Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

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Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby akl168 » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 11:18 am

[Charlotte Pass - Mt Lee - Wilkinsons Valley]

2015 wasn’t a good year for the outdoors, at least in our family. We got stuck in that proverbial hamster wheel of work, school, concerts, and gigs. So my wife, and a good friend of ours, “L”, planned to take our kids on a 3 day trip visiting some of the main peaks in the Kosciuszko Main Range loop. Normally with a big trip planned, I end up doing a lot of research online and offline, but in this case, the year was so hectic, we were still scrambling putting things together a couple days before the trip. In anycase, the bags were finally packed, the fuel tank filled, and a couple days after Christmas, we hit the road. We were going to spent 3 days in the Kosciuszko National Park and then a few more days at the Jindabyne Big4.

01.Twynam.Descent.jpg
Walking back down from Mt Twynam
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We were bringing our mountain bikes with us. L had worked out a deal with a Jindabyne store to hold our bikes while we were walking. Because of the drive, the bike drop, and the desire to start walking by 1300, we left the Melbourne area at 0400. The upside of leaving at this ungodly hour was that the road was mostly traffic free, pretty much all the way to Jindabyne! We ended up having a quick lunch and coffee at Jindabyne, and it was almost 1400 before we actually shouldered our packs and headed up (actually down) the Main Range Track. Any nerves or uncertainty about the trip was gone as we put one foot in front of the other.

We walk a lot with L and his daughters. On this trip only his younger daughter came. She and my older son usually end up setting quite the cracking pace. I’ve called them the “lead pack” in this story. On the climb up to Blue Lake, they were often far ahead and out of sight. They have been “trained” however, to regularly stop and wait for the slower “old folks”.

02.To.Mt.Lee.jpg
Towards Mt Lee and getting very windy and cold
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We left our packs somewhere in between Carruthers Peak and the junction to Blue Lake. We headed in a northerly direction, towards the point marked 2136 on the SV Kozzy map. I believe one of the many blogs out there calls this “Mt Dubious”. It was just the first day and we were still fresh. If this had been the third day, I would probably have said forget about this nameless peak! From there, we headed east towards Mt Twynam. Back in April, we had planned a day walk up to Twynam. At Blue Lake, we decided to go up to Carruthers instead because of the heavy fog that day. On this day, I wished that we had gone up to Twynam, because getting there and back was a big detour. In any case, we were soon at the summit trig point taking our obligatory summit photos, and were soon heading back down to our packs.

03.Kozzy.Daisies.jpg
Kosciuszko Daisies?
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We picked up our packs and headed up the Main Range Track towards Carruthers Peak. When we walked up to Carruthers in April, it was so foggy that we couldn’t see much more than 10-15 feet in front of us. The only thing we really saw was the summit marker on the peak. Imagine our delight when we saw what we were missing that first time around. The stunning steep slopes viewed from the top of Carruthers is simply magnificent. However, it was now getting quite cold and very windy so we didn’t hang around for long. My little one was also rapidly tiring, so after a few quick photos, we trudged on towards Mt Lee.

It was very, very windy on that final ridge towards Mt Lee, the little one wasn’t enjoying the walk any more, he wanted to go home. But he soldiered on and we were soon on the southwest shoulder of the Mt Lee, which fortunately was relatively sheltered from the winds. By this time, we had about 45 more minutes of sunlight, so the tents were hurriedly stood up, dinner cooked and inhaled, and everyone bundled into their warm sleeping bags. We weren’t more than 50m off the track, it wasn’t ideal. But the sun was almost setting and we planned to move on at first light. My little one spent the night with my wife in my little 1.5 man tent, and after a warm hot chocolate, was soon fast asleep. It was cold that night but fortunately not windy. I normally sleep without a jacket but in the middle of that night I had to put one on. A very bright moon illuminated the tents, and all too soon, the night sky gave way to an ever brightening sky.

04.Mt.Lee.jpg
Tents near Mt Lee
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My mom’s family name is Lee, so before the sun rose, I trudged up to the summit to take a few photos. I looked back on our tents and they looked warm and cosy, so I headed back down to boil up water for coffee and breakfast. It may not have been a fitful night’s sleep, but everyone was re-energized and in good spirits, so we were soon heading south on the Main Range Track to Muellers Pass.

I do pride myself on being halfway decent in map reading, so it is still a bitter pill to swallow when writing this paragraph. Maybe the excuse is even the lack of research and planning put into this trip. As we approached the Northcote Pass, we were all taken in with the dramatic beauty of the trail snaking around the side on the mountain pass, and with Lake Albina. My wife’s two main to-dos for this trip was to see Lake Albina and brumbies. So we spent some time taking numerous photos, and just soaking in the views. We were soon at Muellers Pass, thinking about where to pitch the tents, and the walk ahead of us. Those who know this particular region like the back of your hands - yes I can hear you - are undoubtedly saying - dude… you missed Mt Northcote. I photocopied the relevant section of the SV Kozzy Map, listed the Top 12 peaks in order of height on the back, and laminated that as the main map. I have absolutely no idea how I forgot, in fact I didn’t remember till the walk back to the car on the Summit Walk the following day. Other than Carruthers, this might have been the easiest to tick off. It pains me to write this.

