Skiing down the western faces of the Liebig range, Murchison Gl in background
A ski tour loop with stunning views down into the Murchison Glacier.
The Cass River lies on the western side of Lake Tekapo. Access is solely through Glenmore Station and booking ahead is necessary as the run-holders rent out the huts on a nightly basis to ski tourers, hunters etc. For bookings call Will Murray on 03 6806 752 or 0211869087.
The access road is generally pretty sweet as Will runs a grader up there to keep the access easy. Most cars can make it up to just shy of Waterfall hut. After that a little clearance is required but any street SUV should be able to manage the track until to a tributary about 2.5 ks south of Memorial hut. The final 2 ks might take a nudge more but is nothing too strenuous. Continue reading 'Cass Valley – Liebig Range'»
Symmetry Peaks, Eyre Mountans
A day ski touring trip from Queenstown with moderately easy access. I found the Eyre Mountains at this area to be very interesting topography with many options for the ski tourer. There are both shorter day trips as well as some longer ridge traverses possible. The geology is quite rugged with steeper terrain, which offers lots of couloirs through rock bands, for those keen on a steeper line. Continue reading 'Eyre Mountains; Symmetry Peaks'»
Skiing Mt Sibbald, Mt DÁrchaic in background
A classic ski mountain, Mt Sibbald has 1800m vertical from the base to summit. Situated up the Macauley River it takes just under 3 hours of 4wd action to get there from Tekapo. The initial section of road to Lilybank station is straight forward, but from Lilybank to Macauley Hut it is 4wd country. The 4wd section starts with a marked crossing of the Macauley river which is pretty straight forward, but if there has been any rain or moderate snow-melt it would be best in a unimog. In spring this river is also popular with jet-boaters, to give you an indication of possible flow. If in doubt have a look at the website for Environment Canterbury – http://ecan.govt.nz/services/online-services/monitoring/river-flows/Pages/River-flows-south.aspx Check out the Ahuriri river which is monitored. If the flow is around 30 cumecs or below the Macauley should be ok.
After the crossing the route is rutted for the initial section, then improves vastly until the last half hour which is riverbed travel, incipient tracks, lots of bumping around and river crossings. You will need a low range gearbox and some clearance (read: Landcruiser not RAV 4).
Macaulay hut is possibly the nicest hut in the NZ back country. There is electricity, running water, gas stoves, kitchen utensils, double beds even!. Pure luxury. Continue reading 'Mt Sibbald'»
Mt Tyndall ski tour, Aspiring NP.Rewarding ski touring trip in the mt Aspiring NP achievable in a weekend.It can be done in different ways: a long day from Aspiring hut or there are good camping spots at the tree line or at Cascade saddle.Pretty straight forward trip, however getting in and out of the Pylon need precaution and settled snow. Because of this probably best time for the tour is late winter and early spring.
Glacier travel equipment is necessary along with good skiing and route finding abilities. Continue reading 'Mt Tyndall ski tour, Mt Aspiring NP'»
SW spur of Mt Mannering
A great adventure ski tour crossing the main divide with a spectacular summit. From Murchison hut ascend the glacier on the opposite side of the valley heading towards point 2178. The glacier steepens at around the 1900m mark to 2000m mark and for us required cramponing. We did this in November with a low snow pack and warmish temperatures.
Once above 2000m easy benches lead northwards over Classen Saddle. Easy skinning leads up a large basin towards Whataroa Saddle which is incorrectly marked on the map. To cross the divide look for a small saddle about 20m West of point 2442. There are stupendous views from here down the Whymper Glacier, and over to the East face of Elie De Beaumont. Continue reading 'Mt Mannering via Whataroa and Classen Saddles'»
The col at top Joie de Vivre Gl., Mt Mannering in background
A great ski tour requiring a good level of fitness and glacier skills. We skied this late season in mid November in a low snow year.
The Murchison is a good staging point for several good ski tours. The Murchison hut is good and tidy with fuel and blankets and sleeps about 8. It sits high on the shoulder of Mt Cooper and is quite a slog up from the glacier, and the access is subject to potential rock fall and avalanche activity. Hence another good alternative is to camp on the glacier if your access in is via helicopter. However many tourers access this area after hitching a flight to Tasman Saddle which can be cheaper and more frequent; then ski the Murchison Headwall down to the Hut and base out of there in order to not have to carry too much gear. The Headwall to the hut is a straightforward ski after negotiating the bergshrund at the start. The route down tends to the true left of the glacier. Continue reading 'Joie de Vivre Glacier ski tour, Mt Cook N.P.'»
Skiing East facing slopes of the “Doolans”, Remarkables back country ski touring
The Remarkables has many short day ski tours available. One option is to access the bowls to the East of the ski field, an area known as The Doolans. (Note when looking at a topo map the Sugarbowl lift is incorrectly marked…it actually heads up towards Peak 2057).
There are many options here for touring, but a fun loop to do is to head up the Sugarbowl lift, then skin up the ridge to end up just south of peak 2057. Ski down the initially steepish headwall to the more mellow bowls of the Doolans. Traverse south with many options for playing in the rolling back country. There are several opportunities to escape back onto the ridge and into the ski area via broad spurs or gullies. Having said this the Doolans basin is surrounded by a headwall which is a bit steeper than the bowl itself and can be susceptible to wind loading, so choose your exit route according to conditions. Continue reading 'Doolans Loop ski tour from Remarkables Ski Field'»
Descending from Buchanas to Matukituki
A variation to the Mt Alta tour is via the SE ridge and the Rumbling Burn. There is heaps of varied terrain and a multitude of different route options. We did this in a low snow year but still got plenty of powder skiing in. It did involve a hike on tussock out of the Rumbling Burn which helped vary the trip. I recommend this tour. Continue reading 'Mt Alta – via Rumbling Burn to Buchanans'»
Quite a bit has been written already about these two ski descents by Fredrico Varengo, however I wanted to put them in here for the record as they are milestones in NZ ski mountaineering history.
Continue reading 'Mt Cook – East Face & Mt Tasman ski descent'»