Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guiding Mount Barney

An epic back-to-back was completed, when ten friends and I climbed Mount Barney on Monday.
I was the only one who had climbed the mountain before, so onus was on me to make sure that we followed the correct route, etc...
I had tried to make sure that everyone was prepared, but on the morning, we had three jackets between 11, and Andy turned up after having worked a full shift at the RE and not having slept. His nutrition for this full day hike/climb consisted of a banana, and near-empty jars of vegemite and peanut butter.
Still, we got to the saddle without any real problems, but from there the real fun began. We went through thick scrub, over a series of demoralizing false peaks ("fucking hell Zac"). At one point, we were climbing down an impossible-looking slope; near its bottom, we had to move off of a boulder onto a little patch of dirt, and as each one of us did, we were given a huge dose of exposure - just over the right ledge was a vertical drop of atleast one hundred metres.
As we started up again, the confusing mist receded, and we saw the final face of the mountain ahead - a very steep combination of ferns and rocks, completely exposed. I was angry at myself - we should have tracked onto the ridge on the south! - but it would be a little too dangerous, and would possibly cause a mutiny, if we were to go back, and resume climbing from a different point.
I veritably shat myself, afraid that we would keep climbing until it got too technical, and we would have to descend the way we came, without having reached the peak. That would have been incredibly dangerous. It really didn't help that Jacoby, Newman, Lucas, Megan and Bogdan had become a bit negative and were throwing plenty of abuse my way - atleast I had Green, who was sticking up for me. Shams, Zander and Andy were silent and faithful as always, just getting the job done.
We lunched on the steepest of slopes, sitting in ferns and on rocks, then pushed on and on and up and up, until we reached a sort of gully. We followed it to our left (North), to where I thought there were only cliffs, and after scrambling up a rock or two, we had found the mildly beaten track. From there it was a glorious stumble/hop to the top.
We met a ridiculously experienced bushwalker and his son at the summit, who had ascended Logan's Ridge - one of the most difficult. I sheepishly asked them to take our photo and guide us down. Relief! The pressure was off, as this wily veteran took responsibility for the group. The descent was a great mixture of banter, camaraderie and pounded quads. It was alot of fun. Even Newman, who had hated his life when bushbashing at the Twins, had to admit that he loved all of it, except for the part between the saddle and the summit - "hell", as he described it.
All in all, it was a perfect day.
Andy then went on to work another full shift at the RE that night, without having slept. That was a monstrous effort, and he now has the right to scoff at anyone who says that climbing Mount Barney (via the South Ridge) is difficult.

(Photos courtesy of Rage Against the Mike Green).

1 comment:

  1. Haha only just saw the photos courtesy bit!