Monday, April 7, 2014

Kosciuszko & Townsend & Twynam & Carruthers & Little Twynam, NSW, Australia


2014 April: One day climb of
  - Little Twynam
  - Mt Twynam
  - Carruthers Peak
  - Mt Townsend
  - Mt Kosciuszko
from Charlotte Pass - NSW, Australia

Prolog - 27 highest peaks in Australia - called A2K Peaks
Australia doesn't have high mountains. Nonetheless there are many ways to challenge ourselves ... like climbing the x-number of highest peaks in y-number of days.

In a private communication with Simon Bignold, he showed me this list he compiled of the 27 highest peaks in Australia that are above 2000 meters - called A2K peaks. (Data from 1:50,000 scaled Kosciuszko Alpine Area map, 1st edition, by Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd)

Rank Name               Elev  Easting Northing
   1 Mt Kosciuszko     2228 m 613205  5964733
   2 Mt Townsend       2209 m 612840  5968410
   3 Mt Twynam         2196 m 617925  5971630
   4 Rams Head         2193 m 612825  5960825
   5 Etheridge Ridge   2180 m 614050  5964450

   6 North Rams Head   2177 m 613790  5961810
   7 Alice Rawson Peak 2167 m 613280  5969210
   8 Byatts Camp       2159 m 611830  5967680
   9 Abbott Peak       2145 m 612295  5967800
  10 Carruthers Peak   2142 m 615750  5969800

  11 Mt Dubious        2136 m 616650  5971910
  12 Mt Northcote      2131 m 614670  5967650
  13 Muellers Peak     2125 m 613810  5967325
  14 Little Twynam     2120 m 618500  5971140
  15 Mt Lee            2105 m 615280  5968825

  16 Mt Clarke         2100 m 615475  5967280
  17 Rams Head Range   2077 m 618220  5964470
  18 Mt Tate           2068 m 621475  5976000
  19 Gungartan         2068 m 625850  5983580
  20 Mt Jagungal       2061 m 624840  5998725

  21 Mt Perisher       2054 m 624330  5969780
  22 Mt Stilwell       2054 m 618730  5965900
  23 South Rams Head   2052 m 611675  5958790
  24 Kerries Ridge     2040 m 626250  5985190
  25 Watsons Crags     2023 m 616150  5973325

  26 Back Perisher Mtn 2014 m 624760  5970840
  27 Mt Anton          2010 m 619190  5972750


( In 2013, Simon completed climbing the highest peaks in every State/Territory in Australia. I met him that year when climbing Mt Woodroffe in SA ... refer to my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/woodroffe-sa-australia.html )

Simon intends to climb the 27 peaks in a 5-day backpacking trip in the later part of 2014. This sets me thinking ... maybe I can do it too ... not the physically challenging way set by Simon, perhaps just leisurely weekend day-trips over many many months.

By the way, if you are reading this blog and are interested in joining me to climb these 27 peaks, contact me.

Today's climb: 3 highest peaks + Carruthers & Little Twynam
But first, let me tick off an ambition of mine for sometime ... to climb the 3 highest peaks, Kosciuszko Townsend Twynam, in one day. This is achieved today with David. As a bonus, along the way, we pass over
  - Carruthers Peak, rank #10
  - Little Twynam, rank #14
making it 5 peaks in one day.

David and I had planned this trip more than a month earlier. But every weekend it rained ... in fact, it rained almost every day during this period. Whatever happens to global warming which is supposed to cause the middle section of Australia to become dryer???

Today is really lucky. For most of the day, clouds surround the area we are walking but not drift over to engulf us ... wish I have this type of good fortune in lottery!

Other A2K climbing trips
Please scroll to the end of this post - there are links to other A2K climbing trips that I have done.

Paper map
1:100,000 8525 Kosciuszko
1:50,000 Kosciuszko Alpine Area map, 1st edition, by Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd
1:25,000 8525-2S Perisher Valley

Interactive map
In the following interactive map, you can click on the icons to obtain a description of the place. You can also zoom in to see more details (click on the small "+" icon a few times).

