Trip Report Aussie 10

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Swede, Jan 9, 2012.


    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Flicking through an outdoor magazine one day during winter I started thinking about what me and Little Swede could do this hiking season that is a bit different and that we haven't already done out the range. I remembered reading an article years ago about the Aussie 10 (summiting the ten highest peaks in Australia in the one outing) and started doing some research.

    I found both the old Outdoor magazine with the article and a few websites about it and decided that this could be a good goal for the warmer months. It's not the 7 summits or anything and doesn't even involve any climbing; just some rock scrambles for a couple of the ascents. But it's always fun to have a little expedition plan in place and a goal to strive for before heading out rather than just aimlessly walking around.

    Between the first overnight hike out the main range when Little Swede was just five and now (eleven) we have covered a lot of ground out the range and been up a fair few of these peaks already, but never in the one outing.

    All ten peaks are situated within the Kosciuszko National Park and a fair bit of the walking can be done on the 'Main Range Track', but all summits apart from Mt Kosciuszko and Carruthers Peak require you to head off the track. In good (non winter) weather conditions with clear view navigation to any of these summits will not require much more than some basic map reading skills, but should you get caught in bad weather and low visibility it's a different story once you head off the defined track.

    The ten peaks in height order:
    1. Mt Kosciuszko (2228m)
    2. Mt Townsend (2209m)
    3. Mt Twynam (2195m)
    4. Rams Head (2190m)
    5. Unnamed, on Etheridge Ridge (2180m)
    6. North Rams Head (2177m)
    7. Alice Rawson Peak (2160m)
    8 Byatts Camp (2159m)
    9. Abbott Peak (2145m)
    9. Carruthers Peak (2145m)

    Looking at the distance and vertical to cover my thought was we might be able to do it in two days but three days could be needed with the little one in tow, not having to rush things too much and being able to enjoy the scenery along the way.

    The plan was to head out from Charlotte Pass, walk down to the snowy River and then head straight up to Mt Twynam as the first summit. Then walk back down on to the Main Range Track and continue to bag the other nine peaks and end up back at Charlotte again.

    So with the plan in place and the knowledge that a weekend might not be enough time it was time to just wait for the right moment; three days of at least promising weather forecast linked to a weekend when both me and Little Swede are free of other commitments and I can take either Friday or Monday off work, hmmmm, could be tricky.

    Having time off work during the Christmas period the opportunity came just after New Year. The back end of the week looked like it would have decent weather so we went down to Jindy on the Wednesday to be able to head out early Thursday morning.

    Thursday 5 Jan 2012

    Most of the drive up the mountain was through thick low clouds and fog, but once we got to about Perisher it was all clear and sunny and once at Charlotte we had a clear view of the whole range.

    We left Charlotte Pass at 7.00am and headed down the Snowy River, which this time of the year is easy to cross on the stepping stones all the way across.

    After crossing the river it's all up, up, up till you get to Blue Lake lookout, but with the magnificent views you quickly forget that you are getting tired. As always this time of the year the Alpine flora is at its best and there is still plenty of snow patches left if anyone feels like making a snowman...

    We got to the Blue Lake lookout just after 8.00am and had a stop for some water and this is also when you get a good view of the first peak for the day, Mt Twynam...

    Little Swede admiring the view, well spose not, more like posing for the camera [​IMG] ...

    After our water stop we continued up towards the saddle between Carruthers and Twynam. Here you get off the Main Range track and turn North up towards Twynam, but there is still a well defined track most of the way up. This was also when I first realised (which I did know from the start, but for some reason ignored to recognise;) that it was a stupid idea to do this hike with brand new boots.

    This saddle heading out towards The Sentinel and Watsons Crags offers some spectacular views but can often be windy and didn’t disappoint, this is when the clouds started to come in with rapid speed from the west...

    We continued up and got to the top of Mt Twynam at 9.20am, the GPS reading said 8km so far. Peak 1 bagged, 9 to go...

    From here you get a great look at Guthega village...

    Plenty of low clouds down the valley...

    After having a rest and some well deserved chocolate we started our walk down the saddle again to continue our quest towards Peak 2, Carruthers. By now the wind was strong and the clouds had completely set-in so if it wasn't for the well defined track you'd have to rely on your compass or at this stage. We got down and joined on to the Main Range walk track again and started the walk up to the top and got to our second peak, Carruthers at 10.40am and the GPS now said 12km...

    It was now completely white from the low clouds and so windy that Little Swede nearly got blown over a few times, so after taking the summit photo we continued straight down. As soon as we came down to the saddle South of Carruthers the clouds started to lift and we even got a nice view down Club Lake...

