Sara Keith – “A weekend on Mt Barney”
Words & images thanks to Sara KeithMt Barney, Australia is a rugged mountain which needs to be respected as does every mountain but with Mt Barney you never know what to expect. The weather can go from being beautiful and sunny one minute to gale force wind and rainy the next. That is what makes it so special. It is a mountain that requires a lot of preparation and planning as it is a strenuous climb and navigational skills are a must. It will challenge you and it will test you and that is why I love it as it pushes your physical and mental boundaries, and that is what it did for me when I climbed it last weekend.
In the early hours of the morning our alarms sounded, my friends and I packed up our tents and it was off to Mt Barney we went to begin the arduous ascent up Logan’s ridge. With our 15kg packs strapped onto our backs and Mt Barney in sight we began to make our way to the base of the mountain. I had done this route twice before and knew that it was going to challenge and test me. I had encouraging and supportive friends by my side who I knew would help me out and that they did.
The wind began to pick up as we approached the halfway point of our scramble towards the summit. After a short amount of time the clouds came rolling over and any views we had were now gone. The top half section had water covering the rocks which made them extremely slippery. We were very cautious with each step and there were many times I had to give myself a pep talk and tell myself that I am capable and that I can do it. Hearing my friends say it to me as they offered a helping hand also gave me a huge wave of confidence and I appreciated their support and encouragement. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, smile through the pain and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You tell yourself that each step is one step closer to the top. Any seed of doubt that you plant in your own mindfades away as you check your Garmin watch for it to say you are only 100 metres away. After 6 hours of scrambling, climbing and steep uphill sections we had finally reached the summit. There was a massive sigh of relief as we could see an openness in front of us and we knew we had no more climbing to do for the day. We had made it! The only views we had at that point in time were clouds but I was stoked to just relax, have a snack and rest my sore and tired legs.
After resting for a while, we made our way down to Rum jungle where we would set up camp for the night. It is a beautiful campground which lies in the saddle between the two peaks and has a flowing creek nearby.
After setting everything up, I walked back along the track with my camera in one hand and my cooked dehydrated soup in the other, trying to find a good viewpoint for the sunset. I ventured off the track and saw a pile of rocks which I climbed over to see a clear view out to the west. With boy and bear playing in the background, I sat there watching the sun slowly go down in the distance and clouds illuminate and look like fairy floss in the sky.
My alarm clock sounded nice and early the following morning and I ventured up East peak solo in the dark, with my head torch lighting the way. Once I hit the summit after what felt like ten false peaks, I put my jet boil on, boiled the water and poured my coffee sachet in my mug, to make a warm cup of coffee which warmed up my soul. There was a sea of low fog in the distance which filled the space between the mountains. The sky had tones of pink and yellow as the sun began to rise behind the clouds. I sat there for a while, snapping up some photos, drinking my coffee and taking it all in.
I eventually decided to head back down to camp where I had my dehydrated muesli for breakfast which suppressed my hunger. My friends decided that they wanted to check out the West peak of Mt Barney so we hiked and scrambled up to the summit which has amazing views out to the East peak and to Maroon Dam. I was seriously impressed! Shortly after heading back down, we packed up our tents and started the descent down Mt Barney via the south ridge route.
After an hour and a half of steep downhill walking we had hit the trail head and decided to detour to Cronan Creek falls, a waterfall that none of us had been to before. The sun was out and it was a warm summers day. We all couldn’t wait to go for a dip in the water to cool off. The swim at the waterfall once we reached it was so refreshing but oh so rewarding. After spending an hour swimming and relaxing, it was back on the trail we went and after another 5kms of hiking, a nice cold beer was waiting for us in our cars.
It was a weekend full of blood, sweat, beers and almost tears. It was a weekend shared with great mates. Until next time Mt Barney.
You can follow all of Sara's adventures on Instagram here.