Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

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Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Sat 21 Apr, 2018 5:30 pm

This is an off track route in Mt.Barney NP
Savages Ridge is an ascent which should require experience in route finding. It is not one of the most difficult routes on Mt.Barney. The grading it gets is based on the crux of the climb - the chimney just before the summit of the West Peak. The route to that point is densely vegetated and steep in places but offers no real exposure.
Savages Peak 1170m is an elongated summit before West Pk 1359m.
We got a dawn start from Yellowpinch after the drive from Brisbane. We left the carpark on bikes for the leg around to the south side of Mt.Barney. It pays to have a bike hidden in the bushes for the return. A 45 minute walk becomes a 15 minute bike ride.
Continuing on the forestry road past the South Ridge turnoff and crossing upper Cronans Ck a couple of times, provided access to Savages Ridge. Shortly after the ascent starts the remnants of an old forestry road can provide some easy height gain but there comes a time to leave it to stay on the ridge. There are still some signs of an old pad but treefall and overgrowth dictate the path taken. A couple of hundred metres height gain and a scramble requires a bit of a lunge which when wet might push some people to go left (west). It is generally best to make the lunge and stay on the ridge. Each option to the left provides an opportunity to slip and there is still the traverse back to the ridge.
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Toward Rum Jungle

With the ridge running NW it combines with a spur from the left at about 1050m alt. Just before Savages Peak. Scrambling over rocks on the now narrow ridge is still surrounded by dense vegetation. Good views can be had from several points on the elongated summit.
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West Pk from Savages Pk
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Mt.Lindesay and Mt.Ernest

Whilst taking a break, we considered our goal. The plan had been to retrace a path we had taken before around the base of the West Pk to the saddle with Barrabool. Take lunch on Barrabool and continue around the West Pk to the north side, over Midget Ridge and on to Rum Jungle. Our concerns were growing with regard to the wet slabby rock we'll encounter below West Pk. We had noted the evidence of significant recent rain.. If wet slabby rock was an obstacle then the chimney on the West Pk is not helping reduce concerns. It's just a shorter route.
I was taking in the view toward Burrajum Peak thinking back to time nearly twenty years prior. Three of us had taken a daywalk from Cleared Ridge, over Gwyala, Burrajum, West Pk and Midget Ridge. It was a route that always stayed in my mind as one that had truly gone feral. Pushing through scrub whilst climbing over hidden rocks and treefall. Jumping into dense vegetation. It surprised me for what would have once been a navigable route with a clear pad.
My mind wandered to Barney Spur and how i had always considered it a key feature in the area. It provides a link between the border and Mt.Barney. I had travelled a couple of times along the border between Collins Gap and Nothofagus and had noted each time the point i would embark to follow Barney Spur. I had often thought of crossing Barney Spur in a 'Round the Mountain' trip of Mt.Barney. Regrowth of Lantanna, nettles and stinging trees were always reportedly the problem and my experience in the area backed that up.
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Burrajum Pk from Savages Pk

I put it to Kathryn that we return via Barney Spur. Settle my curiosity and feed the dream of going the length of it. We had the secateurs with us. We had a GPS if we needed it.
The descent of Savages is an easy gradient to the west, down to a saddle with Burrajum Pk. You need to wind through thick patches of vegetation from small clearing to clearing. Turning south to reach the saddle, we located some water in the rocks and replenished our supply. You can stick to open rock , weaving ever lower to avoid pitching yourself off the rock in to high scrub. Inevitably, you jump in and start the slow ascent. One of those ascents when you acknowledge at some point it is not worth it anymore. The consequences of going forward or back are as dire as the other. Definitely the only time to do this route is after a fire.
The next stretch from Burrajum Pk to a knoll above 1200m was no better. Maybe only for the fact that it was not so much an incline. It could only get better.
We descended south more than 150m making sure to steer south more than SE.The route vastly improved. After successfully locating a saddle which could easily have been bypassed, we continued south over a knoll on a reasonable pad with nearly no resistance from the bush. Our course turned SE to another saddle before a steady incline. After a short ascent we steered eastward to a spur and found a path as the spur narrowed in descent. Patches of lantanna and nettles forced us off the centre to the south mostly. Each time we returned to the centre with relative ease. The regrowth had us considering dropping to a tributary on the south. We persisted in returning to the spur and eventually won our access to Cronans Ck. Scrambling and rock hopping we found the road downstream and went home.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Champion_Munch » Sun 22 Apr, 2018 6:46 pm

Great trip report. I’ve been considering the route you originally planned for some time, up savages and bypassing the cliff finish via the Barrabool saddle as it sounds a bit hairy for my ability. What are the prospects of avoiding the west peak entirely and skirting around from midget ridge direct to rum jungle, which you alluded to in your original plan?
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Sun 22 Apr, 2018 9:34 pm

