|Maps:||LPI Perisher Valley 8525-2S 1:25000|
The Sentinel (or Mt Sentinel) is an impressive peak on a knife-edge ridge just off the rolling hills of the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains.
Some mostly easy, but exposed, scrambling is required to reach the peak, so the walk is not advisable in bad weather. As with all walks in the Kosciusszko area, the region is alpine, and snowfall can occur at any time of the year.
The most straightforward route to and from the peak is via the major track leading past Blue Lake. However, the route described below allows for a loop, for more interest and a better wilderness experience. It does mean that around a third to a half of the walk is either off track or on vague tracks, mainly the section from the Snowy River to Northcote Pass.
The walk starts from the end of the Kosciuszko Road, above Charlotte Pass. Access is by car. Parking is mostly on the sides of the road. Entry fees apply. However, if you haven't purchased a parks pass, you will get a ticket from the ranger, which you can pay when you leave the park. This is essentially the same price as the pass.
From 29 Dec 2015, last checked 29 Dec 2015
From Charlotte Pass, follow the main track to the north west that leads down to the Snowy River. Cross the river at the first crossing, but not the second crossing (Club Lake Creek), and instead leave the track and head west past the old ruins up a ridge that leads to Mt Clarke.
The ridge ranges from open grassy sections through to thigh high scrub, and long pants are worthwhile. There are no tracks. Further up, there are some small cliff lines, and some meandering on the ridge can avoid these.
The approach to the very flat top of Mt Clarke is undramatic, and only the summit cairn gives you any indication you are on the peak.
From Mt Clarke, continue west across Moraine Pass and up to Mt Northcote, which has good views of the northern Main Range, and looks down into the impressive basin of Club Lake Creek. As you head down the ridge to the north, there are also views of Lake Albina. The ridge joins the Main Range Track, which is much like a highway, at Northcote Pass. After the relative solitude of the route thus far, you you will probably start bumping in to other walkers.
Follow the Main Range Track past Mt Lee (or you could detour and climb it), over Carruthers Peak, and down to the saddle to the north west. In the saddle the track branches, the major branch continuing east down toward Blue Lake, and the minor branch north east up on to the Main Range. Take the minor branch - the other branch will be your return route to Charlotte Pass in the afternoon.
Follow the minor track for about 500m, before navigating north west on to the ridge leading down to the Sentinel. There is no track at first, but as you progress down the ridge, a track becomes clearer. Before the steepest section, the track passes only a short distance above Strzelecki Creek, which can be a good spot for lunch or for a drink (you may want to treat the water).
The track then heads steeply down the knife-edge ridge toward the saddle. There are a couple of easy scrambles in this section. Just before the saddle are two exposed rocky ribs that need to be crossed. The first is most easily negotiated by heading down to the left about 10m, where there are reasonable hand and foot holds on both sides of the rib. From the gully between the two ribs, climb back up a few metres to get on to the second rib. Past the second rib, a short exposed walk brings you to the saddle.
From there it is a short steep climb up the hill to the trig on the Sentinel. Enjoy the panoramic view of Abbott Ridge and Mt Townsend to south, and Watsons Crags to the north.
After a break, retrace your route to the track junction below Mt Carruthers, and take the main track that leads past Blue Lake and down to the Snowy River crossing. A short steep climb up to the car park above Charlotte Pass finishes an excellent walk.