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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Gap - Torlesse Range - 16th September 2012

Uncle Roddus Tramping diary: Tramp No. 123
The Gap - Torlesse Range - 16th September 2012

A trip along the tops of the Torlesse Range, over Foggy Peak and Castle Hill to The Gap had the potential to be a stunning trip with the amount of snow still visible on the mountains and the views available from these peaks. Nine optimistic trampers meet at Springfield with a forecast for clearing conditions later in the day. The actual weather wasn't as bad as expected for the start of this trip, with the temperature mild, the winds reasonably light but with clouds shrouding the peaks we were to climb.
After leaving Porters Pass around 9:30am and heading up towards Foggy Peak, it was starting to look promising as blue skys and the sun became visible. Re-grouping on Foggy Peak after re-donning outer layers for wind protection, it became apparent that the clag was gonna stay and we weren't going to climb above it.
Setting off in very poor visibility, following the foot prints of another group ahead of us, someone soon got wise to the fact that those aforementioned foot prints didn't seen to be going in the direction we wanted, as we couldn't hardly see more than 20 meters in front of us and certainly not out next destination, a check on a GPS soon put us back on track. First lunch was finally had on about contour 1800, just before the steep ascent to Castle Hill Peak. The mist did lift slightly to give limited views while lunching and fortunately the wind had dropped also at that point.
Donning crampons, we set off for a considerably steep climb up into more fog and finally onto Castle Hill Peak, where the stunning views remained stubbornly hidden behind the aforementioned fog. After dropping off Castle Hill Peak, the snow became softer, resulting in the removal of crampons but the terrain became more challenging due to the rocky nature of the section we were heading into. We finally arrived in The Gap around 2:30pm where we had second lunch, enjoyed the stillness of the air particles and some limited views of what was below.
With plentiful snow in The Gap and down into the Kowai a rapid descent was guaranteed via the technical art of Bum Sliding. Uncle Roddus was the last one off the top and was able to make a very rapid descent via the bum grooves left by the previous sliders, but when he got to near the bottom, after an exhilarating ride, he discovered that his crampons had come adrift from his back back and indeed there they were right near the very top of the snow slope some 200M above. The rest of the group waited patiently while he slogged back up the slope through quite deep snow until he retrieved the missing items. Then got to do and even better bum slide all the way back down again. It was at this point, after he suggested that Uncle Roddus could now be a contender for a Loo Loo award, that the ever reliable DOC Bryce(That's Droped Of Cliff) managed to trip over his own feet and do an ungainly somersault in the snow while Gashing himself in the face with his ice axe. The rest of the trip down the kowai was uneventful and we made it back to a conveniently parked car just before 6:00PM after a distance of about 15.5km and just over 1000M height gain(Except Uncle Roddus who did about 1200M).
The Martian landscape looking back to Porters Pass.

Teasing us with Blue sky.

Saying goodbye to any views.

Getting back on track.
First lunch Stop.

A brief window of clarity.

At least we had some snow to keep things interesting.

Climbing to  The Gap.

Looking down into the Kowai from, The Gap.

Uncle Roddus in The Gap.

The Bumslide.

Looking back up the Kowai.

Heading down the Kowai.

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