Climb’n’ Stuff … BIG Stuff

Dead Horse Gap
Warm-up day. Warm up being a relative thing. Just up the road is one of the many trailheads for the ‘Main Range’ walk. Basically you could literally walk from the tip of Australia all the way to Tasmania. Although whilst completing the last section, you would get a bit wet. Today was all about the ‘Dead Horse Gap’. Four kilometres of easy climbing with an ascent of 463 metres. Scenery was spectacular, apparently. Yes, we were in cloud. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it was as always, majestic.

Five thirty AM I hear tubular bells gently ringing in the background. Unusual as it’s Jindabyne, and as far as I could tell we didn’t park anywhere near a church. Then the dreaded reality hits me, we chose to wake at five thirty and hit the road early. For today is the day that we drive, ride then climb the tallest mountain in Australia. Today is the day we summit Mt Kosciuszko. Lunch wraps in the car fridge, muesli bars in the bags and an apple in hand, we brave the freezer that is outside and begin our journey. The old girl chugged its way up the mountain towards Perisher Valley and finally Charlotte’s Pass. A long way up. We were lucky to see a live deer and a wombat on the way. Most of the driving was done in cloud so thick, that I could barely see the bull bar on my own car. It’s a good thing I’m in an old 1HZ cruiser because sometimes the old girl was down to second gear and 40Km/hr when climbing up the hills. The deers were safe.

The road is easy to ride. Vast and arid plainlands, with a crystal clear creek dividing the expanse, tantalising our senses. The air being so clear, you can really breath. It’s cool, crisp and the 7 Km and 250 vertical metre climb goes past in no time at all. Well, all was going spectacularly until whoosh, whoosh, whoosh from Mandy’s rear tyre. Somewhere around 2000m above sea level she received a puncture, bugger. I did have a spare, thank god. Mandy now holds the record of gaining a flat at the highest altitude of anyone in Australia…that I know of.

The clouds and mist paint the tree trunks with a glistening finish, allowing their natural beauty to become a natural splendour.

Stunning colours in the snow gums bark.

Climbing towards ‘Seaman’s Hut’, the altitude and the extreme conditions change the vegetation dramatically. Rocks, stones and small green things are all around. No trees to hide in or get any shade or shelter from high winds.

Is this Wales or what?

A sobering reminder of how conditions can change quickly at this altitude; the Seaman’s Hut. Poor buggers Laurie Seaman and his mate Evan Hayes were stuck up here in the 1920’s and the weather turned for the worse. They both died. Seaman’s parents built this hut for people to use to avoid the same tragedy happening to another family. It has two rooms, a pot belly stove, some food supplies and pre-cut wood. No doubt this is a welcome relief for travellers in the snow seasons.

Amazing how the vegetation changes from one side of the mountain to the other. These two shots are literally around the corner from each other. It is easy to see which side gets the sun.

Looking West
Looking East

We are at the top, the pinnacle, the apex, the summit, the pointy bit. Go us! I’m really proud of this, it’s not an especially hard climb and we were able to drive, ride and walk the last few kilometres. We were pushing hard all the way up, as I needed to get back to Jindabyne after lunch for an appointment. My body was happy, the coolness agrees with me and I can push hard physically and breath with ease. But we did it; we have the lollypop and a tee-shirt to prove it.

It is Australia’s highest point, and we have been there.

Oh, the descent was soooo satisfying. You must understand that the outside package is a 51 year old man with bits that hurt here and there. But inside is a 20 something that escapes occasionally and takes over control of said body. Sitting astride my Polygon T7 duel suspension mountain bike, it suddenly metamorphized (not really) into an enduro downhill beast. The best thing about the trail down, is that the local parks department arranged small jumps (speed bumps) all the way down the track, back to the car park. I hoped Mandy was OK, because I didn’t actually see her for most of this down hill run. As I said, there is something sooo satisfying about getting air on my MTB somewhere around 2200 metres above sea level, doing some crazy speed and picking the best lines through the sporadically placed, loose rock. Ahh, you only live once.

I told you it was cold, we found some snow. This is the VERY top of the first stream for the Snowy River Scheme. It literally starts HERE.

Why did I go back to town? What appointment does two people with a year off have that must be met? I took the plunge. I decided to get the vaccine; to easy my worry about contracting CO-VID 19. I think (don’t know) that travel will be easier for those who have been vaccinated in the future; to far off lands, that today I can only dream of. Mandy being younger, isn’t allowed to have it yet and is still not one hundred percent convinced.

It is now the day after my injection. It is after lunch, I am only just feeling human again. It did give me a headache and make the muscle sore at the site of injection. Other than that, I think I’ll live.


  1. Thank you for doing all these things, I can sit here all nice and warm ,with a cold beer and watch you good people do all the things i always wanted to do but was probably too bloody lazy!

    Stay safe.

    • Come on Reg. I want to see you up the mountain sooner rather than later. You will need a jumper, as it’ll remind you of home in a hurry. FREEZING up there.

  2. 51, Only young yet, Wait till you actually get old (on the outside). You never get old on the inside though.

    • Yes mate, I don’t think that will be a problem for me. 🙂
      At least I’m really trying hard for it not to be a problem.

  3. Hi Les & Mandy, Great photos, what an experience getting to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, and then a fast ride down, were you wearing a helmet, catch up when you come through Wynnum on your way home

    • It was an awesome ride back down the hill and such a picturesque ride up. I always ride the my helmet on. In fact my helmet has a little sensor on it, so if i fall off it will talk to my mobile phone and ring the ambos if required. Kinda neat I thought. 🙂

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