05.Lake.Albina.jpg
Lake Albina... and I need more Gingko...
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Last edited by akl168 on Mon 04 Jan, 2016 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby akl168 » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 11:23 am

[Wilkinsons Valley - Mt Kosciuszko - Charlotte Pass]

Anyways, we started down towards Wilkinsons Valley and found a relatively large and flat grassy area protected by a couple of large boulders. There were probably already about 10 tents up, spread out all over the valley. Our tents were soon up, the heavy packs ditched, and we were soon off on our second day of adventure. We headed due north towards Alice Rawson. About 10 minutes from our tents, we passed a small but swiftly moving creek, one of the tributaries feeding into Wilkinsons Creek. We were only carrying a light lunch, and now about 8 litres of water - which we filled up from the Creek. I did use a filter.

06.Townsend.Chat.jpg
Chatting with fellow walkers below Townsend. We ran into this couple while walking towards Blue Lake the previous day.
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It was a relatively easy walk up to “Alice Rawson”. I didn’t have the coordinates, but I did confirm using my GPS’ altitude. But from “Alice Rawson”, we could spy two other peaks due north. We walked to the next one, which turned out not to be as high as “Alice Rawson”. From the second “peak”, we spied the third, which was some distance off, but this one had a distinct cairn. I’m pretty sure this is the peak marked 1838 in the SV map. Anyways, we still had a bit to do, so we ditched the idea of walking north again and headed south towards Mt Townsend. Townsend must be a popular peak to climb. When we dropped our bikes off the previous day, the shop assistant mentioned that she had just climbed Townsend a few days back. There is also an obvious track that we followed up. Having been warned of the “climbing” that is needed to get to the top, I was pleasantly surprised to see only 3rd class rubble leading up to the peak, which was quickly dispensed with by the little ones. On the way up L had a chat with someone who was having lunch below the summit, and the person talked about an old cover of Wild, with the overhanging rock where you could sit on and dangle your feet from. After our lunch on the summit and on our way down, we think we spotted this ledge, so a few more minutes were spent with feet dangling and cameras clicking. Two more to go for the day.

07.Wilkinsons.Valley.jpg
A great campsite!
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Even though it wasn’t really hot, the sun was now burning mercilessly. We tried to be as sun smart as possible, but it was still burning. And the damn flies didn’t help matters. What seemed like way too much water at the start, was now gulped down thankfully. From Townsend, we decided to head west through the saddle between Townsend and Abbott Peak. After negotiating some tall grass (didn’t see any snakes), we were soon on another summit, initially thinking this was the one marked as Abbott Peak on the SV map (although it had the 2159m marking). Looking at the surroundings, and checking our altitude, L and I decided we were actually on Byatts Camp. My GPS was reading 2161m, and there clearly wasn’t a peak to the southwest of where we were standing. GA lists Abbott as 2145m, but Abbott is marked as the 2159m point on the SV map. I was confused. It was now about 14:00 and we had been moving since 0720. I do try to make a very conscious effort to balance kid outings so that they remain fun and not become a drudgery. Abbott was probably only about a 30-45 minute walk away, looking at each other and without saying a single word, a decision was made to just head back to camp. Two errors in a day, humbug.

We trudged back towards camp, roughly due east, and thankfully downhill. Along the way, the “lead pack” spotted a brumby’s sun bleached bones. My wife did say she wanted to spot a brumby. She just didn’t specify its condition, so we told her that her to-do list of checked off all in a single day! Not bad. We found another creek and filled up our now empty bottles. By 1530, we were back at our tents and water was soon boiling for a well deserved coffee. The 3 kids were instantly rejuvenated (with just water, not coffee) and were soon scrambling around the boulders or playing frisbee. The 3 adults on the other hand we sitting on our camp chairs in the shade, hiding from the sun, sipping our coffee. The flies and March flies were out in force, so a competition soon started to see how many March flies we could kill. I think L was the clear winner, killing at least 30, whilst sitting on his chair. Like the hurricane in China caused by a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico, hopefully we don’t cause some catastrophe... But those March flies, boy, what a *&%$#! nuisance they were...

08.Frisbee.jpg
Our omnipresent frisbee.
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Between boulder hopping, frisbee playing, and March fly killing, it was soon time for dinner. Amazing how time flies, when you’re killing flies. It wasn’t as cold the second night, and all too soon, the stove was fired up again for that all important cup of morning coffee. The packs were quickly packed and we were heading back up to the Main Range Track. With the “lead pack” surging ahead, we soon found ourselves at the Kozzy Walk junction and were quickly on the summit. Two years ago, we walked up to Mt Kosciuszko via the raised metal walkway from the chairlifts. We shared the summit with probably a hundred other walkers. This morning, we were the only ones on the summit. What a wonderful treat that was! We took our time, (looking at my GPS logs, we were on the summit for about 30 minutes) posed for the obligatory photos, and soaked in the views. We then headed down to the toilet blocks where we dumped our packs on the grassy slope behind it. The walk up the Unnamed Peak on Etheridge Ridge was easy and straightforward. We spied Lake Cootapatamba from the summit and took in our last views of this wonderful area. The day was getting warmer and the sun really firing up by now. There was nothing else to do other than walk down the Summit Trail to our cars. I really love the Kosciuszko National Park area and want to explore so much more of the area. However, it may be a while before we return, because we do want to start spending what little free time we have exploring other new places, especially those that require less drive time like our own Victorian Alps.

