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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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Ice Conditions Buller, Blue Lake et al.

8:36:51 AM
As the winter season kicks off this is the thread to keep others updated on the ice conditions in various areas including: Blue Lake, Mt Buller, Mt Buffalo & Mt Bogong (feel free to suggest others).

If anyone has been out and about please consider posting so that others can know what to expect or get psyched for trip ideas.

10:36:01 AM
There are a bunch of resources here this is the latest: Blue Lake Climbing Conditions
Snow conditions have seen more snow falling recently on the Main Range followed by very cold nights. The gullies are filling in nicely. Access and deeper snow conditions to get to Illawong is on a fair cover but more snow would be ideal to improve access to Blue Lake and beyond.

In climbing talk that means there is no ice yet...

Also, add the Hump at Buffalo as a place to watch, there was a heap of steep blue shiny stuff there last weekend. This wet cycle will be good for building waterfall ice, need to wait until the freeze out later in the week, then it should all be looking rosier by next weekend.

10:39:45 AM
Heres some Guff on Buff:

10:47:48 AM
Excellent. Thank you.
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9:25:49 PM
This is the Guthega webcam that gives an idea of the snow conditions on the approach, with Twynam in the far distance:

I went up to Perisher for a ski last Tuesday and it was OK but very thin down low. It was -7C in Cooma the other night, so it's cold, but still needs some more precip and some melt-thaw before Blue Lake will be in.
6:57:57 PM
Anyone been near west ridge of Buller or Blue Lake? What are current conditions like? Cheers

9:06:38 PM
Can't comment on the west ridge itself (looked like the snowline was down to round hill) but I got over to the waterfall area on Buller yesterday morning. The decent down to the anchors above the waterfall was pretty good with areas of quite soft snow and patchy cover. The waterfall itself is forming up as below.

The left most fall (just to the left side of the rope in the photo) had formed all the way down and was climbable with some delicate moves. The column was still a bit thin though so I only had one lap before retreating. The middle two falls were still hanging while the far right hand end looked fairly good but I didn't go over to have a closer look. The lower slab was very nice.

I thought this was a fairly good score as I didn't expect much to have formed and with a few more cold fronts and sunny days it should be pretty fun up there.
9:53:21 AM
Thanks Sabu, sounds like you had some fun there. Also sounds (and looks) promising from that pic you put up. What do you reckon a bomber top rope anchor would look like above the waterfall?

10:11:57 AM
A double bolt belay and chains if you can find it! Their rough position is identified by the orange poles - kindly put in place by some ski patrol guys. I think there are more bolts either side of the set of chains with additional pole markers but I couldn't find these ones this time.

The main set of chains are located just below the newest looking (brightest) central orange pole, on the slope 10m above the lip of the waterfall. Just dig down below the pole and clear away any snow around the rock at the base and you should find them.

Otherwise you might be able to get some screws in for a belay if you are lucky but have a good look at the surrounding ice before doing so. If the snow is deep enough a T slot for a stake could also work but generally that ramp above the fall doesn't collect very deep snow so I wouldn't rely on this. Also the rock is shit so don't expect much on that front either!
10:36:47 AM
Thanks mate. Appreciate the time. Will let you know how I go! Cheers
9:58:45 PM

Conditions at Camels Hump a week ago
9:18:40 AM
Hmm I could maybe get up Bloodline if it had 6 inches of hard frozen stuff down the middle of it ...

8:37:58 AM
Hey there guys, as an FYI there will be a ski event series thing (weather and conditions dependent) happening out on the 'climbs' next month. I'd guess that ski patrol will then start getting a bit picky about how and when you access the crag, although I've no idea really how it is planned. its called ... thats why there are poles etc all over the hill. there are new anchors somewhere also I believe.

6:02:26 PM
Heading up to Blue Lake this weekend. Anyone been up recently who could comment on the conditions?

4:06:42 PM
Conditions at Blue Lake aren't the best. Only a few small flows of a few metres high. Give it a month?
7:50:13 PM
Ali Pepper's FB page has some pics of a recent trip to Blue Lake.
3:47:06 PM
Conditions look good at BL! Can anyone offer advice on acceasing the lip of the climb for top rope anchor? I'm assuming a combination of screws and v threads? If too soft for screws I'd assume its too soft to climb safely...
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9:46:45 PM
On 9/08/2016 OzMamba wrote:
>...Can anyone offer advice on acceasing the lip
>of the climb for top rope anchor? I'm assuming a combination of screws
>and v threads? If too soft for screws I'd assume its too soft to climb

You mean the climb shown in Allie's pics? You can walk up around the left side to get on top fairly easily (with care). As for anchors, sometimes there is snow but no ice, so screws are no good. If there is enough snow and it is frozen hard, stakes/pickets can be used. If it's too soft for either, the ice might still be OK to climb, but you will need rock anchors and (very) long slings as, if memory serves me, the better rock anchors are a bit back from the lip.

I skiied up Kozi on Sunday and looked across to Blue Lake. It's quite snowy across the high tops, thin low down, and I heard the ice was only so-so. It hasn't been super cold this winter and recent snow has banked-out the base of what ice was there.
12:05:55 PM
Thanks Damo.

11:40:11 AM
Blue Lake last weekend was great. Lots of small flows with some sections of good ice and other areas with rather thin cover (note that as it was my first time there I have no reference for what normal conditions are).

Found one pitch with nice leadable ice going at around WI2. Everything else was toprop - easy to set up top anchors with a combinations of rock gear and stakes. Snow at the time was deep in wind loaded areas but not very compressible so made moving around tough sometimes. Access from Guthega was good. Lake appeared to be frozen over but we weren't game to test that..!

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