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Trip Report Wanaka 2014 edition

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Heinz, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Had to work a bit harder today in variable wind affected snow. Increasing wind through the day restricted our movements and eventually forced us out early. Hoping for the change to bring more snow overnight.
     
  2. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Yeah i got into the back bowl at cardies today, rest of my crew were stoked with the conditions... It didnt have Sh*t on yesterday though. What. a day.
     
  3. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Raining in Wanaka this morning, snowing in the mountains. Heard report that Crown range road was pretty dicey and has now been closed temporarily.
     
  4. ScottGN

    ScottGN One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Radio NZ says both Crown Range and Milford Roads are closed with cars stranded on the Crown Range.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not a good place to be stranded.


    Several years ago I was on a bus heading over the Crown range to Queenstown airport when a sudden snowstorm hit, the road iced up and cars were sliding all over the place. so had to stop. Were stuck for over half an hour waiting for a grit truck to come up to provide some traction. From where we were we could see the airport runway but could do nothing about it. Fortunately though as a result of that weather no planes were taking off anyway.
     
    #55 Heinz, Aug 11, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  6. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy One of Us

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    .. snow at the moment ... sweet forecast for the weekend ~ Ice Festival ski mountaineering race on Sun ..
     
  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looking out at the steady rain in town. Time to catch up on reports.
     
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fri Aug 08 - North Buchanans

    Wasn't expecting to get out today, nor were the Queenstown guys. It was still snowing in Queenstown and on the Crown range when they came over, but in Wanaka and the Buchanans it was reasonably clear, although quite cold for an August day. TC reported -12C early morning and the heli was reporting -8C on the ridges through the day.

    Mark was our guide again today and opted to start off on the usually very reliable A-trails in the North Buchanans but even that had been somewhat wind affected, still reasonably good but not like earlier in the week, Tried a run at the other end of the ridge which was much the same. Then dropped over the other side of the saddle into Chamois basin but that was pretty forgettable - variable wind slab. Penstock was somewhat better, good in parts but still quite variable.

    Finally though jumped to the next ridge south onto Boil the Billy and found consistent wind sheltered powder so we stayed there for 3 runs. Were then planning on getting a run on Moliefes on the way out but with the weather closing in again - clould, wind and snow, James pulled the pin and flew us back to the valley where we had our lunch. Was just about as cold and windy in valley as it was on the hill though.
     
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    View of A-trails from Boil the Billy ridge.
    [​IMG]

    View of Penstock from Boil the Billy ridge.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There was some wind on Boil the Billy.
    [​IMG]

    but there was nothing wrong with the snow
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. ScottGN

    ScottGN One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Fantastic photos Heinz. Things are looking a lot better in the mountains now.
     
  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sat Aug 09 - North Harris

    Brilliant day, best day of the trip so far. Fine and clear and another very busy day for HMH. Guiding for us today was Dean (9 time Everest summiteer) just back from a Kyrgyzstan climbing trip. We were also joined by Marty Myer and his son on a warm up day before his annual charter week.

    Back on the Harris side today and starting on Fog peak. The first aspect we tried was a little wind affected but still very good. The next one though was all good powder and we also took a line past the icefall which got us a bit lower down.

    Then had a look at Moonraker - this was one we opted to skip a few days ago with the bony looking entry but there was a bit more snow now. Top was still a bit sketchy and we looked at and decided against a couple of lines, but once into it, the skiing was very good.

    Then had a crack at Craig Royston but the wind had done a bit more work in there, so ended up as mostly hard pack, not actually bad as such just not what we were looking for. So we returned to Moonraker and had lunch on a sunny aspect.

    Had another excellent run on Fog again getting down to around 1400m, then over to Niger to allow other groups to fly back out to the valley. The landing on Niger was very icy - the rain from last week had frozen and the wind since had blown all the new snow away. The run wasn't that great either.

    Marty was very keen on more runs and the rest of the group were just as keen so it was back to Fog where we knew it was good and we banged out another 4 runs there always finding untracked lines. We pretty much tracked out one face on our own and also found several very sweet gullies. The light lower down got a bit flat so on the last couple of runs we opted not to go down to the lower pickup and just repeat the top section and gullies.

    In the end, of the 11 runs we did 7 turned out to be on Fog. Was nice then tolook back at it from town at the end of the day and the sunset over it was particaularly amazing with the pink sky.
     
  13. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Heli brief in the valley
    [​IMG]

    Icefall on Fog peak
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lower part of Fog - in a decent snow year we could get down quite a bit further.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Moonraker

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Craig Royston

    [​IMG]

    Back on Moonraker

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Dean
    [​IMG]

    Fog peak

    We hit this face a couple more times - were plenty of lines.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    a terrain feature - why you need to be wary if skiing here in flat light.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    A few hours later - sunset over Fog peak from my balcony. Sadly these crappy pics don't do it any justice at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    and a bit more snow to come yet.
     
