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Thread: Mt Barney

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Posts
    2,385

    Mt Barney

    So what is the scariest thing you have ever done?

    This trip was an absolute revelation in my life. I had the idea for a father-son trip, and my then 7yo was keen to give climbing Mt Barney a go. I have been given many outdoors books in my life as I am very interested in getting out and about, and this route is ranked no 3 in a list of Australia 100 best mountain walks, including Lord Howe and Tasmania. It is also described as tough, with navigational difficulties, physical fitness required and a great deal of bushcraft.

    It turned out to be simultaniously the scariest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. The pride and admiration I have for my son for trusting me and completing this walk cannot be expressed in words.

    We had packed our gear and loaded the car and were supposed to settle down for a good nights sleep, but with excitement levels running high, and after another late finish at work(seems to happen every time I want to do something), I managed to catch a few hours. We awoke to that familiar buzzing sound, and at 0600 we were in front of the car ready to record the day.





    I love early morning drives when heading off on an adventure. It is even better when you can see it appearing over the horizon.











    We arrive at Yellow Pinch, and make ourselves ready for the assault. A couple of tourists are around and offer to take our photo. We are setting off at around 0830.



    Due to the fact we are camping overnight, and my son cannot carry much, my pack tips the scale at around 45kg. It is heavy enough on the ascent but plays havoc on my knees on the return journey. The route we are taking is up South East Ridge to the summit of East Peak, then down to the saddle to camp at the Old Hut Site. The next morning, up to Rum Jungle, contour around and descsend South Ridge. South Ridge is the easiest route on the mountain, but in itself is not what you would call easy. Especially with this pack.

    We set off and follow the old rough road over the first ridge leaving Yellow Pinch, then descend to the plain and walk along a long flat track crossing log bridges until we come to the Logan River and cross it on the causeway. Then another long flat walk in the open sun until we reach the first of the camp grounds at the base of the mountain. We have a quick bite, travel past the second camp and on to our junction over a log. It is all up from here.







    At around 1030 and after about an hour and a half of climbing, we come to an outcrop for some good views.





    The track gets rougher and more vertical and little bits of scrambling are now required.



    At 1050 we break for morning tea on another outcrop.







    It was from here on in that things started to get a bit tricky. I had never done this route before, so was unaware of what was to come, other than what I had read in several guides, and what I could ascertain from the topographical map I was carrying which gets very vague in places.

    After leaving our lunch spot we had to negotiate a razorback on a ledge above a sheer drop of a few hundred meters. There was also a leap of about 1 metre over a rock gap in the ledge. It is nerve racking enough when you are confident in the abilities of all members of your group, but when you are the sole adult with the life of your young son in your hands it adds a whole new dimension. You are petrified for them if they hurt themselves or slip, or even worse if you do, and then they are stranded.

    We run through emergency procedures again and press on. The next outcrop we come to my son comments that the view looks just like a painting.





    We ascend over a series of knolls, then descend again then repeat the process all over again. It is starting to get even rougher and steeper now.





    This is the next part of our climb.



    The camera has to be put away for the next one and a half hours as the track becomes more vague and ever more vertical. There are a couple of vertical slabs to negotiate, alot of helping each other and team work. I kept Jasper in front of me on all climbs as a catch feature.

    At one point were were ascending the cliffs above the 300m east face when two wedgetail eagles came around to check us out. They were at eye level watching us as we were about 1100m above sea level and were nearly close enough to touch. It was an encounter we will not forget. We kept on climbing up the cliffs, on loose soil ledges where one slip would mean a fall and certain death.

    We finally reached the summit at 1400.











    After our lunch stop and our arduous climb, we were looking forward to just getting to our camp and setting up for some rest. But the descent to the saddle from East Peak is one of the worst parts of this trip.

    On descent there is a myriad of tracks as it is gnarled windswept brush growing out of rocks. It is navigationally very confusing as there is no straight forward track. You have to push your way through dense scratchy scrub. On our descent we descended too far north and came to some dodgy cliffs. My son after this long hard day burst into tears, as he was extremely worried and emotionally spent. I pulled the map and triangulated our postion, then we contoured around to the correct bearing and emerged finally to the old hut site. This is a pic of what we just descended off.



    We made ourselves busy setting up our camp for the night, and noodles for dinner.















