Happy New Year! Everyone,
We have just come back from a holiday in the Snowy Mountains, NSW Australia. It is the summer season here and the best time to climb the highest mountain in Australia—Mt Kosciuszko. Mountain climbing is not something I have done before or think about doing (due to my fear of heights), it was my husbands desire for some time now to climb this mountain and my desire to face my fears that led me to take this journey of discovery, exploring, learning and facing my fears along the way.
After looking at the different walks you can take to get to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, we decided that we would do the Summit Walk, which starts from the popular skiing village at Thredbo. This part I was not looking forward to as you need to take the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift from the bottom of Thredbo to the top of the mountain, which is 1.8km long, it rises 560 vertical metres and takes 15 minutes one way. The thought of this was nearly enough to stop me from going, but I had a strong desire to face my fears and so there I was about to get on the chairlift, looking up and thinking “OMG, I have to come back down on this. God I am going to need Your help.” I held on so tight, kept my eyes open, didn’t move and allowed myself to feel my fear, part the way up my fear started to fade, but I still couldn’t look behind me to see how high up we were. The chairlift reached the beginning of our walk and as my feet touched the ground I started crying as I looked back down the mountain towards Thredbo Village and said, “there is no way I am getting back on that chairlift to go back down, I will walk back down.” My family looked at me in amazement and said, “that is a very long and steep walk down,” it was very clear that I was still blocking myself from fully feeling my emotions of fear and I wasn’t thinking about how my body would feel after mountain walking for 5 hours.
Kosciuszko Express Chairlift – A view of Thredbo Village.
Our walking journey begins and although it is summer and at the bottom of Thredbo we were in t-shirts—as it was hot—we were now 1927m above sea level and it was very cold and windy, so out came the jackets, beanies and gloves, and I was still cold. From the top of Thredbo it is a 13km return walk to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, which took us about 5 hours in total to walk.
Top of Thredbo – 1927m above sea level.
I am so glad that I didn’t let my fear of heights stop me from embracing this amazing journey. The pictures don’t show the true beauty of this beautiful landscape, but I will do my best to share some of what I saw, heard and experienced along the way.
I was also glad to see the path ahead was not on the side of a cliff so that I could enjoy the journey. Most of the walk was on a raised metal path you can see in the photo below, to protect the environment. I have posted some photo’s further down where there are changes in the path we walked on.
Mt Kosciuszko Walk
There are rocks and boulders everywhere, which are homes to endangered animals such as the tiny mountain pygmy-possum and home for the bogong moth which migrate here every spring to get away from the heat, these moths are eaten by animals and birds. The only animal we saw and heard were ravens, the moment we started walking to the end of our walk. You could hear hundreds of them and as we progressed along, we began to see some, then closer to Mt Kosciuszko summit we saw hundreds (some photo’s of the ravens further on, I also filmed the sound of them, but the wind was so loud you couldn’t hear them when I played it back). We also saw ants, lizards, tadpoles, butterflies, moths, flies and march flies (flies where at the top of Mt Kosciuszko and at the the end of our walk back, as the weather was warmer).
Mt Kosciuszko – Rams Head Range
Mt Kosciuszko – Granite boulders everywhere.
The two paragraphs below are from a sign along the walk:
Every spring mountain pygmy-possums and other animals feast on the bogong moths that come to the mountains to escape the heat of the plains. The possums also eat seeds and berries of alpine shrubs such as the mountain plum-pine, caterpillars, beetles and spiders.
The bogong feasting assists the possums to put on large amounts of fat. They often double their body weight. Their ability to store fat and hibernate under the snow helps them survive winter. Under the insulating snow, they lower their body temperature by 35 °C. This slows their metabolism so they can live off their fat and not eat for up to seven months. They curl up and hibernate in spaces between the rocks and below the snow, in places where the temperature only goes down to 2°C.
Around this rock is Snow Beard-heath, one of the berries that the pygmy-possums eat and they can also store seeds and nuts for the winter months.
