Mount Wall

20 October 2013

On some trips you lose people and some you just accumulate. Heather muttered about trip grading when she saw the others at Church Corner but five headed off to collect John at Sheffield. While we were debating world peace, coffee and pies, Karen and Raymond appeared on their way to Foggy Peak. Some arm twisting encouraged them to join us and hit the Wall.

The drive to the Broken River gate had some drama with a major wash-out on the river section past the camp ground but that was dwarfed by the damage at the “boiler pipe” stream crossing that has closed the ski-field road. We know what the BR work parties will be doing this summer if they want to get vehicles anywhere near the field.

There was no sign of other people as we zig-zagged up the partially snow-covered field on the line of the main tow. Perfect, calm conditions in the basin were matched when we reached the top of the ridge for lunch—views in all directions and not a breath of wind!

The traverse along the top of the Craigieburn Range was fairly straight-forward with mixed snow and rock along an undulating ridge. That changed when we turned towards the outlying Mt Wall. The rock ridge becomes sharper requiring a degree of pinnacle scrambling on crumbling rock before the flatter top of the 1874m Mt Wall is reached. Some time was spent on the top, sun-baking, peak spotting on the main divide and locating where Karen and Raymond could have been had they not been waylaid.

Then the trip went downhill. One line of scree goes virtually from the top of Mt Wall to the tractor shed but there are many that don’t. We initially set off to the south to avoid some rocky gullies before dropping on scree and snow towards the main eastern ridge. We then headed for the gully above the tractor shed and, although this has been bony at times, found a good scree run right to the bottom. Liz and Geoff celebrated by claiming the first swim of the season. A great round trip, with some technical sections but definitely in the “moderate” category and perfect weather conditions.

We were: Kevin Hughes (leader), Heather Murray, Liz Stephenson, Geoff Spearpoint, John Robinson, Raymond Ford, Karen Keith and Gary Huish. (GH)