  18. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Apart from the skiing here which is of course great I just love coming back here for the town itself and the people here, the guides, pilots and staff at HMH, other regular clients and town locals who have always made me feel welcome every year.

    One in particular though is Muzza - a genuine Kiwi character well known around town. A great guy with a wealth of amazing amusing yarns and one who really understands hospitality. Always a pleasure catching up with him each year.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Undies

    Undies Pizza! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Holy carp. What a thread. Just went pondering HMH prices for next season.... hmmmm.....
     
  20. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sun Aug 10 - North Buchanans

    Was fine early with a change forecast but timing of that was uncertain. Was with Whitney today, one of the guides who has been around here since the 80's. The plan was to try and push into the Minarets or to Galactic to find similar aspects to what we found on previous days. This was however thwarted early on when we heard radio reports from Hugh and Nigel who were on the charter that the wind was too strong for landings that way.

    So instead Grant flew us into the South Buchanans for a bit of a scout around and we dropped in to Silver Lining. Unfortunately it didn't ski as well as it looked from the air - the wind had done its damage. It was also making some other options difficult, so we ended up heading north once again to Boil the Billy.

    The wind however had got in here as well. The top section was still reasonably good but lower down it was quite variable - powder, breakable crust, hardpack - so it became a matter of trying the read the snow texture for the best spots to turn, quite a bit more tricky. With other options out we did a few runs in here.

    Wind was again picking up so we dropped down a bit lower beside a small partially frozen lake for lunch. Conditions only got worse so we finally bailed back to the valley proper and headed home.
     
  21. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not much in the way of skiing pics today.

    Silver Lining in the South Buchanans - looks a bit better than it felt - this was probably the best bit.
    [​IMG]

    Back on Boil the Billy where Whitney had some teasing a Kea with his gloves.
    [​IMG]
     
  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was a nice setting for lunch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Was a bit flat and not too much snow so no natural lunch benches.

    So Dan decided to try and get inventive. Nice job but it didn't quite pass the wind test - would have needed a it more reinforcement.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Stewart has also been coming here for the last 14 years and times his trips here to coincide with mine so we have skied quite a few days together. He can stay a little longer being retired - still goes pretty well though.

    [​IMG]

    and with our pilot Grant who we have flown quite a few days with
    [​IMG]
     
  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wow, amazing. Day of the season. :woohoo:
     
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  25. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tue Aug 12 - North Harris

    Around 30 cms of new snow - light and dry, no wind, clear skies - hard to go wrong. The day of the season.

    Was with Mark again, flew over to Rollercoaster to get the ball rolling - flying over one side looked like it might be bit wind affected, but where we dropped in was all good. From the first turn it was deep quality powder - the day and the grins all round were set. The run continued in that fashion.

    Once all the groups were in we continued on to Craig Royston - leaving Rollercoaster for a return later in the day. The upper part had some wind which created a sort of wave effect but it was all soft so had no real impact. Did 4 runs in there including a couple down the Holy Moses side. On these we got a bit of Alaska style sloughing action which was for me a bit disconcerting for a few seconds.

    After lunch were even able to get to valley floor which wouldn't have happened a week ago. Time then to head back to Rollercoaster, still good as before. Unfortunately a bit of cloud had moved in, so we could only do just the one in there. So instead James took us closer to the valley on Escapade which we knew would be good as well and it certainly was. Sitting in the shade, so cold quality powder, so we just had to do it a couple more times and got a bit more sloughing on one aspect. Cloud had followed us so light was a little flat but in that snow no real issue.

    An awesome day!
     
  26. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Starting off on Rollercoaster.

    [​IMG]

    The snow being blown around by the heli rotor wash gives an indication of how light it was.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  27. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Over to Craig Royston / Holy Moses

    Upper part of Craig Royston
    [​IMG]

    Dropping into Holy Moses

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Craig Royston

    [​IMG]

    Another line in Holy Moses - got some sloughing in here

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  29. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lunch spot lower down on Craig Royston

    [​IMG]

    Run to the valley floor

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice, very nice!
     
  31. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Back to Rollercoaster

    [​IMG]

    and finishing on Escapade

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Aug 13 - 10 years today since the avalanche

    No flying today - cloud has moved over and looks like forecast snow showers in the mountains may have started so won't be dwelling on it too much.
     
  33. ODNT

    ODNT Part of the Furniture

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    thanx heinz
    keep em coming
     
  34. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    An example of the conditions out there on Tuesday from another group. Did like the frost glistening that day. That would have been well and truly blown away by now though.

