in there after a short trip last year. needed more snow and better visibility as there are some seriously large cliffs around that area that i would like to be able to see! access is pretty good from hobart too!
 

surveyorcam

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Jun 1, 2004
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Most of Fainters is Mellow and lovely!, but there are a couple gullies that are steep and beautiful. Hardish to get to though, if you only have a week end.

Back side of MtLoch is steep....ish
 

Squidly

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tasskibum said:
Mt anne is great, really want to get some more backcountry in there after a short trip last year. needed more snow and better visibility as there are some seriously large cliffs around that area that i would like to be able to see! access is pretty good from hobart too!

Mt Anne/Eliza Plateau is an amazing place in good snow. There is a good track up (no overhanging vegetation to worry about), great views of the southwest, a good hut 2/3 of the way up and spectacular scenery. Because of its height and location the likelihood of snow cover is usually more reliable than many other places in Tas.
 
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