Watsons Crags // Kosciuszko Mini-Mountain Experience (NSW)

Watsons Crags in Kosciuszko National Park, is a snow chaser’s winter wonderland, with limitless places to pitch a tent for the experienced navigator. Even if you aren’t climbing or skiing, Watson’s is a perfect overnight snowshoe to check out Australia’s alpine backcountry away from the crowded resorts.


Highlights

  • Views of the main range and snowy river
  • More of a challenge than in summer
  • Access to technical alpine terrain

The Lowdown

“It actually looks like real mountains.”

This was the only brief I needed from my mate Dan as we unloaded the car, eager to make our way to Watsons Crags. All I can say is Dan was not wrong, Watsons is a beautiful area, with climbable ice and rock routes, panoramic views and for those who are game enough Watsons is also skiable.

Xavier Anderson Watson's Crags Kosciuszko Mountain National Park snow rock climbing winter camping

The 9km walk-in/ski-in (dependent on snow cover) to Watsons is worth the trip itself. It starts from Guthega carpark, crossing the beautiful snowy river and makes its way past Mt. Twynam and the awesome views which surround it.

In favourable conditions, you can pitch a tent pretty much anywhere and the views won’t disappoint. The camping will be on snow and will be cold (duh) so follow these simple tips to stay warm through the nights.

Warning

There is no track for most of the way so off-trail navigation experience is needed to get to Watsons. Ensure that you are well-prepared for whichever activity you plan to do out there, whether it be skiing (avalanche awareness is essential); rock/ice climbing (do you have all the right gear and know how to use it well?); or any other activity. If you’re not experienced, bring someone else who is. Pack all the safety essentials and ensure you know how to use them.

Essential Gear

How To Get There

From Jindabyne follow the signs to Perisher Snow Resort, turning right at the Guthega turn-off to the carpark.

Activities

  • Skiing
  • rock and ice climbing
  • snowshoeing

Skill Level

The walk-in requires somewhat basic off-trail navigation experience but any skiing or climbing undertaken at Watsons Crags should only be undertaken by experienced parties.

Distance Covered

20km return

Duration

I highly recommend setting aside 3 days for Watsons if you have the time as it allows you to get at least one full day of climbing in.


Check out these other snowy adventures…

FAT BIKING THE MAIN RANGE, SNOWY MOUNTAINS

A BACKCOUNTRY RETREAT AT JOHNSTON’S HUT // FALLS CREEK (VIC)

SOLO SNOWSHOEING THE HIGH PLAINS // FALLS CREEK (VIC)

SNOWY MOUNTAINS SPLITBOARDING (NSW)