Foggy conditions just added to the mystery on top of Mt Jagungal when our Explorer Sam Christie followed the call to the summit. By far the highest mountain in this part of the Snowies, there can sometimes be far-reaching views from the top, but even when there’s not, you’ll still come down with a sense of having been somewhere really special.
- Stunning wilderness
- Peace and quiet
- Snowy Mountains panorama (some days)
- Australia’s northernmost and easternmost mountain over 2000m.
Mt Jagungal (2061m) is the lone giant, the big fella, and the King of the Jagungal Wilderness. He can be seen from every direction for miles around. Some of us have a sixth sense – we sense the mountain calling us, and we know we have to climb. I couldn’t resist Jagungal’s call. When I look at that mountain towering above all else, it’s just too strong.
From our campsite near Derschkos Hut, it was about 5km to the top. We pulled on our wet boots and Daz threw on our communal backpack. We carried our sleeping bags as a contingency. Heavy? Certainly. Over-prepared? Maybe. We walked briskly along the fire trails to the fast-flowing Tumut River. A footpad runs steeply up the spur, picking its way carefully through the thick vegetation.
We lost the pad as quickly as we found it, wading through waist-high scrub as if it were floodwater. The ridge above climbs slowly and steadily to the summit, a much kinder gradient which couldn’t come soon enough.
On the ridge, we regained the footpad, which winds through gorgeous alpine meadows adorned with moss-covered snowgums. Expansive views back to camp were short-lived, fading as a soupy mist took hold of the upper mountain. The land was transformed, seemingly at the click of a thumb. The snowgums, now ghostly white, became fewer and further between.
Summiting In The Mist
The mist set the scene perfectly as we approached the summit block, which loomed mystically as a silhouette in the gloom. In moments we were scrambling up the rocky escarpment to the summit of Mt Jagungal.
The only views to be seen were the summit marker and the rocks in front of us. I recall seeing a photo from Jagungal summit with views to the Main Range in late spring, glistening patches of snow reflecting brightly, blue sky above. That was how I pictured it would be but our view was special nonetheless. My track record for visibility on mountain peaks is very average.
We sat below the summit which sheltered us from the conditions while we prepared for the descent. The mist grew thicker and a light rain peppered our faces as we retraced our steps along the pretty ridgeline and down the scrubby spur. We agreed that the Tumut River had swollen in size, despite us only being gone a couple hours. We crossed it and headed back towards camp.
A big white nothingness sat where Jagungal was supposed to be. I know that the King was smiling on his throne beyond the clouds. What a mountain! I feel privileged to have stood atop it and I already look forward to next time.
- Food and water
- Map and compass
- Warm and waterproof clothing
How To Get There
I would recommend allowing 3 days to climb Mt Jagungal. Starting at the Round Mountain Hut camping area, it is about a 14km walk to Derschkos Hut where we base-camped for the climb. One day in, one day for the climb, one day out. Round Mountain Hut and Camping Area is a six hour drive from Sydney.
Intermediate to expert.
Advanced navigation skills required (footpad can be lost), exposed walking, remote area (recommended one day hike to base of peak).
Distance Covered/Elevation Gain/Duration
From Derschkos Hut return: Approx. 12 km/460m/3-5 hours
Climb every mountain…
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