Mt Bealey, Arthurs Pass.

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Jason Watson and Colin Kinnison – Skied on the 24/08/2018

Bealey Tour – Skinning towards Mt Bealey in the background

This trip is easily done in a day from Christchurch with an early start.  We left Christchurch at 0500hrs and started from the Mt Bealey track end just after 0700hrs.  The initial 2 hours climbs through the bush and is on a marked trail that is steep, especially as you approach the upper bush margin.   This track is excellent for carrying skis, with minimal hang-ups on the trees, thankfully.

Skiing out of the basin below Mt Bealey

Once at the bush line we found the skiable snow to be higher than we had hoped, but in a reasonable snow year you could start skinning from here.  We encountered good snow at the first high point of 1600m.  The basin just south of here and the peaks of 1760m and 1805m would provide a worthy half day mission.

Skiing up summit ridge Mt Bealey

There are a couple of good steep lines on the east face of 1805m.  To get to Mount Bealey you can either skin through the saddle between 1760 and 1805, or continue as we did direct to the summit of 1760m.

Bootpacking up the summit ridge
Bootpacking towards Mt Bealey Summit

We dropped off 1760 into the basin below the SE face of Mt Bealey at about 1100 hours after some testing of snow conditions.  The ski into the basin was moderate with lots of good snow cover.  It’s then a straightforward skin up onto the south ridge of Bealey, taking approx. 30-40 minutes.

Skiing off Mt Bealey – Pk 1760m in background

Our intention had been to ski the gully between Mt Bealey and 1760 into Rough Creek, but the snow did not go to the valley floor and the gully was filled with a lot of wet slide debris.  However, the ski back to 1600m via the 1760-1805 saddle was a worthy moderate run on great snow.  We started to descend back through the bush at about 1430hrs, and found the downhill a bit painful with skis sticking below our packs.

Mt Bealey Basin from the return saddle

All in all this is a worthy day trip and I imagine would be excellent with a descent into Rough Ck.

Skiing the basin above the bush line


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