Mount Warning sunrise climb

Mount Warning had been on my list of things to do for a while and I was looking for someone as keen as me to climb it. Unbeknownst to me I found out I had known that person for a while – Kelly, aka the Mt Warning mountaineering expert after climbing it countless times already.

We quickly made big, bold, brash plans to conquer the mountain in a month’s time in the darkness – yep be on the top at sunrise. Very exciting!

Soon we had seven of us braving the cold and predicted rain, Kelly, Jay (not the one from Mt Barney), Josh (the one from Mt Barney), Avin, Sarah, my brother Matt and me.

Although it must be said just how close we were to losing Avin, “It’s gonna be terrible weather, we won’t see anything once we are at the top”. But in typical adventurous trips spirit he went for the exciting option. Good stuff.

A great trip really is about the journey not the destination.

I quickly figured it was going to be a sleepless night for all of us.

29/9/2012 – The crew. From left: Josh, Avin, Me, Kelly, Sarah, Jay and Matt.

So the day of much anticipation finally arrived. All excited like little kids allowed to stay up late, we prepared ourselves.

We left Brisbane at midnight on Friday night and had plans to catch up with Josh and Jay an hour down the motorway. As it turned out I had a navigational nightmare the whole way down to Mt Warning and we ended up taking the most twisty, dark and isolated roads one could imagine.

“Hey Dan, are we going the right way?” and “Where are we?” were common phrases.

At long last we got to the base of the hike at 2:40am – quite surprised there were at least 10 cars there already!

Jay, quite the photographer was not going to miss the sunrise so we quickly made headway.

Up and up, heart rate went faster and faster, body got hotter and hotter, and clothes disappeared more and more. Put your shirt back on Jay!

As you can imagine it’s a completely different ball game climbing at night. Kind of like mountain biking at night which is awesome too. It makes the climb seem shorter because you can only see your next step – you have to live in the moment, one step at a time.

29/9/2012 – Mt Warning, NSW
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com

We made fast progress, passing a couple of groups along the way and soon found ourselves at the last 100 metre chain rope section. I had envisioned this section quite different to reality; it was a winding steep path up rock ledges through bush. More than achievable for most.

We made it up at 4:30am or so, a good half hour before first light and joined a dozen fellow climbers. It got chilly fast and like survivors on a raft we huddled together to keep warm…no, make that less cold. Thinking he wouldn’t need a jumper, Jay left his jumper in the car – what a mistake that proved to be! Brrrrrrrr

The clouds on the horizon cleared just in time to see the sun raise its head, it all happened so fast and a few minutes later we were the first in Australia to see the Saturday sunrise.

29/9/12 – First rays of sunlight on Australia. Mt Warning, NSW.

Bobbing along to the tunes of Kelly’s backpack, and thinking “I don’t remember this track or these stairs?” we scaled our way back down, stopping by to take in the views and listening to nature.

A very memorable experience – would be great for a first climb at 4 hours return.

I felt underwhelmed though after seeing the light at Mt Barney. It was too touristy for me with the deck built at the summit and the occasional handrails throughout, and the degree of difficulty was quite low.

All in all though I loved getting out on our adventure and I had so much fun hanging out with mates. Thanks all.

29/9/2012 – Kelly on her home turf. Mt Warning, NSW.
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com
29/9/2012 – Taking in the scenery. Mt Warning, NSW.
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com
29/9/2012 – Mt Warning, NSW.
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com
29/9/2012 – Summit views. Mt Warning, NSW.
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com
29/9/2012 – Josh descending in style.
Photo by Jay Ferguson. Website: jnfimagery.com

Mount Mee – arrr the country air

I love getting out of the hustle and bustle of city life, especially on my bike. There’s something about the wind in your face, the endless rolling hills, distant blue mountains, and ummm the ever increasing aching in your legs. So invigorating!

I rode (cycled) from Samford through Dayboro and up to the small township of Mount Mee today. 96km return with a solid 7km climb at 5%. I know, a car would have made that climb a whole lot easier but I love the challenge of getting to the top and pushing my body!

I must admit I was a bit intimidated by the length of the climb but it turned out to be easier than expected – 5% was flat enough to settle into a good rythym.

All in all it was a good adventurous day! Even got caught in a storm for the last 10km and managed to puncture only 5km from my car.

If you haven’t been to Mt Mee I would definitely recommend it as a great day trip. Pack a picnic lunch and make friends with the cows – or if you’re slightly mad like me try riding up it.

To see my absolute two favourite pics of the day click here – Only the best photos.

Sailing on a CAT

What a way to spend an afternoon on yet another glorious day! The feeling of the cool stiff breeze on your face, the deep greeny blue water spraying you head to toe when you least expect it, and catching just the right amount of the sun’s rays – no wonder Scottie says it’s THE best hangover cure.

Scottie, yeah yeah the sick one from the Mt Barney trip (you know the one) is actually an avid sailor. So when the opportunity arose to go sailing on his wildly fast Hobie 16 I jumped at the chance.

