Main Range Walk - Charlotte Pass to Mount Kosciuszko
Ngarigo Country

7 h 30 min to 9 h

21.8 km
circuit

↑ 768 m
↓ -770 m

Hard track
This full day walk explores some of the greatest alpine country on offer in NSW. The walk grants views of Blue, Club and Albina Lakes, climbs to the top of Mt Kosciuszko and crosses the famous Snowy River twice. This main range circuit is one of the classic walks in New South Wales, as the views in clear weather extend all the way over the mountainous landscape to the distant horizon. If you want to stay overnight there is a flat area for camping at Wilkinsons Creek, described as a side trip. Let us begin by acknowledging the Ngarigo people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Main Range Track head at Charlotte Pass. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Charlotte Pass. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Information signs on Main Range Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track looking down to Snowy River. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking towards the confluence of Club Lake Creek and the Snowy River. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Snowy River Crossing. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Crossing the Snowy River. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range Track north of the Snowy. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Headley Tarn from the Main Range Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Glacier information sign. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range track looking down to Carruthers Creek from the south. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Carruthers Creek Crossing. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range Track north of Carruthers Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range and Blue Lake track intersection. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Blue Lake from the Main Range and Blue Lake track intersection. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Top of Blue Lake Lookout Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Blue Lake lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Blue Lake. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Main Range track looking down to the top of the Blue Lake track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Sign post at the Int of Main Range and Mt Twynam tracks. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking to Carruthers Peak from the east. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range track on Carruthers Peak. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Carruthers Peak. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking west from the side of Carruthers Peak. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range Track looking over Club Lake valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Club Lake from the Main Range Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Metal grates on sections of the Main Range Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The Main Range. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Narrow track above Albina Lake. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Rocky pass above Lake Albina. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Lake Albina. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Lake Albina. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Stone path south of Lake Albina. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Walking along the Main Range Track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Close up of some Alpine berries. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Wilkinson Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Wilkinsons Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
Camping at Wilkinsons Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
Walkers on Main Range track at Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Main Range Track North of Mt Kosciuszko. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Int of Main Range track and Kosciuszko walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Nearing Mt Kosciuszko summit. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Mt Kosciuszko. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking to Rawson Pass from the north. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Rawson Pass Looking towads Mt Kosciuszko. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Rock cutting on the old summit road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking towards Rawson Pass from the east. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The old road near Seamans Hut. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Seaman's Hut. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Welcome to Seamans Hut. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Inside Seamans Hut. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Snowy River Bridge. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Upper Snowy River. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Information sign on the Snowy River. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Wild flowers in bloom. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Merritts Creek Bridge. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Historic Kosciuszko milestone. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
4km to Charlotte pass. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Granite tors beside the old road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The views change as clouds roll in but still stunning country. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Walking along the old road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Summit track from Charlotte Pass is popular with cyclists and walkers. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Celmisia Longifolia (Silver Snow Daisy). | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Snow Gum leaf. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Looking back on Blue Lake track from Summit Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Summit Walk track head. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Toilet and road at Charlotte Pass. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Downloads GPX PDF

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start At the intersection of Main Range Walking Track & Kosciuszko Road (-36.4316693,148.3286543)
Mode Car (A park entry fee is required for driving into the park.)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From Charlotte Pass (at the turning circle at the end of Kosciuszko Rd), this walk follows the 'Main Range Track' - 'Blue Lake Lookout' sign downhill along the wide paved path. The walk winds down past the stone path (on your right) and continues beside the 'Glaciers shaped this ancient landscape' information sign. The path continues down through lightly scattered snow gums to the bottom of the valley, approximately 650m further. Just past the 'From the mountains to the sea' information sign, this walk crosses the Snowy River using the stepping stones and comes to a strip of land between the two creeks. (Crossing the river is dangerous and is not advisable when the water is flowing over the stepping stones).....
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Main Range Walking Track & Kosciuszko Road Start heading along Main Range Walking Track (a vehicle track).
There is a car park (about 3 m back from the start).
After another 55 m find the "Charlotte Pass lookout" (30 m on your right).
Charlotte Pass lookout
Charlotte Pass lookout

The Charlotte Pass lookout is a partially fenced lookout, north of the turning circle at the end of Kosciuszko Rd. The view is great, looking up the headwaters of the Snowy River up to the Main Range. To the left is Charlotte Pass (the actual pass only - there is no view of the village from here). There are also a few information signs explaining the local flora and geology.
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The Charlotte Pass lookout is a partially fenced lookout, north of the turning circle at the end of Kosciuszko Rd. The view is great, looking up the headwaters of the Snowy River up to the Main Range. To the left is Charlotte Pass (the actual pass only - there is no view of the village from here). There are also a few information signs explaining the local flora and geology.

