14 December 2013 Last 6 of the Top 16 Peaks


Mt Kosciuszko's southern spur above Lake Cootapatamba

Map: Perisher Valley 1:25000

Walk Description

This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC walk:

Saturday 14 December: Last 6 of the Top 16 Peaks - L/M-R. A year ago we were washed off the Main Range before bagging the top 16 peaks around Mt Kosciuszko. To complete unfinished business, drive to Thredbo, chairlift up and do the Kosciuszko Walk towards Rawson Pass. Off-track up the spur to Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge (2180m) and back down to Rawson Pass. Continue the track to Mt Kosciuszko (2229m). Return along the iron walk to near Kosciuszko Lookout, then off-track to Rams Head North (2177m), Knoll WSW of Rams Head North (2160+m), Knoll NNE of Rams Head (2180+m) and Rams Head (2190m). Pick up a W-E footpad back to the iron walk and so home. Opportunities for further rambling if weather and desire so incline. Santa suits may be worn. Around 17km and 600m climb. Map: Perisher Valley. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$40+park entry+chairlift per person.

7 of us drove from Canberra and met 1 more in Cooma. Huge thanks to Cynth for the Little Red Riding Hood basket of coffee and muffins on the way up (and remaining coffee to get this driver home).

Further Information

Last year's effort is at 14-15 Dec 12. Santa suits may be worn.

We may be able to extend the walk to include Lake Cootapatamba and Cootapatamba Hut.

Expect snow to still be about. Pack for changeable alpine conditions. Carry water for the day.

Mt Kosciuszko (2229m) - highest; Rams Head (2190m) - 4th highest; Knoll NNE of Rams Head (2180+m) - 5th highest; Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge (2180m) - 6th highest; Rams Head North (2177m) - 7th highest; Knoll WSW of Rams Head North (2160+m) - 8th highest.

Chairlift pass costs: Adult 1-way $27, adult return $33; Senior (>60) 1-way $19, senior return $25. We'll decide on the day whether to purchase 1-way or return.

Vehicle entry to KNP: $16 for each vehicle for the day.

Civil sunrise-sunrise-sunset-civil sunset for Canberra, 14 Jan: 5.13am-5.42am-8.13pm-8.43pm.

So leave at 6am.

Track Maps

Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture

Track overview

Track 1

Track 2


View from Etheridge Ridge

View from Mt Kosciuszko

Views near Lake Cootapatamba

View from Rams Head

Snow melt near the Kosciuszko Walk

Track Notes

Great to have Mike in the party, as I'm not a regular at Thredbo. I learned where to park, how to get on a chairlift (carefully) and about summer snow drifts.

Very fortunate with the weather, too. Forecast was for 80% 1-5mm of showers; it turned out to be a lovely blue-sky, cotton wool cloud day. Warm in a santa suit.

A lovely trip up on the chair lift, alighting at the top station at Eagles Nest. Santa accoutrements were adjusted; I had a few spares with me. More bike riders around than walkers. Relaxing wander along the iron walk, with a stop at Kosciuszko Lookout and Cootapatamba Lookout, to about 300m shy of Rawson Pass. 4.4km in 1hr. Lovely views left and right.

A 60m vertical climb (these 20m contours on the map fool me) with huff and puff to the knoll on the Etheridge Ridge. Fabulous views all round. Morning tea.

We went down to the huge toilets, then headed to Mt Kosciuszko via the Kosciuszko Walk. Round the W side, a European lady coming down was taken by my santa suit, so we had a hug and a photo. I directed her to read the tie I had supplied to Mike ("Kiss me, it's Christmas"), so she did and another hug and photo.

Much looking by me to the W, wondering where we'll come out on Kaz's Hannels Spur trip in mid-January.

Maybe a dozen people + us at the top. A few santa's helpers about. Perfect views.

There was a snow drift on the SE side of the Kosciuszko S spur, above Lake Cootapatamba. I had no idea whether we could cross the Swampy Plain River below the lake to get to Cootapatamba Hut, so we (a bit naughty) exited SE off the top, circled through a gap in the snow drift and wandered down the true left side of the Swampy Plain River to the side of the lake. Absolutely beautiful! It's quite an infinity pool too, dropping 20+m on the downstream side.

Leaving the lake, we walked through low heath down to the bright red Cootapatamba Hut. 1.7km in 25mins, hitting a footpad part way down.

There was a big 4-season tent pitched nearby and Tom, a Canadian, sitting outside the hut. A young Aussie guy having a sleep in the hut and 2 more Canadians dozing in the tent - not after the 8 of us arrived. They were the last of a group of 18 Canadians who had come over to search for the Canadian guy who was lost during winter. The Aussie fellow had been searching for 50 days. Lunch beside the hut.

Setting off again at 1.10pm, we climbed out of the Swampy Plain River on a B-line for Rams Head North. Initially through knee high cover (should have put my gaiters on after the lunch time talk of snakes), then as we climbed higher, just ground cover. A 1.3km leg in 38mins to a couple of hundred metres W of Rams Head North, climbing 200m. The hill looked a bit daunting from the W, so we circled round the N to S of E for the ascent. Some interesting rocks and a mild scramble to the top.

Descending, we nearly completed the circumnavigation via the S, returned to the Rams Head ridge and wandered S along it over the two unimpressive bumps (but still the 8th and 5th highest points near Kosciuszko) to Rams Head. This leg 2.3km in 50mins. Great views all round, particularly S of W down over Leather Barrel Creek to Tom Groggin.

The go home plan was to come E off Rams Head and try to pick up a map-marked track heading E to Kosciuszko Walk. No footpad on the ground. Again fooled by the 20m contours on my map, the 120+m descent from the tops to the Walk was interesting. A little gentle scrambling down the water course and through higher shrubs, but the reward was a picturesque snow melt. The leg was 2.5km in 55mins.

Wandered down the Walk and chair lifted down. That completed the top 16 peaks around Kosciuszko that Jamie and I (and others) had thwarted on 14-15 Dec 12.

A stop at the Jindabyne Bakery for coffee and coke to get drivers back home.


Distance: 17.4km Climb: 740m. Time: 9.45am - 4.10pm (6hrs 25 mins), with 45mins of breaks.

Grading: L/M-R; H(13)

Walk Participants

8 walkers - Mike B, Cynthia C, Jaime L, Robert M, Quentin M, Rivera M-R, Stuart S, me.

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This page last updated 5Sep22