Climbing Kosciuszko

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climbing_Kosciuszko

 

Mt Kosciuszko (2,228m)

 

Termed ‘Kozi’ by the locals, Mt Kosciusko (2,228m), situated in New South Wales Snowy mountains, is the highest peak in Australia and one of the original 7 summits. Polish explorer Count Pawel Edmund Strzelecki was the first to summit the peak, way back in 1840.

Why isn’t it called Mt Strzelecki? Because this selfless fellow decided to name it after Polish hero General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a prominent figure in the American revolution.

It has become a popular destination for both tourists and locals, an estimated 100,000 people climbing Kosciuszko to the summit each year. Part of that comes from being situated atop Thredbo, Australias most popular ski town.

The mountain was originally named Mt Townsend and the first Mount Kosciuszko was located nearby. Throughout the late 1890s and early 1900s a number of measurements showed that Mt Townsend was higher than Mount Kosciuszko. To ensure that Kosciuszko remained the name of the tallest mountain, the New South Wales government exchanged the names of the mountains in 1910. Personally, I think Mr Townsend should feel a little ripped off with that exchange..

KEY PHRASES TO LEARN

 

Despite what some may claim, Australians generally speak an adequate level of English to be understood. That being said, a lot of slang is usually thrown into everyday conversation so to help you out, there are a few listed below.

 

*Note: Pretty much everything is abbreviated in some form or another.

Service Station=Servo, Afternoon=Arvo, Breakfast=Brekky and so on and so forth..

Mate

Generally used by men as a term of endearment for a friend of the same gender, not to describe someone they may be ‘mating’ with. May also be used on an adversary in a barfight. One of the most versatile terms around, the context of its use will likely be necessary to determine its meaning.

Cobba

Slang for mate (can be shortened to ‘cob’)

Beauty

Excellent, awesome (usually pronounced ‘Beaudy’)

Bloke

Man/Guy

Bottle-O

Liquor Store

How ya Goin?

How are you? (Usually said as a greeting, not expecting a response)

Mongrel

A truly terrible person

Rip-Snorter

Fantastic/Great (Usually an event)

Stuffed/Buggered

Tired/exhausted

Piss

Alcohol (E.g. Get on the piss= Drink alcohol)

Before the Climb

GETTING THERE

 

Mt Kosciuszko sits atop Thredbo village located in south-eastern New South Wales. This means a flight into either Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra, Sydney being the preferred choice of those coming from overseas. From either spot you can either hire a car or catch a bus to the town of Thredbo. There are plenty of accommodation options if you are planning to stay in Thredbo, just be sure to book well in advance during peak ski season (June-October).

 

Buses running from Sydney and Canberra include Greyhound, Snoexpress & Transborder Coaches.

National Park Fee- $16 per vehicle or $6 per individual (if coming via bus)

 

VISA

 

  • eVisitor: Free. This visa lets you visit for upto 3 months at a time in a 12 month period. Eligible to passport holders from the following countries:
    • – Andorra                                –       Ireland                                         – Romania
    • – Austria                                 –       Iceland                                        – Republic of San Marino
    • – Belgium                               –       Hungary                                      – Slovak Republic
    • – Bulgaria                               –       Italy                                              – Slovenia
    • – Croatia                                  –       Latvia                                           – Spain
    • – Cyprus                                  –       Liechtenstein                            – Sweden
    • – Czech Republic                   –       Lithuania
    • – Denmark                              –       Luxembourg
    • – Estonia                                 –       Malta
    • – Finland                                 –       Monaco
    • – France                                  –       The Netherlands
    • – Germany                              –        Norway
    • – Greece                                  –        Poland

 

  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA): Costs $20. This visa lets you visit Australia lets you visit as many times as you want (valid 1 year) and stay upto 3 months each visit. Eligible to passport holders from the following countries:
    • – Brunei                                                   –      Malaysia
    • – Canada                                                 –      Singapore
    • – Hong Kong (SAR of China)               –      South Korea
    • – Japan                                                    –       USA

 

  • Visitor Visa: Cost from $135-$330. This Visa lets you visit for upto 3, 6 or 12 months. It’s available to passport holders of those countries not listed in one of the above options.