Then find the "Snow Gums and the Alpine Tree Line" (30 m on your right).
Snow Gums and the Alpine Tree Line
Snow Gums and the Alpine Tree Line

Snow gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the dominant tree found in Kosciuszko National Park. These slow-growing, distinctive plants have a light grey trunk with smooth red-brown bark, which peels unevenly with a mottled effect. They can be found south along the tablelands into Victoria, and also in Tasmania. Trees are covered with beautiful white flowers from October through to January, which attract lots of bird life. The alpine tree line is the highest altitude at which trees can survive, due to the cold temperatures. However, you will notice that, in some areas, there are no trees in the valleys, while they thrive on the surrounding hills. This is because cool air settles in the alpine valleys, making them colder and less hospitable than slightly higher altitudes.
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Snow gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the dominant tree found in Kosciuszko National Park. These slow-growing, distinctive plants have a light grey trunk with smooth red-brown bark, which peels unevenly with a mottled effect. They can be found south along the tablelands into Victoria, and also in Tasmania. Trees are covered with beautiful white flowers from October through to January, which attract lots of bird life. The alpine tree line is the highest altitude at which trees can survive, due to the cold temperatures. However, you will notice that, in some areas, there are no trees in the valleys, while they thrive on the surrounding hills. This is because cool air settles in the alpine valleys, making them colder and less hospitable than slightly higher altitudes.

After another 690 m cross the stepping stones.
After another 45 m find the "Snowy River crossing" (on your left).
Snowy River crossing
Snowy River crossing

At the lowest point of the the Main Range circuit track is the confluence (meeting) of the Snowy River and Club Lake Creek. The walking track uses stones in the river to try to get across with dry feet. Since the track crosses just above the confluence there is an 'island' halfway across. These creeks may become impassable after rain and snow melt. This is lovely place to rest and enjoy the water and valley.
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At the lowest point of the the Main Range circuit track is the confluence (meeting) of the Snowy River and Club Lake Creek. The walking track uses stones in the river to try to get across with dry feet. Since the track crosses just above the confluence there is an 'island' halfway across. These creeks may become impassable after rain and snow melt. This is lovely place to rest and enjoy the water and valley.

After another 30 m cross the stepping stones.
After another 2.6 km cross the ford.
After another 235 m cross the ford.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Blue Lake lookout. To start this optional side trip veer right here. On returning from this side trip continue straight when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 310 m (Blue Lake lookout) turn left, to head along Main Range Walking Track.
After another 40 m come to the "Blue Lake lookout".
After another 580 m cross the ford.
After another 315 m continue straight, to head along Main Range Walking Track.
After another 920 m come to the "Carruthers Peak".
Carruthers Peak
Carruthers Peak

Carruthers Peak is a prominent mountain that is found along the Main Range track, from which you can see great views down over Club Lake and out across the valley to Charlotte Pass. Carruthers Peak was named after the NSW Minister for Lands and Premier, Joseph Carruthers. This name was given in 1991 by Richard Helms, who had previously named it Crummer.
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Carruthers Peak is a prominent mountain that is found along the Main Range track, from which you can see great views down over Club Lake and out across the valley to Charlotte Pass. Carruthers Peak was named after the NSW Minister for Lands and Premier, Joseph Carruthers. This name was given in 1991 by Richard Helms, who had previously named it Crummer.

Then pass the "Carruthers Peak" (10 m on your right).
After another 40 m come to the viewpoint.
After another 3.1 km cross the ford.
After another 1.1 km continue straight, to head along Main Range Walking Track.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Wilkinsons creek. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip turn left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 215 m continue straight, to head along Main Range Walking Track.
After another 1.4 km (at the intersection of Kosciuszko Walk & Main Range Walking Track) turn sharp right, to head along Kosciuszko Walk.
After another 980 m find the "Mt Kosciuszko" (55 m on your left).
Mt Kosciuszko
Mt Kosciuszko

Mt Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the Australian continent, at 2228m above sea level. It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki and named in honour of the Polish national hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko. Now a popular tourist attraction, thousands of people walk up to the summit each year. On a clear day, the 360-degree views from the summit across the roof of Australia are fantastic. There are higher mountains elsewhere on Australian territory. 'The highest mountains in Australian Antarctic Territory are Mt McClintock (3490 meters) and Mt Menzies (3355 meters).' .
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Mt Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the Australian continent, at 2228m above sea level. It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki and named in honour of the Polish national hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko. Now a popular tourist attraction, thousands of people walk up to the summit each year. On a clear day, the 360-degree views from the summit across the roof of Australia are fantastic. There are higher mountains elsewhere on Australian territory. 'The highest mountains in Australian Antarctic Territory are Mt McClintock (3490 meters) and Mt Menzies (3355 meters).' .