    As we kept walking the clouds continued to lift and as we went passed Mt Lee we got a pretty clear view ahead of Albina Pass along Mt Northcote and Mt Kosciuszko ahead...

    I think this is one of my favourite parts of the Main range Track. The narrow track along the west face of Mt Northcote and the steep views down Lake Albina and Lady Northcote Canyon are pretty hard to beat, well on a clear day anyway, this time we had to settle with the views down the lake...

    We got to Muellers Pass at about 12.30pm and stopped for lunch out of the wind and spent some time recuperating before starting our push up the third peak for the day, Mt Townsend. This was still a place we've been before so we knew what we had ahead of us, but after this we would have to summit three peaks we've never been up before. But the good news was that all four peaks were in the vicinity of each other, so if we had the time and strength we might be able to bag them all this afternoon. Mt Townsend, Alice Rawson Peak, Abbott Peak and Byatts Camp are all on the Abbott Ridge not too far from each other.

    We left Muellers Pass and the Main Range Track at 1.00pm and started the walk up towards Townsend. Here's Little Swede with both Mt Townsend and Abbott Peak in the background...

    And here she is again on the last scramble up to the summit...

    We reached the summit at 2.15pm and the GPS reading was now 19.5km, Peak 3 bagged...

    Mt Townsend might only be the second highest peak on Oz, but it sure is so much more enjoyable to reach than Kosciuszko. No one around and you actually feel a bit like being on top a mountain with beautiful views of the whole range to the North, East and South and also the steep drop in to the valley below in the West.

    Here's the view looking South down in to the Wilkinsons Valley below and Mt Kosciuszko in the background...

    And here's the view looking North towards the next peak to bag, Alice Rawson and Watsons Crags in the distance...

    Well, the next three peaks were new to us so this was a bit exciting to explore new territory. We scrambled down the rocky face of Townsend and headed North out the Abbott ridge and soon reached our fourth Peak for the day, Alice Rawson. The time was now 3.15pm and the GPS reading 20.6km...

    From here you have stunning views of Lake Albina and the walking track below Mt Northcote in the East and towards Mt Sentinel and the Crags in the North...

    After taking in the views and some chocolate we headed back the ridge towards Townsend again to attack the fifth peak for the day, Abbott Peak. Not quite sure of the best way of getting there we decided to head down the South-East side of Townsend in towards the Wilkinsons valley. Once down the valley we filled up out water supply and looked at the ways up Abbott. We decided to do the more direct challenging scramble up the North face instead of the gentle hike up the East side, and even though this was pretty hard work with a big pack and by now burst blisters from the new boots it was a fun ascent. We reached the fifth peak for the day, Abbott Peak at 5.00pm and the GPS reading was now 23.2km...

    We could now see that Byatts Camp wasn't too far off so decided to push on and get one more peak in that day. Not quite sure if the main motivation for Little Swede at this point was to be able to do the 10 summits in two days or just make sure we could be back home for her Saturday night sleep-over at a friend's place. Anyhow, she was determent to push on so off we went and reached our sixth peak for the day, Byatts Camp at 5.15pm and the GPS now told us 23.8km...

    It was a great feeling to know we had done six peaks in the first day and we decided that this was it for the day. We walked back over towards Abbotts and then down in to Wilkinsons Valley where we set-up camp for the night. We had now waked 25km and god knows how much vertical and felt extremely good about the day's efforts.
    Vilkinsons Valley is a great spot to set-up camp, plenty of water and out of the wind if the weather is not that great. But the weather was now beautiful so we had a nice relaxing time ahead of us in the sun before it would disappear behind the Abbott Ridge.

    We had views of Mt Townsend in the North and what would be the first peak to bag in the morning, Mt Kosciuszko in the South...

    Here's Little Swede enjoying an evening wash in the creek...

    And here's Pappa Swede Not enjoying blisters...

    Well here we are both enjoying ourselves, Little Swede with a spag bol and me with a mug of red...

    After a few games of UNO, some Whiskey for me and the sound of water running down the creek it didn't take long before we both were asleep. What a great effort this first day.

    Friday 6 Jan 2012

    Woke up about 6.30am and had a look at the map to see what was left to do in bagging the 10 peaks. We only had four more peaks to do, but the distance to walk probably pretty close to the first day. I wasn't overly keen to put the hiking boots on to my blistered feet so ignored to deal with them for a bit longer and made some coffee instead.

