Sunday, August 12, 2012


Danno takes in the sunrise from View Point Buttress, part way up Mt Maroon

My brother and I have just celebrated my birthday by spending a couple of days exploring the ridges and gorges of my favourite local playground, Mt Barney National Park..I could hardly have asked for a better, more fitting 40th birthday gift. 

We started hiking at first light from the Cotswold rd trailhead at the base of Mt Maroon in perfect south east Queensland winter conditions, cool and dry with a cloudless sky. An hour later we stood on the summit, shivering in a brisk south westerly wind while scoping our route over Mt May to the west. Maroon Gorge has a well defined footpad at the moment, obviously seeing a lot of traffic this season, which made travel quick and easy down to Paddys Plain. From here we walked in a more northerly direction before heading west to meet the ridge to the north of Paddys Peak. For the most part the off-trail travel in this area is quite fast at the moment with just the odd bit of thicker scrub. Around five hours in we were on the summit of Mt May admiring the classic view over the Barney/Ballow massif. The steep south west ridge lead us down to easy walking along Waterfall Creek road, over Cleared Ridge and down to the stunning Upper portals on Mt Barney Creek. We kicked back here and had some lunch to fuel up for the long section of gorge walking ahead, first rock hopping downstream before heading up to Mt Barney's east/west saddle via Barney Gorge. At the old hut site in the saddle we got out headlamps and an hour or so and 800 vertical metres lower we made camp on Cronin Creek. 

On account of me being old and soft, we ( I ) slept in and bailed on our original plan of hiking the Mt Ernest razorback. As part of his preparation for a mission on the Bibbulman track in late September, Danno has been logging some big days on foot. This, and the fact that he is a strong walker anyway meant that, unlike me, he didn't find the 13 hours and 2000m of elevation gain of our first day very taxing. Instead of Mt Ernest we headed straight over to Mt Maroon's south ridge via the road. Neither of us had been on the south ridge before so we paid attention to the map in this section. Despite this we did make a small nav error before making our way up to a small break ( 732 787 ) in the south eastern cliff line via a great talus cone, passing a section of cliff with some Frog Buttress quality cracks lines. Another hour or so of nice walking with the odd short scramble and we were on the summit, soaking up one last view of Mt Barney before descending to the car and the end of the adventure. 

Danno made me an awesome new bivy sack for my birthday. This is easily the best bivy I've used. Its super roomy, has a very breathable highly water resistant Pertex top, full length zipper and comes in at 200g. These will be avialable for order in the next few months. Also note the Cuben tarp he has just sewn up - 160g with linelocs and guys!! 

On Maroon's summit for the second time




  1. What a fantastic birthday present Trev, couldn't think of anything better! A great trip! I've been trying to get out and do the reverse, Mt May to Mt Maroon for a month or so now. I'm very familiar with Mt May and Mt Maroon but have never done the crossing along the ridge and across Paddys Plain and up the gorge. I think I have it plotted out correctly but I was wondering if you have a GPS file for comparison? Nice looking bivy and trap too.

  2. Thanks Philip! This was one of my favourite trips in the area..highly recommended. I have updated the post with GPS details. Note that the straight line is where I accidentally stopped it for a bit. The route just follows the ridge line around and has a decent footpad for most of it. Have fun!

  3. Thanks for this Trev, much appreciated. Looks like I was plotting the correct route on my Topo map. I enjoyed the video too. I thought it captured the portals exceptionally well.

  4. Can't beat through hiking around Barney. By the way, I was interested in the homemade bivy bag, was trying to put one together myself. How did you make yours, any tips. Cheers, Bevan.

  5. Hey Bevan, Danno made the bivies we used on this trip with a 30D sil nylon bottom and breathable Pertex top. They are box type construction with a mesh head panel and full length curved zipper. He will make them to order for $160 from late october. Cheers