It was never the plan to climb Mt Barney every two year’s on Peta’s birthday. I didn’t have a plan the first time we climbed. I just wanted to do something special in memory of Peta. But now for the third time and four and half years since Peta’s passing we are climbing Mt Barney again. A very fitting way to celebrate Peta’s birthday.
Over the last two years a lot has changed for Alec and I. This year’s climb and a lot surrounding the climb as changed too. Miranda and Siannah are part of the celebrations this year and of course baby Hayden was with us too. Her first camping trip. Not a bad effort for a three month old.
There is also some big changes for the climbers. This year we are climbing Mt Barney via Logan’s Ridge. A harder and more exposed route. The way down we will be following south east ridge, the way we have previous climbed up. We will also have different guides this year.
We decided to make a long weekend out this trip. Taking the kids out of school for the Friday and Monday. We managed to get away early stopping in Beaudesert for lunch, a play and to feed Hayden.
Arriving at Mt Barney Lodge just after lunch we checked in, purchased a bag of fire wood, set up camp and got ourselves comfortable. I then went about doing final preparations for the climb.
- Plenty of water, check.
- Camera battery’s charged, check.
- Clothes on hand for any sort of weather conditions, check.
- Clean underpants, check.
There was also a briefing for the climbers to attend. We got to meet our guides Ryan and Kane and then went over the details for the climb with them.
A hearty dinner and a relax around the camp fire finished the day off.
A alarm waking me up at four o’clock in the morning is never a pleasant experience. Especially when not a lot of sleep was had during the night. It was a extremely cold night and Alec woke up numerous times cold, he kept wiggling out of his sleeping bag. And Hayden was out of routine and wanted a feed at midnight. The excitement of the climb was the only thing that got me out of bed.
At five o’clock in the dark and cold we meet our guides in front of the lodge. Ready to start our day of walking and climbing. Stopping at the creek on the way out we picked a up stone and then followed our guides across dry paddocks and up the lightly wooded foot hills of Mt Barney into the Mt Barney National Park.
After a hour of walking in which we got see the sun rise and shine through the tree’s. We came to the start of the rocky and exposed ridge that we would be following to the top.
The pace slowed down as we negotiated the rocky escarpment. I stopping regularly to catch my breath and to grab the camera. Trying and get that perfect shot.
As we climbed the ridge became more exposed. Often very little between safety and a terrible fall in which you may never come back from. However the views were amazing.
As us climbers navigated our way up Mt Barney, the ground dwellers back at camp had their own small expedition going on.
To involve the kids more in the celebration a small walk was planned by Miranda. Everyone picked up a stone from the creek, just like the climbers do. Then placed it back in the creek further up stream.
By all reports everyone had a loverly time with the two older kids electing to ride there bikes via the road and the remainder of the group walking along the creek.
Back on the side of Mt Barney we had stopped for morning tea and were back on the track. Some parts required a helping hand or at the least a step by step guide to navigation the section. Often requiring more rock climbing skills than bush walking ones.
Making good time we made it to the summit. Finding the spot where we had laid our stones the previous years. Again the rocks had disappeared. Some larger rocks were found and a new cairn was made adding our stones on top.
We then set about eating lunch and of course having a cuppa tea in memory of Peta.
Once our stomach’s were full and our legs rested, we savoured our last look at the view from the top and started the walk back down Mt Barney.
At first it was a welcome relief to be walking down instead of up. But soon a different set of muscle started to complain.
We made good time. The only thing slowing us down was navigating our way pass other walkers on their way up. The mountain was much busier than previous climbs. We even had to share the summit this year.
I found it fun and interesting doing this route the opposite way. Sections that required a bit of effort and skill to get up was now often easy climbs down or at the very least a controlled slide down on your bum.
The hardest part of the walk down was the loose track. The dry weather had made the track crumbly and loose. It was very easy to have a small spill. Everyone had their fair share of slides. Even our guides. Thankful no one had a injury except for their pride.
Ten and half hours since we walked in the cold and dark across the bridge in front of the lodge, we arrived back at camp with plenty of day light to spare. A big difference from previous years. The afternoon used to attend our sore muscles and clean the dirt and sweat off with a hot shower. As the sun set and the star’s shone bright, tales of our awesome adventure was shared around the campfire……. Maybe, with a hint of exaggeration.