Seven Summit Project (4/7): An Epic 3 Week Journey Which Culminated with a Winter Ascent of Mount Kosciuszko

Blog Update #13

Myself with Mount Kosciuszko in the background

We’re back! Due to a new outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia, the Victorian (VIC) and New South Wales (NSW) border has been closed. Luckily I was able to get over to NSW before the border closure happened. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t of been able to have this epic 3 week trail running and mountaineering adventure. I’m not going to lie leaving work and home nearly two weeks early and having to make that decision in a matter of hours threw me off guard, and stressed me out. As I drove away from home I was damn homesick, but if your excited and scared at the same time it usually means your doing something right. This definitely ended up being the case because I had a one in a lifetime experience; living out of the car, running on some of Australia’s best trails, running into friends where the chances of doing so are probably one in a million and of course the highlight of the trip, participating in Climbing the Seven Summit’s (CTSS) Alpine Academy and Mount Kosciuszko Winter Ascent mountaineering courses. Which ended with me tagging Mount Kosciuszko, seven summit number four. I’m writing a much bigger: Post Mount Kosciuszko blog which should be out in a week or so but for now let’s just say this. In three weeks I was lucky enough to get to visit; Albury (NSW), Wagga Wagga (NSW), Goulburn (NSW), Katoomba (NSW), Cronulla (NSW), Cooma (NSW) and Jindabyne (NSW). I also got to run along; the whole infamous Six Foot Track (45km) in the Blue Mountains, parts of the the Prince Henry Cliff Walk in the Blue Mountains, Grand Canyon Walking Track in the Blue Mountains, the whole Coast Track (26km) in the Royal National Park and up Mount Stromlo in Canberra, that’s just to list the highlighted runs. The crazy part is the trail runs along these beautiful trails weren’t even the best parts of the three weeks, the time spent up at Mount Kosciuszko National Park amongst the snow and rugged Australian alpine environment with Mike Hamill and my fellow team members were the best parts of the trip. The amount I learnt in such a little time frame is out of this world; winter camping techniques, knot tying, different self-arrest techniques, fixed line ascension, crevasse rescue, self care in the mountains, crampon technique thats just to name a few things! I participated in two 4 day trips; one trip was purely training and the other was a combo of training and summiting Mount Kosciuszko. Watching and learning from Mike has not only further inspired my mountaineering aspirations but also my dream of one day becoming a guide myself. On a separate note, it was awesome to finish off the trip with the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. On July the 25th at approx. 2:20pm the whole team and I stood on top of the highest point of Australia which means I’ve tagged 4 out of the 7 summits (lets be honest theres really 8). Mount Kosciuszko is without a doubt the easiest of the 7 but with that being said the way we did it was no walk in the park. We started at Guthega and hauled sleds with some decently weighted packs to about halfway in-between the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and Guthega. From there we set up basecamp, we then trained the following day, summited Mount Kosciuszko the day after and finally returned on day 4, hauling the sleds back to Guthega, making the trip 4 days of solid work. Again it was pleasure to be with such a good team and learn from the best. Once back and after going out for dinner with the team I made the 8 hour drive home through the night, ending the epic trip. I’m looking forward to properly reflecting and writing a much, much more detailed report in the coming weeks but for now it’s straight back to work and real life, you can’t have fun for too long.

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