6-7 August 2005 6-7 Aug Blue Cow to Perisher on snowshoes, camping near Farm Creek Photos
Map: Mount Kosciuszko 8525S
Getting There

This was a CBC walk, organised by Rupert B and led by Bob E.  6 of us walked – Bob E, Lauraine R, Steve G, Steve B, George P and myself.  We met at the Johnson Drive corner on the Monaro Highway at 7.30am and drove, via a quick coffee in Jindabyne, to the ski tube at Bullocks Flat.  Although only making one return journey up the hill, we grumbled a bit when we had to purchase two day tickets.  But the ride through Perisher to Blue Cow sure beats walking!


Day 1 - 6 August.  Blue Cow to Farm Creek camp, then towards The Paralyser and across to Mt Perisher and return

All this was a wonderful new experience for me, not having walked and camped in serious snow before.  This was my third visit to KNP.

Some new gear was required.  I hired a down sleeping bag from the Canberra Bushwalking Club and bought an MSR Pocket Rocket stove and gas cylinder.  I modified the wind shield from my Whisperlite by increasing its height with some double folded kitchen aluminium foil.  At 5pm on Friday I suddenly remembered snow pegs and, after ringing several stores, found the last 8 in Canberra over at the Belconnen Outdoor Centre.

Having never been skiing before, I was amazed by the number of cars in the car parks at Bullocks Flat and, later on Saturday in a view down from Mt Perisher, at Perisher.  The ski tube infrastructure was interesting, too.  But I soon felt quite at home in our party of 6 with packs and snowshoes in amongst all the skis and snowboards.

We emerged from the station at Blue Cow into what I guess was the outdoor café area.  We kitted up at its edge and, after a chat with a friendly ski patrol guy, headed off away from the maddening crowd at 11.20am.  It didn’t take long to get into the rhythm of walking and we were soon alone, heading SW.  We passed the edge of the patrolled ski area and continued on towards Farm Creek.  It was an absolutely magic blue-sky day and I was suitably dressed in shorts.

We reached Farm Creek in an hour and set up camp and had lunch.  An interesting concept to tramp down the snow, then set up your tent.  I learned that to make the snow pegs effective, you cover then with more snow and tamp it down, freezing the pegs in.

At 1.50pm we set off for a walk to the south west, heading towards The Paralyser.  Absolutely magnificent scenery, our snowshoes making tracks in the fresh, untouched powder snow.  After 35 minutes we reached a ridge (1964m) and then turned east and headed down, then up to Mt Perisher.  We reached the back of the hill at 3.30pm, thinking we were the only people on the planet.  Over the other side, of course, were several hundred downhill skiers and boarders at the top of the ski lift!  We headed back to the north west for 1.2km and reached our camp site at 4pm.

A cuppa, quiet enjoyment of the magical surroundings, water from the creek, then cooked tea.  The new Pocket Rocket worked like a charm.  Shared port, chocolate and conversation.  Then, at -2°C to bed.  I wore most of my clothes and slept with a bag containing camera, GPS and fuel canister.

Distance: 5.7km  Climb: 220m.

1 Home away from home (Mountain Designs Plateau)
2 Tracks in the snow
3 View west from near The Paralyser


Day 2 - 7 August.  Farm Creek camp via Betts Creek bridge, near Porcupine Walking Track to Perisher

Noisy neighbours woke me before 7am and with the temperature now  -6°C, it was a pleasure to remain warm in my sleeping bag and cook breakfast.  A little platform for the stove (rather than a folded gaiter) would be useful to keep the cannister off the snow.  Dressed, I suddenly put together the slippery plastic emergency bag I carry and the little hill near our camp site.  Several 'toboggan' runs!  Breaking camp, the lesson learned was that securely frozen snow pegs can be pretty difficult to remove (a metal poo scooper, rather than a plastic one which might freeze and shatter, is ideal for chipping away the frozen pile).

We set out at 9am, today a little more close and wintry than yesterday.  We headed south and within an hour were in sight of the Summit Road.  The party split at this point, 3 returning along the road direct to Perisher and the remaining 3 of us heading a little further south, then east across Betts Creek and towards Porcupine Rocks.  By 11.30am the weather was turning a little more foul, so we turned north and eventually out of the weather by heading down Rock Creek to Perisher.  Back to civilisation at 12.40pm.

Coffee and lunch at the ski tube station, a run down the hill through the tunnel, back to the car, a plate of chips in Cooma and home at a reasonable hour.

Distance:  8.5km   Climb: 330m.
4 Wind sculpture
5 Betts Creek bridge on Summit Road
6 Nature's contrasts