Saturday, April 30, 2011

Twynam & Carruthers & Townsend, NSW, Australia

2011 April: Cimb Mt Twynam, Carruthers Peak, Mt Townsend from Charlotte Pass - NSW, Australia

If you wish to do this trip, I suggest you do the similar walk I did in 2014 April instead ... because you'll include Mt Kosciuszko (Australia's highest mountain) and Little Twynam ... see photos and write up in my blog:
In that blog, there is also a list of all peaks above 2000 meters in Australia (called A2K peaks).

You can climb Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Townsend from Dead Horse Gap. Photos and write up of that trip is in

Today's climb:
- Mt Twynam, 2196 meters, 3rd highest mountain in Australia
- Carruthers Peak, 2145 meters
- Mt Townsend, 2209 meters, 2nd highest mountain in Australia

Hiking route:
- Start from Charlotte Pass carpark.
- Follow Main Range Track, then Blue Lake Walk to Blue Lake.
- Retrace Blue Lake Walk to junction of Main Range Track.
- Get off track, head north till you meet a disused 4-wheel drive track at the top of the ridge line.
- Follow the 4-wheel drive track to Mt Twynam.
- From Mt Twynam peak, follow trail all the way to Muellers Pass.
- Then to Mt Townsend.
- From Mt Townsend peak, retrace steps to Muellers Pass where it joins the Main Range Track.
- Follow Main Range Track to Rawson Pass.
- Then back to Charlotte Pass car park.

Hiking time and distance:
Daytrip: 8 hrs 30 min, 30.5 km

If you don't do the side trip to Blue Lake, you can shave off 2 km.


1:100,000 8525 Kosciuszko or the finer detailed 1:25,000 8525-2S Perisher Valley

Water Requirement:
It is a cool day, a bit less than 10 degrees Celsius. I drink about 2 litres of water.

I am in a team of 4 to participate in an OxFam Sydney 100km trail walk event (called Trailwalker) to be held in late August. Our team regularly holds exercise walks. Today, most of the Sydney area is raining, so we opt for a hike in the Snowy Mountains. Only Tania and I are free. So at 8am, the two of us set off from Charlotte pass to bag Mt Twynam (2196) and Mt Townsend (2209m), 3rd and 2nd highest mountain in Australia. As a freebie, we also bag Carruthers Peak (2145m), because the Main Range Track where we walk on happens to pass through this peak.

The original plan was to walk on Main Range Track; then onto Blue Lake Walk to Blue Lake; cross Blue Lake Creek; then go up north to Mt Twynam from the east side of Blue Lake. The weather forecast was for a sunny day, but when we reach Blue Lake, high fogs keep on rolling in and out, at times completely obscuring Mt Twynam. Rather than risk getting lost in the fog, we backtrack on the Blue Lake Walk to the junction of Main Range Track and hope by then the sun can burn off the fog and allow us to climb Mt Twynam from the west side of Blue Lake.

The weather forecast does not disappoint us. By the time we reach the junction of the 2 trails at 9:25am, the fogs are all gone, leaving us with mostly a blue sky. So we get off the track, climb in a northerly direction towards a ridge. At the top of the ridge, meet up with a disused 4-wheel drive track, follow it, and arrive at Mt Twynam peak around 10am.

It is strange that this 4-wheel drive track is not marked on the maps I have. Perhaps the National Park authorities want to discourage people from getting to Mt Twynam?

The distance we covered so far is 8.5km, and took 2 hrs. Considering the uphill stretches and some off-track walking, this is a huge effort. Well, we are supposed to be training for the OxFam 100km trailwalk, hence we consciously walk at a fast pace than one would normally do on a hiking trip.

It is also now that Tania reveals she will be competing in a 3-hour cycling race the next morning at 7am. Considering we'll probably be back to the car around 4 or 5pm, and back to Sydney around midnight, she really is one hell of a super fit woman.

Mt Twynam is a broad round dome, hence most sights immediately below the mountain is not visible. You can't see Blue Lake. But you can see Hedley Tarn which is further away.

After bagging Twynam, it is time to bag Townsend which is almost 3 hrs away. First, it is retracing the 4-wheel drive track to meet up with Main Range Track, then follow it all the way to Muellers Pass. On the way there, the trail climbs right through Carruthers Peak. It also skirts around the western slope of Mt Lee (2100m) and Mt Northcote (2131m). I would love to get off the the trail to climb both of them, but not today because Tania needs to get back to Sydney for tomorrow's cycling race.

The scenery along the trail is fantastic, we get a full view of Blue Lake, Club Lake and Albina Lake. I am quite happy to walk on this trail every week and not tired of the scenery.

At Muellers Pass, there is a faint foot trail to Mt Townsend. This trail is not marked on the map, and also you won't see it from the Main Range Track. You should look out for a cairn at the lowest point between Mt Kosciuszko and Muellers Peak. Get over to the cairn then you will see the trail. Once you are on the trail, it is about 1 hr to Mt Townsend.

This is the 2nd time I climbed Mt Townsend. ( The 1st trip is 4 weeks ago, refer to ). The final ascend to the peak is always interesting because you need to climb up 40 meters of a near vertical cliff formed from loose rock boulders ... sounds challenging, but in reality, it turns out to be not too difficult ... and soon we find ourselves at the top of Australia's 2nd highest mountain.

