Snowy Mountains National Park: Main Range / Summit trails 20.2km

Main Range Walk off Charlotte Pass is one of my favourite Australian hikes. The trail takes you towards Mount Kosciuszko through alpine ridges. Before returning back to Charlotte Pass via the Summit Trail, a management trail.

I avoided Australia’s tallest outcrop today given Easter Sunday and expectation of crowds. Also, I have climbed it (walked up its management trail) many times before. Sorry, pretty unexciting. An earlier post here. If you include it, add 2km to the hike’s total distance.

Today’s hiking map:

Despite being alpine country, the elevation difference is not exceptional. Ridge walking may be the reason for that.

I arrived at 7.30am to shut national park entry booths. Nowhere to pay your entry fee. How avoid getting fined? For later…

Driving into Charlotte Pass’ parking area, I noticed a National Parks lady in uniform. She was putting notices under windshield wipers so I explained the situation to her. It turned out that her notices were “reminder notices” rather than “infringement notices”. You get asked to pay the entry fee within 14 days.

Works for me. My car is there. Notice me.

Happy as Larry to hike this tremendous circuit once again. Despite overcast and windy conditions. Only adds to the atmosphere. Mandatory selfie below:

Before starting hiking

This view always amazes me. It’s immediate after Charlotte Pass. Before ascending up the ranges, you must cross Snowy River. Hence first it’s down down down…

Down from Charlotte Pass, Snowy River and uphill towards Blue Lake

Being Easter, plenty of tourists and wanderers around. Even at 8 am. The crowd below struggled to cross Snowy River on the stepping stones. I suppose the girls tried to avoid getting their pink sneakers wet… One of them “raced” across beforehand though…

Snowy River back towards Charlotte Pass

Funny, but I never saw any of the above people again…

The Snowy Mountains region had early snow some weeks ago. Snow still in patches on the ground.

Uphill towards Blue Lake

I arrived at Blue Lake after one hour which looked grayer than blue today. Perfect spot for a first break so hot tea and Anzac cookie for me. In my element.

Blue Lake

I had instructions to photograph Mount Twynam behind Blue Lake. An overseas request for somebody whose middle name is… Twynam. Yes, named after that very mountain.

Bugger it if I knew which one is Mount Twynam. I photographed all surrounding hilltops and it turned out that Mount Twynam is the one below. Phew…

Mount Twynam, off Blue Lake

Before Carruthers Peak is “The Saddle” with its stunning northerly views. In today’s overcast weather, even more so.

Shades of blue north of “The Saddle”

Also before Carruthers Peak was this shelter. Locked up so not for emergencies. Arrived by helicopter judging by the roof hook. Mountain maintenance purposes? I asked Uncle H later who didn’t know about it at all.

Aliens have arrived

Carruthers Peak is a prominent and craggy mountain. Windblown today, which didn’t stop several “hardcore” hikers from stopping there. Not me, I moved on.

Carruthers Peak

The second of three lakes, Club Lake, soon came into view. It’s the smallest of the three.

Club Lake looking back towards Charlotte Pass

The next two photos below may give the viewer some ideas on Main Ridge track’s conditions. Exposed, snow in places, the ever present wind, rain threatened… Fantastic!!!

On the ridges – 1 of 2

Gez, I love this 🙂

On the ridges – 2 of 2

The third and last lake is Albina Lake. I actually had some wind shelter and a break while taking this photo. There was a hill behind me.

Albina Lake

Soon enough I approached the Summit Walking Track, the main trail for Mount Kosciuszko. You can see “ants” horizontally walking upwards towards the right, aiming to reach the top of Australia.

Towards Summit Walking Track

How devoid of people most earlier photos were. Exiting Main Range Walking Track, this…

Junction Main Range and Summit Walking Tracks

I compared the sign distance to my GPS recording. 11.8km vs 11.9km. My extra 100 meters would come from backtracking to find a lost rubber cover for my hiking pole. Which suddenly was missing. I found it. Much more accurate distances here than for Dead Horse Gap walk.

No Mount Kosciuszko for me today. Covered earlier here.

Now, I had to temporarily join the crowds to reach that leftwards trail. I felt like another break now but decided to move on.

Summit Walking Track back towards Thredbo with Summit Trail in the distance

You may notice the sometimes confusing use of “road” terminology. This sign says “Summit Trail”. The corresponding sign at Charlotte Pass, refer later, says “Summit Walk”.

Track, walking track, trail… all the same.

Start of Summit Trail back to Charlotte Pass

Crowds were soon gone almost completely. I’m not complaining.

On the quieter road again

Looking back, you can see the ants on Mount Kosciuszko’s summit. Yep, that’s Australia’s tallest mountain. A hill slightly taller than its surroundings. Not that sexy.

Mount Kosciuszko

On the road and happy again…

Grinning again

I approached today’s intended lunch destination below.

Approaching Seamans Hut

Only Seamans Hut remains of the emergency shelters along these trails. Apparently, more existed but were removed for various reasons including vandalism.

Crowded inside Seamans Hut today, unsurprising given Easter and windy conditions. I found the hut’s sheltered side (opposite right) where I plonked myself down for my sandwich lunch. How much better food tastes outside…

After lunch, I continued on the management trail towards Charlotte Pass. Easy downhill walking now. I crossed Snowy River again but on a bridge this time. Maybe those people early on should have come here instead…

Upstream Snowy River

Looking back from that bridge and again it looked like rain would arrive at any time (It didn’t, not a single drop today, but plenty of breezes…).

There were occasional families with kids on bikes and even a National Parks guy in a van. Not too busy.

Looking back on Summit Trail

Soon enough, you see the beginning of the Main Range Trail up the hill towards Blue Lake. You get fooled and think that you are far closer to Charlotte Pass than you are (at least 3km from here).

A Chinese girl asked me whether she was “halfway” yet. Halfway to where? I didn’t ask but assumed Mount Kosciuszko. Of course, she wasn’t, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. I said, “not quite, almost”. She looked exhausted, after presumably perhaps 3km slightly uphill walking from Charlotte Pass…

Main Range Trail in the distance

Encouragement for the tired walker. 1km left to Charlotte Pass. I can do it…

CP 1km

Done! Back at Charlotte Pass, I completed today’s “selfies”. I did it!

Despite the windy conditions, the circuit felt easier than I recall. Perhaps I am fitter now than last time. One can hope…

Mission completed

Today’s weather conditions reminded me of my first Camino day, crossing the Pyrenees (post here). More wind and warmer there. Less wind but cooler here.

Returning to my car, I found a “fee reminder notice” stuck under the windscreen wiper. As promised, no fine, just pay the normal park entry fee. Which I did in Jindabyne’s Visitors Centre while returning home.

“Fee Reminder Notice”

A highly recommended hike, but please be aware of weather conditions. It’s alpine terrain and things can change rapidly. But the views…, THE VIEWS…

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