Sunday, September 9, 2007

Snow Shelters

Well Emma and myself just got back from an interesting weekend spent up Temple Basin Ski Field (in Bills Basin to be more precise) with the Christchurch Tramping Club doing a snow shelter course. We started out meeting at the usual spot on Saturday morning, followed by a drive to Arthur's Pass and then the 2-3 hour walk up to Bills Basin. Pretty much as soon as we got to Bills Basin it was out with the snow shovels and after some discussion on how it was going to be done we started digging. And about 3 hours later we were still digging into the side of a huge snow drift, slowly hollowing it out to make a snow cave (if we didnt get this done we were going to be sleeping outside in the open, so all hands on deck - mostly, some were slack!!). But finally about 7pm we had finished smoothing out most of the cave and Emma and me had dragged out packs in to secure the best spots. Next was a bite to eat, some honey soy chicken and then off to bed as it was already -7 C. Everyone who was staying in the cave unpacked their Bivy bags, and sleeping bags and snuggled up for what was probably one of the worst sleeps you will ever get. All I can say is that is lumpy, hard and cold! pretty much the perfect recipe for a bad nights sleep. The next day Emma was out of bed by 6am or something stupid, next up was me to find Emma and Jim chatting away outside with a billy of water on the stove getting ready for breakfast. The sun was rising over the mountains and by god it was fresh! (good thing i brought my big downy jacket with me). We had a walk and took some pics, had some hot soup and a cup of tea then packed most of our gear away. Jim and Richard were keen to get everyone into building a different snow shelter (snow mound) so some of us shoveled and some stomped the snow to make a mound which a few of us hollowed out to make another cave (quite impressive actually). The afternoon was spent either sunbathing or climbing Blimit (a 1921m peak behind camp - this is what I climbed while the others watched, why didn't I take the camera up there?) I climbed back down to camp and packed everything up. We all set off and headed back toward the cars for the ride back to Christchurch. I had just stopped to drop a forgotten snow shovel back to Jim, took off and before I realized I was going a bit fast, and hey look there is a cop ahead! FUCK!! nice 1$120 fine for that little whoopsie! oh well shit happens, life goes on. The ride back to Christchurch was ok, seemed to take forever as Emma slept some of it and so did Martin. Anyway, enough blabbering...look at the pics as they are pretty cool.

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