Mountain safety

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Winter is hiking and climbing time in Queensland.

Queensland national parks naturally include an array of mountain experiences. Whatever you’re doing—picnicking, walking, climbing, camping, wildlife spotting, or simply basking in the view—you’ll see some of nature’s best and finest on display.

    Hazards

    It’s important to remember that, while mountain adventures are fun, some activities are risky. If you are walking to a mountain, rock climbing or scrambling a summit route, or crossing a mountain creek, there are hazards involved. The hazards vary according to your activity and location, your experience and physical fitness, and how well you plan and prepare before you set out. However, no one is immune to accidents.

    In recent years, more than 150 people have been rescued from mountain summit routes in south-east Queensland alone. Several people have died attempting to reach or returning from the summits. If you need to be rescued, it’s not only life threatening (not to mention embarrassing) for you, but also risky for the rescue teams, especially in bad weather. Minimise your risk of harm through careful planning and assessing conditions on the day.

    Cultural significance

    Many mountains hold spiritual and sacred significance for First Nations people, who would prefer visitors choose not to climb the mountain summits. Please check whether this is the case for the mountain you are visiting. You can decide to respect First Nations peoples’ beliefs and wishes and be a great example to others. Remember, you can still enjoy the mountain without climbing to the peak.

    Mount Tibrogargan, one of the Glass House mountains, is a culturally significant mountain and there are some amazing walking track alternatives to climbing the summit route. The Yul-yan-man track, a challenging grade 5 walk, offers many amazing mountain views. Named in Kabi Kabi language this walk offers the chance to immerse in Kabi Kabi country while respecting the First Nations people’s request to consider not climbing Tibrogargan.

    Tips for staying safe

    Here are some tips to stay safe and make your mountain visit memorable for all the right reasons:

    Know your fitness and capability  

    Make sure you are aware of your own physical capabilities and limitations and choose a walking track or summit route climb that matches your abilities.

    If you do choose to climb one of the summit routes, be aware that there are incredibly steep exposed ridges and cliff faces with near vertical drops.

    Be weather wary

    Always check the weather forecast before leaving, because the weather can change suddenly.

    Do not attempt the summit routes in wet conditions or if it is likely to rain as the surfaces can get extremely slippery when wet.

    For the best and safest mountain peak experience, climb during the cooler months (April to August), when it’s more enjoyable; you are less likely to be heat stressed and dehydrated; and you can avoid the storm season (September to March).  Prepare properly and know your limitations.

    If walking or climbing during warmer months, you need to choose a shorter walk or summit route. Head out soon after sunrise so that you can return before the day heats up; choose mountains that are in cooler, treed areas; and take plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated.

    Plan your trip

    Plan thoroughly and choose activities that suit the skills, experience and fitness of everyone in your group. In other words plan your activity so that it suits the person with the least experience and lowest fitness level.

    Get to know the walking track grades (level of difficulty and experience required) by visiting Walk with care and then check the gradings of your particular walk.

    For summit routes visit the relevant Parks page for specific planning and safety information—summit routes are highly demanding climbs that require preparation; a high level of fitness; and rock scrambling and climbing skills.

    Let someone know

    Notify a reliable person and/or leave your plans with them. They can raise the alarm if you don’t return when expected.  Remember to always notify them if your plans change and when you return.

    Head out early and complete your adventures in daylight

    Start early in the day so that you have plenty of time to complete your activity before darkness falls, or the weather changes.

    Go with someone

    Visit with one or two other people and preferably with someone who has undertaken the route before.

    If it is your first time visiting a mountain, it is recommended that you take a guided tour with a group of friends, or someone who has successfully completed the route safely before.

    Wear suitable clothing

    Wear sun-safe clothing, a hat and sunscreen and flexible soled footwear with good grip.

    Pack for safety  

    • Bring plenty of drinking water and high energy snacks
    • Take a fully charged mobile phone and save its battery life Bring a personal locator beacon (PLB) if you are in an area where there is likely to be no/poor mobile phone reception.  Visit PLBs to find out more.
    • Carry a torch in case your return is delayed.
    • Take a first-aid kit and know how to use it.
    • Take equipment for the activity you are planning: if you are climbing or rock scrambling on a peak with high-risk rock fall areas, take and wear a helmet.

    Visit Find a park and check out the the visiting safely pages for the park you are visiting, to ensure you have all of the information about how to stay safe in that area.

    And remember when visiting Queensland national parks, to leave no trace, so that we can all keep enjoying these precious places.