Kosciuszko Schlink Hilton
Text and photosSonya Muhlsimmer
Not far now to Horse Camp Hut
As a leader for the Upper Blue Mountains Bush Walking Club, I have committed myself to trying to organise a multi-day hike in the Kosciuszko National Park each year. This was my second attempt with the club to walk the Main Range and to climb Australia’s 11 highest mountains over three days, 7-9 April 2023.
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Horse Camp Hut turnoff
Showers and snow were forecast so Plan B was activated, staying off the Main Range and being more sheltered walking up to Schlink Hilton, making a base camp and seeing what the weather would bring over the coming days. Maybe I will summit the Main Range peaks next year …
There were seven of us, attempting to be brave and fearless whatever the weather would bring. The night before our hike we stayed at the Jindabyne NRMA park, a great place. A few of the group walked over to Nuggets Crossing to get a few more rations for an extra day of camping and for dinner but it was just on 9.00 pm, and everything was shut.
Day 1: Guthega Power Station to Schlink Hilton Hut, 12.3 km, 4.5 hours On Friday morning we left Jindabyne around 8 am, stopping to get coffee, food, breakfast and firewood for our last night camp at Island Bend and finally we reached Guthega Power Station around 10 am. After a quick repack of my pack, deciding to pack my winter sleeping bag rather than my quilt, we were off. From the power station it was all uphill, for quite some time. Gore-Tex was on, then off, then back on again as the weather was not
favorable. There were two people in the group that decided to pack umbrellas, which actually worked extremely well as they keep dry. They also had their Gore-Tex but the umbrellas gave them an extra layer of protection. If the umbrella was not needed or it was too windy, they could be used for a walking stick, a multi-purpose tool really. I must consider this for another time. After about two hours Horse Camp Hut was reached, a great spot to stop for lunch, out of the rain.
Another party of about eight on a day hike arrived, so we decided to pack up and go on our way, letting the other party into the hut to dry off a bit. We went to Schlink Hilton along the Aqueduct Trail as it was more sheltered in the trees and under the lee of the hill, out of the wind. The sun even came out and it was just enough to dry us off before the next lot of drizzle and showers came. Finally, Schlink Hilton was reached and we quickly lit the fire to warm up and dry everything out, again. It was not long before we got into our rations of a hot cup of tea, American Honey whiskey, chocolate brownies, a fine array of chocolate, pretzels and homemade biscuits; being on rations is tough …There were parties of one, three and four at the hut. It amazed me how
The track from Mount Wills South to Mount Wills seemed to go on f..o..r..e..v..e..r.
many other hikers were out in near sub-zero temperatures. During the night we were, I guess you could say, blessed with a bit of a snow blizzard. Schlink Hilton is so called due to being one of the best huts in Kosciuszko National Park. The hut was built for the Snowy Mountains Scheme, with several rooms, beds, and mattresses. Many years ago the south part was open, more rooms. This part is now locked and is for people working in the area. It is a great hut to use as a base camp in bad weather.
Day 2: Schlink Hilton to Valentine Hut return, 14.2 km, 6 hours I was hoping to take everyone to Mawsons Hut for lunch, which is all off track navigation over The Kerries ridge, however due to the very cold, wet conditions and very minimal visibility it was off to Valentine Hut for lunch. Prior to our departure we all jumped in and collected, chopped and stacked some firewood for the hut. It's easy to get from Schlink on a track to Valentine Hut, where it was nice to have lunch under shelter. As we
Yidan, Onni, Lingling, Luisa, Joana, and Sonya at Valentine Hut, which was closed for renovations and is now open
Cutting wood at Schlink Hilton
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Guthega Power Station to Schlink Hilton and Valentine Hut
Road, four-wheel drive track, walking track (treed)
Main track, side trip, alternative route
Cliff, major contour line, minor contour line (50 metre interval)
Lake, river, waterfall or creek
0 km 1 2 3 4 5 km
Start of the walk
got there, a party of 11 youngish boys were just leaving, having camped there the night before. We were considering going to look for the Valentines Falls, however a couple of the boys had attempted this and got soaking wet and gave up, so we decided against this. After lunch two of our party made their way down the track back to Schlink Hilton and as the rest of us were about to start walking, we decided to quickly go down to see Valentines Creek where a few photos were taken and then it was back to Schlink. On the way back, the rest of us spontaneously went off track to check out some amazing waterfalls and then decided to walk back to Schlink off track along Duck Creek. Back at the warm and cozy hut some dark clouds were rolling in - we were in for some more snow. We were all warm in the hut in front of the fire with the rations for the day, waiting to see what the weather would bring us. I hoped everyone’s tents would be secure enough for snow tonight. In saying this two of the party decided to sleep in the hut that night.
Day 3: Schlink Hilton to Guthega Power Station, 11.2 km, 3 hours 45 minutesWhen we woke up it was a winter wonderland, snowing then and for most of the morning. We were heading back to the power station and had discussed going down Disappointment Spur. However, when we got to the turnoff there was a sign saying that the bridge had been removed over Munyang River. With the wet weather and snow we had over the couple of days we erred on the side of caution to keep walking on the easy track - I didn’t know how high the river crossing would be. I have never crossed the Munyang River there without a bridge before so I didn’t want to risk it. Anyway, there is a reason why they call Disappointment Spur that name, the name is quite appropriate. After reaching the power station, I went to check if we could cross the river. I do believe it would have been possible. I took some photos and will remember this for next time. Back at the cars, we dropped our pack and had lunch on the picnic table, then we drove to Island Bend as some of us were camping here the night.
Waterfall at Duck Creek
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Island Bend was a township and home to many during the construction of the Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme. It had an air strip, school, shops, a community centre and just over 100 houses, now all gone. It makes the best camp site as there are plenty of areas to choose from. After a bit of a drive around the area some of the group were on their way home and the remainder of us stayed. We collected water from the Snowy River and enjoyed the night in front of a fire, with our last rations of chocolate, whiskey, cheese and crackers.
Although the trip did not go to plan, it was a great long weekend spent in one of my favourite areas with a great bunch of friends. Can’t wait for attempt three on the Main Range next year.
Cold morning at Schlink
How cold it is outside? Admiring the snow from Schlink Hilton