Being by myself over a weekend in Canberra during July 20211, I decided to take advantage of the great conditions, small crowds and cheap accommodation in the Australian Snowy Mountains and spend a long weekend the snow. My main intent was to capture some imagery, so I didn’t by a ski lift ticket, but instead did some exploring, including a snowshoeing tour of the backcountry behind Thredbo.
There were three of us on the tour with Thredbo’s lead backcountry guide, Alex. Fortunately we were all first timers, so Alex set the pace appropriately. After kitting up with snowshoes at the Valley Terminal, we boarded the Kosciuszko Express chairlift to the starting point at Eagle’s Nest.
We then headed off toward the Kosciuszko Lookout, following the same path as the Mt Kosciuszko Summit Hike. We had awesome snow cover, with the Summer Hike track covered by deep snow, and the tall marker posts being in some places barely a metre above the snow.
The deep snow, cold temps and thin air made it quite slow going, but the pace provided a chance to grab some images.2
Upon reaching Kosciuszko Lookout we had a short break. Unfortunately the low cloud meant there was no view of Australia’s tallest mountain, but we got great views of rock structures and the brilliant white of the scenery.
After a break, we turned south west to go cross country to Aries Tor. Alex’ expert navigation proved invaluable in finding these brilliant structures. We then tracked southeast back to Eagle’s Nest, where we had a hot chocolate at Australia’s highest restaurant before catching the lift back down to the Valley Terminal.
A very worthwhile adventure, conducted professionally. I certainly would want to have a guide unless I really knew the terrain and had great snowshoeing and navigation skills and tools.
Photography in these conditions was challenging. I set my camera to overexpose by one f-stop. With sub-zero temperatures, my Vallaret photography gloves were brilliant in keeping my hands warm while still allowing dexterity to adjust knobs and dials. The weather-sealing and design of my Fuji X-T3 was very welcome in allowing me to focus on my photography and not worrying about my camera equipment in the challenging environment.