2018 Round Mountain to Kosciuszko

summary: What an amazing challenge over christmas. A north to south adventure through the Jagungal wilderness and beyond.
start: Sunday 23rd of December 2018 07:53:30 PM
finsh: Saturday 29th of December 2018 06:04:55 PM
distance: 125kms
duration: 6 days, 7 nights...
plan: Original plan this trip is based off
tags: REPORT - ADVENTURE - FAVOURITE - KOSI - 2018
views: 236

Christmas Challenge

I like to go away after Christmas to rest and recuperate ready for the new year. This year the rest and recuperation was of the mind only, not the body! A gruelling hike of over 120kms, through Australia's highest alps, in what turned out to be very warm conditions - mid 30 degrees most days!

Getting there

After the merriment of our family Christmas was complete, I dropped Jack off with his grandparents and then made my way down south. The drive is well over 6 hours, so broken up with a couple of stops along the way, including Cooma being the last large town before the park. I arrived just on dusk at 8:00pm at Round Mountain carpark, and when I hoped out of the car I immediately felt the chill of the alpine air.

I didn't rush getting changed an on the go, as I knew there was plenty of time for this trip! Eventually getting underway by 8:30pm, and just as the last bits of light were helping me see my way. It wasn't long before the gloves were on, and the head lamp was out - but only a couple of hours down the track I found a nice clearing and reasonable surrounds to call it a night and setup camp.

Off we go

That first night was the coldest of all - as was forecast. I actually woke up without feeling in my toes or fingers! So it took some time to get moving in the morning. Having said that, the sky was clear and sun shining in the morning so there was no problems with cold during the day!

My first target for today was to get to Derschko's hut. That happened quickly as I marched along the tracks at great speed! The hut was empty, but some welcome relief from the heat. I moved on from here by 11:00am and heading now for Grey Mare hut. This section was harder and longer than I remembered - it is all fire trail, but a lot of up and downs. I was close to 2:30pm when I arrived at Grey Mare Hut, including the last few hundred metres up the hill to the hut!

I sat around having a slow lunch and contemplating not moving on from here today. My plan for the day was to stop short of this hut, so I was already well ahead of schedule. In the end, the fantastic scenery, and the heat, convinced me that this was far enough today - so I set up camp.

The next day I was up early, after a much warmer night. I was packed off and heading down the hill by 8:30am today, first target was going to be Valentine's hut. On the map, there is an indication of a short cut trail that cuts out a long fire trail hike to the North - that short cut could not be found. So off I went on the regular fire trail, up and down, up and down. There were several boots off river crossing required here over the beautiful Geehi river.

I eventually arrived at Valentine's hut around 11:00am. Being Christmas day, the last thing I was expecting was to see someone at the hut! Yes its true, a fellow Christmas hiker, Heidi, was on day 26 of the AAWT trail and our paths happened to cross here at the hut. So some Christmas pleasantries were had, and since Heidi was working to a much stricter schedule than I was, she packed off and continued on her trek to Canberra!

I took my time here before packing up and continuing along the Valentine fire trial towards the Schlink road. I arrived at the Schlink Hilton around 2:00pm, still no more people around. I had a casual lunch and contemplated my next moves. Eventually leaving the sanctuary of the hut and headed towards my next challenge.

The last challenge for the day was to leave the fire trail at Schlink Pass and bush-bash my way up onto the Rolling Grounds. This wasn't all that difficult, but did take some time and patience! But I did eventually get up onto the Rolling Grounds and find a nice protected camp site to view the upcoming sunrise from. I arrived at camp around 5:30pm, and it wasn't until about 7:30pm before the flies and ants stopped bothering me! But after that I was able to settle in and enjoy an amazing evening.

Off the main trail

Waking up the next morning was a difficult day - knowing that the next couple of days was going to be a tough slog off-trail. But again the weather gods were shinning, so it was just a matter of time before I had encouraged myself enough to get moving. I was a late start however, as I figured today was going to be a relatively short day of walking - I left camp about 9:00am.

