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Day snow fun in the Brindabellas?

By Demosthenes - 19 July 2011 56

Trying to get meaningful information about snow up in the hills around Canberra is quite difficult.  However a few weeks ago I went for a walk from Corin Dam up to the hill there and there was a few inches of snow up the top.  Quite pretty.  That’s all I wanted.  I was happy.

However, I can never really seem to find out what’s going on from week to week and it’s a frustrating experience trying to work out if it will be rained out (damn that global warming!) or if it’s worth a day trip and a 2 hour hike up a hill?  2 years ago a friend and I drove up to around Ginini somewhere and it was great.  So any suggestions?

All I can go by are the BOM reports that are unfortunately reporting rain down to 1800 metres this weekend.  So I have a group of friends lined up for a day walk from Corin Dam and I’m wondering if I should can it as it will just be cold and wet and miserable or snowy and fun like it was a few weeks ago when I went up with my wife.

What’s Your opinion?


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56 Responses to
Day snow fun in the Brindabellas?
Demosthenes 1:16 pm 20 Jul 11

cobberas63 said :

That’s cuz they knew how to do this really strange and nowadays uncommon activity called “walking” …

Well that’s what I’m planning to and I’m happy to do, I just can never any &!*# information about of our parks service if it’s worth going up or not.

All I have is

http://www.bom.gov.au/act/forecasts/mountginini.shtml

And

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN60801/IDN60801.95925.shtml

Which seems to suggest it’s all c..p now.

cobberas63 12:32 pm 20 Jul 11

EvanJames said :

Kind of funny how the Alpine Club folk were able to get up there decades ago in much heavier snows, adn without four wheel drive vehicles. Most odd.

That’s cuz they knew how to do this really strange and nowadays uncommon activity called “walking” …

EvanJames 11:49 am 20 Jul 11

Calling the Mt Franklin chalet a chalet was always a tad tongue-in-cheek. The Canberra Alpine Club built it out of whatever they could get in the late 50s, I think (or very early 60s)… it was more of a shed really. They had a rope tow going outside, driven by a car engine (a morris of some sort, I think), and used to maintain the ski slope there, they even held races. I spent many a weekend ski day up there.

Might be worthwhile ringing ACT parks and gardens, their rangers look after that Brindabellas area, close the roads etc to save people from the menacing snow, they’d know where the snow is and how to get-at it. Kind of funny how the Alpine Club folk were able to get up there decades ago in much heavier snows, adn without four wheel drive vehicles. Most odd.

Demosthenes 9:37 am 20 Jul 11

Edit – the temperature at Ginini is *dropping* – go figure

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN60801/IDN60801.95925.shtml

May still be good to go this weekend..

Demosthenes 8:56 am 20 Jul 11

Well weather forecast is a little better, snow down to 1500 metres and sunny on Saturday – would it still be worth going up?

http://www.bom.gov.au/act/forecasts/mountginini.shtml

Sure I know Perisher is probably better but there is just something mystical and rewarding about hiking up through bush to see the patches appear slowly and turn in to snow as we approach the top, and it’s damn good exercise.

However, it’s been consistently above zero at Ginini so that’s not too good I suppose.

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN60801/IDN60801.95925.shtml

What’s the vote – can the walk or do the walk? I wouldn’t want to take some friends on a 2 hour walk to find mush.

creative_canberran 4:48 pm 19 Jul 11

yellowsnow said :

Dvaey — I often hear tales from Canberra old timers about this mythical Mt Franklin Chalet. I’ve even seen it marked on some older maps, which also show a ‘ski run’ around there

Who ran it? What happened to it? Anyone seen the chalet with their own eyes?

The Challet did exist, it and the road to Mt Franklin were both built around the 30s by the Alpine Ski Club. It was destroyed by the fires and replaced by an “Interpretive” building which doubles as a fire fighting staging ground.

Snow can typically be seen as early as the start of the Gravel on the Rd to Brindabella. The real snow tends to begin at Bulls Head and beyond though. Even late afternoon on a sunny day, there was at least 4 inches of crisp cover four weeks ago.

The road until Picadilly Circus is rather bad, very rough thanks to both erosion and the addition of coarse gravel to the surface on corners to aid traction (where formerly there was very slipper fine gravel only). You can do it 2WD though, just be aware of it and drive accordingly.

Past Picadilly Circus to Bulls Head, the road is smooth and well drained so its easy to get to the picnic area at Bulls Head where tables and toilets are located. This is also a favourite spot for Wallabies so take care on the road, they often bound across to the grass at the picnic tables.

From the Mt Franklin gate onward, the road is smooth but usually very wet and even swampy in places as the snow melts. It’s a good quality road but traction will be reduced and without chains, bogging could be a risk.

Demosthenes 4:45 pm 19 Jul 11

Jivrashia said :

This walk could strain your friendship with them if they’re not physically and mentally prepared for the climb. Can I suggest Orroral Valley or Nursery Swamp (west of said valley) as a starter?

ah they’ll get over it, they are fully aware of what’s involved.

That being said the weather report looks c..p now – looks like it will all be mush by the time we get up the top from Corin Dam?

