Day trip August 2016
Cross country skiing
In a weather window we caught the ski lift up from Thredbo. The sun shone as we skied steadily uphill to Kosciuszko Lookout. The “mountain’s” small hilltop rose slightly higher than those around it in the distance. The snow was typical main range crust, powder, ice and sastrugi all mixed together by recent blasting winds. Many underestimate this “Seventh Summit” of the highest mountains on each continent.
I had retreated from the range in atrocious conditions years before when a party of Japanese mountaineers insisted on setting off to reach their lowest and last summit having climbed all the other six including Everest. Their local guide had advised on waiting a few days for the weather to clear but out they went only to require a complicated rescue in the height of the storm.
And another time my wife and I were huddled in a tunnel tent in very bad weather near Seamans Hut (built as a shelter hut in memory of a young man who died in a blizzard nearby) when a group of scouts from WA struggled in having left a party member and a leader below the summit. We abandoned our trip to ski out and raise the alarm.
Near the frozen and snowed over Lake Cootapatamba we diverted from the main trail and zigzagged our way up the south ridge. The blue ranges stretched way out below into Victoria. On this ridge you really get a big mountain feel.
The longest uphill climb/hike in Australia, Hannels Spur, comes 6,000 feet up the western side of the range nearby. At the summit we could see Jagungal, Twynam, and Townsend which were three of my other “Seven Alpine Summits of Australia”.
The plan for the day had included a push on to Mount Townsend but the weather deteriorated in the early afternoon so we made a conservative decision to save it for next year.