Peter Hosking, 31 lives near Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains of Australia. In 2012 Peter nearly lost his life in a blizzard, he survived 26 hours on the top of Mount Kosciusko. Peter told Autism Daily Newscast about his experience.
“On Monday the 10th of October I set out from Thredbo for the summit of Mt. Kosciusko. I bought a day ticket. I climbed up to the top of Kosciusko by lunchtime after 30 minutes I then descended too Seamens hut which is at 2030 Meters. (approx. 200mtrs shy of the summit). At this stage I stayed in the hut for about 2 hours and had something to eat and drink. About 4pm I decided I am going to head back for Thredbo. (My first mistake).
The weather report was that it was clear and fine at Thredbo and was not expected any snow or bad weather. I know this because I checked it before I left my place. I set out from Seamans Hut with the weather clear (except for the front on the north side which we were on the south so It wasn’t affecting us at this stage), this weather changed very quickly and within an hour of setting off I was in a blizzard and whiteout. I lost all my sense of direction only to know I had to head down.
I climbed down for the next few hours at which point I realized I was going to be there the night. So I made a basic snow cave and broke branches of the trees to insulate underneath as well as a snow break to stop the snow from dumping on me. I was in the snow cave for a couple hours at which point it was about 8pm. My phone had gone dead about 4 pm and now my head torch had gone and so I was now without light except for the moon light. At this time I saw head lights from a passing car on Alpine way and decided that I would climb through the night to get down by the morning.”
Peter continued to walk through bushes and shrubs and a few times he twisted his ankle as well as falling into small streams and puddles. He was wet and extremely cold. Peter kept on walking through the night making slow progress stopping now and then for something to eat and drink. Peter continues the story.
“About 3 or 4 am I stopped and got under a rock and sheltered myself from the snow storm and wind. By this stage my hands and feet were so cold and I knew that if I fell asleep I would be in a really bad place so I got up and kept moving. Later I was told that last season a doctor died and a group of 5 people died in a snow cave when it snowed over and they had suffocated.”
Peter continued to camp under rocks and trees and then when twilight cam he was able to see where he was walking. At 6 am Peter tried his IPhone again to see if he had coverage and luckily he did, by using one of his map apps he was able to get onto a main road and flag down a passing motorist who took him to the nearby ticket office as the medial centre was closed.
“At this point I collapsed and three people came running over and took all my wet clothes off and got me a cup of coffee and called the ambulance. It was then confirmed that my toes and fingers were frost bitten and that I was suffering from hypothermia.“
It was following this incident that Peter decided that he wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of hiking in the Australian mountains and that together with this he could raise awareness about Autism.
In the summer of 2014 Peter will be trekking from Walhalla in Victoria to Tharwa in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory). He will be walking along the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT), to raise money and awareness for Autism
Peter was diagnosed with ADD when he was about 6 or 7 and then with ADHD as a teenager. At 21 Peter was diagnosed with Aspergers.
“I want to raise money for Aspergers and Autism. My cousin is full autistic. I want to raise awareness not just for Autism but also for anyone who wants to go into the backcountry, to be prepared for all weather conditions and eventualities. My intention is to raise awareness for ASD sufferers so the general public see our condition in a positive not negative or “taboo”.”
At the moment Peter will be completing the trek alone although he has had interest so far from two people. However Peter very much wants adults and children who are on the autistic spectrum to meet him at locations along the trek.
“These locations will be at food drops and I will be having a minimum of 2 days rest at these locations. My big thing to get out there for people on the spectrum is to get outdoors. Turn the TV off, leave the phone at home and go camping, fishing and hiking. It has helped me a lot in life!”
Peter told Autism Daily Newscast about his preparation for the trek which involves a very complex and intense training schedule.
“Because the trek will be in mostly high altitude atmosphere I have to train my lungs and body to absorb more oxygen where there is less oxygen at altitude. So hiking at high altitude with a heavy pack to get my body used to it is just the start. Next is endurance. I have been doing a lot of training in endurance training at altitude with a heavy pack. Just 3 weeks ago I did about 30k’s in one day which was extremely difficult but I kept pushing to help with my fitness.”
“Because the trek is so long I won’t be able to carry all the food. There will be in excess of 250 meals. So there will be food drops along the route. In these food drops there will be everything from medical, water, food and supplies for cooking and different items for different sections of the trek. For instance I don’t need to carry a down Jacket down at 600m altitude. It is too warm for that. However when I get onto the main range which is over 2200m then this might be needed. I am trying to walk a min of 100k’s for fortnight and this will increase in the coming months.”
Peter is still looking to obtain more sponsors for his trek; more information can be found here
Peter made it very clear when talking to Autism Daily Newscast that the project is not about him.
“This is not about me it is about autism awareness and people on the spectrum.”