Friday, September 26, 2008

Mt Wall-Tick

Got back out to Cheeseman yesterday just in time to catch a ride up the Main T-Bar right at 4pm. I then skinned to the top of Cockayne. The sun was still high in the sky and and knew that I would have lots of time still to make it to one of my main objectives of the winter- Mt Wall.
Mt Wall's S-SW face jumps out at you when you look north while standing on the deck of the Cheeseman day lodge and has an assortment of steep, rock lined lines coming off its west and southeast ridges, with a few lines leading directly off its summit. During the winter there were many options off the summit, but now with spring setting in and the snow getting thin there's really only one option to ski south from the summit, the big, main couloir.
From the top of Cockayne it was a mixture of skiing, scree running and skating to the base of this main south face couloir.
Above: Mt Wall's main S facing line

I had a pretty good view of Mt Rolleston's Crow face and some other lines I hope to ski one day. I put skis on my back, crampons on my feet and had the MCX 820 axe in hand for the boot up the line. I was worried that the sun may have been on the line for too long, but it was still in great condition. The skiers right side was shaded and still pretty firm and the other side nice and soft. It took about 20 mins to boot to the summit and I was there at about 5:10pm. I took in the view, snapped a few photos and started heading down. I couldn't actually ski right off the summit due to a lack of snow and started my descent about 1m below the summit. As I dropped into the main south couloir I knew it was gonna be good, the snow was soft and the line not as steep as it looks from Cheeseman, making it a really fun run. The biggest hazard was from fallen rocks that were melted into the snow like little land mines I had to keep avoiding.

Yippee-Me on top of Mt Wall

The view as I dropped in

I skied as far down as I could and then started walking. This was almost more interesting than being up high as I got to see all the destruction of the huge avalanches that rumbled off Mt Wall and the surrounding basins during the winter. It was pretty impressive to see trees snapped and there was even avalanche debris still around at 1000m elevation.

Avalanche debris and broken trees- a sign of the big avalanche cycles we had during the winter

It was a bit of a trek out and I got to the Cheeseman base area just on dark. Pretty happy to have skied that line as it's one I (and many others I think) have had my eye on for a while now.

MCX 820 Axe- Worked great! Probably could have gotten away with a less burly axe (maybe even just whipit poles), but it was good to get out and use it. The extra length to what I'm used to made it much easier and I played around a little cutting steps and self arresting. Nothing mind blowing, no "wow!", just what you'd expect from an axe of this quality.


  1. Sounds like a pretty good trip. Keep ticking them off...

  2. Hey Tim, thanks for stopping by :-)


"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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