Two skiers just conquered this couloir on Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Ben Armstrong takes on the Cradle Snatcher couloir on Tasmania's Cradle Mountain. Photo credit: Shaun Mittwollen

Ben Armstrong and Shaun Mittwollen are back adventure skiing again in Tasmania thanks to the most recent snow falls last weekend.

The skiers are already well known by SnowsBest readers having conquered the most insane couloir in Tasmania last year, hit up Feathertop in Victoria and ski toured under the Aurora Australis. 

Now they’re official adventure seekers thanks to a grant from The North Face and have  taken on a sweet hidden couloir on Cradle Mountain that they’ve dubbed Cradle Snatcher. Complete with high rock walls on either side and a hallway that just begs to be skied through.

“The weather wasn’t ideal with wind and mist and it wasn’t until we passed Kitchen Hut that we had our first glimpse of the mountain” says Shaun of their trip.

“We ran into a pair of ski tourers who had camped the night south of the hut. Showing us their photos from the day before with excellent weather and decent snow conditions were enough to immediately spur us on to attempt the hallway we’d be eyeing off.”

Ben Armstrong making his way up. Photo credit: Shaun Mittwollen

“We continued past the hut along to overland track as the mountain revealed itself in front of us” continues Shaun.

“Off in the distance a nice snowy ramp led up to the notch that marked the couloirs entrance. A short section of brush, a wallowing skin and then a boot pack up the face had us atop the line within about an hour or so.”

The boys were presented with a fairly narrow mellow slope that led to a small cliff, about three meters tall. From there a narrow chasm cut all the way down the mountain, steep vertical walls either side.

“The line wasn’t super steep” says Shaun. “Between about 30-45 degrees and fluctuated between about 2.5-5m wide. In total about 200m of perfect hallway lay beneath us.”

The snow quality, however was not the best – deep, wet, heavy snow that required jump turns. After they down climbed the cliff the sluffed out snow was “a deep wet mess.”

“The small ultralight skis were difficult to handle given the snow conditions and I took a few disappointing tumbles that reminded me of my days learning to ski powder in Japan” laughs Shaun.

“But away from the cliff snow conditions improved with a firm base underneath as the chute ebbed and flowed through steepness and width. We skied right down to the bottom where another small cliff marks a scree slope and the end of the couloir.”

A climb back up the hallway and a ski tour back to the car completed the adventure day and the guys will be back when the snow falls as powder or for the spring corn.

“All in all this is the funnest line I’ve skied in Tassie” says Shaun, and Ben agrees.


Please help SnowsBest survive  2020 and remain your independent source of snow news with a “Covid contribution“, from as little as $1, so we can continue to deliver the news and content you value in a season when we need each other most. Contribute here.

 

READ MORE
Photo journey: ski touring Tasmania under the Aurora Australis

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.