Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The ballad of Mt Barney

I'd heard of Mount Barney a few times before. I somehow associated it with wild bushwalks. Driving to Yellow Pinch Reserve, with the mountain thrusting up into view before me, I began to get a strong feeling as I peered through the trees at it. I began to really want to climb it.

I was disappointed then when the information booth told me that it was a long, hard, unmarked walk and that walkers wishing to climb the summit must be super fit, experienced bushwalkers who would turn up at 7:00 in the morning and take 10 hours to climb it, after notifying friends and family where they were going, and carrying topographic maps, compasses around their necks, prepared for whatever freaks of weather nature would throw at them.

I reluctantly set off on one of the shorter walks that would take me south of the mountain. The track was along a fire trail and frankly, fairly uninteresting. After about 5 km or so the 'south ridge' trail started which went up to a campground near the summit. The sign said '6-8 hours return'. I surveyed my position.

 - I really wanted to do the full walk to the summit
 - I had a first aid kit, food, water and wet weather gear
 - I had no detailed map
 - I had a GPS and had marked the position of the car
 - I was fit and healthy and had been doing quite a bit of walking lately
 - The weather looked like it might rain/storm

And last but not least, it was already 1 o'clock in the afternoon, giving me only 6 hours of daylight (QLD time, remember).

I decided to nip up there and back.

Let it be known, for the record, that one empirically cannot 'nip up' to the top of Mount Barney and back. It was a pretty hard walk, considering that I was doing it very fast. It's a big climb and I did have to take a couple of short breaks. I gave it a pretty good shot though.

I made it to the top in about 2.5 hours. For the last section there is no track and it's basically a scramble up the rocks to the summit (this is the east peak). The view over the mountains and ranges in the area is fantastic, and the West Peak is very impressive too. The campsite in the saddle between the peaks looked like a very nice place to spend the night, with a gurgling stream nearby.


Tired atop Mt Barney


Heading down the mountain was very satisfying. A light, cooling rain fell. I had plenty of time and the going was much easier this way! Each step down felt good because I'd worked for the height on the way up. I got back to the start of the trail in 4.5 hours (hah!) and strolled back to Yellow Pinch where, exhausted, I treated myself to a shower and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

11 comments:

Michael Vermont said...

Wow looking good Nelson! *blows you a kiss* :P Did you go back to the guide and go nyer I did it in 4.5hrs?

Anonymous said...

it takes more than 2.5 hours to reach the top of mount barney (more like 6 hours) and in your picture mount barney is in the background contrary to your comment.

David Nelson said...

I climbed the East peak. The photo shows the West peak in the background.

beth said...

F&^% off Loser you never climbed Mount Barney, I have! You also lie you are not tired on Mount Barney, you look full of energy and Mount Barney is in the background. You have no friends.

beth said...

Ohh and I forgot to tell you, you are a homosexual!

Anonymous said...

Goodjob man ... well done.

bad perrington said...

I don't know this bloke, but I have to say to be fair on him that he really is standing on the east peak of Barney.
I've just been through my photo's and although it doesen't look right, that's the west peak behind him.
The smaller peak to the left is actually part of the range behind Mt Barney.
I think he should have shown more photo's, maybe some of Mt Lindesay as he ascended.
2.5 hrs from the start of south ridge to the top of east peak? He must have been flying!

Dr No said...

I climbed Mt Barney 4 days ago. Without knowing this guy or saying either way whether he did or didn't climb to the peaks, I just want to comment on the picture.

Seeing it at first (and without a photo from my own camera taken from the same view to compare to) I am reasonably certain that is a view of the east peak, as taken from the west peak about 1/3rd of the way up (over the initial ridge just before it starts getting hard, about where the first rock wall is).

The west peak has no ancillary peaks off it (as seen on the left of the photo) whereas the east peak does. The west peak also has a very distinctive 'melted cone' look. Either way this is not taken from the top, as both peaks are within 8 meters of one another. Even adjusting for a slant in angle you can still see the peak beyond is much higher.

In terms of time to climb? I'm pretty fit. I didn't mess around and did from the Lodge campsite (15 mins out from the Yellow Pinch car park) to both peaks and back again in 9 hours, 50 mins. It took me 2 hours from the Peasant's Ridge turnoff to get to the saddle, and (ignoring a small break) 1 hour from there to the east peak, or 50 mins from there to the west. It took about the same time to descend back to Rum Jungle and about 1 hour 25 mins to get back to the turnoff.
Basically, breaks aside, if I had gone straight to the east peak and back (from the turnoff) I would have come in around 5:25.

Could I have shaved an hour off that? Yes, I'd say it is possible, but I would have busted a gut in the process, have torn my skin off in the bush, and be sweaty, beetroot red and covered in filth.

That's not what I'm seeing in the photo.

Zac B-S said...

I climbed Barney (round trip, including a fair bit of running) in 3 hours 27 minutes last December (up SE ridge, down S ridge). His 2.5 hours from the S ridge turn-off to the top is reasonable quick but by no means impossible.

Anonymous said...


The peak in the background is 100% the west peak and very fit people can absolutely get to the summit from the start of the south ridge within 2.5hrs. In fact the fastest round trip known is about 3hrs, that was up and down Logans.

Just for the record I've climbed the mountain around 30 times via many different routes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but that's the East peak.... Not the West Peak in the photo. You're not at the top.