Monday, December 21, 2015

Cotton Tree - Mt Warning

Well the time comes to move on. Been here for a good long while. On nodding terms with lots of the locals. Not any more.

Had a last paddle on the Maroochy River. I will miss that let me tell you, especially the Slack Boarding (Sit On SUPping) with my paddle buddy.

First-up in the 'Great Southern Tour 2016' is to climb Mt Warning.

Mt Warning and the Wollumbin National Park is close to the border of NSW and Qld and inland from Byron Bay and because of it's 1146m hight is the first bit of Australia to feel the sun's rays each morning. I've detoured to places for far more tenuous reasons than that.

So a quick look at the acute angle of the base car park tells me I won't get a good nights sleep here, so its down the hill 2km and about 200m vertically to a nice road side picnic spot complete with babbling brook. Yep this will do for the tonight. About 3am I start hearing vehicles labouring up the hill to the base car park - that'll be the very keen sunrise hikers. I'm tempted but have decided it's more of a photo op on the way up rather than just the one shot at the top. So I will start about 5am.

First mistake: deciding to walk to the base car park rather than drive. My thought was its only 2km, yes a steep gradient, but hey just 2km. Turns out the walk up to the car park was not the issue it was the walk back down, after doing the mountain.

Second mistake: was to go on a day when the cloud cover was below 1000m. I get to the top and the temp drops by about 20deg, or felt like it, and its a white out.

There is lots of information on-line about the climb but here are some of my thoughts: Its a good hike but be aware its very long and steep and the last 400m is as the sign says at the base "tough". When reaching the chain I didn't have a lot left in the energy department. Six km and about 900m vertical, then this chain. No photo shows you the true angle -it was getting close to vertical. Anyway, did it. But the worst was yet to come, the trip down. Don't think I was the first to wonder what a helicopter ride would cost? Besides the aggravation from the rescue people when they find I didn't break my leg. Hmm how much pain is associated with a broken leg anyway?

The best thing is it has put me in exercise credit for a bit. And I think I got some good photos, be it only below the cloud cover.

First view of the summit,
walking to the base car park

Steps or gibbers mostly good footing.

Looking East.

The last shot before the white-out

The dreaded chain.