The Rolling Grounds are known for the rolling hills that make them up - I believe they are named due to the constant risk of rolling ankles that the terrain presents! The ground is covered in large mounds of grass, with hidden gullies and trip hazards in between. Needless to say the going is quite tough. Navigation is not particularly difficult, as you see just move from one small peak to the next, all the time knowing you are going in the right direction. Minimising extra effort is alway the difficult part of this section.

I eventually got to the next milestone by 11:30am. This was the top of Consett Stephen Pass which connects the Rolling Grounds with the Main Range. I stopped here to rest, and take on more water from the numerous bogs that are spread across this area.

Once across the pass, a footpad appeared which you can pretty much follow right across the Main Range. I did manage to lose it almost immediately though as I headed for Mount Tate for lunch! This was a challenge then as I found myself quite low on the East side of Tate and had to slowly climb up to almost the peak of the mountain before finding the footpad again, and a spot for lunch around 12:00pm.

I headed off again at 1:00pm, and the target for this afternoon was then on to Mount Anton, then Mount Anderson. Both were relatively easy to get past by following the footpads. But then Twynam kept getting bigger and bigger in front of me. It was also getting quite warm by this time of the day. So I stopped and rested for a while above a snow drift on the lower side of Twynam. I was able to get some phone signal here so I caught up with some news, social media, and family!

I then convinced myself to keep moving forward. However, since this side of Twynam looked incredibly rugged, I decided if I couldn't find a footpad all the way around, it was too dangerous to try climbing alone.

Well, there was a footpad all the way around! It made it very safe, but still very difficult! The mountain is a big one.

Once over the top of Twynam, the site of Mount Kosciuszko, and the alpine lakes makes you sit and appreciate the effort you've spent to get here! Once I had regained some energy, I had a short distance to go to find a camp site for the night. I desperately needed water, so I wanted to get as close to the protected area as I could, as I knew I could always get water near the snow drifts.

I found a great camp (thanks Heidi for the recommendation) just at the back of Blue Lake, looking out to the West over The Sentinel and Mount Townsend. I had camp setup around 4:30pm, and with no ants or flies to worry about tonight I was able to lay back on the soft grass and take in the amazing views!

The next morning I was up with the sun, packed up and ready to move before 7:00am. Once again the weather was great. I dropped my pack at the junction with the main trail at 7:30am and then started on the circuit track to Mount Kosciuszko. There were not many people out this early, which was great. I did cross paths with a couple more campers, and spotted a few more that were starting to soak up the morning sun! I managed to arrive at the summit by 9:15am, and believe it or not, I was there by myself! What an amazing experience being the highest person on land in the entire country right at that moment!

It wasn't long before a few more people joined me, but I did have my moment which was great.

So then I was working out in my head what I needed to do today. I had received an updated weather forecast indicating the weather was going to keep getting warmer, and afternoon storms in a couple of days. I made the decision to try and cut a day off my trip which meant I needed to head back to the car at pace!

The Return Journey

I turned around and headed back to my pack, which seemed to have made some new friends. I dropped my pack earlier at the junction, and it was the only pack there. When I returned, another ten packs there!! Anyway, picked it up and headed back up over Twynam, leaving my old camp site at 11:30am, topping over Twynam at 12:00pm. I pushed really hard and managed to get to Mount Tate by 2:00pm, by following the footpads. I went to the summit to take some amazing photos from the top - although the wind meant I didn't spend too much time up there for fear of being blown off!

After Tate, I crossed over the pass, collected water and then started the long slog over the Rolling Ground. There were a few footpads I found this time, but nothing useful. I was getting pretty tired by the time I reached my camp from two nights ago by about 5:30pm. The flies and ants were out in force, and it looked like the wind was getting up too. But by this stage I was too tired to worry!

