The Summit VK2/SM-002 is the best of the highest summits in Australia in my opinion. It has been my favorite Summit since I can remember and its a thrill to come back to it and be the first to activate it for SOTA.
I left Charlotte Pass at 6.30am parked the car and headed up the road towards Seaman’s hut the distance was 8.5 km. I was wise to start as early as I did as it was going to be a hot day.
As you climb up the road towards Mt. Kosciusko you see the panorama of the Main Range opening up. It is cool and quiet,
most people are still in bed. I comfortably made Seaman’s Hut in just on 1 .30 hrs. I walked on another 35 mins to were I parked my mountain bike. There is a bike stand quite handy so you can secure your bike to the rack.
My intention at the time was to use the Main Range trail – this trail will take you right across the top of the main part of the range and back into Foreman’s Creek below Charlotte Pass. This is a very popular walk for regular bush walkers, you see quite a few walking the main trail. The turn off to the Main Range trail is about 200m from the bottom of the track up to the Summit of Kosciusko, you turn right and drop down a long descent of some 400 meters. At this stage I was thinking about the return later in the day, I have since worked out a more direct and better track to use to go to Townsend which I will elaborate on further in this blog.
I reached the bottom of the saddle at Mueller’s Peak which is next to Townsend. I had skied into this area with my father to do snow surveys many years before to the Club Lake snow courses, so it was quite different in summer but I still had my bearings. I could not find a clearly defined track leading off towards Townsend so I went around the right side of Mueller’s for some distance and finding no track I retraced my steps and started to move around the side of Mueller’s. It became very slow going, I could see the Club Lake snow course poles and worked towards them, it took me lower into the valley and I got to a point were was looking straight up into the saddle between Mueller’s and Townsend, still a pretty healthy climb. The 400 m I had dropped into the valley plus the extra 170 m to the top of the Summit of Townsend.
I stopped near a small stream and had my lunch it was 0012 knowing I would take at least another 1hr comfortably I headed up the spur towards the saddle it wasn’t too bad. the going was reasonable
After 15 minutes I came upon the trail that I hadn’t been able to find earlier (I later found the cairn to mark the start of the trail was some 50m off the track) 20 minutes later I was climbing into the base of the Summit it was very rocky with huge slabs of granite thrown together thousands of years ago in a huge pile, it was something to be careful climbing to the top of the summit you had to scramble up to the top over these big slabs of granite. Once on top of SM-002 you are treated to one of the best summit panoramas on the main range. I hope in the photos you can see some idea how breath taking it is. I set up just below the summit some 15 or so meters as it was blowing hard. The spot I picked is a tussock knoll in between some huge pieces of rock there was a Weather station cum trig there initially in the late 50s removed some time in the 70-80s. There are 4 hardwood posts left behind I used one of these to secure the squid pole. My first chaser contact was at 0312 all up I worked 12 chasers and it quietened down after 35 minutes so I packed up and headed off.The bridge over the Snowy river just below Seaman’s Hut Looking out towards Khancoban from the summit on the return trip followed the trail I had branched onto coming up. Progress was good for the first 40 minutes then it started to zig zag around rocks and made the walk slower. I had been having trouble with my knee on these descents on some of these higher peaks lately so I slowed down. The marking of the track was poor with small piles of rocks every so often, these cairns were often hard to see, you had to look for them amongst the grass and rocks until you picked up the trail again. The Geehi Walking group usually mark all these important trails. After doing some tricky navigation I made my way around the side of Mueller’s Peak. The take off point of this trail is not worn or visible from the Main Range Trail, there is a large flat rock sitting 50 m out to the west of the trail at the bottom of the trail. The Park should put a sign to mark the trail to the second highest peak in Australia.
I was very pleased to find my bike waiting for me and 15 minutes later I was back at Charlotte Pass after and exhausting but enjoyable activation that took all day. I recommend this one though, hope the above helps other activators.