Snowy Gorge Hut and the Barrier Range

Got invited to go to Snowy Gorge Hut behind Ohau with Luke Jarmey, Ian Covil and Manu Nadler. Last year, I had skied down to Maitland Hut and climbed Mount Peterson so the opportunity to climb two other mountains in the barrier range was too good to pass up.

We set off from Ohau at around midday and made quick time to Snowy Gorge Hut. We skied down the chutes towards Dumbell Lake and followed that drainage down before heading hitting snowline, conveniently right when we needed to start climbing again towards Maitland pass. A quick ski down from there and we were in the valley that contains snowy gorge hut.

Ian skiing down the Dumbell Lake Chutes – Ohau Sidecountry
Manu boarding down to Dumbell Lake
Hitting snow line in the Maitland stream
Overview of access to/from Ohau
At Maitland pass about to descend down towards Snowy Gorge Hut
Snowy Gorge Hut from Maitland Pass
Manu valley walking with the Mt Saint Mary / Stafford valley behind

The next day we walked back up the flat valley, collected our stashed skis and made our way up Mount Saint Mary. An easy ascent up the looker’s left flank of the mountain (with only one minor detour due to a poor ascent plan), saw us reach the summit and descend back towards the valley finding pockets of powder and loads of soft spring snow.

Mount Saint Mary
Joel hiking up the lower couloir on Mt Saint Mary
Luke in the final steps to the summit of Mount Saint Mary
Luke skiing off the summit
Ian “skiing” off the summit
Luke finding some powder on the way down
Luke powder skiing
Luke powder skiing
Skiing skiing the lower sunny flanks of Mt Saint Mary

Back to the hut, we were surprised when three more people turned up for a night making 7 people in a hut that sleeps 5… One of the new party decided to sleep outside under the stars (and morning frost) whilst the other took the sensible option and slept on the floor. The next day Luke and Ian made their way back to Ohau while Manu and I climbed and skied Mt Stafford. A teeny bit more challenging that Mount Saint Mary but overall, very similar, easy ski tour with limited exposure making for a pleasant day.

The upper half of Mount Stafford
Hiking up to access the upper half of the mountain – on Mt Stafford
I was having some serious snow clumping issues right about here
Summit Fist Pump
Manu on the summit of Stafford
170902 Snowy Gorge Hut (19 of 23)
170902 Snowy Gorge Hut (22 of 23)
170902 Snowy Gorge Hut (20 of 23)
Joel skiing Mt Stafford

Manu and I had our final night in the hut and awoke to some drizzle and gusty winds as we made our trudge back up to Ohau ski resort.

Rainy morning on our hike out day
Total distance: 68.93 km
Total climbing: 9403 m
Total descent: -9720 m
Total Time: 03:37:58

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