View Kosciuszko, Townsend, Twynam, Carruthers, Little Twynam in a larger map

Route & GPS tracklog files
It is a circuit walk:
- Park car at Charlotte Pass.
- Walk on Main Range Track, then Blue Lake Walk to Blue Lake which is north of Charlotte Pass.
- Cross Blue Lake Creek at south-eastern tip of Blue Lake.
- Then off-track climb to Little Twynam.
- Then off-track climb to Mt Twynam.
- Then walk on track to Carruthers Peak which is south west of Mt Twynam.
- Then walk on Main Range Track to Muellers Pass (saddle point between Muellers Peak & Mt Kosciuszko).
- Take a narrow goat trail to Mt Townsend.
- Return by the same goat trail to Muellers Pass.
- Walk on Main Range Track, then Kosciuszko Walk to Mt Kosciuszko.
- To Rawson Pass.
- Follow Summit Walk back to car at Charlotte Pass.

The corresponding KML & GPX tracklog files can be downloaded from:
  KML file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSVmtQOTZiRlp2TlU/edit?usp=sharing
  GPX file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSeGp0dFRJZ3ZfSzg/view?usp=sharing

Timeline & Distance
05:50   0.0km  Leave Charlotte Pass
07:19   5.1km  Arrive at Blue Lake Creek

07:24   5.1km  Crossed Blue Lake Creek
08:07   6.3km  Arrive at Little Twynam

08:20   6.3km  Leave Little Twynam
08:48   7.0km  Arrive at Mt Twynam

09:05   7.0km  Leave Mt Twynam
10:10  10.9km  Arrive at Carruthers Peak

10:18  10.9km  Leave Carruthers Peak
11:32  15.0km  Muellers Pass
12:47  17.5km  Arrive at Mt Townsend

Lunch - 43 minutes

13:30  17.5km  Leave Mt Townsend
15:10  22.7km  Arrive at Mt kosciuszko

15:24  22.7km  Leave Mt Kosciuszko
15:47  24.3km  Arrive at Rawson Pass

16:01  24.3km  Leave Rawson Pass
17:40  32.0km  Arrive at Charlotte Pass

Total: 32km  in  11hr 50min

David had a blister on his foot, otherwise we could have completed the trip around 11 hrs. But if Ricky is walking (Ricky is the guy who climbed most of the Australian State-8 peaks with me), he can easily do it in less than 9 hrs.


Description
As it will be a long day and we intend to return to Sydney for the night, hence we are up early. At 5:50am, we start walking at Charlotte Pass along Main Range Track towards Blue Lake. It is still dark then - the sun won't rise till 6:30am

1)  06:03 Crossing the Snowy River near Charlotte Pass ~~ Usually the water level is lower and you can get across by stepping on the stones. But with the recent incessant rain in this region, the water level is quite high now. We need to summon all our acrobatic skills to get across without getting our feet wet, or worse, like slipping into the river.



2)  06:36 We are on the Main Range Track walking towards Blue Lake. The sun has just poked its head out of the horizon. Everything is bathed in this golden hue.

There are more photos of the scenery around Main Range Track ... see my blog on my climb to Mt Sentinel:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/sentinel-nsw-australia.html


3)  07:03 Blue Lake ~~ It is one of only five glacial tarns in mainland Australia. (The other four are Lake Cootapatamba, Lake Albina, Club Lake and Hedley Tarn.) When the sun is higher and shines directly on the lake, the colour of the water is beautifully blue, but not right now.

In the above pic, the large broad shaped mountain on the left side is Mt Twynam. Immediately to it right, the small pyramid-shaped mountain in Little Twynam - we are heading there next.


4)  07:24 Crossing Blue Lake Creek at the south-eastern tip of Blue Lake ~~ Just like crossing the Snowy River earlier on, a fair amount of deftness is required to get across without getting our feet wet, or slipping into the creek.



