Friday, 27 August 2021

Day 1 - Australia's Ten Peaks Walk

 Friday 12 March

Charlottes Pass to Mt Twynam and Carruthers Peak

Back in March, I posted about the unexpected and on going celebrations for my 70th birthday. I briefly wrote about my successful attempt tp climb Australia's ten highest peaks in the Snowy Mts. In the next four posts I want to share the pristine beauty of these mountains and the exhileration of hiking them over 4 very different days.

To recap - I had been hoping to visit Canada, but the impact of Covid19 cancelled those plans. I had often longingly looked at advertisements for this hike, but with wanting to visit both sons living overseas, it was impossible to make it happen.

My husband very generously agreed to drive me. Phone calls were made. Finally Mike, the group guide, confirmed that my preferred dates were booked. It was time for the 1500 km journey south, which we took slowly over 3 days. The walk commenced on the 12 March and concluded on the 15th. This was the longest day of hiking, and my actual birthday!

David Cunningham was one of four other hikers on this adventure. He is a professional photographer and shared many of his wonderful images, as did Mike Edmonston our guide.
7.30 am
It was quite a dilemma for me to pack my backpack for these mountain conditions. All my preparation was in hot tropical south east Queensland, with its high humidity. Even setting off at 5am, the sweat would soon be dripping. Thankfully with reassurance from Mike, I packed well and not at any time did I feel chilled. On this day the minimum was 5C as we set off. It reached a summer high of 14C. Sheer bliss for this Queenslander, especially under mostly blue skies.

 9 am
A 40 min drive from our accommodation, at the lakeside village of Jindabyne, saw our group meeting for the first time, and ready for the day's hiking. We jelled immediately, which made the hiking so much more enjoyable.

My happiness metre was soaring high immediately. It didn't drop over the next four days.
For a very short time the trail was paved. Once we crossed the Snowy River it was a gravel, parks road for about an hour and a half. In the middle of the LHS photo [in the distance], is the cloud covered peak of Mt Kosciuszko.
[Australia's highest but easiest peak to climb.]


Zoomed and not zoomed.

It took an hour of steady climbing on the initial slope before descending to a stream and rest stop.


10 am

It was late summer,  and snow had fallen a few weeks prior to my visit, but the alpine vegetation was arrestingly beautiful to me. Alas, I am unable to name the plants, all so small and unique. I was frustrated that my camera couldn't capture the full shimmering beauty of this silver vegetation.

10.30 am
Rest stop 1 - perfect!

11 am
As we continued to climb, drifts of fog came and went. Amazing views revealed and hidden at will.

Glorious sunshine, well, long enough to get this image of Blue Lake.

The incline above Blue Lake may not look difficult, but let me assure you that it was quite the slog!  


Nearly there!


Now the final trek to our first peak, Mt Twynam, 2196 metres.



Views back over the valley we had ascended.


12.30 pm
Mt Twynam is within our grasp.

12.45 pm

Thumbs up for No 1 peak conquered.
L to R - myself, David, Kylie, Dylice, Dave.

12.30 pm
Retracing some of our steps to reach Carruthers Peak.

2 pm
Carruthers Peak, 2145 metres. 
Dramatic and awe inspiring view. Mike, [foreground] and hiker Dave, pointed out and related stories of where they love to off trail ski the slopes in front of us. Mind blowing! They first have to cross country ski to get here!

2.15 pm  saw us dragging ourselves away from this dramatic panorama, to commence the hike back to to Charlottes Pass. The drifting fog continued to play games.

2.30 pm


3 pm

Club Lake. I wonder how it got its name?
A short rest was taken here, watching the clouds / fog reflected on Club Lakes still surface.

3.30 pm

This was the view of Day 2's hike - Charlottes Pass to Etheridge Ridge Peak and Mt Kosciuzko return.

We were relieved that we didn't have to continue the ascent.

Charlottes Pass was again in our sight. Middle, RHS.


3.40 pm - a final rest time to reflect on our achievements of the day and quietly soak up the vast, seemingly untouched, alpine beauty. 

4 pm

Trailside view.

4.40 pm
Back at the Snowy River. A 20 min walk would have us back at the carpark, but first a paddle to soothe and reward our feet. Mine had coped extremely well.

5.31 pm
Charlottes Pass Ski Resort, built in 1930. So named, after the first European woman to climb Mt Kosciuszko in 1881.

Thanks Mike for this amazing day. Your guiding and knowledge was exceptional. You and the mountains gave me a day of exceptional beauty and hiking, that was beyond  my wildest dreams!

I would love to read your comment!


  1. What an amazing way to celebrate a milestone birthday! Great photos from both you and David. Can't wait to read about the rest of the peaks you conquered.

    1. Thanks, Linda. It was very, very special.

  2. An outstanding post, Helen! Great pictures and excellent documentation of the adventure. I've got almost 8 years on you, and this last year has cost me a lot of momentum-- Age has really caught up with me, and no one is more surprised than I am. I'm glad that you are having these adventures! Do it while you can! And keep sharing it with the rest of us--

    1. Thank you Bill. I am very fortunate to have a group of friends who also love the outdoors and hiking. We will hold off from the zimmer frames as long as possible. I hope your covid numbers improve rapidly. Here in Queensland we have none, but south of the border numbers are rising every day.

  3. Day 1 begins with a bang! How can you even top a day like this? I love everything about this kind of hike, even the slog and the fog!

    1. Every day was sensational and exhilerating!

  4. I am in awe of your adventuresome spirit and physical prowess, Helen. A beautiful hike and awesome photos.

    I wish you could travel to see your family soon.

    1. Thank you Marie. It has been wonderful reliving the exhileration I felt every step of the way.

  5. Interesting to see very different side of Australia. Easy to forget it has big mountains and Alpine terrain. Great post, photos and a great way to celebrate a milestone!

  6. Thanks Andy. I'm presently driving with friends in Queensland's far north west. The terrain is flat and dry as far as the eye can see into the far,far distance.