Our first challenge was to climb a 3m vertical wall of snow and ice left by the grader next to the road. Evidence of the recent warm spell was very apparent as we crossed the flats on a very glazed and crusty track. However, conditions improve a lot as we got into the trees to make our way up to Commonwealth Lake. The climb up the high point was uneventful; the trail had been well used and ski tracks were visible on steep, north facing slopes along the valley. Surprisingly, the alpine was not seriously wind effected and some of the group decided to climb beyond the col after lunch to get a longer run down. Given the amount of ski traffic, we decided to take two avalanche chutes down to the valley bottom rather than the usual gully route, which is quite narrow and steep. However, the chutes were also well tracked and needed some care to get down under control. Carolyn’s ski left ski did not handle the decent well, and was showing signs of a very pronounced “early rise” requiring some serious first aid by Andre and Sebastian to complete our trip. Total distance was 11.4 km with an elevation gain of 660m. Thanks to: Philip,David,Brian,Clifton,Carolyn,Marianne,Sebastiaan,Andre for coming out to join me. c/s: John
Commonweath Peak coming into view
View of high point before dropping down into Commonwealth Creek
Well skied slopes between Commonweath Peak and Birdwood
View of Smuts Pass still looking devoid of snow.
The team having a leisurely lunch with Pig's Back in the background.
Chute descent route.
Carolyn's ski. It wasn't an "early rise" design when we started the descent!
Andre and Sebastian to the rescue; performing first aid on Carlyn's ski.