A couple of weeks ago, the forecast for Thursday was great. Thursday is "adventure day" for local GP David & anyone who can join him.
We decided to go up Gertrude Saddle. David ski's with skins and ski crampons. I just crampon up & down.
We took Dilys - she is allowed in the National Park for SAR training & becoming comfortable in the mountains is essential.
We had stunning weather.
The summer route heads around the east side of Black Lake. In winter straight across the lake is quicker.
We decided to head up the west side of the lake as that would get us into the sun faster.
It's a slightly steeper route, and the snow was hard and icy. David had to boot-bash - ski crampons didn't provide enough traction, and on the steepest part, I cut a few steps as it was too hard to kick steps. Dilys managed all this without difficulty - 4PawDrive with built in crampons seemed prety effective. On the next little section, David waited until I was up a steepish part before following, and Dill decided to go back down to see David. Her crampons didn't work too well going down, and she ended up skiing all the way back down to him. Seemed to scare her a little. She did her own route finding to come back up, once on more level ground took a few minutes to regain her confidence on the icy surface. 50m or so further on she was bounding around again though.
At the saddle, we had a bite to eat. Dilys also had some lunch (I'd taken some with me for her). Three kea's investigated what we were doing. Dilys was most intrigued by them. I kept her on the lead to make sure she didn't follow them off a cliff (it was about a 600m drop off the cliff !)
Going down David skied whilst I moved as fast as I could on my crampons.
My faithful hound abandoned me in favour of running with David. That was apparently much more fun!
We did one little search exercise - I buried my rucsac for her. She found it and dug it up with ease, so that was a great first introduction to snow SAR work.
All in all, a "Grand Day Out", even with David's increasing sore throat!