NZ Ski Touring: Pisa Range

As winter has begun to shape up here in New Zealand and precipitation has come along with the cold, we’ve finally started checking out some of the local touring around us in Wanaka.

Day 1 (07/25/2016)
The Pisa Range is best accessed by driving up Snow Farm and using the cross country trails in order to access the ungroomed Kirsty Burn valley trail out to the Department of Conversation (DOC) 1982 Kirtle Burn hut. The hut itself was a standard, no services hut (no cooking stove, no heating). It was basically a 7 bunk box in the cold mountains and for $5 anyone can stay there for a night.

Pisa Range 1SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPisa Range 4Pisa Range 5SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Once we arrived to the hut, we set out for our first objective tackling the summit of Mt Pisa about 3km and ~200 vertical meters from Kirtle Burn. We arrived there just as the sun was setting and then had a 3km ski down a gentle semi-powder filled valley watching the sun slowly dip behind the mountains.

Pisa Range 6Pisa Range 7Pisa Range 10

Day 2 (07/26/2016)
After one of the coldest evenings the region has seen this winter, we woke up to a crisp bluebird day. A great day for a big tour! After a quick warm up lap hitting a ~100m powder line 10 minutes from the hut door, we set out on a ~8km traverse loop around the area.

Pisa Range 8Pisa Range 9

The traverse loop planned was to include a skin track back up to Mt Pisa, and then around to Dome Rock (one of the next highest peaks in the range) where a privately owned hut (Rob Rosa) is situated, and with the final trek back to Kirtle Burn and then out of the Pisa Range and back to the van. Although it took a little longer than we initially planned, we completed the loop and hit our objectives!

The two red dashes on the first picture correspond to the red line on the second picture, which was the main down track of the day.

2016-07-29 19.51.53

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As the traverse came to an end, I couldn’t help but have a massive feeling of accomplishment navigating through all this new terrain. I’m fully addicted to the mountains and the thrill of navigating through them.

Happy shredding and be safe out there!

Posted by Mitch

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