Saturday 19th August 2017
Written by Ruth McKie
Participants: Kerry Clapham, Robert Philips, Logan Shaw, Adrian Meier, Arman Haddadchi, Rasool Porhemmat, Elna Sahlman, Cole Lysgaard, Maxime Savoie, Patrick Ochudlo, Ruth McKie
Snowcarft had been cancelled for the second week in a row but the threat of bad weather wasn’t enough to stop us making the most of the day that we could. A day trip to climb Benmore was planned and turned out to be quite popular despite the looming pressure of assignment deadlines.
The trip started with a mandatory stop at the Sheffield pie shop for breakfast and then we pushed on to the carpark at Benmore Station. After some discussion, the decision was made for everyone to carry ice axes and crampons in hopes of encountering some snow near the top. We started off down the farmer’s four-wheeled drive track to the official start of the track, heading into the bush with a few river crossings to keep the feet cool. We wandered up a valley towards the hut with Kerry stopping to clear windfalls off the track and sawing the odd branch or two that was in our way.
The bright orange hut was soon spotted through the trees where we stopped for a bite to eat. Robert offered around crushed brownie crumbs he bought from the local market, and the comment was made it looked like dirt but despite appearances, it turned out to be quite a hit amongst the group! We were later joined by some hunters crashing through the bush returning from an unsuccessful early morning hunt.
We pushed on up the hill, encountering snow part way up to the bush line. Coming out of the bush we were greeted with stunning views with clear blue skies. We gathered around for a quick lesson in ice axe holding before heading up the ridgeline. Part way up the next knoll we stopped to put on crampons. For most of us, it was the first time using crampons so it was with cold fingers and great excitement we strapped them on. After a few wise words from Robert to walk like a cowboy, we were off. We arrived successfully at the top of the knoll with no one falling down the hill or poking themselves with a crampon.
A quick group photo was snapped before heading back down as the weather was packing in. Would have been quite entertaining to watch us, a group of cowboys attempting to walk down a hill for the first time in crampons but sadly no footage was snapped! We slid down through the bush, a combo of snow and mud resulting in many muddy bottoms!
Our timing was perfect with the rain starting just as we drove off. Overall it was a great day out, thanks to Kerry and Robert for leading the trip and providing an exciting taster for snowcraft the following weekend!