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Mount Tibrogargan

Mount Tibrogargan
 
 

I HAD never planned to do this climb. I had passed the mountain a number of times thinking it was too steep to scale its near vertical walls. I was with a small group standing on the summit of the nearby Mount Beerburrum looking over it when we all decided to give Tibrogargan a go.

Looking up the mountain
Looking up the mountain

Upon reaching the Tibrogargan Carpark we set off along a well graded trail heading directly towards the mountain. Above me I could see the yellow trail heading straight up the hill, looking incredibly steep. The gum forest quickly closed in removing the view, so I kept my focus on the level trail immediately before me.

About five minutes along the trail was a junction. The main trail continued straight ahead passing to the right of the mountain to form the start of the Trachyte Circuit. The trail to the left was rocky forming the start of the Tibrogargan Circuit trail heading around the mountain. We followed this trail over large stones for about a hundred metres before the summit trail turned off to the right. There was a warning sign that only experienced hikers attempt the trail. Great, I thought, this was going to be as hard as it looks.

We followed the trail along loose rocks heading moderately up the hill. After a couple of switchbacks the trail suddenly ended at the bottom of a low cliff. This was the start of the climb. Already I began to feel a bit giddy looking up. The others in my group started climbing whilst I took the rear. There were several people sitting on the rocks at the base of the cliff. I initially assumed they were resting but then realised they were here because they couldn’t scale the low cliff and were just sitting in the hot gully waiting for the other climbers to return from their summit attempts.

I began to scale the cliff. It was only three metres high. I found some good hand holds and started scaling the rock face. The rocks seemed to be pushing me out wanting to push me over. After some firm determination though I reached the top and hauled myself over onto the solid rocky ledge at the top.

Climbing Tibrogargan
Climbing Tibrogargan

There were several groups on the ledge, some about to scale the next part of the climb, and others waiting for the cliff to clear so they could climb down. There was a ranger on the cliff directing people to the best direction to climb. The terrain was very steep at around 60 degrees. Stunted scrub grew on either side of the rock face, but there was absolutely no vegetation over the area we were climbing.

I began the climb. The hand holds were a lot smaller than those climbing the short cliff, but at least it didn’t feel as if the mountain was trying to push me off anymore. We sidled along a narrow ledge to where the ranger thought was the easiest place for us to climb. From the end of the ledge we turned back heading to the left climbing about 45 degrees to the face from one tiny ledge to the other. It was rather crowded now with having to pass a couple of people heading down from the top.

Once past the initial area of rock, the climb became a little easier. I still had to stay on all fours for most of the climb, and it was a little slow, but I was able to climb step after painful step towards the summit. There were more people coming down off the mountain, including on young Asian guy doing the climb barefoot with ease.

View from near the top
View from near the top
View from near the top
View from near the top

The climb didn’t seem to get any easier as we continued heading up. The view behind us was getting more spectacular though. The nearby Mount Tiberoowuccum appeared far below. The distant towering mounts Coonoorin and Beerwah were now dominating the western skyline.

View from near the top
View from near the top

The trail continued up and up and up along the dusty sandstone coloured path. It was well worn from many climbers having scaled the mountain over the years. I kept a close eye out for any rocks that people ahead of me may have dislodged, especially by those coming downhill. There have been a lot of serious injuries on this route from dislodged rocks rolling down the hill.

Fortunately no rocks did roll down the route. We reached the top of the very steep climb to a small scrubby plateau at the top. Suddenly the long steep climb was forgotten and the trail gently ambled the final short distance to the summit.

Climbing towards the summit
Climbing towards the summit

The fairly flat summit was in a clearing of about five metres radius. Thick scrub surrounded the clearing removing any view. With no vegetation up here the view would have been spectacular. There was no one else up here. All of the other climbers today had already gone down.

The trail continued along a descending trail to a second lower summit before coming out on top of a vertical rock face dropping about three hundred metres. We stopped on a ledge for lunch admiring the spectacular northward view over the other mountains and the Sunshine Coast.

At the summit
At the summit

After lunch we returned along the trail back over the summit to begin the long descent. Now I normally find descents more difficult than the ascents, but to my surprise I actually found this one easier. Step by step I climbed back down the steep slope until reaching the rock face near the bottom. It was a bit fiddly sidling my way across and the vertical drop down the jagged bit at the bottom was a bit hair raising, but it wasn’t too difficult. I was very happy to be back on the track again, walking across the broken rock back towards the trachyte circuit track then along the wide track back to the car park.

Although only a short climb, Tibrogargan was the most difficult climb I have ever done and successfully reached the summit. Of all the climbable routes of the Glasshouse Mountains, this was the most difficult.

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13 October 2012

 

Glasshouse Mountains

Australia

 

26°55'36"S
152°56'47"E

35 - 364m ASL

 

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