Good morning from the mountains 🏔 did you enjoyed your easter weekend? 🐣 na habt ihr alle die freien Ostertage ausgenutzt? 🏃🏻
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Day 26, had my most difficult night ski-tour back to base in a blizzard last night. Couldn't see anything even with the headtorch on, so it was a blind trip following GPS.
I listened to music to drown out the wind, and I didn't see the hut I was basing at till I followed GPS to within 20m! It made me really appreciate having good GPS equipment, good shell wear to stay dry, the support and knowing people care that I'm safe, and a drive to get somewhere sheltered and warm (while approx 10+ cm of snow fell sideways during 2hrs blind touring - I picked the worst time to go out and I wouldn't recommend anyone doing that....!). And I'm trying to couch surf in the village tonight as I have an early morning pickup in the morning for the next 4 days in the Hotham area (and not keen for no-vis touring tonight and before sunrise tomorrow). I have clocked up about 180km since being here, and today's pic is another strava heat map of where I have been going (mostly ski touring doing double trips with gear when 'moving base', or trying to kite)
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GPS Tracks - www.strava.com/athletes/bigmtnskierx
Blog - www.simonsblog.kiwi
The proof is in the photo of how great the conditions were yesterday! Looking good for the rest of the week with a storm coming in for the weekend delivering substantial amounts of snow!’ #snowmageddon
Photo: Chief guide James.
Buckle up buckaroos, for we doing an avalanche learn! 🤓
Roll back to heli skiing last July - the avalanche warning on the day we headed out was a category 4/5. The mountains could basically drop an avalanche at the press of a button - it was like... a cold war 🙈🙉 Puns aside, because of this we had to avoid any sort of gully where an avalanche would swallow you up, and were incredibly cautious throughout the day to avoid steep fall lines without safe runouts. It was frustrating: the snow pack was solid having been there a few days, it hadn't been warm to create any ice layers... I just didn't quite get it. Throw in a blue bird day and it seemed like there was nothing to stress about. .
It wasn't until later in the day when we had time that Jim started digging to confirm the warnings. 60cm under the snowpack was this layer of inch-long needles, caused by super cold but humid nights with no snow. These needles grow and grow like a frost, before getting covered by the next snowfall. What's so sketchy about the needles is that they can hold the weight of the snow vertically, but even slight disturbances horizontally causes the entire layer to shear like dominoes, causing an avalanche. And we were skiing on 60cm of snow, all on top of this layer of needles across the whole mountain. .
Safe to say our last run was considerably more cautious. It was a huge awakening to respect the mountains and their power - to be so naive about the dangers again could be a big mistake, especially in the back country later this year. A humbling experience to say the least. 😇
There is a lot of uncertainty we deal with in our little human lives but there is one thing I am 100% certain of and it is that I will always find my truest happiness in the moments like this. And these simply beautiful moments, these little adventures out there, they are my own precious treasure no one can never ever take away from me.
Chur NZ and mountains - you really do know how to pamper this gal.
Croatia, we are a big fan! Look at this amazing scene from a wild excursion into some sea caves near Pula by @erubes1. We can almost feel the coolness of the cave on our skin. Don't you?
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