Gillespie Pass Circuit in Winter
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Hello people! I hope everyone is doing great. Did someone of you ever done the Gillespie track in winter? Having full equipment for tramping in winter would you recommend it? I've been seeing lot of news lately of people caught in blizzard storm and not making it.. What's your thoughts about it ?
Both sides of the pass are very steep. I haven’t seen it in winter but I dare say it would be almost impassible under snow.
I've been up to the bushline looking across at the siberia side of the pass. Looks like it may be doable in the right snow conditions from Siberia Hut to the saddle. I've flown over the saddle a number of times in winter & the young side is almost always a near sheer face of glistening blue ice. That side valley always seems to hold more snow & ice than others and always feels several degres colder - and despite being north facing always looks far worse. I'd say the siberia side is probably doable with ice axe & crampons for a skilled alpine tramper given right snow & avalanche conditions. But the young side becomes a mountaineering route in winter, if its even viable at all. Caveat: not walked either... just sat down for smoko & studied / glassed the route.
I did it after a heavy snowfall one Easter but the snow was good, being firm. Just as well, because I didn't have crampons! We did have ice axes and cut wee steps on the Siberia Stream side. On the Young side we bumslid down snow-covered scrub and thought it all a hoot. Oh to be young again! DoC were a bit surprised when we turned up the next day after fording the Makarora. But that's autumn and winter would be another beast altogether.
Attempted it late June 1980 from the Siberia to the Young. Deep snow slowed us down badly, and when we finally got to the top it was too late and too scary to descend into the Young. Retreated back to bushline, camped that night in miserable conditions, and were very happy to get back to Siberia Hut next day to thaw out. If the snow conditions are firm it's doable, but it's non-trivial in mid-winter. Crampons and ice axes necessary. And I'd believe madpom's observation about the blue ice in the Young.
Thanks all guys, I might retreat from the idea..don't want too risk and I was thinking of a more 3 days walk more easy going. I'll be solo so I see for something more doable.
Are you looking at any specific area? A few recommendations out there for good 3 day winter tramps.
@madporn happy to have some suggestion!
3 days? In otago? With snow on tops? Return trips: Makarora hut. 1 day in, 1 day to explore the spectacular head of the valley from the hut, one day out. There n back walk Monowai - historic clark or monowai hut via green lake hut. Great winter there n back in fiordland. Good tops trips with snow on ground: Eyre mountains: Mt Bee roadend - irthing hut - crommel base - mt bee roadend. Loop Silverpeaks: mountain rd - jubilee - philip j fox hut - out. Loop. Tame with no snow but good fun with snow on tops Through trips: Snowdon: mavora lakes - kiwi mouth - army hut - milford road (through trip, 2 vehicles). Valley routes. Dingleburn: Ahuriri valley to Lake Hawea. One reasonably gentle 1400m pass at east end - if thats viable, route is ok. 2 cars. Start at east unless you know pass will be ok. Hump track. South ciast - teal bay hut via The Hump - Lake hauroko roadend. 1000m pass - generally good for tramping (axe for snow). 2 cars I'd try any of the above with just an ice axe for the tops if there's snow. Narrow down the location, the sort of trip (tops, valley, loop, through, there/back) and I'll have more ideas
@madporn thanks a lot mate. Saved this info.
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