Giant Natural Icebergs. In Australia. On A 37-Degree November Day. True Story
Look at these beautiful ice formations. Just look at them.
Look at the fissures in the snowbank, as the ice calves* off, chunk by chunk, block by symmetrical block, into the waters below.
No, this is not Antarctica, though you could be excused for thinking so. This is right here on the Australian continent, barely five hours from Sydney.
These are the headwaters of the Snowy River. Yes, that Snowy River of Banjo Paterson fame, and these remarkable ice formations are the remnants of the winter snowpack in the highest of our high country.
Keen skier and hiker Karen Austin took the image above this week, as well as a video of the river. Here's a still from her video, looking back towards the western bank where all the snow is.
Is it normal to have so much leftover snow in Australia just a month out from summer?
It is, especially after the very snowy winter experienced in the higher areas of the Australian Alps in 2018. (There's a great table of annual snow depths here.)
Snow in Australia's high country has dramatically declined at lower elevations in recent years. But for now, peak average winter depths of two metres or more are still common in the highest areas.
The area of the Snowy River pictured is very close to Mt Kosciuszko and other nearby peaks. Snow accumulates into huge drifts many metres deep in places, and these drifts take months to melt.
In addition to creating excellent iceberg-style formations, the leftover snow means that the back country ski season is well and truly alive for those willing to hike for their turns. One such man is Matt Baker, who posted this great video recently.
"It's awesome, there's nothing like it in the ski resorts," Baker told 10 daily.
"Some of the rocky sections are pretty exposed. You'd be in a lot of trouble if you fell."
You don't say.
Fortunately, Matt held his nerve -- and his balance -- on each of the three times he conquered this run, which for the record is on the steep slopes overlooking Club Lake underneath Australia's ninth highest mountain Carruthers Peak.
Here's the wider view. Yep. Lake still frozen.
It's been a memorable spring in the Kosciuszko region. Here's a daring run posted by keen adventurer Jake Sims of his snowboarding mate Erryn Reeder at Blue Lake, which is just over the hill from Club Lake where Matt Baker skied.
In he goes...
And out he comes. Phew. Made it.
Meanwhile, a super hot day or two of weather is headed for the east coast, with the first burst of 30 degree-plus temperatures for the eastern capitals.
Sydney is forecast to reach 37 on Friday. While a city swelters, the Snowy River icebergs will still be bobbing in the water, in no great rush to disappear anytime before about Christmas.
*Yes, icebergs calve, not carve. We've all learned something today.