 

 

WHEN TO CLIMB

 

It can be climbed year round, however conditions can vary wildly depending on the season. November to April is the most common time to ‘climb’, the weather usually being pretty warm and clear. Late May to October is a different story, the whole summit and surrounds being covered in snow. High winds and potential whiteouts can and do cause problems for trekkers at this time of year, so preparation and keen eye on the impending weather forecasts are advised.

 

Average Temperatures & Rainfall at Thredbo

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Ave High 19° 18.5° 16° 12° 2.5° 3.5° 10° 14° 16
Ave Low -1.5° -3.5° -5° -4° -2°
Ave Rain (mm) 97 73 114 98 131 168 186 235 229 173 136 91

 

 

CHOOSING A ROUTE

 

Kozi_routes

 

Kosciuszko Walk (13km return, 3-4 hours)

Enjoy this one because as far as the 7 summits go, this is as easy as it’s going to get. A chairlift takes you from the edge of Thredbo village, passed the ski fields and up onto the ridge where there is a restaurant waiting for you if you’re feeling a little peckish. From there, the route follows a steel walkway, right up to within a couple of hundred metres of the summit. If you’re feeling a up for a little more exercise, you can add the Merrits nature track which adds a 4km route through forest just off to the side of the steep section of the ski slopes.

Chairlift runs from 9am-4pm and costs $28 one-way.

Note/Tip: It is recommended to get up to the summit either very early or very late to avoid the hordes of tourists that frequent the region, particularly outside of winter. (30,000 each year..)

 

Summit Walk (18.5km return, 5-6 hours)

Rather than from the Thredbo village, this route starts at Charlottes Pass, about an hours drive from the village. The Summit walk follows an old service road and is predominantly flat or passing over gentle rolling hills. Passes the renowned Snowy River up to Rawsons pass before another track leads on to the summit.

 

Main Range Track (22km loop, 8-9 hours)

Again kicking off from Charlottes Pass, the Main Range track is regarded as one of New South Wales premiere hiking trails. Passing over alpine terrain and skirting glacial lakes, some spectacular scenery is on offer. Although it can be accomplished in a long day, it is recommended to camp overnight at Wilkinsons Creek. Parts of this trek can get a little steeper, with a few rocky areas to cross, the majority however consisting of fairly gentle slopes.

 

 

CHOOSING A GUIDE

 

Taking a guide to reach the summit of Mount Kosciuszko is entirely unnecessary. The only reason to use a guide service is if you wish to learn more about the landscape and history of the region. If so, you can use one of the service providers below:

Thredbo Alpine Village: $44 for Summit walk (offer unique options such as sunset and full moon treks to the summits)

K7 Adventures: $50+ for Summit Walk (also offer a range of walking tours, mountain biking and rock climbing/abseiling)

 

TRAINING & PREPERATION

 

Only a very basic level of fitness is required to reach the top, practically, the ability to walk 13km over gradually climbing terrain in a few hours. If this sounds like something you need to prepare for, you should probably reconsider your goal of climbing the 7 Summits.

The Climb

ITINERARY

 

  • Getting to Thredbo will take between 3-8 hours, depending on your starting point and which mode of travel you choose.
  • The climb itself will take between 4 hours upto 2 days, depending on the route you choose and if you plan to camp overnight (option on the main ridge walk). See the ‘choosing a route’ section for more info on what to expect.

 

Therefore, getting to the top of Australia can be done in as little as 1 day if you choose to rush things and simply want to tick the summit off your list. It is recommended however, to take 2-3 days, perhaps longer if you’ve got other activities in mind (such as skiing), to truly take in the surrounds and enjoy your experience in the land down under. If you’re coming from overseas, you’ll likely want to spend extra time in Sydney or Melbourne to justify the long (looooong) flight.

 

 

REQUIRED GEAR LIST

 

Only the very basics are required during the warmer period from November to May. Additional clothing necessary during the colder winter weather.

  • – You can get away with a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers most days. (bring jumper/hoodie if travelling later in the day)
  • – Day Pack
  • – Water Bottle
  • – Sunscreen
  • – Snacks
  • – Camera
  • – Hat
  • – Sunglasses

 

*Add During Snow season (June- October)

  • – General Hiking Clothes (Lightweight boots, pants and shirt)
  • – Lightweight Parka
  • – Under layers (if particularly cold)
  • – Beanie
  • – Light Gloves