Then pass the "Mount Kosciuszko" (65 m on your left).
After another 890 m (at the intersection of Kosciuszko Walk & Main Range Walking Track) continue straight, to head along Kosciuszko Walk.
After another 660 m (Rawson Pass) veer left, to head along Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk (a vehicle track).
After another 40 m find the "Rawson Pass" (15 m on your left).
Rawson Pass
Rawson Pass

Rawson Pass is where the old Kosciuszko Road, from Charlotte Pass, meets the metal walkway from Thredbo. It is home to highest public toilet in Australia, this recently-added facility is perfectly positioned for those taking the walk up to the top of Kosciuszko. Rawson Pass is well signposted and 500m south east of Mt Kosciuszko (by straight line). There is also a place for to park mountain bikes for those cycling along the old road from Charlotte Pass.
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Rawson Pass is where the old Kosciuszko Road, from Charlotte Pass, meets the metal walkway from Thredbo. It is home to highest public toilet in Australia, this recently-added facility is perfectly positioned for those taking the walk up to the top of Kosciuszko. Rawson Pass is well signposted and 500m south east of Mt Kosciuszko (by straight line). There is also a place for to park mountain bikes for those cycling along the old road from Charlotte Pass.

Rawson Pass Toilets (about 9 m back from the start).
After another 800 m cross the ford.
After another 100 m continue straight, to head along Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk.
After another 660 m continue straight, to head along Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk.
After another 50 m find the "Seamans Hut" (8 m on your left).
Seamans Hut
Seamans Hut

This hut was erected in 1929, after a young skier named Laurie Seaman perished in a blizzard when he was separated from his group. The hut was built using money donated by Seaman's parents, for the use of those who might need emergency shelter in the mountains. It was renovated in 1938 due to fire. Seamans Hut is a 7m x3m granite stone building with a wood stove, although there is little wood in the area.
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This hut was erected in 1929, after a young skier named Laurie Seaman perished in a blizzard when he was separated from his group. The hut was built using money donated by Seaman's parents, for the use of those who might need emergency shelter in the mountains. It was renovated in 1938 due to fire. Seamans Hut is a 7m x3m granite stone building with a wood stove, although there is little wood in the area.

After another 1.4 km cross the bridge (about 30 m long)
After another 2.5 km cross the ford.
After another 740 m cross the ford.
After another 1.2 km (at the intersection of Kosciuszko Road & Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk) turn sharp right, to head along Kosciuszko Road (a road).
About 25 m past the end is a toilet.
The end.
About 30 m past the end is "Covered in snow part of the year".
Covered in snow part of the year
Covered in snow part of the year

This walk leads through an extreme alpine environment and all walkers must be well prepared. During summer, be prepared for both very hot and cold weather, high winds, rain, snow, extreme UV levels and some sections of snow or ice on the ground. Before starting this walk, check advice with Snowy Region Visitor Information Centre (02) 6450 5600, the weather forecast and the snow conditions then change your plans as needed. These notes, grades and walking times have been written for use in the summer months only. Between May and the end of October, this walk is likely to be covered in snow/ice, visitors should carry and be prepared to use snowshoes or cross country skis. When there is a chance of significant snow on the ground, visitors will need particularly strong navigation and snowcraft skills - tracks and signage may not be visible. For most visitors, it is best to consider this walk closed during the colder months. Between the long weekend in June and October, the road between Perisher Village and Charlotte Pass is closed by the RTA. It is possible to organise oversnow transport.
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This walk leads through an extreme alpine environment and all walkers must be well prepared. During summer, be prepared for both very hot and cold weather, high winds, rain, snow, extreme UV levels and some sections of snow or ice on the ground. Before starting this walk, check advice with Snowy Region Visitor Information Centre (02) 6450 5600, the weather forecast and the snow conditions then change your plans as needed. These notes, grades and walking times have been written for use in the summer months only. Between May and the end of October, this walk is likely to be covered in snow/ice, visitors should carry and be prepared to use snowshoes or cross country skis. When there is a chance of significant snow on the ground, visitors will need particularly strong navigation and snowcraft skills - tracks and signage may not be visible. For most visitors, it is best to consider this walk closed during the colder months. Between the long weekend in June and October, the road between Perisher Village and Charlotte Pass is closed by the RTA. It is possible to organise oversnow transport.


