The North West Ridge of Mount Halifax

The North West Ridge of Mount Halifax

Stories from our friends who wander...

Madoc Sheehan has been an adventurer for all of his life... this is his account of his journey up to Mount Halifax in 2018.

"Everytime I drove past Mount Halifax, I'd notice its northwest ridgeline beckoning. From the highway, the ridge looked open and clear, and when combined with the topographical map details, all the signs pointed to a razor-back ridge with fine views and easy walking. Oh how wrong I was.

Andrew and I (Madoc) packed overnight gear. Then, on a steamy January day, we rock-hopped up the normal summit trail before forging new ground up the remainder of the creek until we were almost to the saddle. The going had been good at that point, and we were making good time. We left the creek with full bottles of water and plenty of optimism to begin our journey up the steep ridge that led to the razor-back. This was the last time we smiled for the rest of the ascent.

Madoc Sheehan looking at a topographical map

The ascent to the razorback contained the worst scrub we had ever encountered. Over the very steep ground the post-cyclone Yasi downed trees lay invisible in a chopsticks mess, covered over by dense chest-high sword grass and entwined with tangled and scratchy vines. Each step forward, sideways, and each tumble down into the ankle snapping log jams sapped our energy and enthusiasm. By the time we’d had enough, it was too late to go back. We were quickly running out of water.

Hours of slogging later, we reached the ridgeline where a brief moment of mild optimism returned – brief, in that the fine and clear razorback promised from the road was really more dense scrub with almost no views. In one spot, we were forced to literally swim through head-high ferns to make progress.

In the dark and more than ten hours after leaving the car, we stumbled, parched and exhausted, back onto the tourist route, only 10 minutes away from the summit. The relief at finding a defined track after hours of stressful, trackless terrain, was liberating.

Years later, I look back fondly on the experience, and I take confidence from our success. But the desire to do it again is unlikely to ever return. Been there, done that, but don't recommend it!"

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