Best last ski lines #1: Twin Humps is now or never

Twin Humps is one of the Snow Action team’s favourite ballsy spring day trips.

It has nice steepish chutes and that Western Faces wilderness feel of looking out over nothing all the way down into Victoria.

Slashing a line towards Leather Barrel Creek in Twin Humps
Our Snowboard Editor Peter Wunder slashes a line towards Leather Barrel Creek, with South Ramshead, The Pilot and Victoria behind – this was 01/10/19 © Owain Price

It’s close enough for a day trip to get out and session the chutes at the end of the ridge dividing Swampy Plain River and Leather Barrel Creeks, with lots of mellower options if you’re not fixated on chutes. But far enough away to be less trafficked.

For the goal checkers, you pretty much nail Australia’s 4th highest peak, Ramshead, on the way out.

Twin Humps can last well into October in a good year. But the 2020 season is melting fast, off an already less than great peak depth, so go soon while there’s still snow we reckon.

Snowy Hydro Snow depth charts comparison shows we are already where we were in October last year © Snowy Hydro

The latest comparison chart from Snowy Hydro (taken at Spencers Creek every Thursday) shows how the steep drop off has set in. It would take a serious late dump now to make much difference; once the base goes it’s better to see the green and rocks than be stepping through to them.

Skinning out over Ramshead towards Twin Humps
Skinning out over Ramshead © Owain Price

Come spring and out between Ramshead and North Ramshead is the most direct route, involving likely some tussock hiking and if you get lucky still a nice steep line down into the Swampy Plain river valley. The longer the better is good here to get some speed up for the long gentle run along the side of the plain that follows. That done, it’s only a strolling skin up to Twin Humps.

If you have a Thredbo pass and Karels is still running you can save some effort scooting out from there. Or with their single chair access ride just head out the back of Crackenback chair top station.

Plenty of sendy spots for Steve Leeder out along the Twin Humps ridge © Owain Price

You can be out at the juicy stuff in the Twin Humps chutes in 90 minutes or so, depending how much bush bashing is required. Getting there is the easy part.

Get out there by mid to late-morning and you can have plenty of fun for a few hours putting lines down the different chutes before heading home.

Telemark skier in Twin Humps
Steve dropping towards Leather Barrel Creek © Owain Price

We only saw two others out there all day on our October 1st mission last season, and they were just doing a longer mellow line into the trees down toward Leather Barrel.

Our preference is to hit the Humps. They are short but tasty chutes with an edge of the range wilderness vibe to them that’s like being over the western side of the Main Range for a lot less effort. Alan Andrews rated it a westie zone in his Skiing The Western Faces Kosciusko book published by Table Top Press in 1993, a rambling but fascinating collection of tales of his then near 50 years of skiing the area, and we won’t argue. According to Andrews the area was only first skied as late as the 1960s.

It’s still off most people’s radars.

Steve Crazy had been agitating for a mission there all season, so he took full advantage when we finally got there. Pete got his share of slashing lines too, while I had the photographer’s excuse for doing less and saving energy for the return. Less was still more than enough for me.

You get a real away from it all feel, with a long view down into Victoria © Owain Price

Campers can set up beside the red shed, aka Cootapatamba Hut. You can do it all a lot easier from there and in winter with good snow enjoy the chutes and the trees scoring 400m+ vertical lines. For the spring day tripper it’s the top 150m or so that are interesting, repeating them with different shots working your way along chutes is the best option.

Plenty of fun lines to be had in Twin Humps chutes © Owain Price

The Twin Humps downside is the long, slow haul back up to head home. It was already a skin and boggy tussock bush bash to reach the saddle for us on October 1st last year. But from there we managed to thread an almost continuous line back to Thredbo, which was still just skiable back to the bottom. You’ll have a muddier hike this year.

Don’t forget you need to fill out a KNP Trip Intention Form.

The long haul home © Owain Price