Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Abbott Ridge

For a couple of decades Kosciuszko National Park has been my place of refuge. In the early days, I needed to discover everything within her boundaries by spilling my mind over maps late into the night. The maps had created three dimensional landscapes which made travel uncomplicated.

I wasn't interested in structured adventure and discovered that if I went forth with respect and took the knowledge passed down from those before me, that wealth beyond imagination could be found. A place that has had such a profound effect on who I am, how I think and who I turn to in times of need.

A place that is relatively small by comparison to other ranges around the world but size matters not to those who live and breath this small alpine park. I spend the bulk of my time playing during the winter season, snowboarding, kite skiing and traveling through the beautiful rolling terrain from one area to the next.

I've absorbed more than my share.....

In early May 2013, a young Canadian man went missing in Kosciuszko National Park. The full force of winter was drawing near and the news of Prabhdeep Srawn was as always, worrying. Professional teams of skilled searchers were deployed but as winter threw a blanket of snow over the region, the search was called off.

The search never really ended for the family who called upon private local and international teams of trained searchers to continue outside of the official arena.

Six months later and Prabh is still missing.....

The noise from social media and the like became a dull roar, and as professional teams gear up and resume the search I decided to put in some time as an independent searcher. Knowing the type of terrain and the probability of random searching finding anything was quite remote, but in my opinion better than sitting back and waiting.

More time is needed and time that I'm willing to give.

Scott and I left from Charlotte Pass and headed out along the summit road to Seamans hut before separating and heading out to Mt Townsend and more specifically, Abbott Ridge. After some correspondence with others involved, I'd made the decision to look into some of the less likely drainages that funnel of the western faces.

Mt Townsend area reveals just how many possible holes and small caves need to be checked and the area has already been searched repeatedly by various teams.
One of the most difficult things to comprehend, is the heath cover. It completely hides anyone or anything that may be underneath. A person looking for shelter in pre season falls could easily crawl underneath and escape the brunt of a storm. Seeing anything from two feet away is impossible.
Once we moved into the drainage that I was keen to check, things seemed more improbable that a person would actively choose to descend here. It still needed checking.
At the bottom of the first intersection we separated again and travelled up two different creeks and met back at the top. The terrain was steep but manageable and despite getting the upper section done, I'm hoping to get back down to do the lower section via the 4th drainage.
We took a different route back to Charlotte Pass by dropping into the side of  Lady Northcote Canyon and climbing Mt Lee which gave some nice views of Little Austria.
By the time we reached the Crossing it was obvious just how difficult a job the search is for anyone involved. It's a numbers game and while our time may have been a lotto ticket, I'm sure that the official and professional teams have a much better chance as structured and highly trained units.
I will endeavour to return and spend more time searching as it becomes available and sincerely hope all teams stay safe and Prabh is found.

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