“One thing is certain – when I say that the slope is over thirty degrees – that’s steep! And when a thousand feet of that slope is dropping below you with maybe rocks and ice down there you don’t ponder too long about the prospect of falling.”
– Alan Andrews
When you get down to it, Australia is the flattest driest continent on Earth. By definition, the skiing here is the worst in the world. The only place you might come close to arguing is worse is Africa – and I hear the Atlas Mountains in Morocco are pretty big. So it’s easy to write the place off as a land of sunburnt sweeping plains. Or, if you’re a skier, patchy cover, ice and crud, short shallow runs and snowmaking.
Australian resorts are world leaders in snowmaking! World leaders!
Even the highest mountain, good old Kosciuszko, is a hill with a road to the top. Just look at the Wikipedia picture. Awww. The very first time I ever went XC skiing, we made it to the top! Snowboarders were drinking beer up there! Fun for the whole family!
The enthusiastic might even bother to look over at the ‘Main Range’, hoping to see a craggier peak. But nope, Mount Townsend and Northcote and Lee all look pretty tame over there. Maybe a cool little bowel kinda hidden below Carruthers Peak.
But then one day you’ll bother to climb the second highest peak, Mount Townsend, and have a look from the top of there and
So begins our investigation into the gnarliest lines in Oz.
Remember that little bowl just visible from the summit of Kosciuszko?
Oh, that’s cute.
Turns out there’s some great runs there, proper chutes and everything! The one right in the middle is ruler-straight fall-line bliss, and even has a cool name: either the Widowmaker or the Elevator depending on who you talk to. Both are descriptive and I can’t really make up my mind.
But still looks more like fun than death.
Don’t worry, we haven’t looked at the north face yet.
…More like it
This was marked up by someone on the ski.com.au backcountry forum (Probably VSG, that guy loves his Photoshop). The blue line, from Andrews’ description, is probably called Eric’s Funnel, after Eric Eisinger, a ski instructor at the Charlotte Pass Chalet. The red line is Middle Gully. The green line is unnamed as far as I can tell.
But what’s that opposite this face? An actual PD+ ski mountaineering objective?