Rigging up a boat that only weighs 100 something kilos was a new experience for me. No need for a car, you just push it around like a ragdoll.

With so much gear to put on, it felt as if I was ready to catch a pass in a gridiron match – sunshirt, one oversized jumbo lifejacket, another long sleeved sunshirt and harness… a harness to go sailing – now that’s my cup of tea!

With the wind out on the water blowing a perfect 15-20 knots and both of us 100% sober I might add, Scott pointed out a tally of 14 marks on my harness – the number of times the wearer has been pitchpoled.

Think of pitchpoling this way, you’re busy adjusting oodles of ropes when oops, the bow digs into a wave, and the boat cartwheels over sending you sailing through the air into the drink. Quite spectacular from an outsiders perspective I’d imagine.

Out of the harbour in record time things got interesting quickly. Just as I came to terms with leaning over the water in my harness we strike a sandbar. Now not to blame anyone but who was on the tiller again Scottie?

Back up and running after our little mishap I was shocked how fast we cut through the water, like a hot knife through butter. We maxed out at 17.7 knots (32km/h) before Scott said “let’s see if we can pitchpole it”. Sounds crazy right but somewhere deep down I thought it would be a pretty awesome experience, but it wasn’t to be.

I thought I was ready to take the reigns and Scott did too so he gave me a go in the hot seat – total control of the boat. We were scooting along having a whale of a time and about two minutes later we were being thrown seaward, this time completely unplanned. Whoops my bad.

At least Scott had his priorities right as we were both falling from a good two metres up, “Don’t put a hole in the sail” he yelled.

Our first attempt at swinging the boat back up proved a disaster. We (okay maybe it was more my fault) re-capsized it onto the other hull AND dug the mast into mud. Not a bad effort if I can say so myself.

Eventually we got back up and this time headed for the warmth of shore. Surprising how cold it gets after an unplanned swim combined with chilling winds. While I’m shaking like a leaf Scottie says how he’s “toastie” in his wetsuit. Cheers for that mate.

Back on shore and reheated we enjoyed soaking up the last of the suns rays while sipping on a nice cool bevvy. Such a sweet day.

Mount Barney Climbing Expedition

Have you ever heard of Mount Barney?

For most of us I think that’s a clear “No”. I know for me it was up until a few months ago, and I decided I have got to climb this big arse mountain. Standing at 1354 metres above sea level (5th highest in QLD) it’s not exactly your typical school camp hike – far from it in fact as I was about to find out.Image

So Saturday 8th September came round and I had four mates coming on the expedition. But how’s this for luck – four out of four either are sick or were sick within the past 24 hours. Not the ideal way to kick off a weekend requiring physical stamina.

But pushing on, Josh and I arrived at camp in awe of the sheer size of the mountain looming over the campsite. After finding a stackload of firewood, Josh lighting it flamethrower style, and jumping into a freezing cold waterhole that was “tinglingly refreshing” we met Paul – the climber (and 39 year old astrophysicist). We quickly discovered that if you want to know anything about climbing up big scary mountains ask Paul. He plans his holiday destinations around what big peaks are in the vicinity, and ascends them both with and without ropes…..yes roped climbs = scary stuff.

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Saturday night my other two “sick” mates Rory and Scottie arrived (Jay, the most experienced mountaineer of us all unfortunately couldn’t make it, classified as Too Sick To Climb – TSTC). So with the wind blowing an absolute gale and howling like a pack of wolves we all proceeded to have a dreadful night’s sleep.

At long last Sunday morning arrived and at 4:30am we were up and well…..ummm not quite raring to go for our 10 hour hike. Following more sausages it became apparent that we had lost two more adventurers to the dreaded TSTC disease.

And then there were two. Not to be disheartened Josh and I marched off spritely at 6am sharp pondering over whether we would be the two highest people in Queensland when we made the summit? An hour later we were off the beaten track and going very steeply skywards. As we were to find out the steepness did not relent and no matter how high we got Mt Barney’s peak always appeared soooo far away. The views began getting more and more spectacular and the phrase “Let’s have a breather” more and more common.

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At 9am we could just about see that the peak was within reach, but yet again Mt Barney attempted to throw us back to where we came from. With spikey shrubs, massive slabs of steep igneous rock, spine tingling drops and “What If?” moments the trail was all but gone and it was literally a matter of bush bashing and rock scrambling your way to the top.

The summit appeared before us unexpectedly and well what can I say? The views from East Peak were “mind bozzling” as Jay had rightly predicted. 360 degrees, 1100 metres up on a perfect cloudless Spring day. After spotting a deep blue dam and haze way out in the distance we snapped a few precarious photos on rocks near the edge and headed for home.

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The way back was faster but required more concentration, as Josh found out dodging snakes and goannas and I found out falling headfirst down a rock face (the bush was hiding the rock ok).

After eight and a half hours on the mountain we made it back, tired but content and conjuring up ideas for the next adventure.