Having climbed Mt Beerwah and Mt Tibrogargan a few times a few year ago, I became a bit fixated on the idea of taking some gear and doing the climb, staying overnight and watching the show the sky put on. Unlike a lot of the other trips, this one required a bit more planning. Some initial research suggested that on previous occasions, police had been called when nearby residents noticed lights on top of the Glasshouse Mountains at night, assuming that no-one in their right mind would actually plan to be up on top of the mountain at night, let alone during winter. Added to the check list, to notify Beerwah Police so that they would know not to send the expensive and embarrassing rescue helicopter.
It also turned out that because of recent rain, the Beerwah summit route had been closed off due to loose rocks. As a result, my first choice mountain was off the list. I wasn’t extremely keen on doing Tibrogargan with gear. I remembered one of the sections, despite being a scrambling route, being particularly sheer and exposed. Having a large backpack, heavy cameras, tripod and other provisions, not to mention company who had never tackled any of the Glasshouse Mountains carrying the same gear, I ruled out Tibrogargan and sought other options. Ngungun was the next obvious choice, and not being as much of a climb as the other two was potentially a good initial test to see how logistics and the conditions would go.
Research pulled up another sticky potential issue- turns out cars parked at mountains often get broken into, and a string of cars got hit a couple of weeks before we went. Just great. So we extended the trip by parking a couple of kilometres down the road in the housing estate and set off. Carrying a fair bit of gear without the best gear to carry move it all (e.g. hand carrying bottles and tripods, dangling sleeping bags etc..) it was a bit of a mission, and required a good number of lightheaded pit stops in the rapidly disappearing evening light. If there was a do over, there were plenty of ways to streamline the operation so we were pretty thankful it was just Ngungun and not Beerwah off the get go.
The view at the top was spectacular- sunset made me more so realise the absence of a graduated neutral density filter system in my kit. One day. The sun came and went, and the clouds appeared to keep their distance. The view was spectacular considering the few houses and streetlights below, the city lights past the horizon, and the townships on the distant coast. The night brought a few realisations- mosquitos. There were mosquitos. Better still, there were small bats which flew to eat the mosquitos. This made head torches a bit of a liability because during one short period I had the headlight on, mozzies and small flying insects gathered in front of my face, and suddenly, just like a scene from Batman, I heard a flutter of wings and a cheep and there was a bat a few inches from my face. Great thing this didn’t happen as I was clutching onto a precipice because that wouldn’t have ended well. Another realisation, clouds are very wet. It was quite interesting to see clouds come all the way up to the mountain, rise up, and go over the top and down again as if it was just a speed bump. It wasn’t quite so interesting to realise that every time this happened, everything got drenched, down to the fabric of our backpacks and sleeping bags. Who knew.
So the photos were turning out well and we were landing a couple of keepers. There’s really something quite humbling about being up a mountain at night- really gives a small idea of how much we’re really just specks on a large rock. The quiet really helped to focus thoughts, the lights of civilisation in the darkness emphasised the expanse of un humanly occupied negative space. I can confidently say that despite the logistical issues, this was definitely one of my favourite outings.
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