     
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  35. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Southerlies moving through this morning bringing a brief shower in town and sleety snow in the mountains. One wave had moved through and it was clearing so Whitney was trying to have a go at a later start around 1pm. But then apparently a couple of guys that were interested earlier changed their minds, plus another wave of cloud has moved in, so killed off that idea.
     
  36. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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  37. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wasn't really expecting today to happen. Tomorrow looks more promising. Things change here pretty quickly though.
     
  38. ScottGN

    ScottGN One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Today always looked likely to be dodgy weather-wise. Hopefully the wind will ease for tomorrow. Currently we've got a driving southerly with horizontal flurries in Queenstown. Remarks has closed I think.
     
  39. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Right now drizzling in Wanaka again but sun is also shining. Peaks under cloud. A mixed day and in the end we wouldn't have got out for long if at all.

    The forecasts I saw last night for the region didn't look good for getting out, but then again the weather here is very localized. Have had quite a few days over the years when it has been reported to be snowing in Queenstown but up here we are skiing in sunshine.
     
  40. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    A few pics from around town.

    Yesterday walking out to Waterfall creek.

    From Waterfall creek looking towards Fog peak (left) and Niger (right).
    [​IMG]

    Ruby Island
    [​IMG]

    Mt Roy from Station park.
    [​IMG]
     
  41. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Today from Bremmer Bay.

    From here you normally get a good view of Treble Cone, but this afternoon it was mostly under cloud - don't think there was a 2pm clearance today.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking to the South Buchanans.
    [​IMG]

    Started to keep going but noticed it was getting quite dark behind me so turned back. The southerly is quite cold when you are walking into it. Though nothing came of the dark cloud.
     
  42. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson One of Us

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    Very entertaining reading through your blog Heinz. Some stunning photos to boot.

    Looking at your video, it seems as though people don't use a pole plant to initiate turns anyone. Also noticed that there is not a lot of bounce (for want of a better word) in the skiing. Maybe its because the video is in slow motion or maybe the wider powder skis don't require as much technique? Any thoughts?
     
  43. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting observation BW. I hadn't really paid attention to that. It was a video posted on the HMH facebook page. Don't know who they were - I just posted it so illustrate the snow conditions that day. Our group was skiing somewhat steeper aspects that day and I am old school and certainly still make poleplants.

    I watched it again now, they were making pole plants just not aggressive ones, more just a timing thing. With that light snow and fat skis you really needed very little effort for those turns, roll the ankles slghtly. Contrast to a couple of days earlier when we had variable powder, wind slab, hard crust where you did need to work the turns and bounce a bit more.
     
  44. ScottGN

    ScottGN One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I rode at Remarks yesterday with a friend who's a skier and she said that the snow was so light she barely had to work the turns. It was pretty easy on a board too.:)
     
  45. JeffW

    JeffW Hard Yards

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    Bit of bad news for ya Heinz, we threw you in a syndicate for the $50 Mill powerball - and no, Phil wasnt allowed near the tickets this time. We only managed to win enough to shout us all a coffee - so you will have to come back to the office at some point. Sorry mate. :cry:

    On a somewhat brighter note, some spectacular images from this years trip Heinz, love your work.
     
  46. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    :(
     
  47. JoeKing

    JoeKing Old n' Thrusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    a galaxy far, far away.
    wot he sed
     
  48. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fri Aug 15 - Minarets

    Bit of a reality check today. The winds over the last couple of days had reeked havoc with the near perfect powder conditions. Still some reasonable skiing in parts but always changing - hard crust, bits of powder, wind slab - some supportive, some breakable. Even when we found some good snow, you could never relax as a few turns later it turned into something else. BW - certainly not a day for lazy turns - pole plants and unweighting required.

    With Roger today and started out in the North Buchanans on A-trails which is normally very reliable, but not so much today, then did another off Stag saddle before we started venturing further out and headed to the Minarets. Did a couple of runs on Jabawockie which were a little better.

    Then as no one was actually staying at the Minaret station tented lodge we were given permission to drop down there and have our lunch on the balcony. The setting was pretty amazing. It is so remote that the only access is via helicopter or else several days walk. So everything had to be flown in by helicopter.

    We continued looking after lunch skiing Dr Who which was much the same, then best run of the day was Eager Beaver where we did get powder but even there you couldn't relax as you still encountered some crust.

    Finally back to the valley dropping on Moliefes which was much like the way we started the day.
     
  49. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    A slightly different view of Mt Aspiring from the Minarets.

    [​IMG]

    Jabawockie

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  50. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    god damned son of a gun! Great thread Heinz.