We all know that South East Queensland is chockas with great mountains to climb, but how about running up 7 in a single day? Ben was part of a group attemtping the 7 Peaks Challenge in the Glass House Mountains, and it was a real dawn-till-dusk affair.
So a couple weeks ago Chris Sneath posted in our UQ Mountain Club Facebook group that he wanted to attempt the 7 Peaks Challenge in the Glass House Mountains (in his words: “Anyone keen for jelly legs?”). It really wasn’t that surprising, that Facebook Group constantly gets posts from people looking for other keen fellows to join them on crazy adventures, but I really had no idea what the 7-Peaks Challenge even was.
After some discussion, it turned out that Chris wanted to summit 7 of the Glass House Mountains in South-East Queensland, in a single day. That sounded like quite a challenge indeed, so I really didn’t need much convincing. On May 12th, 2018 Chris Sneath, Lucas Dubinski, Nabari Yoite, Robyn Davies and I left Brisbane around 4.30am for another crazy UQMC adventure.
1. Mount Tibrogargan (364m) – 5:50am
We drove to Mount Tibro with 2 cars from Brisbane. Chris, Lucas and Nabari arrived earlier than Robyn and I because we got lost and my lights died halfway so I couldn’t see. Great start.
You can take 2 paths to get to the summit. Whilst Chris and co. got up from the left, Robyn and I started the ascent a bit later and went up the right side. Mount Tibro is probably one of the steepest and hardest mountains to summit in terms of physical strength required. We were all keen to see the sunrise at the top at 6:20am, so we went up fairly quickly in 27 minutes, but since we only left the car park around 5:55am we were 2 minutes late!
In any case, we got most of the sunrise and it was beautiful sitting there with hot chocolate watching it. On a side note, I had never met any of the fellas but Robyn before, so up there we also had time for an introduction.
Then we had to get moving again, it was getting cold and we still had 6 peaks ahead of us…
2. Mount Tiberoowuccum (220m) – 7.30am
Next was Mount Tiberoowuccum. The carpark is just a little further down the road from Tibrogargan. We followed the Trachyte Circuit until we got to the 4WD track and turned right. Then we followed that track and got to the hiking trail on the right after about 10-15 minutes; from there it was pretty straightforward.
Once we were at the top, Chris suggested this amazing “shortcut”, which was pretty much taking a beeline back to the carpark. This would “save so much time”. Turns out, it’s smartest to stick to the track, because we ended up bush-bashing through lantana for the next half hour or so. Moral of the story: if you don’t want to bring back an entire ecosystem in your shoes, stay on the path, it’s there for a reason.
3. Wild Horse Mountain (123m) – 9.30am
This was probably the easiest mountain to ascend, there’s a paved road all the way up! The peak is also close to the Bruce Highway, so it’s a nice stop for lunch if you’re on the way through. We didn’t spend much time at the summit, but we did enjoy the view we had looking at all the other Glass House Mountains to our west.
4. Mount Beerburrum (280m) – 10.15am
When we arrived at Mount Beerburrum car park, we expected another easy walk when we saw the path was paved. But this one is significantly steeper than Wild Horse and really gets to your calves. It’s also one of the shorter walks but it’s still very enjoyable. There’s a nice lookout at the top and we had a chat to some other keen walkers before we moved on to Mount Coochin.
Want more hikes like this? Check out our Top 5 Intermediate Hikes Near Brisbane
5. Mount Coochin (235m) – 11.30am
Mount Coochin lies north-east of the crossing between Old Gympie Rd and Lindeman Rd. The entrance to the car park was a bit hard to find because it’s part of a private property. Turn into 2672 Old Gympie Road and the car park is right there! From there you walk onto the trail and go left at the first intersection. A couple of minutes’ walking later and a path on the right leads up to the summit.
This one was fun because it technically has two summits (hence, for a while we considered calling it the 8 Peaks Challenge, but 7 just sounded nice). It’s not very popular as a track, which is why it’s not as easily visible sometimes, but once we were at the top we could see the next peak a bit below. Naturally, we explored both peaks, which are quite remarkable due to the large boulders that shape them.
Until this point, our group had been a little quiet, but on the way down, out of nowhere, Chris (the group’s vegan) started a discussion on food security. For some reason we all got into it (probably because we were hungry). Once we got to the bottom, we cracked out our food because we only had 2 peaks to go and lots of time left.
Our little discussion kept going and we covered topics from sustainable land use to biodiversity, conservation to quantum physics, finishing on abortion. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what happens on these adventures. You talk about nothing and everything at the same time and it doesn’t matter if you know anything about the topic or not. The fact that I didn’t know most of the group only made it more interesting.
6. Mount Ngungun (253m) – 3.00pm
After a big lunch and sitting down for roughly an hour, we could really feel our legs. Luckily, Mount Ngungun has a clear path so we didn’t need to concentrate on finding it. As sunset was getting closer, there was also a considerable number of people on the track.
Since Robyn wasn’t sure how she was going to fare on Mount Beerwah, she took a rest whilst Chris, Lucas, Nabari and I made our way up. It took us between 15-20 minutes to get up and we explored some interesting caves on the way. There was no time to be wasted at the summit though; we wanted to make it to the top of Beerwah for sunset.
7. Mount Beerwah (556m) – 4.20pm
So, this was it. The last mountain, and we could really tell by the leg pain. We had 40 minutes to get to the very top, which was a challenge considering how tired we were. Most of us had been up this peak, so we walked along the first bit of the track in anticipation of the steep rock formations we would soon have to scramble up.
The ascent of mount Beerwah has 3 parts:
- A relaxing walk through the woods to the foot of the mountain.
- A steep, exhausting scramble up to the organ pipes.
- A steep hike/scramble around the right side of the pipes and up to the summit.
In my opinion, Beerwah is the most difficult peak to ascend, but also the most fun. So, when we got to the start of the scramble, I ran up in excitement. Bad idea: I was exhausted within minutes. Nonetheless, we made it up to the end of section 2 within 25 minutes, but then spent some time talking to climbers from QUT Uni who were staying overnight and climbing the organ pipes. Next thing we knew, we had 8 minutes left for the last bit. Of course, we didn’t reach the summit for sunset, but we got pretty close and enjoyed it from a good lookout three-quarters of the way up. Chris even brought beers for the occasion (mount BEERwah… get it?), but it was far too cold by then to enjoy them. After spending a couple of minutes at the summit, we made our way back down quickly.
Hot Tip: If you are going up any Glass House Mountain for sunset, bring a head torch. It was pitch black by the time we got halfway back down and we were lucky we had torches.
Looking Back On The 7 Peaks Challenge
So yeah, that was our little adventure. I think it’s fair to say we all had heaps of fun and that this really is an adventure for everyone. Yeah, it’s challenging, but for most people it’s possible to ascend at least 3 peaks of the Glass House Mountains in a day.
These sorts of spontaneous trips are always very fulfilling because you weren’t expecting to do anything this fun on the weekend, but then get back feeling exhausted and happy. We’ve already begun looking at the next trip idea: The Crowns Peak Challenge: Mount Barney, Mount Lindsey and Mount Maroon in one day. Sounds a lot more painful than this one if you ask me, but I’m already excited.
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