Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Mt. Barney South Ridge

Date: 28 - 29 August 2010

Walkers: Tom, Myself

Photo Album

Walk Description:
This walk was planned as a further test of some new gear and to investigate the very well known Mt. Barney national park, which by the end of the weekend we were amazed we'd never been to before.

Day 1:
To get to the the park I drove out the Cunningham Highway before turning left to head towards Boonah. I then headed towards Rathdowney, turning right into Upper Logan Rd. before reaching the Mt. Lindsay Highway. This leads straight into the Yellow Pinch Picnic area where I began my walk. The first day I was on my own and knowing that I wasn't planning on walking too far on the Saturday I didn't head off until about 11 in the morning.

I set off along the only track out of the picnic area which starts on a forestry road straight up Yellow Pinch. At the peak there is another gate and there is a distinct track leading up to the right along the ridge. I left that to be investigated another day and kept to the road which headed down off the ridge and through some flat and open farmland before reaching Cronan Creek. This is where the national park started, marked by a sign, and the road became narrower.

View of Mt. Barney from the East
 The plan for the day was to head out and back along the Cronan Creek track and camp at site 10 for the night. The walk stayed on an old forestry road however it became more overgrown the further it went. After passing Site 10 I noted the starts of the South-East Ridge and South "Peasants" Ridge tracks heading off to the right up the mountain from the main track. The terrain along my route was mainly flat with a slight uphill gradient the whole way. After crossing the creek a number of times I reached the end of the road and stopped for lunch at a small creek in a patch of rainforest.

The return trip was fairly quick and I arrived back at Site 10 at about 2 O'Clock. The campsite was well shaded and right next to the creek. The only downside was how exposed it was to the walking track. Arriving so early meant there was plenty of time for lazing around and exploring the area.

Day 2:
I woke up with a very stiff neck on Day 2. Not sure what is to blame for this. I was trying out Maree's Therma-Rest Neo Air for the first time but I think my pillow is probably the main culprit. Tom arrived earlier than I was expecting. He had left home just after 5 am and reached Site 10 by 8:15. I quickly packed up camp and we headed for the start of the South Ridge track.

The start of the track where it leaves the Cronan Creek track is marked with a sign and is fairly obvious. It starts along an old logging road and heads uphill immediately. Soon after the road narrows to a track where it winds around the edge of the hill to reach the South Ridge. This section of the track is well trodden but a bit overgrown. Once the track reaches the ridge it once again heads up hill and doesn't stop until it reaches the saddle.

The infamous rock slab. No trouble in the dry
The track is very steep with many large rocky steps making progress fairly slow. There is noticable errosion along the track which is being combatted by National Parks trying to direct people along some alternative routes in some sections. About two-thirds of the way up to the saddle I decided to ditch my pack. This gave me an opportunity to try out one of my packs features where you can disconnect the top cover and it turns into a bum bag.This was surprisingly comfortable and I was still able to carry probably 1.5kg. Although the buckles kept sliding loose a bit.
Western Peak

Just before reaching the saddle we were struck with our first views of the Western Peak. Very impressive piece of rock. We soon arrived in the Rum Jungle campsite which was quite large and well protected under a think canopy. We were pretty dissapointed with the amount of rubbish left in the area. From here we headed North-East along a track that soon exited the small patch of rainforest to the second campsite on the saddle; the Old Hut Site.

From here we began the climb up to the Eastern Peak. The way up was roughly marked with pink ribbons and required lots of rock scrambling and pushing through some extremely defient shrubbery. There are a couple of "false" peaks that give you some hope that you have reached the top. However if you try and gauge where you are in relation to the other peak which is roughly the same height you can get a better idea as to how far you have climbed.
View of the Western Peak from half way up the Eastern Peak
We reached the peak at about 12:30, roughly 4 hours after leaving Site 10. The view was an amazing 360 degrees and well worth the climb. We went down the same way we came up and the time back to the car was about 3.5 hours.
View South towards Mt. Ernest and Mt. Lindsay
View to the North towards the North peak and Eagle's Ridge (??)
The video below was taken from the top. It starts facing North-West where you can see the North Peak of Barney. Next is Mt. Maroon, before swinging around to the East. To the south is Mt. Ernest and Mt. Lindsay. Finally is the West Peak of Barney.