Mount Kosciuszko

Australia at my feet: Mount Kosciuszko

As soon as I discovered that Mount Kosciuszko was a mere 2280 metres and an easy day walk, I had a hankering to walk up.  After all, how many times will I have the opportunity to say that I had climbed and conquered the highest peak on the continent?

I had established a ‘base camp’ in Jindabyne, a little town at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, and my accommodation was on the edge of the very pretty Lake Jindabyne.  The balcony was a lovely spot to sit and read, or simply watch the clouds float by.

Like any good New Zealand mountaineer, I was well prepared.  The latest weather report suggested it would be a beautiful sunny day but very cold.  So prepared for all conditions, I had with me in my day pack:

  • puffer jacket
  • woollen thermal long johns
  • woollen thermal long sleeve top
  • hat
  • gloves
  • scarf
  • sunscreen (for any part of me left exposed)
  • 2 bottles of water
  • 2 snack bars
  • an apple
  • an orange

With the exception of water, obviously all of this equipment was ultimately unnecessary. However it was good to know that if conditions turned icy or I veered off the path  I would survive.  My training at Brownies was showing through.

An interesting fact I recently learned, is that Mount Kosciuszko is named for General Tadeusz Kosciuszko who never set foot in Australia.  Known internationally for fighting for the values of freedom, liberty, and equality for all, he died in 1817, but was remembered in 1840 when his fellow Polish countryman Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki climbed to the summit.  Strzelecki’s thoughts apparently were that he was “amongst a free people, who appreciate freedom”.    These thoughts, and Strzelecki’s admiration for the achievements of Kosciuszko is believed to be why this mountain was named for General Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

There are several ways to get to the top. Of the two most popular routes, one path leaves from Charlotte, and one from Thredbo and both meet just before the summit climb (although let’s be honest, calling it a ‘climb’ is ambitious).  I decided to drive to Thredbo to visit this little skiing village as well.  It’s a cute little town, and in the middle of summer busier than I expected, completely inundated with mountain bikers.

You take the chairlift and then it’s a fairly easy 6km walk to the top, which is supposed to take about 4 hours return depending on your walking pace.  This guideline was generous, as I was there and back in 3 hours, with stops along the way to admire the views and a break to relax and enjoy the view from the top.

It’s a really lovely walk, quite a gentle meandering uphill with only a couple of steeper sections.  With a path all the way to the top it was also pretty easy on the ankles and there were no stray rocks or uneven pathways to trip me up.  It’s a very scenic, with lakes, rocks and mountain daisies.  However the big prize is at the top when you get to the views, they are spectacular.  Australia was at my feet.  The mountains in the distance are layered and coloured like a faded deep blue velvet, as far as the eye can see.  I sat down and enjoyed the view for a while.

I’d knocked the bastard off, and I figured I’d earned it.

 

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