Roof of Australia, retracing our alpine past

By AG Staff April 28, 2015
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Some young Australians have retraced the steps of Australian alpine pioneers across the Snowy Mountains.

INTRIGUED BY STORIES of early alpine pioneers, in particular a 1957 film called Roof of Australia, Aaron Jamieson embarked on a month-long camping, hiking and ski-touring expedition through the Snowy Mountains in August 2014. With him was a group of five other alpine enthusiasts: expedition leader Chris Booth, base-camp manager Teddy Laycock, and long-time skiers Kenny Heatley, Tim Myers and Jake McBride.

They divided the expedition into two stages. During the first, they spent two weeks launching full-day exploratory tours through the north-western reaches of the Snowy Mountains Main Range from our camp near Mt Twynam.

Their aim was to find and follow the original routes established by cattle drovers during those far-off 19th-century summers. They wanted to feel the isolation of the pioneering alpine explorers, to experience the awe early back-country skiers must have felt as they traversed little-known passes, and to make history by carving new tracks of our own.

During the second stage, they traversed the southern end of the Main Range, moving camp almost daily. This led them to Seaman’s Hut, near the top of 2228m Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak on the Australian mainland. From there, they pushed on to 2209m Mt Townsend, the second-highest, where we spent four days exploring the highest part of the Australian Alps.

Find out more in issue 126 (May/June) of Australian Geographic