Sunday, 26 August 2012

Company on The Bluff

Some of you may have been wondering why I've been a little quiet over the last couple of months. Truth is, I honestly haven't had much time for the mountains of late, due to the arrival of a new distraction in life… a distraction of the very best kind.

Natahl and I met at Macalister Springs on the last night of my Easter walk. The following Sunday we caught up on the city for lunch. Something clicked, and now we're attached.

It took until couple of weekends ago for us to return to the mountains in which we'd met. In the intervening months winter has come, and so we decided to go to one of the best destinations for a play in the snow.

The Bluff is a magnificent peak located 10km south of Mount Buller in the Alpine National Park. The northern face of the mountain features rugged cliffs, whilst the southern side of the mountain is far more mundane, falling away at a consistent slope down to the Jamieson River. Due to this interesting southerly aspect it holds snow well and provides fantastic opportunities for skiing and snowplay.

The walk begins at a gradual gradient, then starts to steepen up, eventually reaching the point where you use all fours. The summit is only 1.5km from the carpark, although some 400 vertical metres in height must be gained to get there.

We set off from Refrigerator Gap carrying overnight packs and snowshoes. I threw in a pair of tele skis for good measure. As usual there was no snow at the gap itself, however as we reached the steeper section patches began to appear.

The main face of the mountain faces north, so the snow melts quickly. Fortunately for us it had snowed the previous evening which made the scenery prettier than usual.

As we climbed higher the afternoon sun cast beautiful light upon us, and we had magnificent views over the Howqua valley towards Mount Buller

Upon reaching the crest of the ridge we found the weather was abysmal. Visibility was poor and the wind was gusty and strong. We travelled a mere 200m to a slightly more sheltered position, carved out a rough platform and pitched the tent, anchoring it to the snow in as many locations as possible. Getting inside was a great relief.

That evening the wind howled, and each of us only emerged from the tent on one occasion. It was the first time Tahl had taken her tent into the snow; a baptism of fire. The following morning we awoke to hear more wind, and upon emerging from the tent we saw the visibility hadn't improved. Up to 30cm of snow had fallen during the night.

We soon abandoned our snowshoeing and skiing ambitions due to the adverse conditions. There was little point spending more time up top, so we packed up and headed off the mountain.

As is often the case, the dreadful conditions up top were hardly evident by the time we got down to the carpark. Overall, a great little walk despite the weather. We'll be back some other time to enjoy the delights of this easily accessible alpine playground.


  1. Great post Craig, and I'm very happy to hear of your latest passion! Looks like you had perfect weather at both ends of the spectrum, and I'm looking forward to reading more about your travels.

    1. Thanks Darren! More posts about our travels will be coming soon :)

  2. That's it ... I'm going to have to start taking more photos so you can pictorially feature in your own blog posts more than me ;) Fabulous writing, as always.

    1. No, no, no... if anything, this blog needs MOAR Tahl ;)

    2. Hi Craig
      Looking forward to hearing about the next adventure. Photos are fabulous.