5)  The lake in the photo is the beautiful Blue Lake; and we are climbing in a roughly north-east direction up the slope of Little Twynam. It is steep and tires us out quickly.

(In retrospect, to make life easier, after crossing Blue Lake Creek, we could have headed directly east until we reach the top of Crummer Spur, then turn northwest and follow the ridge line to the Little Twynam peak ... less steep that way.)


6)  At the end of the steep climb, Little Twynam is in sight - it is the pile of rocks at the centre of this photo.



7)  08:12 I'm at the top of Little Twynam - Australia's 14th highest peak at 2120 meters. The mountain behind me is Mt Twynam. we are heading there next.



8)  Not long after we come down Little Twynam and head for Mt Twynam, I look back to take this photo of Little Twynam.



9)  Mt Twynam peak is in front.



10)  08:49 David and I at the top of Mt Twynam - Australia's 3rd highest peak at 2196 meters.



11)  Looking back at Little Twynam



09:05 We leave Mt Twynam and head for Carruthers Peak.

12)  Weather-wise, we are very lucky. After coming down Mt Twynam, there is this cloud in the photo which quickly covers the mountain. The cloud is always behind us, never catches up to engulf us ... really have to thank the gods for looking after us.



13)  We are now on the Main Range Track heading to Carruthers Peak, which is at the centre of this photo.  Mt Townsend is the small pyramid-shaped mountain immediately to the right of Carruthers Peak.



14)  A few of these red mushrooms are found in the mountain range. Does anyone know the name?



15)  10:12 David and I at the top of Carruthers Peak - Australia's 10th highest peak at 2142 meters.



16)  Not a bad view towards the north from Carruthers Peak.
The nearest mountain a bit to the right of the centre of the pic is Mt Sentinel. I climbed it a year later. It is a very interesting mountain ... photos and write up of the trip is in my blog: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/sentinel-nsw-australia.html



17)  Next target is Mt Townsend which is the small pyramid shaped mountain in the centre of the photo - it is a long way to there.



18)  We come down Carruthers Peak (the mountain not in the cloud on the right side of the photo.) The cloud is the same one as in photo #12 ... threatening to catch up with us.



19)  10:33 On the way to Mt Townsend, we pass Club Lake. As you can see, the clouds are all around us but not coming over to cover us up.



20)  10:58 We are walking on the Main Range Track, passing Lake Albina.

My original plan was to get off the Main Range Track around here; head towards the northern tip (right side of the above photo) of Lake Albina; cross the creek; then climb up the steep slope and head west towards Mt Townsend. Given the difficulty of crossing the Snowy River (photo #1) and Blue Lake Creek (Photo #4), I suddently have cold feet ... maybe it will not be easy to cross this creek. So I shelved this plan. Instead, we keep walking south-west on the Main Range Track towards Muellers Pass (the saddle between Mt Kosciuszko and Muellers Peak); then turn north, follow a narrow goat trail towards the western slope of Muellers Peak and then to Mt Townsend.

To anyone reading this blog:
- Is it easy to cross the creek that comes off the northern tip of Lake Albina without getting one's feet wet?
- Once you cross the creek, how difficult is it to climb up the slope on the west side of the creek? It looks steep from the Main Range Track. But may be it isn't that bad.


21)  After rounding Muellers Pass, we are now on a narrow goat trail to Mt Townsend. At some places, the trail is hard to find. Not to worry, there are cairns similar to the one in this photo to lead the way. Mt Townsend is near the centre of the photo.



22)  Very close to Mt Townsend now.



23)  12:39 This is the signature rock formation near the Mt Townsend peak. When climbing down from its summit, you can easily lose your way. But if you keep an eye out for this rock formation, it will help to guide you down.



24)  There is a rock scramble for the final ascend to the Mt Townsend summit. The photos don't show it ... it is steep, almost vertical - 90 degrees, not for the faint-hearted ... but not too hard ... well, if we can do it, so can you.



25)  12:45 Almost there.



26)  12:48 David and I at the top of Mt Townsend - Australia's 2nd highest peak at 2209 meters. 4 down - just one more mountain to climb for the day.



