- Mount Kosciuszko
View of Mount Kosciuszko from the east
Elevation 2,228 m (7,310 ft) AHD  Prominence 2,228 m (7,310 ft) Listing Ultra Location New South Wales, Australia Range Great Dividing Range / Main Range Coordinates Coordinates: Climbing First ascent 1840 by Paweł Edmund Strzelecki Easiest route Walk (dirt road)
Mount Kosciuszko is a mountain located in the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park. With a height of 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Australia (not including its external territories). It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish national hero and hero of the American Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow.
The name of the mountain was previously spelt "Mount Kosciusko", an Anglicisation, but the spelling "Mount Kosciuszko" was officially adopted in 1997 by the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. The traditional English pronunciation of Kosciuszko is /kɒziːˈɒskoʊ/, but the pronunciation /kɒˈʃʊʃkoʊ/ is now sometimes used, which is substantially closer to the Polish pronunciation [kɔɕˈt͡ɕuʂkɔ] ( listen).
Various measurements of the peak originally called Kosciuszko showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsend. The names of the mountains were swapped by the New South Wales Lands Department, so that Mount Kosciuszko remains the name of the highest peak of Australia, and Mount Townsend ranks as second. The 1863 picture by Eugene von Guerard hanging in the National Gallery of Australia titled "Northeast view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko" is actually from Mount Townsend.
Reaching the summit
Mount Kosciuszko is Australia's highest mountain. Like many of Australia's highest peaks, Mount Kosciuszko is not particularly difficult to climb. There is a road to Charlotte Pass, from which it's an 8-kilometre (5 mi) walk up a path to the summit. Anybody with a modest level of fitness should be able to walk it. Until 1976 it was possible to drive through Rawson Pass to within a few metres of the summit. The walking track to Mount Kosciuszko from Charlotte Pass is in fact that road, which was closed to public motor vehicle access due to environmental concerns. This track is also used by cyclists as far as Rawson Pass, where they must leave their bicycles and continue onto the summit on foot.
The peak may also be approached from Thredbo, which is a shorter 6.5 kilometres (4 mi), and should take about 1 hour 45 minutes to reach the summit. It's not a difficult walk and is supported by a chairlift all-year round. From the top of the chairlift there is a raised mesh walkway to the summit to protect the native vegetation and prevent erosion. Both tracks meet at Rawson Pass for the final climb to the Kosciuszko summit. Australia's highest public toilet was built in 2007 at Rawson Pass at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft). As over 100,000 people are now visiting the mountain each summer, human waste management is becoming a serious issue.
The peak and the surrounding areas are snow-covered in winter and spring (usually beginning in June and continuing until October or later). The road from Charlotte Pass and the track from Thredbo are marked by snow poles and provide a guide for cross-country skiers.
Mount Kosciuszko summit(behind and obscured by cloud)
Mountt Clarke (Mount Townsend is behind it)
Kangaroo Ridge, Charlotte Pass
Snowy River headwaters
Kosciuszko National Park is also the location of the downhill ski slopes closest to Canberra and Sydney, containing the Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, and Perisher Blue ski resorts. Mount Kosciuszko may have been ascended by Indigenous Australians long before the first recorded ascent by Europeans.
Each year in December, an ultramarathon running race called Coast to Kosciuszko (aka C2K) ascends to the top of Mount Kosciuszko after starting from the beach 246 kilometres (153 mi) away. Paul Every, who is credited as being the one who thought of holding such a race, was the inaugural winner in 2004.
Higher Australian mountains
Higher peaks exist within territory administered or claimed by Australia, but outside the mainland/continent:
- Mawson Peak (2,745 m/9,006 ft) on Heard Island
- Dome Argus (4,030 m/13,220 ft), Mount McClintock (3,490 m/11,450 ft) and Mount Menzies (3,355 m/11,007 ft) in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Higher peaks in the Australian geological continent, but outside the mainland/country:
- Puncak Jaya (4,884 m/16,024 ft) in New Guinea. It is the highest island mountain in the world, the highest mountain in Indonesia and the highest in the Australian continent and Oceania.
- Puncak Trikora (4,750 m/15,580 ft) in the Papua province of Indonesia.
- Mount Wilhelm (4,509 m/14,793 ft) in Papua New Guinea. It is the highest mountain in that country.
- Mount Victoria (4,072 m/13,360 ft) in Central Province, Papua New Guinea.
- Mount Giluwe (4,368 m/14,331 ft) a volcanic mountain in Papua New Guinea. It is the highest volcanic summit in the Australian continent.
Australian rock band Midnight Oil performed a song called "Kosciusko" on its 1984 album Red Sails in the Sunset, referring to the mountain. The spelling was updated to "Kosciuszko" for the group's 1997 compilation album, 20,000 Watt R.S.L.
Notes and references
- ^ a b "Kosciuszko National Park". Australian Alps National Parks. http://www.australianalps.environment.gov.au/parks/kosciuszko.html. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- ^ Australian Geographical Name Derivations
- ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
- ^ "Mountain systems of Australia". Year Book Australia, 1901-1909. Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/6a446874c613a955ca2569e300158043.
- ^ "Eugene von Guérard: North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko 1863". National Gallery of Australia. http://www.nga.gov.au/OutandAbout/Texts/48469.htm.
- ^ "The rush to complete Australia's highest dunny - Media Release Thursday, 3 May 2007". Department of Environment and Climate Change, NSW. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/DecMedia07050302.htm.
- ^ http://www.coast2kosci.com/
- Australian Landmarks
- Mount Townsend
- Mt Kosciuszko Inc. — page for information about explorer P.E Strzelecki
- Peakware - World Mountain Encyclopaedia — photo
-  - Hiking Mount Kosciuszko
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