Mt Kosciuszko – Part of the granite and rock path we walked along.
Mt Kosciuszko Walk – Steps to help with the steep climb up.
Mt Kosciuszko – Snowy River headwaters where it begins its 500km journey to the sea.
Mt Kosciuszko Lookout
This is Mt Kosciuszko Lookout, in the above photo you can see Mt Kosciusko in the distance with snow laying just beneath the peak of the mountain. Below is a close up of the same view, but due to the strong winds and high altitude the weather can change in a matter of seconds.
Mt Kosciuszko Lookout – Fog or clouds covering the view.
Silver Snow Daisies before they have flowered, it looked like grass covered in snow.
Below is Lake Cootapatamba, this is the highest glacial lake in Australia. This lake is just below the climb to the peak/summit of Mt Kosciuszko. Rawsons Pass is just ahead which is about 30-40min climb from there to the top. This photo also shows more of the wildflowers that we saw throughout our walk.
Mt Kosciuszko – Lake Cootapatamba, the highest glacial lake in Australia.
This is part the way up the final climb to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, I took this photo of a dead tree trunk of which I had seen a few of these along the way (I think it may be an Alpine Ash Tree). There were no trees on our entire walk as it is too cold for them to grow here. The only greenery is of low growth and shrubs covering the ground.
Mt Kosciuszko – These clouds came towards us and we walked through them, it was amazing to be so high up that you are walking through clouds. I was in total awe at this stage of how beautiful this place was and to be witnessing and learning so much about God and also wondering how much more beautiful it would have been when God first created it.
Yay! I made it to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, 2228m above sea level. My beanie and gloves only came off for a minute as it was so much colder up here and the winds were so strong.
View from the top of Mt Kosciuszko, looking back on the path we walked.
Mt kosciuszko Walk – Our journey back.
Mt Kosciuszko – Ravens flying to the boulders on our walk back.
Mt Kosciuszko – Ravens on boulders.
Mt kosciuszko – Love heart shaped rock I spotted on our journey back.
Feeling tired after our 5 hour walk, I decided to be brave and get back on the chairlift (after all I did just climb up to the top of the highest mountain in Australia, surely I can go down a chairlift that is not as high and not have anymore fear?), but not without instructions—I did ask nicely and used my manners, but they were still instructions—of where I wanted to sit, I’m going to close my eyes until we have passed the steepest part and can my family please let me know when that has occurred, when we sit quickly pull the lap bar down (so I don’t fall out) wow! that answers my question, the fear is still there.
Kosciuszko Express Chairlift – Heading back to Thredbo Village.
Most of the time I become quickly aware of what I’m creating, which helped me to realise what I was doing and see my expectations of others, which also helps me to avoid feeling. So I opened my eyes within seconds of getting on the chairlift and allowed myself to feel the fear and I started to look around at the view. I looked up at the cable that was carrying our chair, which was thick and looked strong. I looked at the track that the cable went through and noticed that it hooked around the cable so that the cable couldn’t come off. I also looked at the height underneath us and thought, “if I do fall the worst that can happen is some broken bones.” I was feeling, but also using my logic to look at how safe I actually was, this is something that I normally don’t do when I am faced with fear of heights—I usually try to avoid it—I also asked God and my guides to help me.
There has been some progress for me today, lots of self-reflection, awareness and learning, but I know that I haven’t released this fear from my soul and I have more adventures coming up that involve heights, so this is something that I desire to heal and become free of. I will keep posting my progress as I feel it is very important to work through our fears and not let this stop us from living in our passions and desires that are in harmony with God’s Love. Fear also stagnates my growth.
Every experience in life is an opportunity to learn from, to heal your soul and to grow in love
The end of our amazing journey/adventure, one that I will never forget; one beautiful part of Australia that I feel grateful to have walked, learnt from, witnessed and felt; another opportunity to learn more about our Divine Parent and the Love that is evident in all of God’s Creations.