    Not a bad view from the tent, coffee brewing with the first goal of the day as the backdrop, Mt Kosciuszko...

    After having some breakfast and just lying around for a bit drinking coffee and tea we packed up camp and set out for Mt Kosciuszko at 8.30am. We walked across Wilkinsons valley and up to Muellers Pass again to join on to the Main Range Track and continued up and reached our seventh peak, Mt Kosciuszko at 9.45am and the GPS reading was now 29km...

    Out of the 10 peaks Mt Kosciuszko is definitely the least impressive, but at least when you are up there at an early hour you don't have to share it with another 50 people. We took advantage of the phone reception, called some people back home letting them know we were OK and set off to bag peak 8, Rams Head North.

    From Mt Kosciuszko it was just a stroll down the summit road to Rawson Pass and then on to the extremely uninspiring mesh walkway back towards Thredbo. By now we met plenty of day walkers heading up to Mt Kosciuszko and it felt like we were walking the wrong way with the masses of people walking the other way. Anyhow, we didn't have to endure the pain of this "non wilderness" experience for much more than about 3km before we could get off the mesh walkway and head South-West straight up towards Rams Head North, just before the track heads down towards the Snowy River.

    After walking up the ridge we reached the Rams Head Plateau and got a good look at our next peak...

    Once we got closer we decided to head up the South face, this was a bit like getting up Townsend with a rock scramble required. Nothing overly hard and we reached the summit at 11.45am with a GPS reading of 34km, peak 8 bagged...

    By now you could see plenty of people up Mt Kosciuszko...

    Always heading out from Charlotte Pass this is an area we have never explored before, but I have to say that the whole Rams Head Range is well worth a visit. An amazing landscape of rock boulders and waterways mixed with each other and a vast variety of alpine flora.

    Once down from Rams Head North we checked the map and set the compass for Rams Head and started our walk towards the 9th peak and walked along waterways, boulders and beautiful alpine flowers...

    When we reached Rams Head we decided to head straight up the South ridge and reached the summit at 1.15pm with a GPS reading of 36km. Peak 9 bagged, one to go...

    Up top of Rams Head you have magnificent views across the whole Rams Head Range to the East and distant views in to the wilderness in the West.

    We had some lunch while admiring the views up top of Rams Head and then we climbed back down and started our walk back across the plateau to bag the 10th and final peak, the Unnamed, on Etheridge Ridge.

    Couple of shots from the Rams Head plateau...

    After walking back passed Rams Head North and down the ridge we again joined up with the mesh walkway and headed up to Rawson Pass to bag our 10th and final peak on the Etheridge ridge just above Rawson Pass. By now the hordes of people walking up Mt Kosciuszko were on their way back to Thredbo and again it seemed we were walking the wrong way.

    Once we got to Rawson we dropped our packs and after some running repairs on my by now very painful blisters headed straight up the hill for the 10th and final peak and reached it at 3.20pm with GPS saying 41.2km.

    What a great feeling of achievement, all we had to do now was making it back to Charlotte Pass...

    We went back down the hill, put on our packs and started the hike back down the summit walk to Charlotte. We got back to the car at 5.20pm having walked 49.4km the last two days. The actual walking time was 14 hours and 20 minutes, what a mammoth effort Little Swede, extremely proud of my hiking buddy!!

    Anyhow, don't attempt this walk in brand new boots...

    But the beers at LJH tasted VERY nice that night [​IMG]

    Video version...

    Have a good one and keep enjoying the mountains.

    Swede and Little Swede
    Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    You should have talked to SPG before you headed out. He would have warned you about new boots on a long trip.

    Great report and super effort, especially for little swede. I hope i can get my little lady into some of this in the coming years. Bet you hated that last 8 or so km's down the road to Charlottes. The never ending featureless road.

    DJM Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Great TR and well done! Big effort from Little Swede!

    PiniPowPow Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Great work Swede and Little Swede!
    Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Well done! Do you guys ski at Perisher?

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Yep, Perisher for us the last eight years or so.

    Camelot Dedicated Member

    Great stuff, just made my my list of walks.

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Brilliant report, loved the pics and story.

    You must be very proud of little swede as well. 2 days, all those pics and I didnt see an iphone once!
    Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    I was wondering where I recognised you from. I spot you and your daughter most weekends.

    sjm Active Member

    Great trip report, thanks for posting!

    tele-whippet beard stroker Season Pass Gold

    An excellent TR, a nice family vibe.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Boodwah Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Awesome, thanks for thé report. Gréât effort LS - 2 demi marathons in 2 days! Cant sait to get m'y wombats up there!

