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Splitboarding 4 in 1 Day in the Aussie Backcountry

In the background you can see Mount Clarke cirque, our last line.

As Erryn and I arrived at the top of Charlotte Pass and looked out into the snow covered mountains towards Carruthers Peak, we both knew it was going to be an epic day. Three days prior to our planned day trip there had been about 15cm of fresh snow dumped on top of a nice solid base. We were both frothing at the bit to get to Blue Lake as we clipped into the split boards and headed off.

We had planned the night before to hit Blue Lake main chute, north facing chutes off Carruthers Peak, Club Lake main chute, and Mount Clarke cirque on the way home. A big task from Charlottes Pass with only seven and a half hours to split the best part of 20km and ride the chutes.

We got into the zone splitting out and arrived at Blue Lake to see it steeper and more full of snow than we had seen for a long time. We assessed the conditions, nice soft dry powder on a firm base. Beside the main chute there was a line that Erryn had wanted to hit for the best part of 20 years. The entrance involves negotiating and cutting into a massive cornice. It looked like it had calved one or two days earlier with car size chunks at the bottom of the run, that line would have to wait at least another year.

I planned to take a photo from the other side of the lake so Erryn went to the chute and I climbed the opposite face for the photo. Erryn got to the top and we chatted over the radio about where he needed to drop in as he couldn't see from the top due to the very steep entrance. He dropped in, got into the shade, and stomped it. He got to the bottom and called over the radio, "I think that was the best line I've ever got to ride in Australia". I could see his grin from the other side of the lake.

I sacrificed my run of Blue Lake for the photo, we had to keep moving. Next stop, Carruthers Peak. When we arrived the views were spectacular looking out at the Sentinel and Crags area.

Erryn dropped into the north face, jumping off a nice little lip on the way in. Being my first ride of the day I just couldn't believe the quality of the snow, I was expecting spring slush but it was predictable and super fun snow. Next was the climb back out and up to the top of Carruthers to do the other side, Club Lake chute.

Back at the top again Erryn got ready to ride down to the chute. I set up for a photo as he jumped off the top, he did a great grab. I checked my camera and noticed he just didn't break the sky on the jump, damn missed the shot! We met at the top of the chute and it looked great. After my first nervous turn into the chute it was all systems go. Nice carvy lines with totally predictable snow, one of the best runs I have ever had. Next was Erryns turn and he rode straight down to me.

We got to ride a buttery line down from the chute to the base of our last intended objective, Mount Clarke cirque. It was now 1530 and we had to be back at Charlotte Pass by 1630 or my wife would start to worry and we would miss our transport back to Perisher. We had to skin up a saddle to the top of this feature, ride down, and then skin back up to the top of Charlotte Pass. We decided we could do it, we got to the top at 1600 and quickly did the change over. It had been cloudy for about an hour and the face we were about to ride had been in shade all afternoon, it is quite low and exposed, I was expecting ice. We decided no photos due to rushing. (refer to first photo in report for the lines we did)

Looking at Carruthers from Mount Clarke.

Wow it was icy, I cooled my nerves and did a few safety turns, got about halfway down and then felt confident enough to ride straight out. We managed to ride from the peak all the way back to the base of Charlotte Pass. We had 20 minutes to change over, get to the top, change over again and get to the lodge for transport. With legs burning but an extremely high stoke level we got to the lodge at 1631. We met Liz in the lodge drinking a cider all cosy beside the fire. Transport had been delayed so we grabbed a beer and began telling Liz all about our day. "The lines were near on vertical babe!" "Jeremy Jones shit!" never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

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