We had heard that the Hero Knob area had seen a lot of traffic over the previous weekend but we had also heard that there had been a fair amount of new snow that came in with minimal wind. Both rumours were correct. Avalanche ratings were Mod/Mod/Low with good bonding between the old snowpack and the new snow. The reports noted a possible risk of sloughing in steep alpine terrain as well as the possibility of wet loose slides later in the day on solar aspects. After discussing the group's objectives for the day, safety and options, we got underway about 09:20. The air temperature was cool, with minimal wind and bright blue skies.
Once into the valley it was tempting to hang around there and exploit the untouched slopes below treeline. A group of four had just skied the run from the hanging valley down to the camel bumps and were excitedly talking about the great conditions. But the sun was pushing us into the alpine. There were groups going up into the north aspect couloir features on the ridge to the south of us (above Blacksmith peak) - pretty wild stuff.
The views only got better as we tracked up into the hanging valley on the way to the col.
Coming up out of the lower valley
Getting into the alpine
Kim and Dave arrive at the col
We arrived at the col in time for a quiet lunch and a reasonably long discussion about which way to go from there. The way we came up (south aspect) showed only two tracks, but likely had significant sun effect, and the slope over towards Murray Basin had a lot of tracks and is steeper at the top. We opted for the second choice - the circuit route.
It was the right choice. The photo below shows how many people had been skiing that slope, but surprisingly we were able to find really good lines and great skiing along the edges.
Lots of ski tracks down from the col
It is a long descent to the valley, then even the lower area offered good skiing.
The lower Murray basin
It was good enough for us to go back up for another run on the north facing fan features below the Knob.
Back up for another run
The ride out the luge track back towards the road was exciting in places but got us all back out by about 3pm.
Thank you Kim, Jim, Jim and Rainer for the photos and thanks to all of the participants Kim,David,Rainer,Jim,Jim for joining me on a fine day out in the backcountry c/s Clifton.