09.Kozzy.Descent.jpg
All downhill from here...
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 11:38 am

I know Clarke is a short sidetrip, but I thought the track went over the top of Northcote. At least, I've always followed a track/pad over its summit when I'vedone that circuit . . . :?:
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 12:32 pm

north-north-west wrote:I know Clarke is a short sidetrip, but I thought the track went over the top of Northcote. At least, I've always followed a track/pad over its summit when I'vedone that circuit . . . :?:

We were staying in Jindabyne all last week. Among other walks I repeated the MR circuit for the umpteenth time on New Years Eve, in glorious weather. Are you thinking of Carruthers Peak summit NNW? My experience of numerous trips around that loop is Clarke is a short side trip and Northcote is a very short side trip - the official track passes I guess ~250 m or 300 m from the summit. Both mostly big grassy mounds with remnants of old fencing from the grazing era - no recollection of a track but may have followed vague pad on one of them - some years since I've walked on top of either.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby akl168 » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 12:55 pm

We did luck on on the weather whilst at Kozzy, and you're right, it was glorious. Though I have to say it was a little too warm for my liking back down at Jindabyne. Not complaining though, at least it wasn't raining like it is now.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 1:01 pm

akl168 wrote:We did luck on on the weather whilst at Kozzy, and you're right, it was glorious. Though I have to say it was a little too warm for my liking back down at Jindabyne. Not complaining though, at least it wasn't raining like it is now.

Thanks for sharing akl168, I remember reading your earlier Rams Head report. We may have crossed paths; stayed in Jindabyne from Boxing Day and I was walking somewhere around the range at least every second day last week. Yes the flies were more atrocious this time than I can remember - I only managed to kill one, and that was a fluke :roll:. Repellant was only minimally successful. Don't worry about missing Mt Northcote, you can easily pick it up on the eventual return visit :wink:. Consider Mt Clarke as well, from where you can see the ruins of the old Kunama Ski Lodge below it. Also worth walking down past Lake Cootapatamba and visiting the ubiquitous red hut if you haven't been there.

Yes Jindy was a bit too warm most days. I took my packraft out on the lake for a paddle on one of them. We went up to Thredbo twice and it wasn't much cooler there.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby eggs » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 1:47 pm

Nice report.
Alice Rawson is a low peak relative to the ridge leading towards it and it does have a large cairn. It is notable as a viewing point as the ridge drops away quite steeply at that point.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 2:22 pm

johnw wrote:
north-north-west wrote:I know Clarke is a short sidetrip, but I thought the track went over the top of Northcote. At least, I've always followed a track/pad over its summit when I've done that circuit . . . :?:

We were staying in Jindabyne all last week. Among other walks I repeated the MR circuit for the umpteenth time on New Years Eve, in glorious weather. Are you thinking of Carruthers Peak summit NNW? My experience of numerous trips around that loop is Clarke is a short side trip and Northcote is a very short side trip - the official track passes I guess ~250 m or 300 m from the summit. Both mostly big grassy mounds with remnants of old fencing from the grazing era - no recollection of a track but may have followed vague pad on one of them - some years since I've walked on top of either.

No, it's definitely Northcote I'm thinking of. Ancient fence posts beside the track on the Albina side. Carruthers is an entirely different looking summit. My GPS traces show the route going directly over the top of Northcote too, and only one of those trips was on snow.
Maybe I've just always followed the same (wrong) pad. Stranger things have happened.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby Lindsay » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 2:30 pm

Excellent report. Sounds like a great family getaway.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby akl168 » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 4:14 pm

My wife's brumby "sighting"... My kids and I also tried to show her the loads of brumby poo we spotted on the slope up to the unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge, dunno why she wasn't impressed...

:lol:

10.Brumby.jpg
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I think it's a brumby skull... my knowledge on flora and fauna is pathetic...

@johnw - I do follow your blog and try to draw inspiration from it. Though obviously I don't read well enough because I saw the bit about the misprint on the 1st edition SV maps only earlier today...!

Thanks for the kind comments to all. I get a lot of ideas, info, and inspiration from the reports here. I just try to put something back in, hopefully others can get inspired to take their kids out.
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 4:41 pm

akl168 wrote:@johnw - I do follow your blog and try to draw inspiration from it. Though obviously I don't read well enough because I saw the bit about the misprint on the 1st edition SV maps only earlier today...!

I don't have a blog - different John?
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby akl168 » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 4:45 pm

johnw - indeed, I need some coffee and wake up soon...!
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Re: Kozzy Peaks Walk with the Kids

Postby davecambo » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 10:45 pm

No glaciers?? I was there two weeks ago they were massive


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