Unfortunately this did mean I had to get up about 4:00am and run out some guy ropes to stop the tent collapsing in the wind!

The next morning I got up, and away from the sheltered spot my tent was pitched, it was hard to stand up in the force of the wind! The day was also overcast, and even a few spots of rain falling before I broke camp and headed from Schlink Pass at 7:30am. The bush-bashing was a little easier when heading down hill, and I quickly arrived at the Schlink Hilton by 8:30am.

There were plenty of people (ok four people) here this morning, so lots of chatting and catching up on adventures before eventually taking off again at 9:00am along the Schlink road. I stopped at Valentine's hut at 10:30am before continuing on to Grey Mare fire trail, meeting more people on that leg before stopping for lunch at 1:00pm.

My final leg today was from the Grey Mare junction back to Derschko's hut where I met even more people, and got rained on several times! I arrived at the hut by 4:00pm, which put an end to an epic day of walking. Best part of 30kms in total over a period of 9 hours.

There was another hiker in the hut already, resting from the heat and the flies which caused him much grief yesterday as he climbed over Farm Ridge.

I opted to set up my tent on the top of the hill from Derschko's looking out over the Tooma plan, and Jagungal. Eventually the clouds did clear up and I was left to what was an amazing afternoon and evening of resting, reading, and enjoying my last night in this area.

The final day was pretty basic. Up and on the trail by 7:30am and back to the car, tired, by 10:30am where I was able to clean up and change into some fresher clothes before starting the long drive home.

Conclusion

This is an amazing hike to do when the weather is good. If the weather was wet, I think it would be much more difficult. The mental and physical challenge that this hike presents is a real learning experience. What I learned is that I need to find a way of walking slower...


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Google Maps

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  • photos 
  • routes 
  • waypoints 
If this text does not disappear quickly, then your browser does not support Google Maps, or Google changed their MAPS API without telling me

Routes

LEG-01
17.43 kms
L-RM-CARPRK
[55H 623729 6011373]
L-RM-GATE
[55H 624100 6010899]
L-RM-FR-JNC
[55H 624099 6010099]
L-THIESS-JNC
[55H 623399 6009499]
L-HELLHOLEJNC
[55H 620981 6001270]
H-DERSCHKOS
[55H 621700 5999399]
L-GMFT-RMFT
[55H 622799 5998399]
L-GMFT+SHFT
[55H 622311 5995428]

LEG-02
16.08 kms
L-GMFT+SHFT
[55H 622311 5995428]
H-GREYMR
[55H 620299 5991699]
H-VALNTN
[55H 623299 5989999]
L-VAL+MUYANG
[55H 623446 5986125]
H-SCHLINK
[55H 624420 5984647]
L-SCHPASS
[55H 624462 5983127]
P-DCBOG
[55H 623259 5983280]

LEG-03
13.35 kms
P-DCBOG
[55H 623259 5983280]
L-CONSTEPA
[55H 622272 5977485]
P-TATE
[55H 621423 5975996]
P-MANBLUF
[55H 620850 5975449]
P-ANDERSON
[55H 619606 5974215]
P-ANTON
[55H 619166 5972848]
P-TWYNAM
[55H 617912 5971616]

LEG-04
21.80 kms
P-TWYNAM
[55H 617912 5971616]
L-MAIN-RANGE
[55H 616352 5970137]
P-KOSCIUSZKO
[55H 613185 5964726]
P-ANTON
[55H 619166 5972848]
P-ANDERSON
[55H 619606 5974215]
P-MANBLUF
[55H 620850 5975449]

LEG-05
15.75 kms
P-MANBLUF
[55H 620850 5975449]
P-TATE
[55H 621423 5975996]
L-CONSTEPA
[55H 622272 5977485]
L-SCHPASS
[55H 624462 5983127]
H-SCHLINK
[55H 624420 5984647]
L-VAL+MUYANG
[55H 623446 5986125]
H-VALNTN
[55H 623299 5989999]

