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Alpine safety

If you’re planning to head off the beaten track, alpine areas present special safety issues, particularly in winter. It’s important to be careful, knowledgeable and take the following safety precautions when visiting these areas.

Read more about Alpine safety

Police and NSW National Parks staff are involved in numerous search and rescue operations in Kosciuszko National Park every year. Many of these result from visitors underestimating the conditions and sometimes overestimating their own capabilities. Safety is your responsibility, so with preparation, and consideration of the following advice, you’ll have an enjoyable and safe journey to the Australian Alps.

General tips

  • Travel with at least three people in your group – if there is an emergency one person can go for help, while the other stays with the injured or ill person. At least one person in your group should be experienced and able to guide and help others.
  • Check weather forecasts and talk to NPWS visitor centre staff about local park conditions so you can modify your plans accordingly
  • Be prepared – remember conditions can be changeable and extreme, particularly over winter.
  • Have equipment (tent and sleeping bag) that are suitable for the conditions and take a bivouac bag or space blanket for emergencies
  • Protect your skin from sunburn by using sunscreen and wearing sunglasses, protective clothing and a hat. UV is high and new snow reflects a lot of sunlight, even on overcast days.
  • Wear layers of warm, waterproof clothing and take plenty of food as it provides heat in the body.
  • Notifying your friends and family, or known as letting people know your trip intentions, is crucial when heading into the Australian alpine environment. Give details about your planned trip to close relatives, friends or the police. Tell them the number in your group, your planned route, experience level, equipment and planned return date. Advise when you are back safely, or if you are extending your stay. 
  • If you need assistance, call early. Delaying your call, particularly after nightfall, can seriously hamper rescue efforts.

Alpine safety links

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Winter, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: John Spencer