on the recent long weekend, I took my family for what I thought would be a mildly challenging bush-walk.
It turned out to be a six hour strenuous rock climb!
(Note, image borrowed from “Pinnacle Sports” – they do guided tours. Probably all the fit looking types we met on the way.)
We drove up to Mt Tibrogargan in the Glasshouse mountains. It’s about 40 minutes from the north of Brisbane and a very scenic drive. Quite near the “Australia Zoo”.
I had driven past this mountain many times – it is often called “The Gorrilla” because with a bit of a squint and some imagination – it looks like a gorilla’s head parked in the middle of the
We had organised with three other families to walk up – and so we met in the car park at 9:30am.
One family didn’t quite get the full message, turned up at 8AM and where just getting back from their walk (had decided not to attempt the climb) and subsequently moved on to Kondalilla Falls .
The remaining three families looked at the sign, and when we read it – we decided on “Track #3″
The sign read:
Mount Tibrogargan Summit:
allow 3-4 hours
This is a steep climb, requiring high fitness levels, rock scrambling and rock climbing skills.
Highlights: Views east to Moreton Bay and west to the Blackall Ranges.
Caution: The summit climb is steep and exposed. Do not attempt this climb if rain is expected. Avoid the heat of the day.”
So we choose this track and off we went.
I thought it might be a little like the Mt Warning trek my family had tried in 2010, and then completed in 2011 this year. Boy was I wrong. It was much, much harder.
After about 25 minutes of ‘trail’ walking – the trail was very very rocky and quite steep – my four year old was beginning to whinge. My wife wasn’t feeling crash hot that day also.
A few more minutes and we arrived at the base of the cliff, which we needed to ascend (read, climb) to get to the top.
The trail was fairly well peopled – there were mostly twenty-somethings who were usually foreign, scarcely dressed, and fit looking.
At this point, my wife decided to stay put. My four year old had steeled his resolve and was determined to come with me, and I took my 3 boys, and 2 other dads (each with one boy) up the cliff.
We ascended the first part, and it got steeper still!
At this point one of the dads wisely decided to stay put with his son, (and not realising my wife was also waiting just ten minutes below, he ended up waiting an hour for news of us to reach the top!)
The views from this point were already quite rewarding!
Myself and Aaron and 4 boys remaining pushed on.
Keep your eyes to the rock boys! I also told the boys the golden rule of 3 when climbing. Keep 3 things on the rock any one time, only take a hand or a foot off if you’ve got 3 good quality holds.
Another tip. Be REALLY careful – one of the boys accidentally kicked a cricket ball sized rock off the ledge, we all yelled “ROCK!!” and it tumbled down and missed a girl’s head by about an inch. Would have been game over for her. We were even more super careful after that, but still a few calls of “ROCK!” could be heard throughout the day.
It got harder, and harder, and at some points we were scaling up near-vertical cliffs with little protection from the sun.
I thought I was OK but began to worry about the boys.
Many thoughts went through my head about “Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea” and.. “This is an adventure, but actually I’m really quite scared”.
At one point I got a bit stuck and felt a bit panicky, so I got the boys seated on a ’safe’ ledge, and we sat down, calmed myself with deep breathing & had a drink & something to eat.
Finally, we made it to the summit, and saw the views.
They were well worth it! we spent maybe 30 minutes at the top, took some photos, had some lunch.
And then began the descent – that’s when things got a little more hairy.
For me, having my four year old with me was really tricky as he started to get tired, and scared of the descent (looking down is far worse than looking up).
I had to carry him, cajole him and move him off that mountain. He wanted to slide down on his butt as he could see where he was going – but that wasn’t always possible, and it made him look down. Not a good thing to do! I ended up clutching him to my chest or climbing down first, and he would slide down to me.
Luckily my good friend Aaron stepped in and helped at some tricky bits, and we got back down safely to the base of the cliff.
We were all mightily relieved to get down, and we met up with Rod and my wife who had eaten most of the lunch they took, and had a fairly relaxing time of it at the base of the cliff & back at the picnic area.
A decent afternoon tea was wolfed down & some soccer (boys still had energy) , and we had conquered that mountain!!
My three boys were thrilled at their achievements, and I was very proud of them all, grateful to my friends, and quietly, a little proud of myself.
A great day out, but by no means an easy stroll in the forest!!
Lessons learned for us:
Respect the mountain.
Know your limits and be wise. (My friend knew his limits and stuck to his guns. Wise choice).
Take your time and do it right.
Watch for loose rocks!
If you feel panic rising, take a moment, calm yourself, and then keep moving.
Take less. I ended up hauling about 10kg up and back – mostly water, but could have done with a little less weight, especially with the young ones.
Boys are natural climbers!
It takes risk to have an adventure!
Next time we might try out Kondalilla , where we can ALL join in, and we will go for a swim in the rock pools. Maybe not as risky next time, but still heaps of fun to be had.