Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mt Earnest, South East Queensland

The ridgeline does provide decent views of Barney in places, but not as many as you would like

This was the best perspective we got of the sacred peaks of Mt Barney from the Mount Earnest ridgeline

Views of Mt Lindesay were quite pleasant from the lower eastern end of the ridge

The summit cairn on Mt Earnest with Barney West Peak to the north west


Mt Earnest (964 metres) is the highest point along a ridgeline approximately 3.5 kilometres long. It is a steep walk made all the more difficult by a lot of loose rock, gravel and leaf litter along the full length of track. As the walking track is not used nearly as much as the more popular routes on Mt Barney it does take considerable effort to keep your feet and in some places your track recognition skills will be tested.


Mt Earnest is located to the south of Mt Barney in the Mount Barney National Park. For directions to Yellow Pinch carpark see Mt Barney under the Walking Archive, 2009, May at the homepage.


Our plan was to approach the ridgeline from the eastern end and walk along it to the highest point of Mt Earnest. It can be completed as a circuit, most commonly commencing from the western end using the usual approach for Mt Barney's South Ridge and veering left on the firetrail at the base of the South Ridge. As this presents a rather mundane 6km walk from Yellow Pinch plus an addition 2km slog through the bush to the ridgeline, we chose to approach and exit from the eastern end to avoid the foot slog.

We left Yellow Pinch carpark at 7am and walked for 2km before branching off the track to the South Ridge at the farm gate just before the causeway across Cronan Creek. We continued along the western fence line following a well beaten 4WD track toward the watercourse visible on the Mt Barney National Park topographical map (1:25,000). Note: Do not consider doing this walk or any others in the park without this map.

On the topo map you will notice a boot shaped area of bush to the south of the farm gate before Cronan Creek. The track skirts along the back of this area before turning east at the heel. Locate a tiny box shaped structure on the map just under the toe of the boot which is a gate and the best place to cross the creek to gain access the ridgeline.

Proceed through an unstable rock slip area, veering north (left) toward a fence. As you will know from the map and the steepness of the track you are now on the ridgeline and the walk is really just beginning. We followed the ridge track as best we could but got off it in a number of places which wasted some time along the way. I was surprised by the amount of scrub during the walk, especially in the last 1/2 kilometre before Mt Earnest. It was a warm day (26 Celsius) with little wind and I did drink more than I normally would.

We reached Mt Earnest at 10:50am and after a long lunch departed at 11:20am, retracing our steps back to Cronan Creek. As stated earlier, a number of people choose to do this walk as a circuit but we figured we had enjoyed the best the ridgeline had to offer (from a hiking perspective) so were happy go back the way we had come. The descent was an unpleasant affair, made difficult by scrub, rock, rubble and leaf litter on the surface of the track. We reached Cronan Creek at 2:30pm and were glad to be walking on flat solid ground again.

As scramblers who love nothing better than a nice clean rocky ridgeline, Mt Earnest failed the test from our perspective. Too much scrub, heat (no let up from the sun) and physical exertion for too little gain (scrambling, views, breeze). That said if you are a bushwalker who likes nothing better than hitting a trail that is a bit off the beaten track and using some navigational skills, you may love Mt Earnest. If you do have a go at it let me know how you got on.

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