Well This was Easter !!! The most colourful and challenging one ever in my existence and this was not recorded on any level of that "Over Kill of Chocolate" or the "Family Gathering"
It Started a few months ago when I was invited to join a group of mates to Summit Australias's Highest Peaks down at Kosciuszko National Park and of course I did not commit because i had other "PLANS" so I said and they didn't eventuate.... My urge of attending was growing BUT iam the MAN of Mystery Right? So Easter Thursday I cracked it and messaged Truc and said righto Iam coming BUT keep it as a secret because thats how I roll and I think Someone by the name of Shelby Le- Anne Salstrom which is a pretty damm special friend of mine will be oh so surprised. So I jumped on Booking.com and booked the Acaia Snowy Hotel for the Thursday night and hilariously bumped into some very good friends Dave and Yenny at the Hotel as they were doing a similar hiking trip.
The next morning arrived with high anticipation and the meeting of the rest of the crew - 08:30 at the Jyndabyne National Parks Information Centre for a group de brief and yes you guessed it, Shelby was Surprised -
I found this on my back - The Beautiful Shelby
I was joining a group of 7 friends as we embarked on a challenge of some sorts to summit - Australias Highest Peaks - 11 Official Peaks and 6 Non Offical Peaks in Sunny but Subzero Temps at Night....
The Aussie 11 (summiting the 11 highest peaks in Australia) is as impressive a trek as almost any other mountaineering expedition worldwide. Ok, so maybe Iam stretching that a bit and I haven't been to the Himalayas -
However I can honestly say that climbing the 11 highest peaks in Australia is not only very achievable for your average Edmund, but can be completed in a few days, and best of all provides hiking in some of the most spectacular Alpine landscape Australia has to offer. The Easter Long Weekend provided the ideal for our own group of 8 intrepid explorers to attempt this epic adventure and determine whether the Aussie 11 is fit for the world stage.
One of the awesome parts of this entire expedition is that all 11 peaks are located within the Kosciuszko National Park and all the summits are within twelve kilometers of each other (at least as the Crow flies). The roughly fortyfive kilometre route took us just over 2.5 days to complete, although we took numerous breaks each day and hardly set a cracking pace. The hiking route generally followed off track hiking in cross country terrain with some defined track hiking on the 2nd and third days - on the Main Range Track which is a popular Alpine walk in its own right.....
However only basic map to ground navigation is required to summit each peak. Poor weather could makes things a little more tricky, so it would be wise to ensure some members of your party have more advanced navigational skills, First Aid and PLB
The hike is best started at Charlotte Pass, which means the entire journey can be completed in a round-trip with the last day walking downhill and mostly track walking.
with three days of food and one spare day, wet-weather gear, sleeping bags, stoves, tents etc (as well as a few Easter eggs to celebrate Easter) the downhill journey on the last day was certainly awesome when we reached the Snowy River -
Charlottes Pass is about 6 hours from Sydney Via the Hume, Federal and Monaro High Ways -
Day 1 Charlottes Pass to Cootapatamba Hut Day One (12.9km, 1.7km/h, 706m asc. 666m desc.)
Shortly after we set foot from Charlottes Pass car park In beautiful fine sunny weather with little or no wind "blessed" Our first Stop was -(01)Mt Stillwell2054m **
After This short stop it was high alpine ridge walking through alpine heath which was our first introduction into walking though the spongy grass / heath similar at times to hiking on soft sand all day. The serenity and views were awesome as we had completely left the summit track to the west of us, where we were navigating our way through the guts on a High ridge line to a our first break at the famous Kosiciuszko Lookout.
After lunch and a cold chill settling in, we then kept hiking south through some alpine heath and some minor ascents/ decent's before we got to 02 Rams Head North 2177m after a scramble up, a photos then a decent and on over to 03 - Rams Head 2190m just as the light was fading.... We made it to the summit and with Camp still a few kms away and Cootapatamba Hut no where in sight until we made a mini decent and then could spot it but we had to negate a rather long decent on a diagonal through rocks and spongy alpine grass. We arrived finally at Cootapatambe Hut close to 18:30 and it was straight into pitching tent mode and cooking dinner after a long and exhausting day..... Our Effort to stay outside as a group, have dinner and socialise was short lived as it far too cold and with a no fire policy in the Snowy Mountains National Park, We retreated into Ryans tent for a short while then 20:00 seemed to be "bed time"
We had a Galaxy / Milky way show for a short time until the Moon put the end to that around 20:00
Cootapatamba Hut is a survival shelter in the river valley south of Mount Kosciuszko, in the Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia.
