A sunset view of moon cloud and mountain from the Kelman hut.
The weather reports were forecasting a turn for the worse, but mostly we were running out of food! We decided to ski one more large line in the area and then get a flight out. Adam happily devours a potato we scrounged up from a nearby hut.
A group of guides and clients on a mountaineering course showed up and they cooked up a huge pancake breakfast on our final morning and let us feast with them. We listened to the rugby world cup final between New Zealand and Australia on the radio and pretended to care.
Our trip up Mount Hamilton had given us a great view of the south face of Mount Darwin. Our plan was to ski the sweet line off the summit that works down the ridge to the viewers left (see photo below). However, as we cut beneath it we realized there were too many overhanging seracs to safely climb it on this sunny day. We opted for the large face on the lookers right that had less hazard.
Tom Grant and Ross Hewitt were staying in the nearby hut and we teamed up with them for the objective of the day. At the last minute Ross bowed out and headed across the valley. Beau joined him and they shot photos from across the way then skied some good corn. That left Billy, Adam, Tom and I. Here we are about to wind our way through the lower serac.
The face was covered in really good snow, but it was heating up very fast. We all fell in line and took turns beaking trail. Each person doing 100 quick steps and then pulling aside to allow the others to pass. You’d get a three hundred foot break and then it would be your turn again. We blazed up the two thousand foot face in this fashion.
The mountain became steeper the higher we climbed and a few icy spots were identified, but we’d easily be able to ski around them.
Beau got some amazing shots of us putting in the trial.
We transitioned quickly and Adam dropped in first. My boot wasn’t clicking into ski mode due to getting snaggled by a crampon. I dropped in last in tour mode, but it didn’t really effect the turns since the snow was so perfect. I can’t think of better conditions to ski this beauty in.
The valley bottom was perfect corn and we arc’d huge turns until we hit the glacial confluence. From here we called the flight service and tried to hide from the sun while we waited for our departure.
What a stay in an incredible location! We had done our best to ski the major peaks in the area. So much good skiing potential if you’re willing to put in big days.
We enjoyed a shower, did some laundry and packed up to head further south for a go at Mount Aspiring. Final chapter coming soon.