On September18, adventurer Huw Kingston finished his long journey skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps, in the process raising over $62,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.
Yesterday afternoon, 52 days since his journey began with a Smoking Ceremony and ski at Victoria’s Lake Mountain resort, Huw Kingston could finally take off his pack and put down his poles. Fittingly the end of his journey was at the historic old ski area of Mt Franklin Chalet, high above Canberra in the Brindabella Mountains and, fittingly again, he enjoyed fresh snow to serenade him to the finish line.
Thus completed Huw’s 700km skiing and walking journey following the length of the Australian Alpine country, with the added twist of skiing at each of mainland Australia’s 12 snow resorts. Huw had also set a target of raising $50,000 for Our Yarning, an Indigenous literacy project. Today the total stands at over $62,000.
‘Like with so many of my previous long journeys, I’m just amazed to have reached the end.’ said Huw, who was met at Mt Franklin by his wife Wendy. ‘There are so many variables in such journeys through the mountains in winter. My battered body held together despite breaking a rib early on and suffering a badly bruised coccyx after falling during a 40km XC ski race I did as a sideshow to my main event. I also got through some hairy moments along the way.’
‘Alpine Odyssey was everything I wanted it to be. Trekking on ski and foot through the mountains, long days, cold camps was so much of it. But equally my journey was a celebration of the Alpine communities and warm welcomes and much fun was had at the dozen snow resorts I visited en route. Communities that have been so good to me over the years and places that have suffered much in recent years from Covid and fires’ Huw continued
These resorts, the ‘Skier’s Dozen’, were: Lake Mountain, Mt Baw Baw, Mt Stirling, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Mt Buffalo, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Perisher and Selwyn.
Alpine Odyssey also highlighted the threats to this unique Alpine ecosystem, one that makes up just 1% of the Australian landmass. Threats from climate change, feral animals, plant diseases and fire to name a few.
‘I’m stoked that, thanks to the generosity of so many people, I have well exceeded the fundraising target of $50,000 I’d set for Our Yarning. With nearly $20,000 coming in during the the past fortnight of my Odyssey, $62,000 is a brilliant result and the total is still growing.’
Huw’s finish coincides with a week of activities being held in Canberra for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project, the beneficiary of Huw’s fundraising. There are wokshops for budding indigenous authors, donor meetings and, on the evening of Wednesday 21 September, Huw will be joining Dr Julie Owen, Ngarrendjeri woman and Cultural Lead for the Our Yarning project to give a free public lecture. Their conversation will be moderated by Awakabal man and Our Yarning author Stirling Sharpe.
Finally, on this day that the world farewells Queen Elizabeth 2, Huw reflects on a parallel from his first winter alpine traverse 25 years ago.
‘For the first 3 weeks of my 1997 winter traverse I didn’t see another soul until I arrived at a snow clearing depot below Mount Hotham late into the night, and knocked on the door asking to use their phone. Classical music was playing and the road crew were glued to the TV. “If you haven’t seen anyone, you wouldn’t know about Princess Diana.” said one burly bloke, can of VB in hand. “That’s her funeral we’re watching.” Back then I didn’t have a mobile or any communications device. This time, deep in the Snowy Mountains for my final leg from Perisher to the ACT, much news filtered through about the Queen’s passing.’
THE STATS – 52 days, 700km, 9 traditional owner lands, 3 States/Territories, 12 resorts, $62,000 raised, 7kg lost, too many freeze dried meals eaten…….
Images used here: Mark Watson
Full details on Alpine Odyssey at www.huwkingston.com/alpine-odyssey with the Fundraising page at https://our-yarning-save-the-children-huw-kingston-fundraiser.raisely.com/