Day Two Cootapatamba Hut to Wilkinsons Creek ........... (17.3km, 1.7km/h, 899m Asc. 911m Desc.)
07:30 was ment to be our departure time but i think the cold / lack of sleep and just being plained ass that we didn't end up leaving until 08:30. So we were off up the old river valley to pick up the Kosciusko trail and then a few hundreds meters more to Rawsons Pass where we had a toilet stop and behind the shelter we smashed outPeak 04 Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge (Baldwin's Peak) 2180m
So now it was time to do the Kosciusko thing and HOLLY MOLLY it was like Pitt Street Mall Christmas Eve - Everyman and their Bunny Rabbit was there - Far out, ok lets get the photos and head off as this was way too many people, So here is the photo of the 8 of us on the Roof Top of Australia ........
05 Mount Kosciuszko 2228m
Top of Kosi -
Righto we are out and picked up the Main Range track onto06 Muellers Peak 2120m **This was a fantastic spot for lunch as we had views right into the following peaks we were to climb in the afternoon and across to the east looking to the Main Range track and Further onto the the Summit Track. By this time myITB'S RIGHT UP IN THE HIPS WERE SCREAMING and were dampening my spirit somewhat but i can now say iam so glad i pushed on through it, even though it was giving me a lesson.
Lunch at Mullers Peak -
Ok after lunch we had 4 Peaks to summit before making camp, as it was high ridge line scrambling from peak to peak with plenty of patches of snow and some nice areas for a future camp - Next up was07 Edwards Peak 2160m * 08 Alice Rawson Peak 2160m and 09 Mount Townsend 2209m proved to be a little more technical with plenty of rock scrambling to negate - Once on top the views was extraordinary looking down to Australia's Ancient Glacial Landscape....
Sumitting up to Mt Townsend -
By the 10th/ 11th we were all getting quite exhausted and were contemplating a option of taking the valley down to camp but we pushed on to10 Unnamed peak south-west of Abbott Peak (Byatt's Camp) 2159m 11 - Abbott Peak 2145m . As I turned by back from the final peak of the day I was able to capture this:
We arrived at camp after a scramble down the Mountain in the dark then Pitched right near Wilkinsons Creek - Thanks a Million Ryan for sharing your tent and camp food, it was certainly a fun night the four of us sleeping together keeping warm from the Sub- Zero temps.
Day Three Wilkinsons Creek Charlottes Pass (19.3km, 2.8km/h, 1290m asc. 1379m desc)
As we failed to leave on time the day before, we were very disciplined and left right on 07:30 this morning as it was a rather steep walk out to pick up the Main Range track, this day felt much colder as the wind chill was certainly making its presence felt. The peaks here are much closer to the Main Range track, so some are just a short walk off track - First up was12 Mt Northcote 213m, this damm hill felt like it just kept rolling up n up, it was that friggin cold
13 Mt Lee 2100 ** 14 Carruthers Peak 2145m
A summary of our achievement:
Day One (12.9km, 1.7km/h, 706m asc. 666m desc.) 01 - 2054m Mt Stillwell** 02 - 2177m Rams Head North 03 - 2190m Rams Head
Day Two (17.3km, 1.7km/h, 899m Asc. 911m Desc.) 04 - 2180m Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge (Baldwin's Peak) 05 - 2228m Mount Kosciuszko 06 - 2120m Mueller's Peak** 07 - 2160m Edwards Peak* 08 - 2160m Alice Rawson Peak 09 - 2209m Mount Townsend 10 - 2159m Unnamed peak south-west of Abbott Peak (Byatt's Camp) 11 - 2145m Abbott Peak
Day Three (19.3km, 2.8km/h, 1290m asc. 1379m desc) 12 - 2131m Mt Northcote 13 - 2100m Mt Lee** 14 - 2145m Carruthers Peak 15 - 2136m Watsons Crag Dome* 16 - 2195m Mount Twynam 17 - 2120m Little Twynam**
* Unofficial peak that is in the "top ten" range ** Lower peak -> because it was there!
distance detail from Matt Sage
Thanks again Ryan for the share of your tent that night - Cooking dinner in the tent with bestie's in Sub Zero Temps was priceless - and special thanks to everyone involved and of course Matt Sage for leading us through a EPIC -
Iam now going to look at the Snowy Mountains Profile very differently -