50 Classic Climbs of Australia – Logan’s Ridge

No matter from which obscure corner of the globe they hail from, most climbers will be familiar with the hallowed tome “50 Classic Climbs of North America”. Written in 1979 by Steve Roper and Allen Steck, “The Book” has achieved mythological status within the global climbing community.

Over the years, there have been attempts to compile an analogous title for our humble continent. Australia is not without its classic lines and the final word on which are the best and brightest of these has been hotly debated. A printed edition was released by Joe Friend, and a crowdsourced voting tally was run in 2010. Both had their supporters and their detractors.

To me, a classic isn’t just a line that climbs nicely – those are a dime a dozen. It’s something that people travel across the state, the country, or even the world to climb. It’s a route that you can tell your friends about, a route that becomes a little feather in your cap.

In my opinion, a true classic must:

  1. Feature quality movement and flow over good rock
  2. be highly memorable
  3. be aesthetically inspiring
  4. enjoy substantial popularity and reputation
  5. have some historical significance or prominence within Australian climbing culture

With those criteria in mind, I’m going to run a regular “50 Classic Climbs of Australia” column on this blog. It’s just for shits and giggles, so feel free to discuss, debate, argue, amend and suggest. I’ve never climbed at Mt Buffalo, Point Perp, The Warrambungles or Moonarie, so I’d appreciate some input for these areas.

So… why not start now? But where to start?

Well, from the start of course. And here is one of the routes that started it all… for Queenslanders, at least.

Route #1 – Logan’s Ridge, Mt Barney

Captain Logan and his impeccable dress sense (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Captain Patrick Logan was, by all accounts, a prick. It is therefore no surprise that both his namesake city and river are horrible.

The exception to this rule is the rocky spine which bisects the eastern aspect of the Mt Barney massif. This striking ridge was the route by which the first European ascent was achieved in 1828. As he gazed across the boundless plains, Logan was said to have declared, “She’s a fucking classic, mate. All time.”

Truth be told, there is no way that Logan could have known that the ridge that bears his name would enjoy such popularity in modern times. Climbing as a sport was still in its infancy in Europe and at least 100 years from conception in Australia… which itself was 73 years away from conception.

In the grim days of colonisation, climbing mountains served one purpose – to survey the land for the purposes of agriculture. It was with this aim that Logan, Cunningham and Fraser scrambled toward the East Peak of Mt Barney, the latter two finding that it was a little too much for their taste.

Logan’s Ridge runs vertically along the centre of Mt Barney’s principal massif (Source: QPWS)

Many routes have since been established on the various ridges and gullies of Mt Barney, but none share the aesthetic beauty of Logan’s Ridge. It forms the rightmost edge of the imposing East Face, rising directly from the eucalypt forest to the summit in a series of craggy steps. It is easily the most desirable line on the most commanding aspect of the most impressive mountain in the Scenic Rim.

Logan’s Ridge as seen on Google Earth

True rock artists would regard Logan’s Ridge as a mere scramble, and it is. But aspiring bushwalkers will find the route difficult and treacherous with some exposed slabs and short chimneys. Regardless of skill level, ascending Logan’s is a big day out with some 1000m of elevation gain and loss to be made before returning to the car park.

Take lots of water and don’t forget the camera – the views from the East Peak of Mt Barney are some of the best you’ll find anywhere.

Route information for Logan’s Ridge can be found in Take A Walk in South East Queensland by John and Lyn Daly.

50 Classic Climbs of Australia
#1 – Logan’s Ridge, Mt Barney – Grade 3 – 1000m

  1. It’s a good scramble. I’d say clean and relaxing and often engaging to the point where you wished it was longer. My first time on it was also the first time on Barney and since then, I had the urge of try every single ridge and gully, but I return to this ridge at least a couple of times per year, trying to to more variants. From a historical point of view, I’d say is not proven that captain Logan first climbed this mountain, or even this ridge. At least the notes of his party leave us with some question marks. Regardless, the route 10 years ago had barely any hint of a foot pad and now, has a distinct track. Like many other “mainstream” routes, the erosion happens where hikers try to avoid the exposed ribs to find a more psychological protection in the scrub.

  2. I’m fairly sure I read it on one of Rankin’s books (Beyond the Horizon or Secrets of the Scenic Rim perhaps?). Notes from the party (maybe Cunningham?) were pretty vague. But regardless, Mt. Barney was hunting territory for local aborigines and a group of hunters was spotted and met by Captain Logan on his second attempt to climb the mountain, I believe. So we can probably say with confidence that Logan is the first european to have climbed the mountain, if this has any significance from a climbing point of view. It is interesting to note that South Ridge, was the last ridge to be climbed, despite being the easier one. Midget in fact became the “normal” route up the saddle and was used to carry up the heavy material to build the 3 huts. If I can find the book I read this, I’ll let you know.

    1. Please do, I would be very keen to read it. The Living Rock posits that Mt Lindesay was definitely climbed by indigenous folks before a European ascent by using vines that hung down the face. As this is arguably a more technical ascent than most on Barney, I think its fair to assume that Captain Logan was not the first to ascend the mountain, but merely the first to record it.

      1. I totally agree with the assumption. Also, traditionally, many history books and pioneer’s reports, tend to underestimate the indigenous activity in particular rugged areas (for various and unpleasant reasons). As an example, a long route from Melbourne to the Carpentaria was in fact already existing and linking many aboriginal countries for trades and travel, certainly not a virgin discover of Burke and Wills. But in our case, this ascent by Logan is definitely an impressive achievement, given the time, logistic and terrain traveled from Brisbane.

Thoughts? Opinions? Cries of dissent?

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