Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Krazy Kozzy

Our hopes for "mildly adverse conditions" (for purposes of a more exciting story as mentioned in our last blog post) were indeed realized! On Monday we picked up our right-hand drive car in Sydney and veered onto the left-hand side of the road heading southwest for the 6-hour drive towards Thredbo (elev. 4,500'), the alpine village at the base of Mt. Kosciuszko in the National Park bearing the same name.

Half-way between Sydney and Thredbo is the nation's capital of Canberra which happens to be the home of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). AIS is where the Olympic and Paralympic athletes train so we decided to see the expansive facilities for ourselves. Prominently displayed in the front of the main building is the "Basketballer" created for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and spotlighting all the Paralympic athletes.

Since we were doing a "walk in the park" on Kosciuszko the next day we figured we could squeeze in a supplemental workout in the 50-meter pool where legends like Ian Thorpe (aka the Thorpedo) trained. After our refreshing laps in the Olympic pool, we continued on to the Snowy Mountains where our next challenge awaited.  We checked in to the Thredbo Alpine Hotel and began sifting through our gear to get ready for our next "expedition". The primary challenge was determining which sun visor and sunscreen to take and whether or not to throw in some sandals for our walk in the park. 

We awoke the next morning December 30th to sunshine and blue skies which looked to be a great start for Denise's birthday. As we started our walk in the morning the wind gently announced itself and the clouds blew in. The majority of the hiking path is comprised of steel grates perfectly constructed to easily lead both young and old straight up to the summit. 

The higher we progressed up the mountain the higher the winds gusted so we switched our sun visors for wool hats, gloves and warmer jackets. Luckily we brought some foul weather gear for these possible "adverse conditions" and we piled on every layer we had with us. We heard from Thredbo mountain staff that temps at the summit were -10C and gusts were reaching 80km/hour...and they were absolutely right! After the requisite photo with the Challenged Athletes Foundation flag on the summit at 7,310 feet, and a quick video to document these crazy conditions, we quickly descended back towards the village to celebrate our 8th Summit. It was a fitting way to celebrate Denise's birthday and also finish out 2014 on a high note!  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

G'Day from Down Under

Greetings from Sydney, Australia where we are beginning our final adventure of 2014.  Located in the Snowy Mountains six hours by car from Sydney, is Mount Kosciusko or "Kozzy" as the Aussies call her.  It's the highest peak in Australia and is considered by some as one of the Seven Summits.  It all depends on how you define the continent, the Australian land mass, or the true continent of Oceania, which also includes Indonesia.  We chose to climb Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in Sept. 2008.  Carstensz is over 16,000 feet high and involves considerable technical climbing.  See blog archive for details: Carstensz Summit Day
The mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner and other purists count Carstensz as one of the Seven Summits, but we figured we should also climb Kosciusko to be absolutely thorough.  

It's really more of a hike and there is no "climbing" involved other than climbing out of bed at an early hour in order to make it up to the 7,310 foot summit and back to the lodge in time for lunch and a cold beverage! 

It may be a tad bit more of a challenge than my overconfident description may sound, as Denise is still in rehab mode from her knee surgery less than two months ago. Nonetheless we'll go slow and hopefully will encounter some kind of mildly adverse conditions to weave into our next blog post to make for a more exciting story! 😀  We'll report back sometime in the next few days to let you know how it goes, and meanwhile we hope you are enjoying your holidays.