Episode 6 - Twin Stream
The nitty gritty...
A heli accessed ski tour above Lake Pukaki, up the Twin Stream Valley and on the Eastern flanks of Mt Dark.
Coming from Europe, the idea of using helicopters to access ski touring areas, seems… well, a tad nuts. Though there ARE limitless options in NZ that you can access without a heli and with a bit of determination. There’s also a bucket load of delightful terrain, where a helicopter bump makes a shit ton of sense.
That said, Mt Dark, situated above the western side of Lake Pukaki, had always been on my hit list as a walk in, walk out tour.
Well, that was until I realised, from reading a cracking little report on skitouring.co.nz, that with a group of 5, the short flight to Mt Dark from Glentanner, only works out as $80. Cheaper than a day ticket at most ski fields. Winner.
Joined by a great crew, comprising of Manu Nadler, Bella Mi, Tyson Rowley and Ian Colvil. We hatched a plan to ski the steep(ish) south face of Mt Dark and then climb/ski some other lines at the head of Twin Stream, before dragging our feet outta there.
However, 5 minutes into the heli ride, we realised huge swathes of ice on all the southern aspects had doused that idea.
Opting instead for a recommendation from the pilot to get dropped off on an eastern sub peak of Mt Dark, called Mt Mary.
From here we trotted up a short icy slope, along a ridge and then dropped into a fun steep little line. A ski down the mountain under the watchful gaze of Mt Cook, was followed by a skin back up the same route to have some lunch and ski some more of the wicked fun terrain up top.
We opted for the scenic route on our way down, which involved some short skins, scrambles and traverses to take in a few different basins and aspects.
Snow was a real mix, but generally very good corn or chalk, depending on the aspect.
The trudge down from the snow line, back to Glentanner and Lake Pukaki, was nothing short of spectacular. With the imposing faces of Mt Cook in the background, contrasted by the brilliant turquoise of Lake Pukaki and it’s tentacle like braided rivers. Its certainly a landscape that is burned into the very core fibre of your memory. Bangin’