Search This Blog


Looking down the Thredbo River valley towards
the village.

As mentioned in yesterday's blog post, Sharon and I are heading for the mountains tomorrow and are hoping to enjoy a few trail runs.  They won't be at an altitude sufficient to impact running, but it will be less humid and cooler than the Central Coast of the past few months.  I find cooler temperatures always make running more enjoyable as does running in the mountains.

Looking towards Mount Kosciusko.

The mountains in Australia aren't that high, by global standards.  But, on the positive side, they tend to have runnable trails to their summits, providing scenic routes for inspiring running.  The ski resort of Thredbo, in Kosciusko National Park, offers a number of running options, of which my favourite is a 45km route that includes a visit to the summit of Mt Kosciusko (2,221m), Australia's highest mountain.

The steel mesh track to Mount Kosciusko.

The run starts in the Thredbo Village and follows the Thredbo River Track upstream, initially past the golf course and then through a mix of alpine forest and open clearings to a saddle, Dead Horse Gap.  A right turn takes you onto the Dead Horse Gap Trail, an occasionally technical single track which climbs above the treeline along a rocky spur.  If the weather is clear, there are beautiful views in multiple directions.  Near the top of the spur, the trail goes close to the Thredbo Chairlift Top Station and joins the main trail from there towards Kosciusko.  To preserve the alpine environment, nearly all of the next four kilometres is along an elevated steel walkway, with signs at either end prohibiting running.  If you start early enough, you will beat the first chairlift tourists of the day and have the place to yourself on this outward leg and be able to run without the risk of causing annoyance to hikers.  If later, however, you have to make a judgment about whether or not you will get into trouble.

The panorama from Mount Kosciusko.

Soon after the mesh pathway ends, about 14km into the run, the turn-off to the summit of Kosciusko is reached and it's worth making the 2km (there and back) detour to enjoy one of the best views in Australia.  Returning to the Main Range Track, which follows the alpine ridge to the north-east, more spectacular vistas stretch in all directions, and particularly over the precipitous descent towards the Geehi River to the north-west.  At around 23km, another right turn is made to descend steeply towards Blue Lake and Charlotte Pass, all above the tree-line.  There is a short steep climb from the Snowy River up to the Pass where the old road back towards Kosciusko is reached and followed gradually upwards back to the steel mesh pathway.

The Main Range Track.

Depending on the hiker traffic, it may be necessary to walk the pathway back to the Chairlift Top Station, but from there a steep and often technical descent, criss-crossing the ski runs, is made on single track back to Thredbo and the end of the run.  It's a long run, and much of it is at an altitude high enough to impact oxygen levels, but it provides some of the best scenery available in Australia on a clear day.

I took no chances with the minor hip trouble I had yesterday, and walked an easy 5km on a blustery and showery day around Copa this morning.  The hip didn't bother me at all, and I'm hopeful that after another day of walking tomorrow I will be up for a long trail run the day after.