Non-pro pro tips: Five Basic Clues For Climbing Ngungun
Name: Mount Ngungun
Maximum elevation: 253m
Summit hike: 2.8km return
Climbing sites: 6
Mount Ngungun is a fantastic place to begin your outdoor climbing career. There are plenty of short and sweet routes rated seven and above at the shaded walls of Andromeda. The friendliest routes have positive holds, and they’re bolted for those who would like to try out their first lead climbs in relative comfort. The turn-off is a goat track to the left of a large gumtree, at the second set of stone stairs on the main hiking track. I’d suggest starting at Andromeda and working your way up the mountain, where more challenging climbs await. Every site boasts great views. Once you find a top, don’t forget to turn around and take it all in!
1. WHAT! NO LOOS?!
Yes, it’s true; there are no toilet facilities at the bottom of the mountain, or anywhere on the track. And you know what that means…bush bathroom!
Fret not – it isn’t so bad. At the lower crags, there is plenty of dense bushland where you can hide while you do your business. If privacy is paramount, it’s worth doing a short trek along the walls in the opposite direction from the goat track approaches, rather than going into the bushland directly downhill, as you can be spotted from the walls. Additionally, it’s advisable to duck to the loo before you get to the summit; trees to hide behind are pretty sparse up top.
The protocol is to go a little off the beaten track, and bury your business, so no one is at risk of seeing or stepping on it. And don’t forget - BYO loo paper!
2. QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN
Want to feel like a boss lady? Find a guide that can set up a safe top anchor and belay at the summit of the mountain. The highlight of your day will be climbing ‘Ice House’; it’s a 45 metre route! You can rappel down to the start from the top of the mountain and climb back up again.
It sounds intimidating, but it’s suitable for beginners, with generous side pull hand holds and secure feet. You’ll want to take your time on it, and not just because it’s a long climb (around 20 minutes) – you’re suspended at the top of a completely exposed cliff face, with a breathtaking view of the famous Mount Tibrogargan. You can also see directly to the coastline, out over beautiful green valleys. What a rush!
3. SMILE FOR THE CAMERA
Picture this – you’re 200 metres up, a lone figure on a sweeping face of volcanic rock. You need to capture the moment! There’s a perfect vantage point for photographers to set up if you continue past the top end of ‘Ice House’, in the opposite direction of the hiking track. After a short scramble downhill, you’ll come to a ledge that juts out, slightly lower than the summit. To the left, you’ll have a near-perfect view of ‘Ice House’, plus some nice, flat rocks to get comfy on while you spectate.
4. BUT WHAT WILL I WEAR?
Safety first! Make sure you wear a helmet, as the walking track runs right above some of the climbing routes, and there’s a danger of falling rocks. There are mozzies galore at Ngungun, even in cooler weather. I’m all about long pants and long sleeves, for a layer of protection against sharp rocks as I’m climbing. The good news is, the lower crags are in shade throughout the day, but don’t forget your sunscreen! To get to the routes, you have to traverse tiny goat tracks off the main hiking trail. They are littered with loose rocks and large obstacles, so hiking boots are the go, and are especially advisable if you have bad ankles!
If you want to climb every crag at Ngungun, you’ll need more than one day…and then there are all of the other Glasshouse sites! The Glasshouse Mountains Camping Ground is about 10 minutes’ drive from the start of the hiking trail. There is no phone reception, but there is clean drinking water, plumbing for toilets and hot showers (beware redback spiders in the cubicles), and you can have fires at designated sites…Just make sure you drive the five kilometre speed limit through the camping ground – there’s nothing the owner Steve hates more than a lead foot!
Clear skies, and happy adventuring!