(Glasshouse 5 Mountains Report) - extremely long post warning
"i can't do this" is what i said to martin schot (CR MRX) about 6 metres into a 550m climb up mt beerwah.
we were climbing up a slick, steep, relatively featureless rockface at the base of the mountain.
i got to a point where i couldnt find any footholes to use. looked down (always a bad idea!) and could do that either. was stuck there for what seemed like 10 mins but was probably 1. with stories of the fat japanese and inappropriately attired pakistani tourists martin had seen climbing here a few weeks ago he eventually convinced me to go sideways and eventually continue upwards.
all the way up i was worried i would need to be choppered off the mountain.
what would team mellum have to say about that!!! .....
'the guys' and i thought up this idea on return from one of our GH training runs a month ago.
i had never been up mt beerwah or mt tibrogargan despite running around there regularly.
decided it would be a good idea to do both on the same day .... and while i was at it throw in the 'easy' beerburrum and wild horse mountains as well.
spoke to my mentors ian javes (CR glassman) and bill thompson beforehand for some ideas on route etc...
bill and ian are ultra legends.
ian has completed the westfield sydney-melbourne amongst many other events.
bill has several 100 mile finishes to his credit including hardrock in the US and (i think) 6 GH100 finishes.
they are absolute legends and feel priveledged every time i run with them.
bill has a tendency to 'talk down' things - i guess when you've done hardrock everything is easy so i was worried when he had a few things to say about the idea...
1. are you sure you want to run between the mountains (over 50km). why dont u just drive?
2. definately do beerwah first. its the hardest. you'll need to keep your wits about u there. people have died on beerwah yunno david!
i didnt sleep well for the next few nights.
mt beerwah (556m)
started at bills place at 5am and it was a chilly, cold, somewhat lonely and miserable run up to the main lookout. got there and the GPS said 40km!
bugger must not have zeroed it properly. was already about 15mins behind time which means 30mins since i was going to head back the same way after climbing beerwah. MRX was meeting me at the bottom of the mountain at 6.30-6.45 but i got there at 7.05.
the initial climb up the slippery rockface was certainly confidence shattering to say the least.
i have to admit i am pretty scared of heights (so why the hell am i climbing mountains then!?!).
i was too scared to go up 3m on a ladder the other day.
for those who dont know martin is a former winner of the GH100 and a bit of a hill legend.
exteremely lucky to have him with me - there is no doubt that i would NOT have climbed beerwah had he not been there.
thank you soooooooo much!
he offered to swap shoes with me after my little nervy turn and i promptly accepted!
after climbing up there a few weeks ago he had preplanned and brought some shoes with him that looked like a cross between rockclimbing and cross country shoes.
of course then i was worried that he would fall wearing my slippery ones and i would have to explain to his bereaved family how he came to do this!
after about and hour of rock climbing/scrambling we arrived at the top.
of course i couldn't relax or enjoy it because i still had to get down!
luckily spoke to bills wife jane from the top.
she told me its much easier going down and just to do it 'on my bum!'.
so thats what i did.
jane thompson is an absolute life saver! was much more confident coming down.
the traditional 3 points of contact at all times was now 4! (or 5 including both cheeks).
of course there were some steeper bits where u simply had to turn around and face the wall ... yuck!
we found a slightly different route for the last bit which i was pleased about.
bill gets up and down in 1.30 on a good day.
we had done it in 1.40 which i was amazed about given my nervousness.
mt tibrogargan (364m)
was running about 30 mins late by this stage so deiced to 'cheat' a bit and go a more direct route to tibro rather than back via the lookout.
was feeling a little down by this stage.
wanted this to be a completely self-supported trail running thingy so accepting martins help and shoes and running down the road seemed like cop-out.
but i am sure glad for the help!!
arrived at the base just after initially planned and headed up with bill and martin.
ian drove back to bills and ran back (i dont think he likes rock climbing ;))
tibra is not as bad at beerwah.
there are certainly some more exposed bits - so it seems worse at times.
there is one section in particular where u need to go sideways over a little overhang. if u looked down u would see a drop of 40-50m before anything would slow your carcas down.
i can certainly see how people have fallen to their death on both tibro and beerwah particularly in bad weather.
again was very pleased to have bill and martin with me.
was very good to have them show me the best lines on the way up.
relaxed a little more on the top this time but still very keen to get back down.
hearing ians voice near the track at the bottom was the sweetest thing i've heard in years.
i shouted "is that ian - oh thank f*ing christ for that".
probably not quite the right way to 'give thanks'.
but was certainly glad all the praying i had done that morning had clearly saved my bacon.
was extremely pleased to have completed about 30km of running and to have done the 2 most dangerous and difficult mountains.
only lunch and a couple of concrete-path ascents to go!!
mt tibberoowuccum (220m)
only about 5 m of rock climbing on this one - bascially just a slippery slog thru bush up a hill.
wasnt planning on doing this one until bill suggested it.
so instead of being the 4 mountains challenge it was now 5!
only added 30mins to the equation and thought i needed to do something to make up for my road-running and shoe-borrowing episodes.
was very keen to get back to beerburrum and have a pie at the shop as it was now 12.45
on the way the guys kept trying to make me go up other hills.
oh theres jack ferris lookout over there david! its only another few hundred metres ... want to go up there!
i'd been going since 5am and wanted my pie!
mt beerburrum (280m)
had about a 20min stop at the beerburrum shop for some food/drink and replenish my food/drink supplies for the trip out to WHM to finish.
the bottle of coke went down reeeeeeeeeeeallllllly well.
beerburrum is basically a steep walk up a concrete patch.
nothing technical or dangerous about it.
just hard work - on my back particularly.
Wild Horse Mountain (123m)
found a much quicker way out to WHM than via GHM road.
funnily enough it was the same way (in reverse) brendan mason (CR virtual) and i think rob ware accidentally came in the GH100 race last year.
it pretty much leads from the forestry place at beerburrum right to the underpass under the highway.
bill and ian both decided to come with me and so i was very pleased to continue walking (bill is a walker).
got to WHM and took a few running steps jokingly.
bill said 'off u got then' and it suddenly seemed like the right thing to do.
so i ran up it. all the way ... honest!
dont think the quads like me today because of it.
called ruth from the top.
looking out at beerwah and tibro from the lookout the day suddenly seemed all worth it.
got back to bills after 11.5 hours, approx 50km flat running and 5 mountains and had some anzac bickies and tea. thanks jane!
despite the scary bits a fantastic day spent with running mates in a beautiful location.
definately one of those adventures i'll sit down in a few years time and just shake my head and smile about.