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Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Heinz, Aug 4, 2017.
Bags are packed. The 2017 edition of the Wanaka series is almost ready to roll.
Slowest computer kiosk check-in in Sydney ever this morning.
Nice flight over, clear skies, got a good clear view of Coronet Peak when we flew directly overhead.
Then on to Wanaka. Always nice to be back in the old town. Did the usual quick round on arrival, seeing what had changed and a few hellos, before getting ready for tomorrow.
Be interesting to see what the next few days brings lots of warm rain today Freezing level must have been 1600m give or take a few meters.
Sunday August 6 - Treble Cone
The day in one word - wet.
Was raining lightly in town and at the base of TC. Turned to sloppy wet snow about half way up the six seater. Continued on and off all morning and even cleared for a few minutes. Took it pretty cautiously today. Stayed on Main street a fait while, found a few fresh lines on ridge run on around 5-10 cms of heavy new snow. Been a long time since I've skied in rain - gloves were soaked. Had a full morning, but called in quits soon after lunch and headed down at 2pm.
Typical view today
when it cleared for a few minutes on ridge run
What's your plan given the forecast ?
I'm thinking tc tomorrow with probably half the town, after that is anybodies guess.
Probably TC again. Haven't seen the saddle yet.
Fingers crossed the saddle opens early which I recon will be unlikely given its 8.8degrees and raining currently.
Monday August 7 - End peak, Mototapu ridge
A slight break in the weather so a fly day. Met up with friends Stewart & Josef again with Rich taking a turn a lead guiding and Roger along as well. Headed out to Mototapu station and flew up to End Peak for first run. Was quite reasonable up top, but then it transitioned lower down into some pretty crappy breakable crust - not much fun - I struggled with that. This was pretty much the trend for the day. Try and land high, ski the good stuff until we hit the crust then picked up, so short runs. This is what we did for several runs from Mototopu ridge including Margnificance, Tuis, Arrowhead and other variations. Took it pretty cautiously. Had a few more from End peak on the way back which were the best / most consistent of the day.
A few pics from End peak.
Looking towards Treble Cone - Saddle & Mototapu chutes.
Nice shots Heinz.
Was an interesting day at tc got up before the road issue, home basin was hard as s..t saddle opened late few nice runs before hitting the summit slopes which had the best of snow.
Few laps on the slush in the home basin to finish the day out interesting day and more interesting conditions for the next couple days
Heard about the road issue. Some guys were stuck behind so called HMH to try and book a heliski day, but then road cleared and they continued up.
Heard about that...........hope nobody was taken out on the drive up by falling rocks?
No one taken out this time!
Another pic from yesterday on End peak.
Saw where that rock slide was going up today - still a bit of fresh debris. Just by the bridge.
What is the weather like today Heinz? Forecast looked a bit mild and wet
Tuesday August 8 - Treble Cone
Quite a reasonable day up at TC today and thankfully much drier than Sunday, though rain was forecast for later. Lower part of Main Basin were pretty slushy so didn't stay there long and spent most of the time in the Saddle. Took it easy and stayed mainly on the groomed trails. Stuff off the groomed was pretty crunchy so not so much fun. They do a lot more grooming up here than they used to so there were plenty of options. Bullet was very good today. Had a look at Gunbarrel on the way down but as well as being crunchy was a bit bare on one side. Definitely needs more snow.
There was a hint of some sleet in the afternoon, but nothing else so far at least.
As reported above - overcast but mostly good visibility. Pretty mild with a bit of wind later in the afternoon. No precipitation apart from a very brief period of sleet in the afternoon. Nothing when we left at 4pm. Looks a bit darker up the valley looking out my window now though.
Snow looks harder than my Concrete Drive Way ;-) !
It was scratchy 2 weeks ago and there's been bugger all since
Wednesday August 9 - North Harris
Was rather surprised when I got the call in the morning that we were flying. I had written the day off. But word was that it was clearing above the inversion layer in the valley so a small crew headed out. The plan was to try and get to higher elevations and if possible out to the glaciers. We waited a little while at Cattle Flat for the wind to ease a bit. Then in the air and above the valley inversion layer - a nice sight.
Dropped in Escapade to start with, but found that very firm and noisy underfoot - it was at least supportive though. Continued on to Fog peak where the top section was quite good skiing until we hit the transition to the breakable crust similar to what we found a couple of days ago which no one was keen on. So it was short runs again. Did a couple more from there. Were hoping to then head west to Craigroyston and/or the glaciers but they were all under cloud. Tried Wishbone just behind Fog but that was a hard crust so the best option then was to return to Fog for a few more runs. Snow got better the further left we went. Then decided to call it a day and head back to the valley for lunch. The cloud was coming in more so light was getting flat so the timing was pretty good.
So as yet no epic powder, but still an enjoyable day.
Flying above the inversion layer towards our target Fog peak. We skied from the ridgeline to the right of the peak.
Inversion layer looking north from Escapade.
View from Fog peak towards 2 waiting helis and Wanaka still under the cloud.