    Gimp Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Top effort that. Bravo to the Dad's of the world who can inspire their daughters to 'go bush' -should be more of you guys. Can really relate to the blisters as I've just done ten days tramping in NZ. Thanks for a ripper TR
    Craig D.

    Craig D. Active Member

    Good stuff, it's great seeing parents taking their children out walking. Hope the blisters are healed now

    damian Addicted Member

    wow, this was excellent.

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Season Pass Gold

    fantastic TR and photos
    great idea for a walk.. now you can aim at baging all the > 2000m ones
    and then all they need is a peakbagging name: Scotland has the Munros, there has been an attempt to launch the 'Abels' for Tasmania.
    What should we call the full set of our tallest?

    agentBM Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Great report....very interesting. Maybe and National parks can get together to run a naming competition for that 5th highest peak.....unnamed on Etheridge Ridge 2180m.

    chokenchickin Active Member

    Great trip, gotta love the Main Range in any season.

    sara777 Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    Just wonderful! Reminded me of all similar trips I've done with my dad many many years ago. It made me the person I am today. Little Swede will be very proud of you! [​IMG]

    Great idea about the hiking comp too [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013

    Rimey Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Top TR, only just seen this. Swede = father of the year. LS will never forget this trip.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Finally got around to putting together some video footage from the hike...

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013

    DJM Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    It's always a pleasure seeing what you guys get up to. Nice work again.

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    I saw the pics whist I was in Japan and thought my swollen leg would have lots to talk about with your blistery feets. What I didn't detect in the pics is how damn windy it was for you esp that first peak. Gawd. Should've packed a kite mate!

    VSG Pool Room Season Pass Gold

    Brilliant work, Swede. Training ground for the Grand Montets, eh? :).

    Telestrom Addicted Member

    Brilliant effort, particularly from your young Swede.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    It's Been five years since we last did the 10 peaks so with the weather on the coast being crap we decided to head down to the mountains over the weekend and do the hike again. This time doing the walk in reverse order, clockwise out of Charlotte.
    Saturday had good weather but low clouds most of the day which meant very low vid at times. Sunday was an awesome day with just a late shower as we walked up heartbreak hill to Charlotte :)

    Ready to head out...

    Low clouds walking up the dead blaring road towards Tawson pass...

    The Unnamed on Etheridge Ridge was peak 1 :) ...
    :thumbs: whether, DJM, Richard and 2 others like this.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Heading out to Ramshead after just being up Rams Head North...

    Lunch at the foot of Ramshead...

    Short break at the top of Kossi...

    Set up camp in Wilkinsons valley...

    Mexican and red wine :) ..,

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Season Pass Gold

    We still need a name for them ...
    :thumbs: NewTurns and Tanuki like this.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    View from Byatts Camp...

    Looking down in to Alaina from Abbot Ridge

    Sitting at the edge of Abbot ridge before going up Alice Rawson...

    Just about up top Carruthers...

    Twynam peak 10, now just the walk down..,
    :thumbs: smackies, whether, kaegee and 8 others like this.

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Awesome again

    Tanuki Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    So good, thanks for sharing. Can't wait to do this sort of walk with my daughter.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Deliberately chose Wilkinsons valley as the camp because there is no network coverage, lots more fun with whiskey and UNO :)
    :thumbs: whether likes this.

    NewTurns Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Blister Peak

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Season Pass Gold

    The March Flies?

    telecrag Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Your daughter drinks whiskey, and skis? Better buy a shotty!
    :thumbs: Time, piolet, GS and 1 other person like this.

    GS Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    Awesome. Easier second time around?

    BlueHue Dedicated Member

    Love it! Can't wait to get my horde a little out into it when they are a bit older.

    chicski Active Member

    Gosh did she survive without data? So cool that she is still your trail buddy :)

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Haha, the whiskey was just for me, she had to make do with a Fanta :)

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Yeah a bit I spose since you know what's coming up, plus I ran it a few years back as well, leaving out the Two Rams head peaks.

    Swede Well-Known Member Season Pass Silver

    Haha yeah, but as soon as we'd come in to a place with coverage her phone would go; bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing bingbing with all missed messages :)

    chriscross Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Inspirational! Another top effort.

    kaegee Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Fantastic stuff Swede . Less steps for Little Swede now. Haven't gone quite so far with D12.Just Kossie ,DHG ,the ride to Crackenback Resort and other Thredbo daytrips . Love to take her on skiing BC day trips as you have.:thumbs:

    chicski Active Member

    and group chats and snapchats and instagram likes and........