11th November – Saturday
Was a little worried about the weather for today’s climb of Mt.Kosciosko, but it looks nice this morning. We got a little bit of rainfall last night, but not too much. As always it was hard to get everyone going. Zach couldn’t find my gloves that have done a lap of Australia for the one time I might need them. I lent them to him yesterday when he froze his arms and hands looking for gold in the river here. And now he has no idea where they are. We tell him he needs to be prepared for Alpine weather that changes without notice, but he ditches his tracky dacks for shorts before we even leave the van. I’m wearing shorts too, but at least I’ve got my tracky dacks in my backpack. We got away and drove to Thredbo, parked and bought our lift passes ($74). We were told there might be some storms blowing in this arvo. Maree was beside herself worrying about Zach’s lack of preparedness, and how she’d explain his wearing of shorts to a coronial enquiry into his death from exposure. I told her we’ve done everything we can, and if he wants to ignore us because teenagers know better, then he’ll have to learn the hard way. We caught the chairlift up the first section to Eagle’s Nest. As we ascended it got colder so I opted for my spare tracky dacks. We started walking on a paved track which was easy going. Very soon we came across a small patch of snow which the kids delighted in playing in, throwing snowballs in every direction. Further up, the paved track turned to steel mesh grate, but even this disappeared from time to time with big drifts of snow covering sections. It was easy to just follow the previous tracks of people, but occasionally as Jessie found out, it could be quite slippery. We made it to a lookout about 1 hour in, and stopped for a drink and a snack. A bit further up there was the Kosciuszko lookout where we could finally work out where we were actually headed. Kosciuszko isn’t a very memorable or striking looking feature on its own. Unlike the Matterhorn or maybe another Aussie mountain like Cradle Mountain, you wouldn’t see a photo of it and go “Oh yeh, that’s Mt.Kosciosko”. The mountain landscape we were in however was very striking, made all the more so by the amount of snow that contrasted with the dark granite rock everywhere. We were blessed with fine weather, and Maree said a guy who had done this walk a number of times commented that this was the best weather he’d seen doing the walk and it’s normally a lot windier. The mountain range to our left was protecting us from the cold southerly. He also reckons it is usually a lot busier, so maybe the dodgy east coast weather had put people off. At about this time 3 gyro-copters flew over, making quite a racket. When we arrived at a junction where there was a loo, there was a Ranger digging snow away from the main door, which had been snowed in by recent falls earlier in the week. We continued towards the summit, only about two and a half kilometres to go. We passed through the biggest snow drift yet, but once through that the path which had now changed to a fish scale looking gravel filled poly mat, curved around the west face, heading towards the south, which exposed us to cold wind. Arriving up to the top of Mt.Kosciosko in a time of roughly two and a half hours, we joined the other 50 or so people up there, milling about the the trig point waiting their turn for a photo or a selfie. Everyone was nice in offering each other to take photos. We had our lunch which was some lovely left over fratata from last night. After some of our own photos and some phone calls (better reception on Uluru and Kosciuszko than we get at home), we started to make our way back down. It was obviously easier going down, but for some reason crossing the snow drifts seemed more slippery than they were on the way up, maybe because they were much more compacted now. Zach wanted me to film him throwing a snowball at me. The little turd got me in the ear, my tiger like reflexes dulled by trying to film the dufus with my phone. I had snow in my ear. My revenge was when Zach tried to watch the video I thought I’d shot, he discovered I hadn’t! I’d just taken a photo. Ha! We all very much enjoyed the easy trip back to the bottom on the chairlift. I reckon if they had have let us do another lap some of us might have nodded off to sleep. As Jessie had descended Kosciuszko talking of little else besides her desire for a bowl of hot chips, we celebrated our successful climb with, you guessed it, some hot chips. At the beginning of the day we weren’t sure if we’d stay another night or not, but I wasn’t much in the mood for getting back to the van, packing it up and hitting the road for another two or three hours. So we paid for another night, went back to the van and the more mature members of our family had a nana nap, whilst Jessie surfed the net, and Zach kept looking in the river for minuscule pebbles he thinks are gold. We all enjoyed our big day of climbing Kosciuszko. The storms we were warned about earlier in the day arrived around 8.30pm, just after we’d banished Zach to his smelly little tent outside. As the rain got heavier we called out to him inviting him back into the van, but he either couldn’t hear us over the rain, or he was already asleep.