Wednesday, 3 January 2018

SOTA Mt Kosciuszko VK2/SM-001 Australias Highest Mountain

With a few days off work decided to do something probably a lot of SOTA activators plan to do at some stage, activate Australia's highest summit, VK2/SM-001 Mt Kosciuszko. At 2228 m its hardly an epic climb but still a challenging 13 Km return walk.

I drove to Jindabyne and stopped there overnight, leaving after breakfast to drive to Thredbo. Note when entering Kosciuzko National Park there is a park entry fee of $17 for 24 hours stay.

Got to Thredbo around 8:15 and purchased a 1 day chair lift ticket to take me up to the Eagles Nest Restaurant and the start of the walk across the Kosciuszko plateau, this cost me $37. Then waited for the chair lift to start up at 8:30 am.

Got on the chair lift, a little tricky with a pack and squid pole but managed it. Ascended the mountain in the lift. Could see cloud at the top.

Reaching the top is was quite foggy, and cold, temperature around 10 c.

Fortunately the fog seemed to be only around the edge of the plateau, once I moved away from the lift terminus it cleared up. Still cold but felt warm in the sun.

Start of the Dead Horse Gap walking track. 6 Km to the summit.

The walk is fairly easy, on cobbled stones and raised metal walkways. It is a very popular walk with both Australian and overseas visitors, and is well maintained for the large number of walkers who use it. Reached Kosciuszko Lookout after 1.5 Km. Mt Kosciuszko is the one in the middle, with a long narrow patch of snow below it.

After 4.5 Km reached Rawsons Pass. There are public toilets near here. Mt Kosciuzsko now only 1.67 Km away.

A sign and map at Rawsons Pass on Mt Kosciuszko.

Continued along the track to the summit. Sign at the junction with the main range walk. You can also do this walk from Charlotte Pass but its quite long.

There was a bit of cloud around the summit. The track curves around it.

Reached the summit. As is usual for this popular walk crowded with people. It got a lot worse later...

Another sign near the trig explaining some of the history of the summit.

With so many people around the trig there was no way I was going to operate there... plus the park rangers had advised me to move away from the top to avoid problems with the public. After wandering around for a while I decided to operate from behind a rocky outcrop, hidden away from most of the crowd at the trig. Even so still got groups on the nearby rocks taking selfies...Put up both the linked dipole and 2 m ribbon antenna.

Squid pole jammed into a gap in between 2 large rocks and secured by ocky straps. I had a little hidey hole to operate from out of the wind :)

FT-817 on my lunch box. Had a mini log book, trying to keep weight down :)

Got on 40 m. Not surprisingly phone coverage good here, able to spot myself on parksnpeaks.
The wind decided to bring down my squid pole just after spotting, could hear several callers so quickly hoisted it back up...

Worked the following chasers

VK2YW John
VK7CW Steve

A park to park with VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-2200 Sweetwater Creek NR. I was in VKFF-0269 Kosciuszko NP.

VK3ARH Allen
VK2DO Chris
VK2NP Cliff

A summit to summit with VK3ANL/p Nick on VK3/VC-007 Mt Macedon. Also a park to park as this is in VKFF-0972

VK2IO Gerard
VK2VW Brett.

While operating on 40 m my phone was also being sent text messages from both VK1AD/p Andrew on Mt Ainslie, and VK1RX Al at home. They were looking for contacts on 2 m. I tried both 2 m FM and SSB with no luck. I could hear a few beacons on SSB but no luck hearing you guys, sorry. I suspect might be a problem with my 2 m antenna as thought would have been a good path back to Canberra.

Had lunch. After lunch a large group of school children arrived and sat close by to me to have their lunch, figured a good time to pack up...

Walked back the same way. The fog had cleared for the chair lift ride back down to Thredbo

Track log of walk from the chairlift to the summit.

Profile of the walk, a 6.5 Km walk with a 400 m climb.

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