View from Fog peak
Josef & Stewart while we were waiting for Anna & Roger having a quick look at the snowpack.
Yep still quite crusty below at least 1650m. Currently touring out near dragon fly peak and rain crust is quite evident.
Thursday August 10 - Craigroyston
Best day so far. We tried again to go where we wanted to get to yesterday and eventually succeeded but needed a bit of patience. We dropped in on Rollercoaster on the way for a look, which we found to be just hard packed, but today at least we didn't encounter any breakable crust. Then as we headed to Craigroyston cloud had moved over it so we had to go to Fog peak where we were yesterday where we found similar conditions. On a second run there we were able to go to a higher landing where it was better again.
Finally Craigroyston cleared sufficiently for us to land there and we found what we were hoping for. 5-10 cms of new snow from the last few nights and consistent with no transition to breakable crust. Got several quick runs in there all of which were equally good and were going for one more before stopping for lunch but got stranded for a little while on the peak when the cloud suddenly moved back in, so pilot had to wait for it to clear sufficiently to take off again. After that we elected to bail temporarily to Raspberry creek while the other groups were flown out. Then had another on Rollecoaster on the way back. By this time the sun had softened the snow somewhat so we were able to ski down to the tussock level before heading back to base to a quick late lunch.
Yes indeed. Always a pleasure skiing with her.
Indeed..... spent a week in a remote hut with her a couple of years ago...... solitude only spoiled by a couple of other hairy buggers..... @Ziggy @craighelo and uncle.
Looking towards Craigroyston from Fog peak - this was a familiar view this week with the cloud hovering around the peak messing with our plans.
Hanging out at Raspberry creek in the valley while the other groups were bein flown out before going back up.
Day off today waiting to see what the new weather front brings. Time to catch up on reports
Friday August 11 - Craigroyston
Similar looking day to yesterday and plans were much the same. Headed out to Phoebe Creek staging area with Whitney. No Stewart or Josef today which felt a bit weird, was joined instead by 3 American snowboarders.
Whitney opted to head straight for Craigroyston which we knew was good rather than dropping in anywhere on the way. The peak was clear but once again the cloud played around with us and a couple of times we did have to wait briefly for the cloud to clear sufficiently to land. Snow was still as good as it was yesterday except for the line out to Holy Moses which was hard pack. Did 5 runs in there until the cloud once again intervened and we had to pull back a bit.
After a lunch stop we then looked for sunny north faces and corn on Bojangles, Wintersweet and Leaping Burn. These were generally pretty good although entry to Wintersweet was rather crusty and lower down there were sections where snow varied drastically depending on aspect from overcooked knee deep slush on one side to a hard crust 20m away. Leaping Burn though was much more consistent and a good finish.
More of Craigroyston
A nice little birthday celebration for one of the guides last night. Happy to have a rest day today.
How time flies. Another year. Another cracker @Heinz thread.
Will be interesting day tomorrow freezing level must be what 1400m?
Raining in town now. Checked the Wharekea webcam in the afternoon and it had snowed a little.
I'm glad the webcam shuts down after 630pm
More rain in town overnight and raining steadily now. But up above there is snow.
From the Wharekea webcam this morning.
So, another lazy day in today. Watching a Baba Zula concert video now. Duke TV here now shows AFL, some of it live - might catch Demons v Saints this arvo.
Tomorrow though ...
The freezing levels look great again so there will be plenty of good snow up there now once you get a window with the clouds. Monday will be a cracker! Enjoy!
You still up there?
I noticed on the webcam that it looked like Marty Myer's crew had lunch up there on Friday. Recognised a couple of the guides.
No unfortunately our trip is done, we extracted out late Thursday just had a few days touring. Great spot though, the avi danger was quite high we had quite a few natural slides occurring given the saturation of the snow pack and a nasty little facet layer down about 50cm. snow pack up there was around a good 2.5m in places. Plenty of fun to be had as long as you made conservative decisions.
One of the guides here is Peter Bilous. Some here will also know him as a guide at Points North Heliski in Alaska. He also has a couple of boys who are pretty handy skiers.
I was chatting with him the day I arrived last week and one thing that came up was his son Hank who is on the world freeride tour. Pete told me about Hanks introduction to the famous Corbetts Coulior at Jackson hole in the US. I can recall many years ago edging over to it, looking down then backing away. Many ski it in different ways from different angles with varying degrees of success. Normally though people would take a conservative approach for the first go. Not Hank though. He just airs in a onesie, throws in a daffy, lands it clean and skies away. Others have done that line but ended up in a sled.
So now I had a bit of free time I thought I'd look it up. Here it is.
The reference to Whitney Thurlow is one of the long time guides here (who I skied with on Friday) who used to do many consecutive winters between Wanaka & Jackson Hole before settling on Wanaka.
Son of a friend of mine, who was on the Europa Cup Skier X circuit, does a heli into it.
Thanks guys, following with interest as I'll be around in a weeks time, and would like to 'know before I go'.
Love your pics Heinz.
when do you arrive?