Snow Shoe Kosciuszko by Yen Sydney Explorers August 2015.
Excitingly we carry our backpacks down to the car eager for another long weekend. Dave is right, having an early Friday afternoon always seem to make the weekend much longer.
First stop was Riverwood station to pick up three adventurous young men, all packed and just as excited as we were about the weekend. Sonny, Ryan and Adam finished work early to join us to carpool to Thredbo. Ryan and Adam has never been to Jindabyne as they were new to Australia which made the trip even more special for them.
We took our regular route stopping at Goulburn Trappers Bakery famous pie shop where the Big Merino stood over visitors. We were about to discover Ryan’s famous appetite, he woofed down 2 pies in one hit. Must have missed lunch I guess. Back in the car for the long ride to Cooma to pick up our snow shoes at Ski Co just behind McDonalds and dinner before Jindabyne. The boys went to the liquor store to get beers and some spirits for to warm them up in the night whilst camping.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: Cooma. We stopped at Capital Dial Pizza it seem very popular as there was a queue, the boys ordered 2 large family pizza and polished it off with Ryan on a winning streak. The boys enjoyed their beer; Dave and I both had sparkling mineral water as Dave had to drive and we still an hour to our campsite at Jindabyne. We called Anne-marie to see where her AK and Charlotte were. They were an hour behind us stuck in famous Friday afternoon Sydney traffic.
Arrived at our campsite and we could definitely feel the temperature drop, it was dark by the time we arrived and had a lovely spot just opposite the freezing cold lake. Dave quickly pitched our tent only to find out it was on the wrong campsite spot and had to move! By the time we got organized, Anne-marie and the girls had arrived. Ryan has been eagerly waiting for AK to pitch her tent, which is identical to his, a reassurance that he was Mr. Popular.
It was a cold night, the sleeping bag was loose and cold air was seeping in but we all managed some sleep except Anne-marie, poor thing, not what is needed after a long drive but we had breakfast to look forward to Serge’s famous Bacon & Eggs roll we packed our tent and drove to town center where we would all meet at Serge’s.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: Jindabyne Everyone in our car ordered bacon & eggs roll but Ryan decided for a ham, cheese & eggs croissant which did not fill him up and had to order another lovely bacon and eggs roll from Serge’s café 2 eggs, bacon on a French baguette!
Our meeting place was the café at the info centre Wayne was the last to meet us and off we go to Thredbo ready for our hike. There we caught up with Laurence who woke up 3am to start the drive to Thredbo for a bit of skiing and then hooked up with us for the weekend hike, devoted to the snow one would say!
After purchasing a back country pass for $35 from the ticket office, we all took the chair lift to Eagles Nest Restaurant the start point for our hike. Snowshoes on and we’re ready to hike to Mt. Kosciusko, the highest point of the in Australia in brilliant sunshine and blue skies. It was an absolutely beautiful clear sky, on with our backpack with all our winter gear looking forward to the summit.
Wayne took the lead, as he’s our snowman for the weekend, slowly we hiked up the snowy mountain, at the base of Kosciuszko we stopped for have lunch backs to the breeze and left our backpacks at the bottom of Kosciuszko & snowshoe to the top. At lunch I asked Wayne where is Kosciusko? He pointed to what seem to be a little hill at the time. As much as I have been to Kosciusko before, everything seems to change with the snow, Kosciusko look tiny, nothing impressive like Annapurna or Mt. Blanc. But gee how things change hiking up that little hill on snowshoes. We all huffed and puffed up the steep side rather than the long way around up the trail.
Just before we got to Mt Kosciuszko, a photographer asked us if one of the girls would be a model, he has a prototype piece of clothing, one only in the world and would like a model to display it. Now famous Anne-marie (some would say infamous!) volunteered and put on the skirt, stripped off her jacket and strutted her stuff in front the camera. The photographer told us we could not take a photo as the skirt is a prototype and he did not want anyone to copy it. Charlotte and AK were quick enough to snap a couple of naughty photos and it’s posted on Sydney Explorers Meetup.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: The top Once at the top, we were all so excited and posed for photos, Ryan took his go-pro and we were able to do a few group photos. Despite the snow, the hike quickly warms us up and we were able to strip down to just thermals. We head down hill to collect our bags. Wayne again took the lead and showed us the way to Seaman’s hut. We took the standard track looking down on a snow covered Snowy River but its steep due to a snowdrift, taking care not to slip down the steep side into the snowy river and made our way to the hut to find a father and son has just hiked to the hut direct from Thredbo and has lit the pot belly stove, the hut lovely and warm!
