The Paralyser wins on name alone, what a cool name!
It sounds like a cocktail, and it delivers like one too with an intoxicating mix of fun back country terrain to suit any vaguely competent skier or boarder looking to get away from lifts, people and groomers.
Simplest access is dropping in over the back of Mt Perisher, so it’s an ideal day tour for Epic Australia Pass holders looking to mix things up.
Otherwise with no pass you can skin up the Charlotte Pass road past the base of Eyre t-bar, then skin up and over there, or stay on the road round the corner and skate on down for a kilometre or so before hanging a right up the little creek valley that flows into Betts Creek. Which a bit further on itself flows into Spencers Creek, which anyone who knows their snow reports knows is the actual site for the official snow depth measurements for both Thredbo and Perisher – yep, the snow fall measured is actually at neither, go figure..
Our “short back and sides” series is designed to showcase readily accessible areas whether or not you have a lift pass. Many people simply don’t have the time, equipment or fitness/skills to do bigger overnight and longer missions out to the endless options on the Main Range, so these are the perfect solution to get the benefits of backcountry snow and solitude without so much time and effort. Mt Wheatley, part one of this series, is much closer, and simpler to lap on.
We keep finding absolute isolation when we head out, despite the panic in some quarters about the surge in back country snow traffic this season. Remember that old line about Australia having more snow covered terrain than Switzerland? Well it’s occasionally true, but generally even in a light on for snow winter there is an immense amount of untracked, untouched terrain available – especially above 1800m.
If you are really stretched for time just slashing some lines down the back south west facing side of Mt Perisher is a lot of fun. On a typical sunny day from mid-August through to October it will soften up nicely on different aspects, so something sweet is not that hard to find.
If you don’t have any touring gear (skins/splitboards) some short shots here plus boot packing it is a possibility. Especially to session some boulders – thank God for granite we say! Just make sure a buddy breaks trail, it’s easy to crunch through crust and be thigh deep with your boots tangled in scrub beneath, which is not fun and gets exhausting hauling yourself up and out again.
But our mission was The Paralyser, so we made some sweeping crunchy turns (it hadn’t softened at all) before staying high skier’s right to work our way around onto the intervening subsidiary ridgeline to minimise the skin required to summit Paralyser.
We had warmed up with a few laps of Mt Perisher first – I was testing the Fritschi Tecton 12 AT binding and wanted to see how it stacked up in bounds charging too (full report dropping soon, suffice to say they rock).
Now it was time to get serious. A short hike above the double chair, or from the top of Eyre t-bar, is all it takes to get a spectacular view across to The Paralyser and the Main Range goods beyond. So much snow, so few people! Apart from a couple of guys who had walked up to check in the view we saw no one else all day out there, until we hit the Charlottes road on the way back and got a few waves from the over snow transport and garbage services scooting along the road. Be nice if you could hitch a ride with them for the long slow uphill heading home.
Day tripping from Belconnen leaving at 5:15am meant I was ready for an early lunch before our bid for the The Paralyser summit. Some icy steeper sections had me wishing I had remembered the Skeats (snap on crampon straps – the bees knees for Aussie conditions check them here). But we were soon at the top surveying lines.
A day out back for Steve Crazy is not a day out without some boulder airtime, and I found him a beauty. Untouched, untracked, super sessionable. He soon had his takeoff kicker smashed into shape.
Then over on the sunnier north westerly aspect we found some nicely softening snow for some lonely lines too.
There’s nothing hugely steep on Paralyser, but some short sharper faces are fun. This day those were rock solid under foot, and I was really thankful for the solidity of the Fritschi binding set up on them. In fresh snow/soft snow lapping good lines is easy enough to fill a few fun hours. The sheltered tree runs lower down the ridge can collect a lot of windblown snow too, and along with the relatively easy access and get out all helps make The Paralyser a good go to when the weather makes further afield/more exposed options a no no.
The days are only just starting to lengthen (this was 30th July), so all too soon the shade was coming down and we headed back. This involves crossing the creek if you head out lower down the valley towards the Charlotte Pass road, or staying high enough traversing around skier’s left you can get over where it’s snowed under. Then it’s a skate down the north side of the creek and skin around the corner to the road and long steady skin up to the corner by Eyre t-bar to get back.
It’s pretty much downhill plus a bit of flat poling to get back to Perisher carpark from the corner. Steve favoured that option, as he would on his tele boards, but I voted to ride the lifts and ski back, being all poled out from hauling up the road.
Time wise skinning back up Mt Perisher would be as quick or quicker for those who skin at a decent pace, just personal preference really. If you do that stay high, it’s a jungle of boulders and tangled regrowth snowgums on the slopes above the creek line.
I was back in Belconnen for dinner at 7pm, after another solid day at the office: 6 hours driving, 7 hours on snow, split between a short in bounds morning session, and outback afternoon session, plus an hour or so gear up/whatever time.
Zoom in on google below to see how close everything is.
While it is closer to cvilisation than further out, filling out an intentions form is the way to go on the KNP link for that here