Mt. Kosciuszko is the highest peak on mainland Australia, standing at 2228 meters above sea level and hiking Mt. Kosciuszko has been on my bucket list ever since I entered Australia. So finally after lots of failed and cancelled plans, this summer I was able to cross off this item from my bucket list.
And from my personal experience, here is a list of 10 essentials you have to carry with yourself if you are also aiming to summit the highest peak in Australia:
Mt. Kosciuszko is home to some really annoying March flies and massive mosquitoes that bite really hard and leave big red patches on your skin. I was suggested to take bug spray by someone who is from the area and I am passing on the information to whoever’s going next. Bug spray is a must have even if you are not staying overnight because these insects are vicious. I used “Off” brand but it needed re-application. “Bushman” is another great brand to try.
The alpine weather changes is harsh and the sun is even harsher. I learnt it the hard way that you won’t feel the heat but your exposed skin will be burnt very badly by the sun. Therefore, a sunscreen is very important if you want to avoid sun burn. It’s been 3 weeks since my trip and my burnt skin is still peeling. Either wear covered clothing or apply generous amount of sunscreen on your exposed skin.
Even during summers there are snow patches that can blind you (metaphorically). As I mentioned that the sun is harsh and having a pair of sunglasses will definitely help navigate through the extreme sun.
This is optional but to save my face from sunburn I wore a cap throughout the hike and almost every other hiker was wearing one. You can say it is a great way to protect your face from the harsh sun. Since the ozone layer over Australia has depleted, it is advisable to protect yourself from sun especially at higher altitudes because the harmful UVA & UVB rays are much more effective at that height.
Layers of Clothes
Alpine weather is very unpredictable. It can go from sun to cloudy to rain within one hour and the temperature changes equally fast. Therefore layering up is the way to go. Throw on a light jacket over a sleeved t-shirt and full track pants to overcome any kind of weather you come across.
This is a given and obvious item in the list but remember to carry at least 1.25 litres of water per person and if you are doing the Main Range track, carry some more. The hike is long and the change in altitude dehydrates the body easily.
Energy bars and food
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt this hike without having a proper meal before the hike. Your body needs energy to function and it is a long hike, no matter which route you take. Food is important. Keeping a few fruits and snacks will definitely keep you energetic while not making you full.
Coming towards hiking gear, to keep all the above-mentioned items, you’ll obviously carry a backpack but it is important to keep it as light as possible. The backpack’s own weight should be minimal so that the things you carry don’t get too heavy and there’s least pressure on your legs, especially knees.
I realised the importance of having good hiking shoes on my experience at Mt. Kosciuszko. If you are taking the Main Range route, a pair of hiking shoes is necessary because the route was very steep with some sections of narrow loose rocks. There were snow patches as well that were quite dangerous. And this is where you need good hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you for this.
Hiking poles is something I saw every other hiker use on this trail. They are very helpful to descend down the steep sections as well as take the pressure off your knees when going downhill. I don’t have a pair yet but after my experience, hiking poles are joining my hiking gear family.
If you are planning a trip to summit Mt. Kosciuszko anytime soon, make sure to keep all these items in your list of essentials. Nothing is less or more important than the other. And I hope you summit the highest peak in Australia!
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