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Mount Kosciuszko is a mountain located in the Snowy Mountainsmarker in Kosciuszko National Parkmarker. With a height of above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Australia (not including its external territories). It was named by the Polishmarker explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish national hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Moundmarker in Krakowmarker.

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 , but the pronunciation is now sometimes used, which is substantially closer to the Polish pronunciation .

Various measurements of the peak originally called by that name showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsendmarker, and the names were thereupon transposed by the New South Wales Lands Department, so that Mount Kosciuszko still 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 Australiamarker titled "Northeast view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko" is actually from Mt Townsend.

Reaching the summit

Like many of Australia's highest peaks, Mount Kosciuszko is not particularly difficult to climb. There is a road to Charlotte Passmarker, from which it's an 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 to Rawson's Pass close to 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's Pass, where they must leave their bicycles and continue onto the summit by foot.

The peak may also be approached from Thredbomarker, which is a shorter , 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's Pass for the final climb to the Kosciuszko summit. Australia's highest public toilet was built in 2007 at Rawson's Pass at an altitude of as over 100,000 people are now visiting the mountain each summer with human waste management 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
Mount Townsendmarker (behind and obscured by cloud)
Snow pole line

Head waters of the Snowy Rivermarker
Kangaroo Ridge, Charlotte Passmarker
Kosciuszko National Parkmarker is also the location of the downhill ski slopes closest to Canberramarker and Sydneymarker, containing the Thredbo, Charlotte Passmarker, and Perisher Bluemarker 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 Mt Kosciuszko after starting away from the beach. Its first year was in 2004 and Paul Every pioneered the race.

Higher Australian mountains

Higher peaks exist within territory administered or claimed by Australia, but outside the mainland/continent:

Higher peaks in the Australianmarker continent, but outside mainland:


Image:Kosciuszko01.JPG|Mount Kosciuszko from south sideImage:Kosciuszko06.JPG|Mount Etheridge from south side showing high elevation toilet at Rawson PassImage:Kosciuszko05.JPG|East side of the mountainImage:Kosciuszko02.JPG|The plate of the topImage:Kosciuszko04.JPG|The monument of the topImage:Kosciuszko03.JPG|Lake Coopatamba, the lake on the highest place in the Australian continentImage:Kosciusko06.JPG|A view from Mount KosciuszkoImage:Thredbo.JPG|Thredbomarker from the mountain

Notes and references

  1. Australian Geographical Name Derivations
  2. Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3

See also

External links

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