Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mt Kosciuszko, #4 of the State 8

Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak at 2228 metres, sits in the midst of an alpine area. The summit itself is not particularly prominent, the walk in from Charlottes Pass is a gentle steady ascent. It is along an old road, closed in the 60s, which led close to the summit.

Mt Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales

The second of three blog entries for a week spent around Canberra doing three of the State 8 peaks - the highest mountains in each of Australia's eight states and territories.

SUMMARY - Mt Kosciuszko hike
Start Charlottes Pass, end of Mt Kosciusko Road from Jindabyne
End Mt Kosciusko summit, re-trace steps to Charlottes Pass
Summit Walk
Time 1h45m one-way
Distance 9km each way
Elevation gain 390m
Mt Townsend from Main Range Track
Time 1h one-way
Distance 2.5km each way
Elevation gain 100m
Main Range Track
Time 2h45m one-way
Distance 12.7km each way
Elevation gain 390m
Topographic maps 1:25 000 scale, Perisher Valley 8525-2S

The summit is visible from Charlottes Pass, but can be difficult to identify. Charlottes Pass is at the end of the bitumen road, not surprisingly it is Australia’s highest town. Town might be a bit too much to attribute to it, it is a ski resort with a collection of ski lodges. We were able to stay in one lodge, the Pygmy Possum Lodge, with our keen alpine hiker lodge host, Ziggy.

Following the dirt road to the summit from Charlottes Pass, we crossed the infamous Snowy River, a mere few hundred metres from the headwaters. Passing an old stone hut, Seamans Hut, we got our first definitive glimpse of the summit of Kosciuszko.

After an obligatory stop at Australia’s highest toilet, located at the track junction with the ridge Boardwalk that comes from the ski-lift at Thredbo, and where the road used to end at a carpark, we continued on the short distance to the summit.

In the sun Vicki and Shea did a jig (oops no sound), and we sheltered on the leeward side of the summit cairn to eat lunch.

From here the easy hiking ended. We returned to Charlottes Pass via the Main Range Track, diverting off track to the summit of Mt Townsend. It wasn’t really off-track, a foot track marked by stone cairns led from the Main Range Track to the summit. Mt Townsend used to be called Mt Kosciuszko, and Mt Kosciuszko called Mt Townsend. After being named surveys revealed that the now-named Mt Kosciuszko was higher than the previously named Mt Kosciuszko (Mt Townsend), so instead of re-educating people as to the name of the Australia’s peak, they simply swapped the names.

A short cut back from the summit of Mt Townsend to the Main Range Track saw us skirt around Muellers Peak with views of Albion Lake. Back on the Main Range Track we were triumphantly welcomed into the Blue Lake Junction by Vicki and Jack, who had gone ahead and waited for us. Rather exhausted, we plodded on down the valley, crossing the cold waters of the Snowy again, and up the other side to Charlottes Pass.

The following day, eager for a rest of sorts, we did a half-day hike from Charlottes Pass, off track up to Blue Lake, past Hedley Tarn, and then returning via the Main Range Track. Our tired legs and foggy summits put us off climbing to the summit of Little Twynam and Mt Twynam.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I invite you also to the English version of this website. You will find there a lot of information about the conquest of Mt Kosciuszko the highest peak of Australia, and about sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki the explorer who gave the mountain its name.

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