The view from Mt Townsend is impressive:
•  There are the four peaks which make up the Abbott Range - Byatts Camp, Abbot Peak, Mt Townsend and Alice Rawson Peak. (I climbed them all in 2014 December. Photos and write up of that trip are in:
•  There is the steep drop into the valley to the west.
•  To the south is a broad vista across Wilkinsons Valley onto the north face of Mt Kosciuszko.

One aspect of Mt Townsend that surprises me is, on both the previous hike and this hike, there is hardly any wind at the top. Considering there is no high mountain towards the west, I would have thought we would cop a full blast from the west. But no; the air is almost still on both occasions!!!

We have our lunch there.

And I couldn't find the water bottle which I left there the last time.

Then it is time to go home ... back down the peak; follow foot trail to Muellers Pass; follow Main Range Track to Rawson Pass, follow Summit Walk trail back to our car at Charlotte Pass.

Aside from the fog earlier in the morning that prevented us from climbing Mt Twynam from the east side of Blue Lake, the rest of the day turns out to be mostly a beautiful blue sky day with some high white clouds, a cool temperature, plus beautiful bubbly Tania ... just perfect for hiking.


07:55 Start from Charlotte Pass, walk on Main Range Track
08:40 4 km later, arrive at junction of Blue Lake Walk
09:00 1 km later, arrive at Blue Lake

----- 10 min rest

09:10 Leave Blue Lake, back track on Blue Lake Walk
09:25 1 km later, arrive at junction of Main Range Track
10:05 2.5 km later, Arrive to Mt Twynam

----- 10 min rest

10:15 Leave Mt Twynam
12:00 7 km later, arrive at Mullers Pass
12:55 2.5 km later, arrive Mt Townsend

----- 30 min lunch

13:25 Leave Mt Townsend
14:15 2.5 km later, arrive at Muellers Pass
14:45 2.2 km later, arrive at Rawson Pass

----- 15 min rest

15:00 Leave Rawson Pass
16:25 7.7km later, arrive at Charlotte Pass

----- Total 8 hrs 30 min, 30.5 km

Pictures: (To enlarge a photo, click on it.)

1.) We park our car here at Charlotte Pass. The far away round-top mountain (highest peak in this pic) is Mt Twynam, 2195 meters, 3rd highest mountain in Australia. We are going to climb it now!!! You can see a trail (called Main Range Track) heading towards the left side of the mountain.

2.) It is foggy early in the morning. First, we cross the Snowy River here near Charlotte Pass and head to Mt Twynam. (Note: the peak in this pic is not Mt Twynam. You can't see Twynam from here.)

3.) The next stop is to this beautiful glacial tarn, called Blue Lake.

4.) At the shore of beautiful Blue Lake. Mt Twynam is the peak in the middle of this pic. We are going to climb it !!!

5.) Mt Twynam ... not far to go now.

6.) Mt Twynam, almost there

7, 8.) With Tania at Mt Twynam summit, 2195 meters, 3rd highest mt in Australia

9.) View from the top of Mt Twynam ... click on the pic to enlarge it ...
The far away tiny triangle mt, the highest mt on the right half of this pic, is Mt Townsend, 2209 meters, 2nd highest mt in Australia. We are going to climb it now !!!
The far away bigger mt, the highest mt on the left half of this pic, is Mt Kosciuszko, 2228 meters, highest mt in Australia. We had climbed it before, so we won't climb it this time. But on our way back to our car, we will pass by its slope.

10.) Tania and I at Carruthers Peak, 2142 meters, 10th highest peak in Australia (We've come down from Mt Twynam and heading towards Mt Townsend. On the way we pass this spot.)
By the way, a list of all peaks in Australia above 2000 meters (called A2K peaks) are in this website:

11.) Club Lake ... picture taken from Carruthers Peak.

12.) On our way to Mt Townsend ... now passing by Albina Lake.

13.) Mt Townsend is in the distance ... we are heading there.

14.) Tania at this precariously positioned large granite block near the summit of Mt Townsend.

15.) The final ascent to Mt Townsend summit is to climb up this cliff of loose rock boulders. It is about 40 meters high. It is almost vertical (though it doesn't show up as vertical in this pic). Sounds scary, but it is not too hard to climb.

16, 17.) With Tania at Mt Townsend summit, 2209 meters, 2nd highest mountain in Australia. This is the 2nd time I climbed this mountain ... love it.

18.) Scenery from Mt Townsend summit ... nice view

19.) From Mt Townsend summit, we can see Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mt ... it is the highest peak near the right edge of this photo. On the way back to our car, we'll skirt around its slope ... see next pic.

20.) Back down from Mt Townsend, going back to our car. The mountain in the center of this pic is Mt Kosciuszko, highest mountain in Australia. On the left side of this pic, you can make out the trail (called Main Range Track) which skirts around its slope. We'll follow this trail back to our car.

21.) Passing by this beautiful Snow Gum near Charlotte Pass.
All up, it is a pleasant 30.5km hike in 8.5 hrs.

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