Altitude: 7,226' (2,228 meters)
Tidbits: Highest mountain in Australia
One of the "Seven Summits"
Summitted, November 17, 2002
Time Zone: GMT +10 hours
Maps: Mt. Kosciuszko 1:50,000 sold locally. Also, there are hiking and trail maps available at the Snowy Moujntain Visitor Center on Kosciusko Road in Jindabyne.
When to go:
The most pleasant time is the Austral spring and autumn. When I climbed in November, there were still sizable snow fields, but easily passable. Expect snow and winter conditions in the winter season, and high heat in the summer season. Bring bug repellent. If climbing from Thredbo, it is almost impossible to get lost if you stay on the ridiculously well marked trail.
Inoculations and Medications
You should check with you physician as to which medications and inoculations to take. I did not receive any special medications or inoculations for this trip.
A visa is required in order to enter Australia for visitors from most countries, including the US. There were no provisions at the airport to obtain the visa...THE VISA MUST BE OBTAINED IN ADVANCE.
The official unit of currency in Australia is the Australian dollar, easily obtained at the airport. For the current exchange rate, click here: http://finance.yahoo.com/m5?a=1&s=USD&t=AUD&c=0.
There are two primary routes up the mountain, one from Charlotte's Pass and one from the town of Thredbo, both are located within the boundaries of the "Snowy Mountains National Park". Charlotte's Pass is 13.4 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 1,305 feet. From Thredbo, you can take the ski lift to an elevation of about 6,200 feet and walk 7 miles round-trip (with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain), or you can walk to the summit from the base of the lift which is about 14 miles round-trip with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. I decided to walk from Thredbo to the summit which took about 4+ hours.
Hotel and Climb Reservation:
No guide, permit, or trail reservations are required. During weekends or prime ski season hotel reservations are essential as Thredbo is a resort destination located in the Snowy Mountains National Park. You must enter the park in order to reach the village. Please note that there is an AUD $15 per day fee to enter and remain in the park.
Try http://www.thredbo.com for lodging information. There are also some hotels located outside the park gate. I stayed at The Thredbo Alpine Lodge for about AUD $110 a night (including breakfast and a ski lift ticket that I didn�t use). The lodge is located directly across the street from the ski lift. There is TV, outdoor pool, and a restaurant, with a small "village" with a few stores located directly behind the hotel. My biggest complaint was that there was no air conditioning and the walls were paper-thin.
One observation I had about Thredbo and the surrounding area is that NOBODY seemed to know ANYTHING about the mountain. This includes everyone I spoke with at the local restaurants, everyone who works in the hotel, everyone who works in the local stores. Considering that a large number of visitors come here to climb the mountain, I found this shocking. How long does it take to get to the summit? Where can I find a trail map? What are the differences between the routes? Is the mountain volcanic or formed by plate tectonics? Get used to the answer "I don't know". When I mentioned I was climbing the mountain from the bottom and did they have any tips, I received the usual reply "You're crazy mate!".
Standard light hiking gear and water. There is a restaurant (and bar) located at the top of the ski lift (which you won't come across if your hiking from Charlotte's Pass). I carried a fanny-pack with a light raincoat and two bottles of water. Bring sensible provisions, sunscreen and I highly recommend bug repellent.
The Town of Thredbo is located about midway between Melbourne and Sydney. Follow the signs for the town of Cooma from the main highway.
I started early in morning on Sunday, November 17, 2002. I decided to walk from the bottom of the ski village (altitude of about 4,000 feet). There is a nature trail that starts to the right of the ski lift and proceeds about 3 miles until it meets the main trail to the summit at the top of the ski lift. The trail is well marked, and is a combination of foot-trails and gravel roads. The trail begins through moderate vegetation over several small streams that are formed from snow runoff from the summit.
After meeting up with the main trail, there is a paved trail that leads to within a mile or so of the summit. There are several great lookout points along the way and a few people were snowboarding. There were quite a number of people on the trail, 99.9% of them took the ski lift from Thredbo. About 1/2 stop at the first overlook, the remainder continue on to the summit.
Trail at the base of the mountain in a wooded area
To minimize damage to the mountain, there is a boardwalk for a good distance from the top of the ski lift toward the summit
A view of the Snowy Mountains from the trail
Snowfield that must be crossed to get to the summit
Snowfield picture...look at the person in the lower left to give you a perspective on the size
Looking toward the summit from the trail
Final trail section toward summit
Plaque at summit