We took advantage of the sunlight and put up the tent, everyone enjoying the crips fresh winter air whilst Dave and I snuggle up in the hut making ourselves a hot cup of tea. Sunset was delightful plenty of colourful shades through the clouds and over the snow.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: Seamans Hut By 6pm, we were all in the lovely warm hut cooking dinner and Ryan advised us his dozen eggs has not frozen yet. Yes crazy boy carried a dozen of eggs with him. We all sat and exchanged stories, the alcohol was also passed around and before we know it, all were early to bed which meant a quick dash in the freezing night air to our tents before slipping into our sleeping bag ready for the early rise next day. We skipped to our tent freezing, the dark night reveal the magnificent stars so many we could never see such a sight in Sydney the milky way clear in the night sky. Laurence advised the next day that he woke up at 2am to view constant shooting stars. The rest of us deep asleep in our cocoon wrapped up in our warm sleeping bags, well that is the theory anyway!
The girls decided to sleep in the hut overnight escaping the cold and missing out on sleeping in the tent, Dave myself and the boys all slept out in the cold testing out our gear. We had all our clothes on and Dave his down jacket to keep warm kicking ourselves for not packing our down liner sleeping bags.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: Our way down As much as we intended to get up early the next day, things did not work out that way. Getting dressed in the tent was challenging especially it was so cold overnight with the wind chill temperatures was around -15c. Our boots froze overnight after getting damp from the snow and getting our feet into the boots was painful and challenging. We quickly head into the warm & cozy hut to prepare breakfast and defrost. We did not leave the hut till close to 10am but it was a lovely easy hike back to Eagles Hut Restaurant where we would catch the chairlift down.
On our way down, we saw two snowboarders para skiing with their parachutes so beautiful seeing them glide across the snow, which seemed so effortless. I wish I was that adventurous. Other hikers were also making their way to either Seaman’s hut or Kosciusko, we stopped to exchange conversation, as it was a leisurely hike down once we crossed the ridge. Come to think of it, my bag did not feel heavy, what a difference when you don’t need to carry a lot of water and food.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko: Finale We reached Eagles Restaurant eager to take off our snowshoes and head to the chair lift down. The boys seem pretty chuffed with their weekend adventure and on the way home could not stop talking about the cool adventure we had on the weekend instead of spending time at the local shopping center or doing boring house chores. Again we stopped by Serge’s Café for a burger. Ryan chose a Kebab which does not seem to fulfill his appetite however, with the promise of a Jindabyne cronut, he restrained himself from ordering another burger!
Oh that cronut (a cross between a donut and croissant filled with custard cream topped with chocolate) , a whole tray of them waits at the bakery for us, Lance from Sydney begged me to bring one back for him so I made him promise to come and collect it from our place as we would not be delivering it.
By the time we got back to Goulburn, Ryan ate his cronut with full approval promising his second one for his aunt (somehow I doubt his aunt would be getting a taste of it).
We were finally home by 7pm reminiscing our wonderful weekend and how crazy we were driving all that way just to hike a couple of days in the freezing cold snow.
Wayne asked if I would do it again???? Hmmm. Let’s see.
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Snow Shoe Kosciuszko important bits:
Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest point at 2228m accessed easily from Thredbo, Jindabyne is the closest town and a 5 hour drive from Sydney by the M31 via Cooma, park entrance fees apply and is regarded as separate to the NSW parks pass.
National Parks NSW has a great link to the summit walk based in summer: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Walking-tracks/Mount-Kosciuszko-Summit-walk
We rented our snow shoes from https://www.skico.com.au/ of Cooma they provide a discount for booking online in advance and competitive pricing with good service. We drove down to Jindabyne Friday afternoon via Cooma camped overnight at Jindabyne Holiday Park next to the lake which is a good location to the town centre. Drive to Thredbo Saturday morning, park overnight, note parking is restricted in the streets but car parks are free of charge, check parking regulations. Take the ski lift up to Eagles Nest and start from there or walk from Thredbo, $35 for a back country pass to use the lifts, Seamans Hut can be busy with skiers and hikers alike, its for emergency purposes only so always carry your camping gear, be prepared even in summer it can be very cold and as all mountainous areas weather conditions can change quickly.
Snow Shoe Kosciuszko Note:
Always be prepared when bushwalking, carry enough water, purification and adequate food/snacks for your walk, never go without a map, compass, and personal locator beacon, first aid kit. For more information see the NSW National Parks website about staying safe: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/bushwalking
Remember snow conditions change quickly in the snowy mountains this walk is for experienced walkers only.
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