Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mount Barney #5

"I just realized that I forgot my compass. Did you bring yours?"
"Nope"

"Do you have a topo map for the area"
"Yeah, but I didn't have time to get it"

"Ah, just realised I forgot tweezers for ticks"

"I should have brought salt"

We had almost decided to attempt Savages Ridge (the name is self-explanatory, but it's grade 5-6), but thought the better of it considering our wild underpreparedness. It was time to face the South-East ridge again, which had defeated me many moons ago

A restless sleep was had the night before, due to a combination of excitement and Tymeka's snoring - audible from a separate tent four metres away!
Morning couldn't come quick enough, and I was immediately glad not to have put the tent-cover on:



We set off at a casual jog, and found the turnoff much before I had expected it. Slowing to a walk, the steep uphill began. In the clear weather, this previously disasterous/shitmyselftastic ridge was actually pretty manageable. There were only two or three harder scrambling sections and small amount of exposure.



At a leisurely pace, it took us 2:45 to get from Yellowpinch to the East Peak; a massive PB that I'm now very keen to break with Duffus come Wednesday morning.



...And that wasn't even from the top!

From there, we hopped down to the beginning of Rocky Creek and engaged in some intense route-finding to get up to the North peak. Some sketchy scrambling and very thick bushbashing was required, and at some point a large stone got the better of Tymeka's head.



We then headed West to a rocky bluff, and climbed down a steep ravine. When it became apparent that it's exit would be a bit ugly, we headed back towards the east, through some more thick bush and into the creek that divides the East and North Peaks. False floors were the biggest hazard here, both of us experiencing a couple of awkward fall-throughs.

After reaching the creek, the source of danger switched to the mats of pine-needles that adorned the maze of boulders, which would slip away without warning.




After what felt like too long (it always does) we made it into Barney Gorge, and headed Southwards, to the saddle. I saw a small black snake, which spooked Tymeka, which in turn spooked me, so we took this section pretty slowly and carefully.

There was plenty of idyllic moss:


Past the world's best picnic spot, up to the saddle, and I'd drained the last of my two litres of water (imbecile).
No worries, just a quick jaunt down Peasant's ridge from there.

Or so I thought. By the time the rocks and dirt-slopes gave way to real, runnable trail, I was parched, bonking, and couldn't fathom the idea of running. I hadn't had enough food while I'd had the water to process it. Although there was still half a loaf of bread in my backpack, I couldn't process it without the water. Lucky for me, Tymeka's head was giving her hell, so running the final, flat 4km was not an option. We had some lengthy discussions about drinks and water; it's funny how the mind reacts to such conditions.

500m from Yellowpinch, portrait of a man dehydrated:


about 20km, almost exactly 8 hours on the feet, and 1,750m gain.

But, there would be another twist to this story! After filling up on the apparently undrinkable water at the bathroom tap and eating a bit, we felt much better, so drove around to the other side of the mountain for a quick dip at the Lower Portals.

We started jogging on the 4km trail over to the massive rockpool and I immediately felt fantastic, so just opened it up. halfway through, that changed and it was back to the customary 7-minute uphill kms. The swim was exactly what I needed, but poor Tymeka hadn't brought a change of clothes so could only soak her legs!
After chatting to the masses (comparative to the usual solitude encountered at Barney) at the pool, we set off jogging on the way back. Once again, I left Tymeka behind as I felt better on the ups.
On a technical downhill, I started to feel queasy, light-headed and weak. Slower and slower, then stopping to retie my shoelace. I tried to start running again, but the mind wasn't having any of it. I'd fallen into the deepest bonk experienced in a long time, if ever. Dawdling back, I expected Tymeka to catch up, but still arrived at the car park a couple of minutes before her. Atleast she was running when she came in!

"Let's get to the nearest petrol station as soon as possible!"

1.85 litres of lemonade, 500ml of milk, 600ml of water, a small slushie, and a tin of beans later, we were rattling along the highway back towards Brisbane.

Mount Barney never ceases to surprise me. I expected that we'd get lost because of our lack of navigational equipment, but it turns out that we were pretty much always aware of our location. I did not expect to enter the moistureless hurt-locker of hypoglycemia.

Win some, lose some.

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