Saturday, 2 July 2016

Trip Report - Bogong High Plains Southern Circuit Ski Tour July 2013 Day 4

Wallace Hut morning.

I woke before dawn.  I was warm in my sleeping bag and thermals.  Sleet had been forecast so the clear skies were something of a relief.  It was a warm 0 degrees C night.  I breakfasted in the cold and gloomy hut. At least it had a table near the northern window but the rough seat at the other end was cold, damp and dark. 

Awesome tent site. A toilet is behind shot.

Picturesque Wallace hut
Walking down the hill the snow was quite deep over potholing heath. Walking in the sun and snow on the Eastern face down to the aqueduct I was sinking down to my knees.  The snow was dry, not very icy, loosely bound in underlying heath.

Morning sun penetrated the upper rear hut window.
Wallace hut roof structure

The fireplace is covered in steel mesh and unusable, so the hut is now an icebox in winter. The inner wall is lined with a thick wind resistant sheeting of some sort that reduces the ventilation inside. It might warm up with 20 people inside but the floor is rough slabs and covered in dirt and ice.

I packed and left Wallace Hut about 9:30am.   No other folks about today. After a few hundred metres I was climbing  in sunshine and deep soft claggy snow as I returned to the main access road.
Looks easy.

Claggy porridge that required a sweaty struggle up sideways!

Heavy clag uphill makes for hard sweaty work. I just took my time with pauses and remembered to breathe. Plenty of "photo" opportunity stops here.

This is about a 3hrs ski (with 20kg pack) on groomed road. Zoom shot.
Herring-boning will only get you so far with a 20kg pack on, so I side stepped up the slope, sinking in deep each step. The sweaty struggle over, the view at the top of the rise of the ski runs looked like a 10 minute ski away. Now soaked in sweat the way became easier and I cooled down quickly as I entered an open area with a slight chilling breeze.
The groomed surface of BHP road brought a welcome change from enervating struggle.  The fine weather continued, but I had no idea when it might close in.  The weather doesn't always come from the south west. Cloud can rise up from the northern valley quickly and envelope the plains in bleak and windy conditions with reduced visibility.

Relief at some groomed snow. The odd construction is a tourist board with interesting form but no function as any type of shelter.

It wasn't long before a few skaters turned up. The morning air was very cold so I kept moving through shade and sun.  Well over an hour later, maybe two,  I met quite a few skiers at Watchbed Creek out for a day ski, but no campers. A rare clear day for this time of year.
The great groomed road back made life a lot easier.
Only a few others around this day.
Watchbed Creek

I had a nice easy run and took a rest and fuel stop in the sun at Watchbed Creek. I got back to Windy Corner in good form about 12:30pm and took a free shuttle bus down to the car.

Large heel blister about the size of 20c coin. Ouch (x 3 days)

Since I left early I took to opportunity to do some quick walking side trips on the drive down the hill.

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