Thursday 14 August: Beginners snowshoe – Plains of Heaven – S/M. Snowshoeing day trip suitable for beginners from Smiggin Holes across the Plains of Heaven towards Mt Sunrise. How far we get will depend on the enthusiasm of the party and conditions on the day. Maps: Perisher Valley, Geehi Dam. Leader: Terence U. Transport: $140/vehicle + park entry fee. An opportunity too good to miss – enquiries and bookings to email@example.com . Emergency contact details must be registered/provided to book.
7 of us drove in 2 cars to the Smiggin Holes car park. We met our leader there, plus 3 crazy skiers soon after the start.
Distance: 10.9km | Climb: 430m | Time: 9.50am-3.50pm (6hrs), with 50 mins of breaks | Grading: M/M; M(9)
Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slide show.
Download the Google Earth .kmz file here.
We stopped at Rhythm Snow Sports in Cooma and those that didn’t have, hired snow shoes and stocks. My fear of driving the road in snow was unfounded, as it was dry tar all the way into the car park below Terence and Virginia’s Gunuma Lodge. We sorted ourselves out, then walked 100m to the top end of the car park and onto the snow. Much faffing about as we geared up, then received an excellent briefing from Terence.
The day was absolutely beautiful and the layers soon came off. It was shorts and t-shirt weather. Strange skiers appeared – Linda and Peter – and, soon after, that consummate young fellow Adam L. He looked resplendent in his hi-class bogan westy shirt (and very fine gear), having slept in his bivvy bag under a tree in probably -10°C the previous night.
We headed north then west along the Link Road. A bit of shoe trouble for one in the party so, as we turned north off the road towards SMA0312, I loaned my shoes and walked in boots. Probably easier (certainly quicker) as we climbed 80m to the top. Dry feet all day, as I’d treated my boots the night before.
Morning tea at the top, then down to the East. The skiers enjoyed that, one of them telemarking in style whilst I walked directly down the hill and probably spoiling the beautiful unmarked slope.
A creek to cross at the bottom, then up to come in at the back of the hut we’d seen, so as to be able to cross the aqueduct via a small wooden bridge. Just round the corner was lunch.
At various stages, Terence, Linda and Adam gave us little chats on general snowshoeing techniques, gear, safety, weather conditions, snow bridges, navigation. Very well done and much appreciated.
After lunch we continued gently uphill along the map-marked track to rejoin the Link Road. One party member returned to the Lodge, so I was able to shoe on from here.
We next did a loop, first to the west. Huge views to the north to Schlink Pass and the cleared powerline easement up the side of the Munyang River. We contoured around a high point and stopped for a quick afternoon tea.
Then on up to the N end of the Mt Piper feature. Beautiful colours in the Snow Gums. At the top of the Bourke and Wills T-bars our skiing companions left us for the thrill of the downhill. We, more sedately, took the ridge to the NE past the back of the microwave tower. An inelegant sliding descent of a sharp drop saved us a bit of time, then back east across the tops of more T-bars.
A final descent to touch the Link Road and so into the side of the car park.
What a fabulous day! We were very fortunate with the weather and most grateful to Terence for his preparation, navigation and leadership.
Happy snow bunnies drove home, not hitting one roo (I’ve never seen so much road kill). A 12+ hour day door-to-door, but excellent rewards.
11 ‘walkers’ – Evelyn C, Peter C, Chris F, Linda G, Jaime L, Adam L, Garry M, Quentin M, Llewllyn S, Terence U (leader), me.