Climbing Mount Kosciuszko, Australia

May 3, 2015

 

I’ve always wanted to climb Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. I did a blog post on March 3rd about doing this very challenge.

 

I would love to climb the highest mountain on each continent and while I was in Australia this was on my ‘MUST’ do list.

 

No excuses, I was going to make this happen!

 

Making it happen

 

It’s true what they say if you want it bad enough you’ll make it happen. I could have easily have given up at so many points along the way. Even trying to work out how to get to Thredbo proved problematic!

 

I tried to find a way to get from Melbourne to Thredbo via public transport, it was impossible to do in the timeframe I had. There are only so many trains that go in that direction per day and none of them linked together. Buses took in excess of thirteen hours and I didn’t have that time to waste. I looked at flying to Canberra which is the closest airport. But this is still a two and a half hour drive to Thredbo! It was proving to be incredibly difficult trying to link them all together to make it work.

 

Never one to give up, I decided the best way and the only way for me to get there and back in the time I had was to drive. Now I’m not the best driver (i.e. parker!) in the world and I’d never driven such a long distance before. But this was my only option..... a six hour drive here I come!

 

The plan was to drive up early on Saturday morning, get there about 1 pm – check in at my accommodation, drop my stuff off and then head up to the summit. Stay the night and then leave early on Sunday Morning.

 

With my plan in place, the hardest part was now over!  

 

Getting There

 

I left Melbourne at seven in the morning, uploaded the address into the sat nav and off I went. I would love to be able to say the drive was stunning and interesting, but it really wasn’t! It’s just one long straight road, with a limit of 110km per hour and strict enforcement of this. I just wanted to get this part over and done with!

 

I arrived in Thredbo around 1.30 in the afternoon, I was very stiff and glad to get out into the fresh air and ready to do some walking!

 

Thredbo is a cute little town at the base of the mountain; it’s like a small alpine village. It was relatively quiet as its summer, but I can see that during the winter months it would be a cool place to hang out. The roads were narrow and there was very little parking around the village. I wish I had more time as I would have loved to do some exploring.

 

The Climb

 

I got to the chair lift at 1.47 pm – which wasn’t going to give me enough time to get the chairlift up (15 mins) walk to the top and back down again by 4pm which is the time the chairlift closes. But I would be able to walk all the way back to the village. I just needed to be careful as I didn’t want it to be dark by the time I got back.

 

I basically needed to get to the top and back down as quickly as possible. I didn’t fancy the idea of being on the mountain at night, especially with no torch, proper clothing etc.

 

I took the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift up to the Eagles Nest Mountain Hut at 1930 m, from there it was a moderate 13km hike to the summit. Which the guide says would take between 4- 6 hrs. I know from experience I walk quickly (14 min per mile), so I would/should be able to do it a lot faster than this.

 The view from the chairlift.

 

What the guide says about this walk:

 

“The footbridge crosses Merritts Creek and this is where you start on the mesh walkway. Follow the walkway to the Kosciuszko lookout (altitude 2000m) for views of Australia highest peaks and alpine landscapes. Continue on towards the summit, the track is now downhill over the headwaters of the Snowy River. Continue up a rise to the halfway rocks in the saddle. Looking out to your right past the rocks you can see the Snowy River’s tributaries all join and flow under the bridge on the Summit track, this road leads to Charlotte Pass. Follow the walking track to Rawson Pass (altitude 2110 m) where the mesh path ends as it meets the Summit Track. From Rawson Pass the summit is only 1.7km away, the path becomes a little steeper and circles the summit passing through granite boulder fields that house the nocturnal Pygmy Possum.”

  This is what the mesh walkway looks like on the way to the summit.

 

 The view of Lake Cootapatamba from the lookout.

 

Reaching the Summit!

 

It’s definitely not the highest mountain in the world, but it’s still a great feeling knowing you’re standing at the highest point in the whole of Australia and that you accomplished what you set out to do.

 

I kept thinking two summits climbed, five to go.

 

Mt Elbrus you’ll be next!!

 

Toilets

 

 

Yes there are toilets on this mountain!

 

Proper functioning toilets!

 

These are located at Rawson Pass which is 2100 metres high – so these are the highest toilets in Australia!

 

 

 

Back to Thredbo

 

I always find that the walk back is always so much quicker. I also ran parts of the way where it was safe to do so. Once I got back to the chair lift which was now closed! I had to find the start of the blue path called – Merritts Nature Track which was the 5km walk back to the village.

 

What the Thredbo Guide Says about the walk:

 

“This is an interesting and varied walk that begins at 1930m and descends to the village at 1370m. When you get off the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift, turn left down the gravel track for 20 metres and follow the train to the right down to the top of Snowgums Chairlift. The track enters the trees and winds down beside Merritts Creek then crosses the Village Trail and Bunny Walk (these are winter ski runs). When you come out into the open near Snowgum Chairlift, turn left. The walk returns to the Snow Gum Forest and crosses over an old access road. Walkers then descend through a towering Alpine Ash forest to cross Merritts Creek over the footbridge and the track continues out of the trees. Follow the steps down the left hand side of the bobsled, turn right when you come to the paved path and then continue along beside the Thredbo River back to Valley Terminal.”

 Walking down through the Alpine Ash forest.

 

 “This area is a very special place. Everything should be respected – especially the big rocks and the high mountain tops. The spirits of our old people (the earlier travellers) who came here still love on in them. – please go quietly, please go respectfully.”

Rod Mason

 

 

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