Midget Ridge to Rum Jungle is straightforward. Midget Ridge was the original easy way up to Rum Jungle. Before the establishment of South Ridge. I believe most of the materials for the hut that used to be there, were carried up Midget Ridge.
There is a line of vegetation from high on Midget Ridge to Rum Jungle.
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West Pk from East PK
. It is dense scrub these days and it is probably best to stick to the upper edge of the vegetation. As it flattens out and contours around to the saddle, evidence of a pad will appear, maybe a cairn, and it will take you into the saddle. Unfortunately, Midget Ridge, particularly on Bippo Pk and the stretch above to West Pk, is plagued by many thin trees blown down across the route. It does slow things down. I've twice regretted taking it as a descent route in recent years.
It is a very easy scramble to West Pk on Midget Ridge. There is another way off West Pk. A bit steeper and directly east of the summit.
When coming from Savages ridge, the leg around to the saddle with Barrabool is tricky but easier than the bit going further to Midget Ridge. I'm sure you need to ascend as you go around from the saddle with Barrabool to Midget Ridge.
On Savages ridge it is in fact easier to go to the summit of the West Pk. Particularly if Midget Ridge is the goal. It looks daunting as you approach but the chimney is fairly brief and you'll be chuffed you did it.
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Champion_Munch » Mon 23 Apr, 2018 12:10 pm

Thanks for the advice Aardvark. I have only visited the West Peak area once, on a long day walk via Barney Gorge and Midget Ridge. Actually I thought Midget Ridge itself was not as scrubby - and had better views - than I had been led to believe. I quite enjoyed it, and would be happy to revisit the area (if the walk-in wasn't so damn long). Climbing to West Peak from the Rum Jungle was OK, but the final stretch was very airy. Or at least, the exact route I took was. I contoured around to the south of West Peak where the cliffs petered out so the route wasn't especially steep. However, the exposure was very severe. The thought of trying to descend that section gives me the willies.

From Savages to West Peak, you think it is easier to take the final cliffs directly? I have read that it's easier to head north first (to where either Barrabool or Midget ridges meet high up) and ascend this way. I have no climbing experience and unsure about escape routes if the chimney gets too hairy e.g. would it be possible to descend Savages again if necessary, or is that going to be cutting it short to fit in one day?
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Mon 23 Apr, 2018 7:54 pm

Taking Savages and returning the same way still makes for a great walk. It all goes to making you better informed. Sounds to me like you just need to look at the chimney. You can ascend all the way to the crux and still bail without any difficulty.
The word chimney is a little deceiving. It's NOT like your going to straddle between two walls with your legs and ascend vertically supported by your own weight. It's only a chimney in that you're enclosed within walls and all that does is hide any exposure. I've descended it. It is a scramble not any different to what you might encounter all over Barney.
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Zooming in on the chimney from lower down

I'm interested to know where you read it was better to go around. I imagine it was someones personal blog. It would all be a matter of opinion. Like i've said. It is possible. When you get there however, you will see it is very little travelled, if at all, seemingly. . You find yourself clinging to vegetated patches between steep slabby rock. It is an undulating route requiring you to push through vegetation and sometimes between rock and vegetation. It is slower and stressful for some. Route finding will add to the stress for some. I can only imagine someone saying it is better because the anxiety of summiting west peak was greater for them. You're just trading one evil for another.
At least the chimney route eliminates the navigation element.
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Champion_Munch » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 6:26 pm

Thanks aardvark, guess I’ll just have to get myself up there and see how things look. You’ve at least given me some confidence to give it a shot. At the very least there’s an easy retreat back down savages.

It was bushpeoples guide to bushwalking in SEQ that suggests the traverse for groups who are uncomfortable about a direct ascent of the chimney. This is also mentioned in Secrets of the scenic rim.
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Tue 24 Apr, 2018 7:25 pm

I think walking here in SEQ was a bigger thing back in the 1950's to 1970's. Maps i have from back then show so many more graded tracks for example. Particularly in Lamington. The hut on Barney certainly brought about more traffic. The route up Midget ridge would have been clearer. I've no doubt there would have been a beaten path around West Pk then.
But i'm sure you're going to want to say one day that you have ascended Savages ridge. For that matter, you'll want to say you've descended it too.
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Wed 02 May, 2018 12:05 pm

From Savages to West Peak, you think it is easier to take the final cliffs directly?

Here's a view from Midget Ridge to West Pk. It gives an idea of what you have to do to get around West Pk.
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West Pk of Mt.Barney from Midget Ridge
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Re: Savages Ridge - Barney Spur Qld

Postby Aardvark » Sat 26 May, 2018 8:23 am

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Another closer view of west peak from Midget ridget.
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