27)  From Mt Townsend looking towards Mt Kosciuszko which is the highest peak in the left half of the photo.



We have lunch and a well earned rest at Mt Townsend. At 13:30, we climb down the mountain and head for Mt Kosciuszko, the last of the 5 peaks for the day.


28)  On our way to Mt Kosciuszko which is near the centre of the photo.



29)  The clouds ~~ they have this strange straight line base ... and they look ominously close. Fortunately they keep their distance from us.



30)  We are close to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.



31)  15:08 The cairn marking the Kosciuszko summit is in front.



32)  15:12 We make it to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, roof of Australia - 2228 meters.



33)  From Mt Kosciuszko summit looking back at Mt Townsend - it is the highest peak in the photo (near the centre).



34)  Coming down Mt Kosciuszko and heading towards Rawson Pass where, in the middle of the photo, is Australia's highest toilet.



35)  On the road called Summit Walk back to our car at Charlotte Pass ~~ It is very pleasing to see, at the centre of the photo, Mt Twynam and Little Twynam (on its right) ... the 2 peaks we climbed early this morning. It is a long day and we've walked a long way !



Post Script - Other A2K climbing trips

2015 March with Adam, Daniel & Saf
Rank Name               Elev  Easting Northing
  19 Gungartan         2068 m 625850  5983580
  24 Kerries Ridge     2040 m 626250  5985190

Photos and write up of this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/gungartan-kerries-ridge-nsw-australia.html

2014 December with Adam & Daniel
Rank Name               Elev  Easting Northing Comment
   1 Mt Kosciuszko     2228 m 613205  5964733
   2 Mt Townsend       2209 m 612840  5968410  Abbott Range
   7 Alice Rawson Peak 2167 m 613280  5969210  Abbott Range
   8 Byatts Camp       2159 m 611830  5967680  Abbott Range
   9 Abbott Peak       2145 m 612295  5967800  Abbott Range

  10 Carruthers Peak   2142 m 615750  5969800
  12 Mt Northcote      2131 m 614670  5967650
     wrong Byatts Camp 2110 m 611650  5967150  Abbott Range
  15 Mt Lee            2105 m 615280  5968825
  16 Mt Clarke         2100 m 615475  5967280

Photos and write up of this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/lee-northcote-clarke-abbott-range.html

2014 November with Adam & Daniel
Rank Name               Elev  Easting Northing
   1 Mt Kosciuszko     2228 m 613205  5964733
   4 Rams Head         2193 m 612825  5960825
   5 Etheridge Ridge   2180 m 614050  5964450
   6 North Rams Head   2177 m 613790  5961810
  23 South Rams Head   2052 m 611675  5958790

Photos and write up of this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/etheridge-ridge-kosciuszko-rams-head.html

2011 April with Ricky
Rank Name               Elev  Easting Northing
   1 Mt Kosciuszko     2228 m 613205  5964733
   2 Mt Townsend       2209 m 612840  5968410
  13 Muellers Peak     2125 m 613810  5967325

Photos and write up of this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/kosciuszo-muellers-peak-townsend-nsw.html


Previous walks in the same area
In late April 2011, I climbed Mt Twynam, Carruthers Peak and Mt Townsend from Charlotte Pass ... see my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/twynam-townsend-nsw-australia.html
But I don't recommend this one. You should try our today's trip instead.


4 comments:

  1. I did this yesterday minus little Twynam. It was my goal to climb the 3 highest in a day as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great commentary and pics. Stay safe when walking!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great information. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello!
    Interesting and staggering facts about Mount Kosciuszko & P.E.Strzelecki. Interesting Facts About Mount Kosciuszko
    I invite you also to the English version of this mtkosciuszko.org.au website. There related messages are a lot of information about the conquest of Mt Kosciuszko the highest peak of Australia, and about Paul Edmund Strzelecki the explorer who gave the mountain its name.
    Check the text sitemap page to see all the titles.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete