The last time we climbed Mt Barney was three years ago. A lot has happened in that time. A global pandemic that stopped the world with many lives lost is the most prominent event that comes to mind. It’s also the reason we didn’t climb last year. We came very close to climbing, going into lock down only weeks out from the climb.
Three years on it was well and truly time to climb Mt Barney again. This will be the fourth time.
As family and friends arrived at Mt Barney lodge for the weekend. We made the best of the beautiful days before the climb to catch up and relax. For the climbers it gave us the opportunity for a early nights sleep and finalise preparations for the big day ahead.
Well before the sun was thinking about rising three adventurers got out of their comfortable warm beds. Got dressed, filled their stomachs and made there way to the office to meet our guide for the day. All while trying to not wake anyone else in the camp ground.
We had a small group this year, however we possessed enough enthusiasm and determination of a much larger group.
After greeting Sean our guide and stuffing our food for the day in our pack packs we were off. As we walked out of the lodge and across the creek each one of us picked up a rock to take with us.
This year we would be going up by Logan’s Ridge and down via South East ridge.
We walked in the dark up through the paddocks in front of the lodge and into the Mt Barney National Park. As the sun rose we continued upwards on a dirt track surround by eucalyptus forrest. Stopping for a break at the start of the rocky ridge line that we would spend the next three hours climbing.
We slowly made our way up the rocky out crops and slabs of rock. Follow Sean’s instructions on the best way to tackle an obstacle or the best route to take. We stopped regularly for a breather, bite to eat or to just take in the amazing views.
One of the events that happen since our last climb was a large bush fire within the Mt Barney National Park. It happen only month after we climbed in 2019. The fire spread up the face of Mt Barney causing wide spread damaged. Three years on the damage can still be seen easily.
But as often occur’s nature has been doing her thing and there is plenty of new vegetation. However there is a still long way to go, with some plant species not seen since the fire and some in very low numbers.
We continue the upward march as our expert guide shared his passion for the flora and fauna of the mountain. Explaining the natural regeneration process after the fire and the impact it as made on the eco-system of the mountain. He would often stop and point out plants and flowers and tell us all about them. There might of been the occasional sarcastic remark from yours truly. Yer the flower is great but I am kind of hanging off a cliff at the moment.
With one last push we made it to the summit. We made our way to the rock cairn that we have been adding to every climb. We took a moment to remember Peta and laid down our rocks that we had been carrying with us. Then a short walk to the peak and set about having a much needed rest, lunch, and of course a cup of tea with Peta.
After spending a little too long at the peak soaking in the views and enjoying the warm day, we started our way down.
It was a fairly uneventful hike down. We chatted and joked as we negotiated the steep and often loose track. We climbed down rock sections sometimes sliding down on our bums. We got shown more plants and flowers and spotted a Wallaby down in a gorge. Which Sean was really happy to see. He hadn’t seen one that high since the fires.
We also got to taste a native carrot. Which actually tasted like a real carrot.
It wasn’t just Sean teaching us about the mountain, we taught him a thing or two. He now knows what a roly rock is ( A small rock you stand on that causes your foot to slip or roll ) and that the best hand holds are rotted or burnt timber logs. The more dodgy the better. I’m sure he will never forget these lessons.
As we made our way down the mountain, my legs started to struggle and get sore. A result of a lack of down hill training. I was very happy when we got to the bottom and on flat ground again.
As we walk back into the the camp ground, plans were already coming together for Peta’s 40th birthday adventure next year.
In memory of a amazing woman, mother, sister, daughter and friend. You will never be forgotten and always loved.