Part 1: Glasshouse Mountains (See Part 2 as to the personal connection to the mountains in 1973).

The Glasshouse Mountains are a series of steep-sided volcanic plugs which dominate the landscape of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

These mountains have had  a lot of personal history with me over many years. We pass them going up from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast of South East Queensland and we pass them going on our way back to  Brisbane. The area is now an important National Park area which you can drive and walk through. Because of the  red open  soils  which result from the breaking down of the volcanic tuff rock in the area, it is very popular as a  pineapple growing area.

I initially go to know the mountains in a personal way back in  1970’s when I was a university student and very fit. I had the following experiences:

  • I was on the way back down to Brisbane with a fellow I lived with called Austin from a camp we had been to up further north than the Sunshine Coast. We stopped in at the  Glasshouse Mountains with the intention of climbing  one of the peaks. We climbed to the top of Beerwah I remember running and jumping down  the steep incline  with my friend not far behind. We then spent more time (about another hour) climbing another peak of Mt Crookneck through steep slopes of open eucalypt forest. We knew it was steep  but we eventually came to vertical cliffs which prevented us from going further.
  • In 1974 I went to try rock climbing on Tibrogargan. This was with an avid rock climbing man who wanted to try his new ropes on teaching climbing techniques to a handful of new students. We got partway up the mountain on a  sheer section of rock surface using ropes and shiny new metal spinnakers.
  • Then we all walked up an easy back section of the mountain to the very top. We lowered ourselves over a cliff edge by abseiling over the edge using our feet to push away from the rock. The long rope and waistband and metal spinnaker then held us very firmly in place. We then gently freefell in open air at our intention over a small open cliff cave for 80 ++ metres to the cave floor below. I well remember the metal spinnaker allowing the rope to slowly go through the metal ring as you allowed it to be released.
  • Later that year, I went with one of my adventurous university  girl friends for a weekend day trip  from Brisbane to the  Glasshouse Mountains to Mt. Tibrogargan. We walked up the easy back section of the mountain to the very top and took a cut lunch. We stopped to admire the top view over the forest below, the intervening farmland below and  the distant line of the Pacific Ocean.

I thought I never see this friend again but Harriet my awesome wife (we have been married for 48             years up to December 2022), we were seeing a film at a local cinema in Brisbane and this single                 woman said you are Ken Aitken. It turned out to be this girl I walked  Mt. Tibrogargan in 1973,              49 years later. I got her mobile phone number so we will have her out for coffee in early 2023.