Pisa Range – Cromwell Faces

Ski Touring Cromwell Faces

For some reason the Cromwell Faces are almost totally ignored as a ski touring destination. The upper reaches of the Tinwald Burn offers great ski touring terrain and some of the most consistent snow around. The eastern aspect holds snow really well and since it is off the main divide it is often good weather or at least better weather, than anywhere else. It has pretty of STEEP and great rock formations.

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Drive to the Snow Farm carpark (there is a road toll) and follow the DOC access trail to get into the Pisa Conservation Area. Fast skiers can reach the summit ridge in 2-3 hrs (plan on longer) and it can be done as a day trip but an overnight at Kirtleburn Hut is recommended. The fastest route is to follow the ridgeline between the Kirtleburn and the Princeburn.

Dropping in anywhere near Mt. Pisa it is STEEP but milder entries can be found to the south. This terrain is lee to the prevailing wind and will be loaded with snow. Full avalanche precautions are required.

These slopes are sheltered and can be good skiing when the westerlies are howling, but beware, you have to get back. The rolling nature of the Pisa Range makes navigation difficult, never go with out compass or GPS.

Don’t tell anyone I told you.

Whitney –  Mt Aspiring Guides