About Me

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Sydney, Australia
A natural curiosity for what's over the next hill has taken me on a vast array of trips over the years, most of which involve human powered travel. There's so much more to do. All images © Darren Mckenzie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

KITING ETHERIDGE

 

One look at the Webcam on the Kosciusko track and most people would talk doom and gloom. I wasn't all that optimistic that we three late season hunters would find what we were looking for. Craig had been waiting patiently to try out his new kites, while Tim was searching for his first ski of the season.

I was hoping there would be enough wind to continue my quest of snow kiting every available opportunity before the season is truly finished. The high pressure system had other plans for us, but as usual we came home smiling.

A short video...

 

We headed out to Cock's Harbour in fine weather but minimal wind. Tim managed to put up his largest kite and eek his way around while Craig and I searched for a few more knots. After trying unsuccessfully in one spot we moved another kilometer just as Tim arrived back. 

Once again the wind was just not there so we decided to do some riding. Tim pointed out a line he was keen on so we all headed up to our various drop in points.


It was a real mix of setup's, as Tim was on AT, Craig on Tele and I was on the board. We had a good run and kicking back in the sun on such a beautiful day was priceless.


Just as we had finished the run, in rolled the mist and vis dropped substantially. By this stage there was just enough wind to fly the kites static so we fiddled around for a while. Tim on his Yakuza was the only one with enough power to actually kite properly. Craig started to get a feel for his kites but was frustrated with the wind as we all were.




We all experimented with various sleeping systems up near Seamans hut and got a good nights rest with a small amount of snow falling during the night.



The next day was more of the same so we headed back in to Thredbo early fairly satisfied.


Thanks must go to Tim for his no nonsense advice and information on all things kiting and lightweight backcountry tips. So another great weekend was had by all and now it's time to start repacking for next weekend. Good times....

Wind data.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KITING ON THE ROLLING GROUNDS



It seems as though spring forgot to arrive and summer has barged its way in the door! Warm sunny days and balmy nights without the sub zero temps to slow the inevitable melt of the snowpack. With this in mind Pat was keen to get as far from our start point of Guthega resort as the wind allowed.
Mt Jagungal would be the ultimate prize if conditions permitted, but I was wondering if I'd make Whites River Hut as my usual mode of transport was switched to a set of tele skis. Twenty something years on a snowboard does funny things to one's sense of balance. We had an early start and made good time up towards Guthega trig but resorted to boot packing a few short sections.

A short video.
Untitled from Dibble on Vimeo.







The conditions were marginal and the wind was a little gusty at times so we headed for Windy creek which was not so windy. We put up small kites and while I struggled my way up to Consett Stephen Pass, Pat's thirst for technical and interesting terrain took him along Tate West Ridge.

A while later we decided to head for the Whites river corridor so after a skin back on to the Rolling ground it was time for a bit of tow action. Using a small strop, Pat towed me for a few kilometres through some dicey terrain at full speed.

I have to say, carrying a pack on skis, dodging rocks and trying to be a good pillion passenger kept us both busy.




We arrived at what is now known as Sabine's Harbour, which was a good spot to get some more time on the small kite in decent wind. I put quite a few laps in trying to concentrate on good technique not only with the kite but the tele gear. It had been a long day so after the last session we headed for Whites River for some R&R.





The next day after a warm up climb back to Sabine's Harbour, we launched small kites again only to find the wind slowly dropping. Pat did the usual pack run to higher ground with some impressive kite work through some difficult terrain thanks to a rapidly melting snow pack.

I finally launched my 8m and kited around a small area for 20 minutes or so and when I looked off into the distance, saw Pat's kite 3-4 kilometres away! The wind was getting light so when he arrived back we headed for Guthega. With a bit of guidance, I managed to get through some of the most difficult terrain so far. I dropped the kite a few times and found some of the skiing quite challenging but absolutely loved it. Pat made it back under wind power but I lost all hope of relaunching after a frustrating 40 minutes and skinned the last 5 k's back to the car.

The weekend was challenging due to the snow conditions but I am definitely looking forward to next season and the potential for some big distances. Stoked!

The wind data for both days.


Monday, September 5, 2011

SNOWKITING KOSCIUSKO


The Main Range of Kosciusko National Park has been quite icy over the last month with several melt freeze events and some fairly wind scoured surfaces. I was a little pessimistic about heading down on Friday night after getting the low down during the week but after pulling the plug on the last trip, decided to make the most of it.

Pat was quietly confident about the wind and surface conditions so off we went with a range of kites to suit all conditions. After leaving Thredbo in very mild and sunny conditions, we were both happy to find no ice and a rapidly softening cover!

A short video.
Untitled from Dibble on Vimeo.





The wind seemed consistent as we headed out through Cocks Harbour so Pat put up one of his kites to get a feel for the conditions. I was hesitant to put my 8 up so started out on a small 4.5m as Pat did a gear run up to Seamans. Talk about service! My pack was shipped off so I could concentrate on kiting for the day.








It took about ten minutes to get the hang of the little kite as everything happens much quicker than when using my old 8. I spent the next few hours cranking around having an absolute blast. I couldn't believe the speeds you can reach with such a small kite!
I found myself trying to hit faster and faster speeds hanging back in the harness until I was out of energy. Mildly sunburnt, hungry and starting to dehydrate I headed up to the hut at 2.30pm for lunch.


Pat had been all the way out to Leatherbarrel creek, Carruthers, Twynam and everything in between! It never ceases to amaze me just how far kites can take an experienced kiter.
After lunch I headed back down to Cocks harbour and spent the last hour or two lapping up and back along the pole line while Pat, now using the 11m, took off again to explore the range.

I caught a glimpse of a kite at Kosci lookout so headed up only to see the kite disappear back to Thredbo. It was getting late and after a big day, I headed back just in time for Pat to arrive in style right on sunset.




During the night the wind picked up to over 30knts and unfortunately for one group who were snow caving for the first time, woke to find the their new tent which had been pitched just outside, gone! Warm temps melted the pegs loose and off it went during the night.

Winds were strong and gusty the next day, and with rain just starting to fall, Pat towed me back to Thredbo with the small kite. The snow was heavy and slow which helped on the way down the Supertrail, and with showers sweeping up the valley it was a good time to be leaving.

Great weekend away.