Where is Bob?
Location: Snowy Mountains, Australia
Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. It is located in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. There is a lot of debate in mountaineering circles whether you should ascend Kosciuszko or Carstensz Pyramid to claim to have done the Seven Summits. To remove any debate from my attempt to do the seven summits, I decided that I should ascend Kosciuszko. It should be noted that Kosciuszko is not the highest point in Australian terroritory. Mawson Peak (2745m) in the southern Indian Ocean is the highest point in Australian terroritory outside of Antarctica.
Mount Kosciuszko was named in 1840 by Polish-Australian explorer Paul Strzelecki for Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817), the Polish military hero who fought in both the American and Polish wars of independence. To Strzelecki, the peak resembled the tomb of Kosciuszko in Krakow, Poland.
Ascent date: 18 December 2009
I was travelling though to New Zealand to spend Christmas with my younger brother, Andy, who had emigrated out there. It is a long flight, so I felt that it was necessary to jump out the plane at a suitable point and stretch my legs. Therefore I planned to fly into Melbourne, grab a hire car and drive to Sydney via the Snowy Mountains to attempt Mount Kosciuszko. Then, from Sydney, I would continue travelling to New Zealand.
I posted this intention on a Facebook group forum dedicated to the Seven Summits and put out an open invite to anyone that wanted to meet me in Melbourne, share the cost of the hire car and fuel and then part company in Sydney. A few people from around the world made contact with me and one person committed to joining me for this adventure.
The scope of the adventure expanded mariginally in that we nipped over from Melbourne to Tazmania to ascend Mount Ossa first. I probably enjoyed the ascent of Mount Ossa more than Mount Kosciuszko.
After an ascent of Mount Ossa, we got back to Melbourne and travelled eastwards to Bairnsdale where we met up with and stayed with some of my friends who had emigrated there. Thanks to Steven and Elaine Mowat for the accommodation.
The problem with Australia in December, its summer, is that it is hot and dry.
On the day that I was going to climb Kosciuszko, heading there from Bairnsdale, there were 53 bush fires between us and the mountain. 17 of these bush fires were burning out of control at the time.
After getting advice from the local fire service, I drove a long way up some very hairy, unsealed roads and eventually got to the national park.
I started up Mount Kosciuszko at about 2pm using the route from Charlotte Pass. This is a very straight forward stroll along a land rover track followed by an excellent footpath all of the way to the top. In total it is an 18km round trip.
At the top I pulled out a bottle of wine to celebrate the summit success. I had a drink of wine on the summit to celebrate whilst watching bikini-clad tourists celebrate getting to the highest point in Australia.
This was my fourth of the Seven Summits achieved on the Dick Bass / Frank Wells version of the list. I felt that Carstensz Pyramid was a much more satisfying mountain to climb, but I was happy enough watching the girls in bikinis.
We then drove to Sydney and I flew onwards to New Zealand to spend time with my brother.
Ascent photos – Facebook