LEG-06
12.72 kms
H-VALNTN
[55H 623299 5989999]
H-GREYMR
[55H 620299 5991699]
L-GMFT+SHFT
[55H 622311 5995428]
L-GMFT-RMFT
[55H 622799 5998399]
L-TUMUT-GREYMR
[55H 623269 5998431]
P-JAGUNGAL
[55H 624800 5998699]

LEG-07
16.43 kms
P-JAGUNGAL
[55H 624800 5998699]
L-TUMUT-GREYMR
[55H 623269 5998431]
L-GMFT-RMFT
[55H 622799 5998399]
H-DERSCHKOS
[55H 621700 5999399]
L-HELLHOLEJNC
[55H 620981 6001270]
L-THIESS-JNC
[55H 623399 6009499]
L-RM-FR-JNC
[55H 624099 6010099]
L-RM-GATE
[55H 624100 6010899]
L-RM-CARPRK
[55H 623729 6011373]

Waypoints

 
H-VALNTN
[55H 623299 5989999]
L-VAL+MUYANG
[55H 623446 5986125]
H-SCHLINK
[55H 624420 5984647]
L-DCCREEK
[55H 624541 5983532]
L-SCHPASS
[55H 624462 5983127]
P-DCBOG
[55H 623259 5983280]
L-CONSTEPA
[55H 622272 5977485]
P-TATE
[55H 621423 5975996]
P-MANBLUF
[55H 620850 5975449]
P-ANDERSON
[55H 619606 5974215]
P-ANTON
[55H 619166 5972848]
P-TWYNAM
[55H 617912 5971616]
P-LTLTWYN
[55H 618472 5971135]
L-GUTHCARPRK
[55H 623410 5973321]
L-GUTHTRIG
[55H 623111 5974858]
P-CONSTEP
[55H 622599 5977499]
H-WHITERVR
[55H 624429 5981904]
P-GUNGRTN
[55H 625847 5983570]
L-GUNGRTNPSS
[55H 626245 5984544]
P-KERRIES
[55H 625356 5987273]
L-VALFALLS
[55H 622830 5989396]
P-BIGBRASSY
[55H 628899 5988599]
P-BRASSY
[55H 628350 5989399]
H-BRADLEY
[55H 624350 6013399]
H-DERSCHKOS
[55H 621700 5999399]
H-DISSAPNT
[55H 626924 5978920]
L-DS-JNC
[55H 625232 5980913]
L-G-DAM
[55H 626900 5976302]
L-GMFT+FRFT
[55H 627099 6003399]
L-GMFT-RMFT
[55H 622799 5998399]
H-GREYMR
[55H 620299 5991699]
H-HORSECMP
[55H 625375 5978406]
L-HORSECMPJNC
[55H 625723 5978121]
L-HELLHOLEJNC
[55H 620981 6001270]
P-JAGUNGAL
[55H 624800 5998699]
H-KIDMN
[55H 631980 5991049]
H-MAWSONS
[55H 626141 5990527]
H-OKEEFS
[55H 626199 6001399]
H-ORANGE
[55H 623056 5986100]
H-PR-PLAIN
[55H 616406 5996559]
L-RM-CARPRK
[55H 623729 6011373]
L-RM-GATE
[55H 624100 6010899]
L-RM-FR-JNC
[55H 624099 6010099]
H-RNDMOUNT
[55H 624499 6010299]
L-THIESS-JNC
[55H 623399 6009499]
H-TIN
[55H 627906 5985746]
L-TOOMA-RV
[55H 616804 5999125]
L-GMFT+SHFT
[55H 622311 5995428]
P-KOSCIUSZKO
[55H 613185 5964726]
L-MAIN-RANGE
[55H 616352 5970137]
L-TUMUT-GREYMR
[55H 623269 5998431]
2018-12-24 08:10:54
[55H 621989 6004704]