A Better Ten Peaks List

Mount Townsend from Carruthers Peak

The Ten Peaks – an ascent of the ten highest points on the Australian mainland – is fast becoming a classic peak-bagging bushwalk. But, I have some issues with the the ‘official’ list over on www.aussie10.com:

  1. Mount Kosciusko 2228m
  2. Mount Townsend 2209m
  3. Mount Twynam 2195m
  4. Rams Head 2190m
  5. Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge 2180m
  6. North Rams Head 2177m
  7. Alice Rawson Peak 2160m
  8. Byatts Camp, SW of Abbot Peak 2159m
  9. Abbott Peak 2145m
  10. Carruthers Peak 2145m
  11. Unnamed peak, NW of Mount Twynam 2136m
  12. Mount Northcote 2131m

First of all, let’s just call ‘Unnamed peak on Etheridge Ridge’ the Etheridge Ridge, it’s not really unnamed. (I thought for a long time this ridge was just the Etheridge, but it’s actually named after David Etheridge, and not because it’s an ethereal ridge).

Second of all, the ‘unnamed peak NW of Mount Twynam’ has been named Tenison Woods Knoll since at least 1893, when it appeared on a map by Richard Helms as the ‘Tenison Woods Range’ (Source for this is Alan Andrew’s Skiing the Western Faces of Kosciusko).

As for ‘Byatt’s Camp’, Byatt’s Camp is the flat to the west of this peak. You know, the sensible place to actually camp. We’re really talking about the west and east peaks of Abbott Peak (which are also referred to as ‘the Abbotts’).

Now, if we ditch everything with less than 60m of prominence, the way this peakbagger.com list does, we group North Rams Head into the Ramshead massif, the Abbotts together,  Tenison Woods Knoll into Twynam, Alice Rawson and Mueller’s Peak into Townsend, and Lee and Clarke into Northcote. This gives us:

  1. Mount Kosciusko 2228m
  2. Mount Townsend 2209m
  3. Mount Twynam 2195m
  4. Rams Head 2190m
  5. Etheridge Ridge 2180m
  6. Abbot Peak 2159m
  7. Carruthers Peak 2145m
  8. Mount Northcote 2131m
  9. Kangaroo Ridge 2077m
  10. Gungartan and Mt Tate tied on 2068m. Gungartan has more prominence.
  11. Mount Jagungal 2061m
  12. Mount Perisher 2054m

Now this is a much more interesting list, not the least because Gungartan and Jagungal are much more remote. Also interesting, is that although Kangaroo Ridge is a ‘subsidiary’ ridge of Mt Stilwell, it actually has a higher point on it than the named peak!

Even if you let Gungartan slide and sneak in Tate as number 10, this would still be much harder to do over a weekend. I would probably start in Charlotte Pass with a car shuffle to Guthega, and do Stilwell/Kangaroo Ridge first, then a 10km+ haul to Ramshead via the Thredbo pole line. From there start the classic Main Range traverse taking in Etheridge, Kosci, Townsend, Abbot, Northcote, Carruthers and Twynam. Then another long haul to Tate (7kms+), descend to the Guthega River, cross it and return over the Guthega dam wall.

Enchaining Gungartan in a Ten Peaks trip would be long and hard, probably require a car shuttle to Guthega Power Station, and be totally awesome.

But What Happened To A Classic Main Range Traverse

So the prominence list screws up your classic Thredbo – Charlotte Pass main range trip. Jiggling things around for prominence, historic mindshare, looks and general peakiness, my ideal weekend list would be:

  1. Mount Kosciusko 2228m
  2. Mount Townsend 2209m
  3. Mount Twynam 2195m
  4. Rams Head 2190m
  5. Etheridge Ridge 2180m
  6. North Rams Head 2177m
  7. Abbot Peak 2159m
  8. Carruthers Peak 2145m
  9. Tenison Woods Knoll 2136m
  10. Mount Northcote 2131m

We haven’t even mentioned the Sentinel, Jagungal, Friar’s Alp, South Rams Head, the Pilot, Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop, Mount McKay…but in the end, the high country is one of the best corners of Australia, it’s all fantastic, just get out there.


3 thoughts on “A Better Ten Peaks List

  1. Very interesting. There’ll actually be changes on the Peakbagger list in response to this post. Additionally, I believe there are two more 2,000m peaks that qualify… One is an unnamed peak SW of Kosciuszko (2060m+) and Dicky Cooper Bogong. However I am not convinced that DCB really exceeds 2000m. Anyone know?

    1. Hi judelns,

      Coincidentally, I was actually up at the Schlink Hilton last summer, and walked up Dicky Cooper Bogong. We scrambled right up the top. My GPS log recorded fifty or so points above 2000m while on the summit and seemed to think the highest point was around 2010m. Of course I can’t say that it’s particularly accurate, but I have no doubt the surveyed height on maps of 2003m is realistic. Strava record here, though Strava appears to have calculated its own altitudes by projecting the route onto the map, and ignore the altitudes in my GPX file. https://www.strava.com/activities/817466120

      I feel the main point of this article was that prominence should definitely figure into these peakbagging lists, especially on plateaus like much of our high country. But whatever route you plan, it’s just great to be up there!

      1. Thanks for that information! That just about clears it up. I was a little unsure because Google Earth put the height at around 1985m. Of course, I understand that Google Earth usually flattens summits and gives a lower altitude, but it was a fairly significant difference. I’m glad you mentioned Tenison Woods Knoll – now it can be recognised by its true name on Peakbagger. I’ve also recommended that Byatts Camp Peak be renamed to Abbott Peak, and the current Abbott Peak become along the lines of Abbott Ridge-West Peak.

        I too agree that prominence should factor in to the list. I’m interested because I want to complete the 2000m peaks sometime this year. I’ve only been up there once, to Kosciuszko in winter, and had an absolute blast. I’m thinking of doing a clockwise loop from Charlotte Pass, climbing Kangaroo Ridge first, and eventually getting around to Mt Twynam. I’m itching to go but I think that’ll have to wait for summer!

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