Craigieburn Traverse and Temple Basin Splitfest

Damian was kind enough to drop me off at the airport where I waited for John Blankenstein to arrive from Australia before meeting up with Chris Rayner and Pow and we stoked up for a overnight traverse of the Craigieburn Range over about 30kms and 10,000 vert going past 4 ski fields with an overnight stay at Mt. Olympus.

Fortunately I had a Licence to Chill pass so I was able to use the Nutcrackers to get to the top of Craigieburn but John and Pow had to climb the resort.

John and Pow hiking up Craigieburn ski field

It had barely snowed throughout the season and we were almost 4 weeks into a drought but we made the best out of the situation.

Looking back down Craigieburn Resort

When it's on it's on but right now it is not on

Looking north towards Arthurs Pass and the Main Divide

We were able to ride from the top of Craigieburn over to Broken River club field and use there rope tows on the traverse.

Pow riding into Broken River

Looking down the tow line towards Broken River

Scree and moguls

Hmmm so this is winter?

Only in NZ

After passing Mount Cheeseman we made a detour towards Mt. Olympus to stay at there hut and enjoy the hot tub, this is the only time I have ever taken shorts with me while ski touring.

Looking out towards Mt. Olympus which is on the opposite side of the mountain

We hiked until dusk to finally get there. It was cool because it was the first time I had been back to Olympus since I learned there a decade back. It was cool to see nothing had changed.

Riding towards Mt. Olympus

and up and over as we race the setting sun

Welcome to Mt. Olympus the raddest club field in the world

The next morning we got on the rope tow at 8:00 A.M. and just put our heads down and kept following the ridge. In the end there was very little riding but we did spot some rad terrain to come back for.

Mt. Olympus's nutcraker rope tow

Good Lines to be had

Lots of options

Pow and I made it to the Porter Heights car lot at around 5:30 where John was waiting with the car and a wild bunch of Kea tried to dismantle his car so we hopped in and made our way towards Temple Basin ski field.

A gang of trouble

The next few days we sat up at Temple Basin while the rain washed away most of the snow. We hung out with about 50 other skiers and boarders waiting for the weather to clear, it finally happened on Sunday so I got out on a quick mission to summit Temple Peak with Ryan Nicols.

Crampons and Ice axes out within 5 minutes of getting off the tow

Hopefully it clears up

Looking at the Dismal snowpack

Rad terrain though

We found a great line off the main peak and I was happy with the Splitfest turnout as the conditions were pretty dire yet everyone was having a good time. Kiwis know how to make the best out of the worst situations.

Ryan dropping in

Ryan making it look easy

But it was mid September and there was no Snowpack. I was starting to question how much longer I would be riding before it was the end of the season.

I think the season is close to over

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