Late-Spring snow - Fiordland
And, it goes a little something like this - ""Kia ora / hello You are currently booked to walk the Milford Track within the next few weeks and we would like to update you on current track conditions and hazards. Recent spring storms in Fiordland mean that during late October and early November sections of the Milford Track may be closed to protect walkers from unacceptably high avalanche risk. When sections of the track are closed, weather permitting, walkers will be flown over hazard areas by helicopter so they can continue their walk. The avalanche risk is monitored and conditions can vary from day to day, meaning some days sections may be open and the next closed. The cost to walkers of the helicopter transfer over closed section(s) is $120 per walker. When you visit the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, you will be notified whether a helicopter is likely to be required. If it is, you will only be able to start walking the track if you have paid for the helicopter at the Visitor Centre. If at the time, you do not wish to pay for the helicopter, you will be fully refunded your track booking. If you pay for the helicopter prior to walking the track and conditions improve so that a helicopter is not required, you will be refunded the helicopter fee. Cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can and do occur at any time of year in Fiordland. Please make sure you are prepared with good equipment to enjoy your walk over the Milford Track. Helen Dodson Visitor Centre Supervisor - Kaitiaki - Whare Pae Manuhiri | Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai"" Not so much the weather today, but how the results might linger for weeks.
Im going to be in Nelson Lakes after Labour Weekend going to Angelus along Robert Ridge from Bushline.Lots of fresh snow apparently and a avalanche risk so I may have to go to Speargrass and then to Angelus...we'll see I suppose.I was at Rangiwahia in the Ruahines last weekend still snow on the tops there and heaps on the Volcanoes too.
It's still a ways out, but the forecast for Lake Angelus looks constantly drizzley from that Monday onwards a few days. Cloudy the 5 days beforehand. You could get clagged-in up there ?. Best of luck !.
Three hunters were rescued by helicopter after being hit by an avalanche in Fiordland on Saturday. Southern Lakes Helicopter pilot Snow Mullally said the wind blast from the avalanche hit the men's campsite and shredded their tents. "It gave them a bit of a fright I think. "They were very lucky they had a beacon or it would have been an uncomfortable night for them." The hunters were camping at the head of Lake Te Anau and set a personal locator beacon off about 11pm. "I flew up there with the night vision goggles on and they had a light going so they were easy to spot. "I picked them and their gear up and bought them back to Te Anau." None of the men required medical treatment. Mullally said there was still a lot of snow on the mountains above 5000ft, and warm weather and rain meant the avalanche danger was high. The New Zealand Avalanche Advisory issued a moderate risk warning for Fiordland on Thursday through to Sunday, saying there was an increasing trend of avalanches in the area. It said rain, intense sun and high freezing levels contribute to the avalanche danger during spring, and all were in the forecast for the next few days. https://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/108006577/hunters-rescued-after-being-hit-by-avalanche
Better reading ;) - The Hunters account: ""Ben Collins was lying in his tent after a long day trapping stoats in a remote Fiordland valley when he heard a thundering noise. "I looked out and saw this f******ing massive avalanche heading for us. "We legged it out of there but we only got about 50 metres before it hit. The force was incredible, it knocked us off our feet, and we were being hit by snow and ice. It was just unreal, the force of it." The avalanche came down a mountain face Collins and his two companions had camped 400 metres from. "We thought we were safe where we were. We were a long way from the cliff and we thought we were all good. "If we were 200 metres closer they'd be looking for bodies." Their tents were shredded by the wind and their gear was strewn all over the site, or buried. Shocked, cold and wet, they set off their emergency locator beacon and set in to wait for rescue..."" https://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/108006577/hunters-rescued-after-being-hit-by-avalanche
the southern great walks are due to open today.. but the alerts for the milford still talk about avalanche risk, the routeburn talks about needing to pay for a helicopter around harris bluffs but the milford arerts dont say anything about that, just that there is avalanche risk, the note was posted on the 8th https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/milford-track/
There was snow forecast for Wednesdy morning. Today's e-mail (Thursday) - ""The weather in Fiordland can vary from hour to hour and also day to day. Today we are not doing heli tickets. Yesterday we were. At this time, we are requesting people book in on the day of their departure so we can give you the most up to date info and avoid charging heli fees when they are not required."" At least the 190mm of rain for Mintaro Hut on the 8th has dissipated a little.
@Pro-active you are going to the Milford track pretty soon if I well remember right ?
Pretty soon. I see 3 vacancies for this month & then no vacancies until end of season in April, so I'm picking I won't be getting any huts to myself, despite the frorecasts.
empty huts are not a thing in the booking season on the milford or toureburn track.. and are fast becoming history on the kepler, meanwhile the other great walks huts are usually underbooked
While getting tickets 7-11-18 DoC changed their minds and wanted the helicopter fee. It rained persistantly the first 2 days. 2nd day, they held us back until 9am and then escorted us for an hour before deciding to let us wade the flooded sections of track rather than over-fly them. It was almost nuts-deep for 100m or so. Just when the socks had squelched dry there was another short wade near Hidden Lake. Sunny morning for Mackinnon Pass on Day 3. Ducked into the shelter for an early lunch. Emerged an hour later and it was snowing !. Hard, rice-like pellets. HAD to put the hat & gloves on. Couldn't tough it out. Became rain on the descent, then back to sunny for the side trip to Sutherland Falls. So, the helicopter would have been for the flooding. For 45 minutes I was in intense snow conditions, despite it being short-sleeve sunny either end of that same day. I NEEDED the coat, hat & gloves briefly. Not so much for what was falling, but for the wind & cold air that were driving it. The descent off Mackinnon was using the Emergency Avalanche Track. The regular track was gated off. Same old story - You might not use it, but if you NEED it, pays to have it.
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