An optional side trip to Blue Lake lookout.
Turn map Directions & comments
Blue Lake lookout Start heading along Blue Lake Walk (a walking track).
After 620 m come to the viewpoint (7 m on your left).
After another 255 m find the "Blue Lake" (9 m on your right).
Blue Lake
Blue Lake

Blue Lake is the best example of a glacial lake in the alpine area. At 28m deep, this lake was formed when glaciers, flowing from the Great Dividing Range, converged and carved out a basin in the rock. This is visible in the cliffs behind the lake, where the glaciers have plucked out blocks of stone and carried them away. There is also a stream that flows from Blue lake, feeding Hedley Tarn just to the south.
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Blue Lake is the best example of a glacial lake in the alpine area. At 28m deep, this lake was formed when glaciers, flowing from the Great Dividing Range, converged and carved out a basin in the rock. This is visible in the cliffs behind the lake, where the glaciers have plucked out blocks of stone and carried them away. There is also a stream that flows from Blue lake, feeding Hedley Tarn just to the south.

After another 180 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 1.1 km to the main route.

An optional side trip to Wilkinsons creek.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 30 m veer right, to head along Hannels Spur Track.
After another 720 m come to the end.
About 55 m past the end is "Wilkinsons Creek".
Wilkinsons Creek
Wilkinsons Creek

Wilkinsons Creek meanders through a beautiful and broad valley. Nestled in the valley between Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Townsend, this is a great spot to cool down or camp for a night. The large, flat, grassy plain, with a scattering of boulders, makes this great place to stay, although can be pretty exposed to westerly winds. You can often get great sunset views from the rocks at the western end. There are no facilities, please remember to use minimal impact techniques when visiting this area. Water is available from the creek. Camp more than 100m from the creek, and if staying for more than a day or two, move your camp to minimise the risk of damage. No fires - use fuel stoves only (there are a few gravelly areas to set your stove up to avoid destroying the grass).
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Wilkinsons Creek meanders through a beautiful and broad valley. Nestled in the valley between Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Townsend, this is a great spot to cool down or camp for a night. The large, flat, grassy plain, with a scattering of boulders, makes this great place to stay, although can be pretty exposed to westerly winds. You can often get great sunset views from the rocks at the western end. There are no facilities, please remember to use minimal impact techniques when visiting this area. Water is available from the creek. Camp more than 100m from the creek, and if staying for more than a day or two, move your camp to minimise the risk of damage. No fires - use fuel stoves only (there are a few gravelly areas to set your stove up to avoid destroying the grass).

Turn around and retrace your steps back the 760 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Main Range Walk - Charlotte Pass to Mount Kosciuszko


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 21.8 km
Time 7 h 30 min to 9 h
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)

Some facilities on route
Campsite: There is one 10.3 km (plus an extra 970 m along side route) from the start.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 7.3 km apart with the largest gap of 14.3 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Campsite
10.3 kmWilkinsons Creek
Toilet
14.3 kmRawson Pass Toilets
Toilet
21.8 km[toilet]
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Articles
Discover more details to thrive on track
Covered in snow part of the year
This walk leads through an extreme alpine environment and all walkers must be well prepared. During summer, be prepared for both very hot and cold weather, high winds, rain, snow, extreme UV levels and some sections of snow or ice on the ground. Before starting this walk, check advice with
Snowy Region Visitor Information Centre (02) 6450 5600, the weather forecast and the snow conditions then change your plans as needed. These notes, grades and walking times have been written for use in the summer months only. Between May and the end of October, this walk is likely to be covered in snow/ice, visitors should carry and be prepared to use snowshoes or cross country skis. When there is a chance of significant snow on the ground, visitors will need particularly strong navigation and snowcraft skills - tracks and signage may not be visible. For most visitors, it is best to consider this walk closed during the colder months. Between the long weekend in June and October, the road between Perisher Village and Charlotte Pass is closed by the RTA. It is possible to organise oversnow transport.
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