Mount Barney Signage Project warns climbers of hazards

EXPERIENCED: Mount Barney man Innes Larkin, pictured on his trek in Ama Dablam, Nepal in 2015.

EXPERIENCED: Mount Barney man Innes Larkin, pictured on his trek in Ama Dablam, Nepal in 2015.

Signage aiming to reduce the number of serious incidents on the Scenic Rim’s Mount Barney is in place.

As the breathtaking peak becomes more popular with climbers, the number of rescue operations has been on the rise, with 21 in the last two years.

Owner and director of outdoor education at Mount Barney Lodge Innes Larkin said the number of visitors had exploded because there were very few mountains in Australia which remained as wild.

“It’s a spectacular, remote and crazy mountain to be on,” he said.

“It’s a massif and you really need to concentrate and think about what you’re doing.

“You can’t pigeonhole Mount Barney.

“There are multiple tracks, gullies, gorges, and rocks.

“There are many routes to the summit and the wrong track can very easily look like the right track.”

A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service had been liaising with police, SES officers, and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service regarding the number of rescues required on Mount Barney and there were no plans to restrict the number of visitors.

The spokesperson said one of the key issues identified was that some visitors attempting the summit routes were severely under-prepared for the challenges posed by the walk/climbs.

“As a result, one of the aims of the QPWS Mount Barney safety signs project was to educate visitors about the challenges posed by the summit routes, and the levels of preparation and fitness required to complete the different walk/climbs,” the spokesperson said.

“The new signs make this clear, and also encourage visitors to self-select the type of opportunity that best corresponds with their level of preparation, fitness and experience.

“New directional markers have also been installed along the two most popular summit routes to further assist visitors.”

Mr Larkin said he had seen the new signage.

“They’ve certainly done their job of informing people that Mount Barney is different to all of the others in Queensland,” he said.

Mr Larkin, who has been climbing since he was 11-years-old and has ascended Mount Barney more than 400 times said people needed to be prepared for anything and everything.

“It’s a changeable environment and a remote wilderness area,” he said.

“You go up 1300 metres and the walk takes eight to 12 hours.

“The temperature and weather conditions can be quite different at the top.

“You need to have the right equipment and supplies.

“It’s hard work.

“The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy it.”

Mr Larkin said some who attempted to climb Mount Barney lacked the bushman skills required and people considering taking it on should first climb Mount Maroon.

“Take Mount Maroon and triple it,” he said.

“That gives you an indication of the level of fitness required and the style of climbing you can expect.”

QPWS also offers a number of opportunities around the base of Mount Barney for bushwalking on graded walking tracks – this activity generally requires lower levels of preparation and fitness.

QPWS has plenty of safety information on its website: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-barney/about.html which includes a list of walking tracks and their classifications, things to know before you go and essentials to bring.

Mount Barney Lodge offers a navigation course which provides people with the skills they will need to make the climb safely.

“It teaches people to use a map and a compass, and actually understand where they are rather than just guessing,” Mr Larkin said.

“They also learn how to plan their navigation before they set out.”

See mtbarneylodge.com.au