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN60801/IDN60801.95925.shtml
http://www.bom.gov.au/act/forecasts/mountginini.shtml

I hate global warming.

Jivrashia 2:36 pm 19 Jul 11

2 years ago a friend and I drove up to around Ginini somewhere and it was great.

I think you drove up there via Mt Franklin Rd (Mt Stromlo -> Cotter Rd -> Brindabella Rd -> Mt Franklin Rd).

But unfortunately it is one of the FIRST roads that gets closed at the first sign of snow.
Check out the TAMS page regarding closure/reopening of roads. Here’s one for Brindabella and Mt Franklin Rd.

So I have a group of friends lined up for a day walk from Corin Dam

This walk could strain your friendship with them if they’re not physically and mentally prepared for the climb. Can I suggest Orroral Valley or Nursery Swamp (west of said valley) as a starter?

yellowsnow 1:52 pm 19 Jul 11

Thanks Keijidosha and cobberas63. What a pity both Mt Franklin and Corin have bit the dust. Hard to believe downhill skiing was once possible in the ACT — we’ve certainly gone backwards in the last ten years. Here’s hoping for a revival

cobberas63 12:59 pm 19 Jul 11

yellowsnow said :

Dvaey — I often hear tales from Canberra old timers about this mythical Mt Franklin Chalet. I’ve even seen it marked on some older maps, which also show a ‘ski run’ around there

Who ran it? What happened to it? Anyone seen the chalet with their own eyes?

The Mt Franklin Chalet used to be run by the Canberra Alpine Club and later taken over by Namadgi National Park. It was burnt to the ground in the January 2003 bush fires. There’s still evidence of it at the base of Mt Franklin, and some of the old ski runs can still be seen as swathes cut through the bush. There’s even an old car whose engine was used to power the only “ski lift” up there.

Go have a look up there some day – the place has several highly informative info-boards. There’s also lots of info about it on the Internet. Google is your friend…

Keijidosha 12:22 pm 19 Jul 11

There are photos of the Mt Franklin chairlift area on Google Earth 35°29’27.72″S, 148°45’55.67″E
. The site is accessed via Brindabella Rd through Piccadill Circus.

Re: Comments about snow at Corin Forest – once upon a time they had artificial snowmaking and skiing facilities out there. On the topic of Corin Forest in general, i’m not sure what prevents that place from being a booming success. It always seems to be barely struggling to survive.

yellowsnow 10:47 am 19 Jul 11

Dvaey — I often hear tales from Canberra old timers about this mythical Mt Franklin Chalet. I’ve even seen it marked on some older maps, which also show a ‘ski run’ around there

Who ran it? What happened to it? Anyone seen the chalet with their own eyes?

dvaey 10:28 am 19 Jul 11

yellowsnow, sounds like youre talking about something like the old Mount Franklin Chalet

obediah 10:14 am 19 Jul 11

Ahead of time, ski.com.au gives a pretty good picture of any upcoming blizzard or front. However, while it may be really accurate at higher altitude ski resorts its much more unreliable when you are concerned with say, being 200 meters below the snowline or 200 meters above it. For this its best to take a ‘watch and wait’ approach.

The night before a prospective trip or better still on the morning of a prospective trip you can get good information from the Mt Ginini weather station http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN60801/IDN60801.95925.shtml. Any precipitation below 0.3 degrees will usually be snow at Ginini’s 1760m but will often/usually close the Mt Franklin Road. From the Corin side. You can hike to Mt Ginini but square rock is often easier. At 1500m just add about 2 degrees to the Mt Ginini temperature to see if rain will have fallen as snow. To get good snow there you MUST be an opportunist! Any sun or rain will decimate the snow in hours/minutes.

My family has a standing arrangement that we try to take the kids to square rock if its more than 10mls of precipitation at or below -2C on Mt Ginini. This will give you a few snow-hikes per winter, but you must usually go on the morning after a night of snow. Only once or twice a year do we get a blizzard like two week ago where you get a whole week of chances.

yellowsnow 10:05 am 19 Jul 11

I went up to Corin Forest and Tidbinbilla at the weekend. Heaps of snow down to 1200-1300m or so. There’s bound to have been more last night. Unfortunately for some reason unbeknownst to reasonable people anywhere, Corin Forest doesn’t actually let you go up the hill where the snow is. It’s all cordoned off. Maybe an insurance/liability issue, or the owner of the place is really into schaudenfraude and loves to see little kids cry in disappointment.

Similarly, the ‘restaurant’ doesn’t actually serve real food. It has a nice, roaring fire. But if you want to eat anything other than a stake cookie or tea in a styrofoam cup, it’s best avoided. Talk about wasted opportunities!

Forget the Majura Parkway, what we need in Canberra is better access to our local snow. There’s heaps about in the Brindies, but getting to it is all but impossible due to lame infrastructure and people weary of being sued. A properly engineered road, actually open when it snows, going up to a resort or at least a cafe at 1,600m or higher would do wonders for local tourism. Surely if it came to it the govt could always fund it by selling some land to developers (hey, it’s already selling everything else for dubious benefit to anyone, and a mountain road & resort would be way cooler than an owl statue or arboretum)

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