The best laid plans – still end up needing to be changed!

Day 2 of the perfect weather window and the ski touring and speedflying mission saw the crew heading towards Eli De Beaumont.  The wind was not perfect for a summit flight attempt, with 60k SW winds forecast the mountain basically faced the wrong direction for a safe launch and flight path.  There were however a few other objectives to be had – one of which was to ski from the aummit as well.  All this was put into disarray by bullet proof ice and sastrugi from the Walter/Eli Col to the summit …

 

The actual approach to the col was pretty straightforward with only the shrund to cross and one large avalanche slope to be super wary off.  Objectively the approach is also hazarded by some large seracs but a brief concentrated push can see you through this region pretty quickly.  Both Cory and Mal had issues with their crampons and ski boots (not really expecting to climb hardice on a ski touring trip now are we?) and had to descend from just above the col whilst Duglad, Zac and Cam kept on heading to the top.  This was Dugald's first 3000m peak in Nz, Cams 2nd summit of Eli and Zac's 1st.  On the way back down the winds had eased to allow Dugald to make a slightly tail wind launch down the bottom half of the mountain.

The team crossing the shrund

Crossing interesting slopes to the col

Dugald – high on Eli  – Hard ice conditions

 

Meanwhile Mal and Cory headed over towards the Darwin bowls for some late afternoon corn skiing – what they found was a white oven bowl – bakingint he sun!  The pair climbed up high on the left flanks of the bowls and Mal climbed on further to reach a high point to make a flight down the side flanks of Mt Annan whilst Cory skied a great line back down the to Tasman Glacier.

 

Episode II – Eli De Beaumont and Mt Annan


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