Glass House Mountains (Scrambling)

[singlepic id=332 w=320 h=240 float=left]Lying less than 70km north of Brisbane, the Glasshouses are one of the most accessible playgrounds for bushwalking and climbing close to a major centre of population.

The Glasshouse Mountains offer a wide variety of bushwalking from easy short tracks to full-on scrambling and rock climbing. Standing proud from the flat plains below by between 200 and 557m, the striking peaks overlook eucalypt bush, pine plantations and cultivated fields.

Mount Tibrogargan (364m above sea level, 3km return)

One of the hardest of the accessible scrambles in the Glasshouse Mountains, this one is only for those with a strong head for heights. Graded Class 5, it is at the upper end of this scale, and provides an enjoyable challenge to those with a basic level of scrambling experience. It is not a walk but equally it also does not require considerable rock climbing experience or equipment. However those new to scrambling should be aware of significant risk from rocks dislodged by parties above, and should take utmost care not to dislodge rocks themselves through careless or hasty footwork.

For a less demanding option on Tibro (as it is often called locally), try one of the Grade 3 or 4 bushwalks. These range in length from the 800m Mountain View Lookout – the walk-in route to the start of the summit scramble) to the 6km Trachyte circuit. The Mountain View lookout walk is graded class 4 but is at the low end of the scale.

For serious climbers there are several options – both trad and sport – mostly in the harder grades but with the odd classic easy route.

Mount Ngungun (253m above sea level, 2km return)

The class 4 route up to the summit is probably the best choice in the Glasshouses for those with limited scrambling experience but with a good level of fitness. Nothing more than a very steep and sustained walk, this trail still should not be attempted after rain as the wet rock can be very slippery. The trail starts off reasonably gently, then approximately 1/3 way up abruptly steepens to gain the last 150m height before exiting on a short ridge with great views over the surrounding countryside.

For those wishing to climb there are several options on Mt Ngungun ranging from the beginners trad routes of Nursery Cliff to the more challenging routes on the Lower Cliff.

Mount Beerwah (556m above sea level)

The summit route again makes an interesting scramble (graded as a class 5 walk). However this is currently closed due to recent rock fall, and on the spot fines apply to anyone caught attempting the route.

Mount Coonowrin (377m above sea level)

While there are several worthwhile climbs on this mountain, public access is still prohibited due to unstable rock and substantial fines apply.

There are several options for walking, scrambling and rock climbing in the Glasshouse mountains. The EPA website has more information, Lee Cujes’ online guide has a useful collection of information on rock climbing and a comprehensive route list or for historical information on the Glasshouse mountains try a further article by the same author.

The copyright of the article Scrambling the Glass House Mountains, Australia is owned by Chiz Dakin. Permission to republish Scrambling the Glass House Mountains, Australia in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

First published on Suite101, Dec 12, 2008 by Chiz Dakin