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.
If ou wre to walk it today you might get through then be unable to get a bus back due to the road being closed. I suspect we could be in for an exciting summer weather wise
all depends on the weather between now and then.... how much and how often the snow falls and how fast it melts. i know on the routeburn they often run the helicopter into Nov and they have on occasion had to run it into early Dec. MacKinnon pass live webcam https://www.metdata.net.nz/doc/mackinnon/cam1/live.php
Theres been a lot of snow melt over there recently. I know some folks who went right around the Kepler last weekend which was almost entirely snow free except for a couple of patches. Another party got to Lake Mackenzie on the Routeburn from the Divide and had no snow at all, it was all up on the tops. Of coarse it’s been snowing today, even here in Dunners, so everything’s probably changed again. I was amazed at how much the snow had gone in the photos I saw, considering the snow dumps this winter. It’s hard to imagine the current dump, or future ones this spring, would hang around on the warm ground!
Yeah. It's that Spring thing where you get a miserable patch of winter weather, and by the time it clears, you're that many more days into Summer. Which all sorts of adds up to avalanche risk. I didn't know they could still be choppering into Nov in a season ?. Will have to see what comes. Thanks all.
thats on the Routeburn they will use the helicopter in Nov, Harris bluffs avalanche risk can linger around. you walk directly under the bluffs I dont know how much they end up using the helicopter on the Milford. this article mentions flights in nov on the milford as well a few years back http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3058497/Chopper-ride-bonus-for-trampers
I wonder if an early dumping will occur around March when I am booked? Guess anything is possible.
It's not unusual to have the Homer Tunnel briefly closed over Summer due to a snow drop. Having to heli-transport on the Great Walks doesn't seem to make the news. They'll let you know. Just be aware, it would be an additional $120 (depending on the price of fuel) or they won't let you go. Last few years, March seems to cop the tropical storms that flood Auckland & washout Nelson. Rain's not so newsworthy down there.
i'm not sure its entirely avalanche risk, but people who arent used to the snow and will just go ahead and get into trouble. if you slip going around harris bluffs the result would be a serious injury or death.. few people will bring ice axes or crampons if its needed, the simple solution is a helicopter and insist on them using it. DOC assume trampers dont have much outdoors skills. i had to argue to get my hut tickets on the kepler one time because DOC were insisting we wait for a briefing the following morning on the conditions and whether we could go. i told the DOC staffer she couldnt do that and she had to hand over the ticket, i was experienced and could risk assess, i'd also had a similar email discussion with a DOC staffer at another time.. a lot of people on this site have the experience to handle themselves in difficult conditions and make the right decisions, but today thre are so many going tramping that don't. I"m a pretty skinny build, theres nothing rugged looking about me, i look like a city clicker and usually i get judged as being unfit and inexperienced.. someone said to me ones "people like me have to rescue people like you" when he didnt know my background at all.... just shows how people judge people by appearances.. walk into the doc office wearing or carrying your storm gear and they might then start to take you seriously when you tell them you're experienced and they can see you've got decent gear.. you see tourists turn up with ponchos,, fiordland for instance is a very windy place year round even by NZ standards, foreigners have gotten by with poncho's overseas and apply the same standards to NZ
And even more irritating is the fact that some manage to get by with inferior gear or the wrong gear and subsequently boast to others that it cost them very little and the issues are exaggerated by authorities.
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