    As soon as the last rays of sun disappeared, it started to get cold. It only got down to 11 degrees, but with most of our energy spent, keeping warm was easier said than done. More coffee and noodles helped, as well as joining bags. We were visited by several critters during the night.











    We were up early to watch the sun come up, make breaky, break camp, refill bottles from the creek(sterilizing of course), pack our rucksacks and descend home.



    The descent although being a well worn path has a couple of confusing turn offs at the top, and is a VERY steep rapid descent from the mountain. With such a load, any wrong step could easily be a broken neck. About a quarter of the way down my knees started to really pack it in.







    We finally got off the steep part my knees felt like they were grating inside a ball. There was still alot of track to cover back to the car, and Jasper was exhausted. I had to keep him going and try to make it fun for him while struggling with my knees. We found a goanna to take his mind off it for 2 minutes.







    Some of the damage sustained by the track. My daughter burst into tears at the sight of her sleeping matt when we got home.









    I gave Jasper the camera again to keep his mind busy and it worked for a while, as long as there was something interesting, but in the end the poor boy had had enough and with tears streaming from his face, I lifted him onto my shoulders and carried him as much as I could.

    The left horizon is the route we took





    Jasper knew how much pain I was in carrying him and mustered up the courage to walk the last part himself. We were both happy to see the car again.



    After a rest we called in to somewhere to get a mountain of our own.









    As I said it was both the most harrowing experience of my life, worrying every step for the well being of your child who completely trusts you, worrying for yourself and wishing for that helicopter to pluck you out.

    It is the most rewarding, to face all of this, and deal with it and overcome it. It is good to know what you are made of, capable of and would do if it came to it.

    I am extremely proud of my son, who did something at 7 that most people will not, or in alot of cases could not even do ever in their lives. I am proud of his courage and his complete trust. Above all I am proud of the fact we have an experience that we will remember forever, and continue to be mates forever.

    CC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Caboolture
    Posts
    2,469
    Nice report, i love that part of the word. I used to spend a fair bit of time in Mt Barney Crk gorge when i was younger playing silly buggers with pythons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    CROMER, NSW
    Posts
    1,997
    Mount Barney???
    hadn't you ought to buy me a drink first?
    i gave mt barney a go back in the early eighties - solo!
    i got most of the way up but lost the track. a typical 20-something, i knew it all and went totally unprepared, no water, no maps no preparation.
    quite dissapointed but plan to return one day.
    good work and well done
    LAND ROVER;
    HELPING PUT OIL BACK IN THE GROUND FOR 70 YEARS
    CARS DON'T GET ANY "GREENER" THAT.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    JUST NORTH OF COFFS HARBOUR NSW
    Posts
    4,178
    Great report, sounds like a very interesting adventure

    CHEERS TIM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hervey Bay...for the meantime ...
    Posts
    2,640
    mmmmmmaaaaatttttteeeeeeee...... now thats a dad...nice job mate


    cheers to you

    Matt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Logan Village area S.E. QLD
    Posts
    17,720
    well have just read the seconded installment........GREAT


    Jasper you are real trooper ( I always new you were) ohh and CC what a great report


    Mrs ho har
    Series Landy Rescue

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    CROMER, NSW
    Posts
    1,997
    how many matt's are there on here?
    Matt
    LAND ROVER;
    HELPING PUT OIL BACK IN THE GROUND FOR 70 YEARS
    CARS DON'T GET ANY "GREENER" THAT.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Bracken Ridge - Brisbane - QLD
    Posts
    14,356
    top father son trip....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Jimboomba, QLD
    Posts
    1,288
    What a great report. We've skirted around the base of Mt Barney many times. Perhaps I'll do a similar trip with my kids one day. Might have to work on my fitness first though ...

    Well done to both of you.



    Paul
    -- Paul --


    | '99 Discovery Td5 5spd man with a td5inside remap | doesn't know what it is in for ...
    | '94 Discovery Tdi 5spd man | going ... GONE

  10. #10
    Used to do those kind of things when my kids were that age.25years later and we are still doing it, and talk about those early expeditions often.Enjoy each others company still, and now there are grandchildren who will no doubt join us in a few years time. Make the most of these moments as the bond you build at that age will last forever.GOOD ON YOU MATE.

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