Friday, June 23, 2017

East Peak Mount Barney: SE Ridge to S (peasants) Ridge

We had some confusing directions for finding the SE ridge track up Mount Barney that included "log across the track marks start of SE ridge route," and "look for the SE ridge track between campsite 9 and 10," and "tree marked with X," none of which were really correct.

Actually, finding the SE ridge is dead simple. Follow the old fire trail out of the parking lot heading uphill to a walkers gate on a saddle. Ignore the prominent track to the right which goes steeply uphill to Yellow Pinch and pass through the walkers gate and continue through a paddock to a causeway crossing of Logan River. Cross the river and pass some National Park signs. Keep going past campsite 9 and 10, and, about 200 metres beyond campsite 10 take the big eroded track heading uphill on the right. There is an old stump marked with many hieroglyphics including a scratched X and SE.

Mount Barney East Peak

Go up. Now there is some nuance, as the track is occasionally braided and there are some scrambly bits and one slab that may or may not be wet with an old climbing rope hanging off a tree to assist at this section. Some of the scrambly sections have options so if you don't like the track straight ahead look a few metres left or right and you might find a different scrambly section more to your liking. There are one or two short descents, and just before the summit plateau there is a longer scrambly section. But, it is hard to get lost as the track is deep and eroded for most of the way.

You pop out on a plateau after the last steep section with the west peak directly in front of you and the east peak now a short stroll away through rather thick vegetation to the right (northish).

East Peak from the top of the SE Ridge

We went down the south ridge route (Peasants) and found it much more braided all the way to the Rum Jungle campsite in the saddle. It was well nigh impossible to stay on the definitive route although we kept looking for the most prominent track to descend. A lot of the descent can be done on low angle grippy slabs that are nicely dry and clear of vegetation. In fact, you can almost do the entire descent on slabs.

At the bottom of the east face we crossed the creek and found ourselves again in a myriad of disappearing and reappearing tracks. If you aim generally to follow the creek (Barney Gorge) that drains the saddle between east and west peak to the north you'll end up walking slightly uphill to the campsite.

On the SE ridge

Out of the campsite on the left side (roughly east to southeast), there are orange triangles marking the preferred route. Apparently, these have been installed to reduce track braiding and will be removed in a few years. If you are coming from the campsite, the track actually climbs about 80 metres before beginning a serious descent. The track is steep and deeply eroded in parts and has some scrambly sections but the rock is super grippy and there is no exposure.

Gradually, the track gets bigger and bigger until you pass through a bit of rainforest on a tributary of Cronan Creek after which the track switchbacks a little bit and becomes the old road you started on. The south ridge track branches off the fire trail about 200 metres past the SE ridge track.

West peak of Mount Barney

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