Lets see how this goes then.......
13th August 2012
Despit the warm weather in The Darrans, there IS still a lot of snow and ice around. And a bit of new snow higher up, starting at about the 1500m level. Pretty much everything below that has been wiped out, but it looks like there is still potential higher up. It did get colder on Sunday, just need to see what happens over the next week.
Tunnel Bluffs/McPherson Cirque
Pretty much gone now. The Upper Cirque still looks good with all the lines full, however, the new snow high up is quite pillowey, and there have been a few smaller avo runs in the Upper Cirque, so, it might not be the healthiest place to choose.
The Barrier Bluffs are still reasonably complete, certainly enough to let the routes be done. We did see a reasonably large avo coming down over the centre section of the cliffs on Saturday, the slope above the Bluffs looked pretty loaded, so, again, perhaps needs some time to settle. Barrier Face received 2 ascents on Saturday, Good conditions and fast travel until the big snowfield was reached, then the snow got deeper and softer. It took a long time for both teams to deal with the upper section.
Nothing below the level of Cul de Sac. White as a Sheet etc are sort of there if you use your imagination, but very thin and not in climbable condition. The big routes are all well filled in, but you do need to look hard and under the soft new snow to get an idea of what is really there. Sign of the Times is forming blue ice, but this is covered in soft snow. Cul de Sac, full, but soft snow from the cave. Heart of Gold, looks thick in the corner, but covered in soft snow. Hotel Caribbean, a bit too much soft snow to see what it was like underneath. Reunion Invernal, more soft snow on a good base. So, all promising, but needs to settle. No sign of any avo activity up there. Access was very easy and fast, the Hollyford is very low (seems to have been quite dry over there for the past couple of weeks), and you are on the boulders all the way.
After quite a few disappointing years where the big routes up the back of Cirque Creek really haven't formed up well, this may possibly be the season........ Don't pack the tools away yet.