Date: 28 – 29 August 2010
Walkers: Tom, Myself
This walk was planned as a further test of some new gear and to do a long overdue investigation of Mt. Barney N.P. The route I had planned was to walk out along the Cronan Creek track as far as it went and then head back and camp at one of the walk in sites along the creek before tackling the mountain the next day.
Knowing that day 1 wasn’t going to be too strenuous I was content with a late start from the Yellow Pinch Carpark after arriving at around 11AM. The track out of the picnic area was a forestry road and the immediate up-hill is a good way to warm up for whatever your chosen adventure is on the mountain for the day. At the saddle I reached a gate. At this point there was 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.
After crossing the creek and entering the National Park the track simply followed the old forestry road which in turn followed the creek. After passing Site 10 I noted the start of the South-East Ridge and South “Peasants” Ridge tracks heading off to the right up the mountain. 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 by early afternoon. 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.
I slept well using a Therma-Rest Neo Air for the first time. It certainly made more noise, but also provided enough cushioning for me to sleep on my side for the first time in the bush. 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 was marked with a sign and was fairly obvious. Initially it followed another old logging road and headed up hill immediately. Soon after, the road narrowed to a track where it wound around the edge of the hill to reach the South Ridge. This section of the track was well trodden but a bit overgrown. After reaching the ridge, the track once again headed up hill and didn’t stop until it reached the saddle.
The track was very steep with many large rocky steps making progress fairly slow. There was noticeable erosion along the track being combated by National Parks trying to direct people along some alternative routes in some sections. Knowing that we were coming back the same way, I decided to ditch my pack about two-thirds of the way to the saddle. 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.
Just before reaching the saddle we were struck with our first views of the Western Peak; a very impressive piece of rock. Soon after we arrived in the Rum Jungle campsite which was quite large and well protected under a think canopy. We were pretty disappointed with the amount of rubbish left in the area though. 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 defiant shrubbery. There were a couple of false peaks that gave some hope that you had reached the top. However, trying to gauge our height relative to the other peak which is roughly the same height proved to be more successful.
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 had come up and the time back to the car was about 3.5 hours.
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.