“Mt Beerwah is closed after a rock slide in January. We could go up Tibrogargan instead, it's more walk than climb but still alright.” Famous last words. Not mine, but I was fool enough to take them on face value.
A few weeks ago my good mate Aston, producer of Final Reminder, planted the idea of going for a hike. We had just done a 5km run and I had smashed my latest time so I was feeling pretty pumped.
“Sure. Sounds like fun.”
Fast forward two weeks and Sophie and I were getting ready to meet Aston and his fiancé Jacqui before the hike. I was debating about whether I would last in my newish Vibram Five Finger shoes so I decided to do some research on the hiking trail. What I found was a little off-putting.
Every site I found showed people climbing what seemed like un-climbable rock walls. Then there was the report from a guy who had gotten trapped up the mountain, hit in the head by a rock slide, and needed emergency helicopter evacuation. Scary.
We started about 3:30pm, walking around part of the track that travels around the base of the mountain. It was great scenery but it wasn’t really a hike. It was more of a pleasant bush walk. Then we stumbled upon the hiking trail towards the summit climb.
“We’ll start it and see what it’s like. We can always stop and come back another day.” Famous second last words.
The trail began fairly simply but at a steep enough angle to encourage a little burn in the legs and also a solid increase if heart rate. It was a good feeling to be out experiencing nature and exercising at the same time. Then we reached the climb.
We found ourselves staring up at a steep(ish) rock wall which would require a fair bit of “scrambling” and the women decided they already enjoyed the view and were happy to relax there. Fair call but Aston and I had other plans. We had come this far so we should at least see what the climb was like right?
In a word it was tough. Maybe my few weeks off from the gym had something to do with it but I found it was lots of climbing and pulling myself up rock faces punctuated with the odd ledge or flatter area on which I duly rested my legs.
With each rest I would look below and begin doubting the whole idea anew. From above the rocks I had just scrambled over looked decidedly steep and I found myself wondering if I would actually be able to get back down without breaking my neck.
Not one to back down from a challenge though I figured that I would deal with the problem of getting down later. I needed to focus on going up first.
So on we trekked, climbing and scrambling our way upwards. At each stop we would look up and think “That next ledge looks like the top so we might as well keep going” and each time we climbed up only to see another ledge awaiting us.
Eventually the top sprung up on us and after a little walk across the summit we burst through the bush and onto the rocky outcrop a friendly man had told us about on his way down.
Immediately the cool mountain air struck me. I sucked in several deep breaths and let the refreshing breeze wash over me. I felt on top of the world. 364 metres on top to be precise.
So we had conquered the beast – the gorilla mountain as it is known – and it was time to test that worrying descent. That rock face was pretty steep on the way up wasn’t it? How would we go getting down it?
It was much easier than I thought.
In fact the whole way down Aston and I were talking, discussing all sorts of interesting topics including our thoughts on how to run a good IT business, why multitasking is wrong, what causes significant personality changes in people, why constant self improvement is great, and our own personal journeys we had over the past few years. We talked and the climbing down just took care of itself. Easy.
Stats, Vibrams, and Photos
Overall it was a fantastic day out and I would recommend it to anyone with even the smallest adventurous streak. I feel excited and energised from it and am now wondering what bigger and better challenges I can conquer next.
The stats for the climb are as follows. Note this is only for the journey up:
- Time: 1 hour and 4 minutes
- Km: 2.9km
- Elevation: 364m
This walk/hike/climb was the first big test for me and my Vibram Five Fingers. The passed with flying colours. I made it the entire journey (about 6km) without much trouble. The only time I even really noticed them was when I slid down some rocks an I could feel them pulling on each individual toe. But no blisters, or cuts and I believe they actually helped my climbing ability as I was getting grip on all sorts of crazy surfaces.
I took a few photos along the way and you can check them out on Flickr. The misty rain that was hanging around dulled the distant vista but I think you get the idea.