Federation Hut in the Snow

29 May 2019

Snow, yeah
Started to see snow!

Wanted to do Razorback 40 today, but picked the wrong day for it (yes, checked the mountain weather). The gear we wear and carry at the Alpine events won’t cut it in these conditions.
I was really looking forward to sliding down on my ass on Bon Accord Spur.

It was raining when I pulled into the parking lot, a bit further to another car. Geared up while talking to Otto, then took off. At the trailhead I signed into the book, also checked who else is up there – last person was 3 days ago, so it’s only me.
Got wet and sloshy quite early, tried to slow-run as much as I could (considering the gear I was wearing) but felt a bit sluggish. Didn’t sleep much last night (maybe 1 full hour?!), woke up at 12.45 to get going ASAP. The rain on the way coming here was tiring, too – needed way more concentration than when the conditions are dry and using cruise control was out of question.


A bit muddy…

A bit after Tobias Gap I spotted patches of snow, then a bit more… and more… until my feet sank into it way above the ankles. Brought the poles, thinking I’ll need them on the Razorback – just in case I need to poke the snow. They ended up as extra weight to carry at the end.
Took photos – couldn’t just not take those shots and my hands and feet started to get very cold in the process. The wind picked up in more open areas and it was really cold.
At some point it seemed like someone switched the lights on. Yeah!! A little bit of sun!! Unfortunately it was very short lived, but I spotted sunshine on patches on the Razorback and thought “that’s what I want to see a bit closer!!”

It gets deeper…

By the time I passed the turnoff to the spring, it was clear that I won’t make it along the Razorback. The shoes, the socks and the gloves got wet – no way they would work in that cold. I promised Otto, that I will only continue if it’s not risky, otherwise I’ll turn around at Federation Hut. As I was getting closer to the hut, the wind got even chillier and the snow deeper. It was quite hard to lift my legs and keep the balance uphill.

When I finally reached the hut, I took a few photos (which I regretted a bit later) and went in. Had some snow on my clothes, couldn’t shake it off before I stepped in, so it ended up on the floor.

In the hut

Changed into the dry[er] gear I carried with me while shivering and trying to eat a rice paper roll. My fingers and toes were totally numb, should’ve brought those hand warmers we got at AC. It wasn’t much warmer in there, only not windy. I needed to get moving as soon as possible. Looked around for a broom to clear up the snow, but couldn’t find any.

Going down was a bit of hit and miss in the bigger snow, fell a few times, but didn’t hurt 😊 it was much better when it was a bit shallower and even better when my fingers, nose and finally toes thawed. Really enjoyed that bit, it was great fun.
Then back to mud and rocks and green – which of course had its own beauty and pros. I was trying to avoid everything shiny, but I managed to step onto a slippery rock and did a slide like the roller boarders. I was really happy that I didn’t end up in the valley 😃

At some point I saw a colour that didn’t fit into the picture. Figured there must be people… there were two hikers. Young guys with big back packs and geared for the occasion. Had a few words with them, showed them the pictures and then wished them all the best. They asked me if I was jogging all the way up, and down 😃 told them mostly down.

At the trail head I signed myself out, then dragged my bum to the car – it was still raining…
It was a mix of sunshine, dark grey sky, rainbow and lots of showers on the way home. Came on the back roads and around Lima I drove under the rainbow, which was pretty special 😊
The whole day was definitely something different 😉


Total distance: 23.47 km
Max elevation: 1739 m
Min elevation: 497 m
Total climbing: 1326 m
Total descent: -1339 m
Total time: 04:19:51
Download file: Federation_Hut_in_the_snow.gpx