Climbing Mt Glorious

My climbing partner says not many people climb Mt Glorious. So on my 68th birthday we began the ascent from Jolly’s Lookout. The BOM had predicted a 38 degree Celsius day so we began at 8 am. On previous ascents we had gone from McAfee’s lookout which means a climb up Mt Nebo, a descent followed by a climb up Mt Glorious. Graeme’s bike was a Scott with  a carbon frame and I was on my old Trek that I bought in 2000 when I got a job promotion. It is a hybrid with a Chrome Alloy frame and weighs 22 kilos because it has pedal assist. My dream is to ride up Mt Glorious on my $100 Aldi bike which weighs a lot less without pedal assist. But I am not ready yet. I weigh a full-bodied 105 kgs (height 6′ 5″) and Graeme a fit 75 kgs (height about 5′ 11′).

View of Samford Valley from Mt Nebo. That’s Mt Glorious in front and Mt D’Aigular is the peak in the background at far left of frame.)

Needless to say it is important to carry plenty of water but the community hall at Mt Nebo has water tanks so you can refill there before the climb up Mt Glorious.

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View from Jolly’s Lookout circa 1935 … it hasn’t changed much.

Normally on Friday’s I am doing a radio show at 4ZZZ. Contrast the view above with my normal view below. Open space versus city crowding.

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View from 4ZZZ (fm 102.1) at 291 St Paul’s Terrace Fortitude Valley

Even though I enjoy my Fridays at the radio my birthday view from Mt Nebo was pretty special before the climb up Mt Glorious which lies in the brutal category, but more about that later.

It is a 16.4 km ride (32 km up and back) which can be broken up into a series of climbs and descents. The ascent takes Graeme and me about 40 minutes (including stops) with most difficult climb at the end, that includes a stop over at the cafe or Maiala at the top.

The first section is a modest climb to Mt Nebo Post office. In fact you climb from 374 metres at Jolly’s to 527 metres half way along the 5.2 kms ride and then descend 74 metres by the time you arrive at the Mt Nebo post office which is right beside Cafe in the Mountains.

We stopped there about a year ago meeting up with some locals including a muso, a man who is doing his PhD on caves, a waiter who is keen on the spiritual significance of the big rocks nearby and a man who recognised my voice from 4ZZZ! It was a pretty friendly vibe on the mountain that day with Graeme and Keith and an assortment of alternates. The coffee was good too.

Mt Nebo Hall

Strangely a friend told me that her Mum and Dad ran the cafe some years ago for about 10 years.

That friend is a big supporter of Palestine like me and the waiter at the the cafe. She even let me leave some leaflets about the Big Ride for Palestine which happens every year from Brisbane to Byron Bay in August.

That’s a great 200 kms ride but we will say no more because we are at Mt Nebo Post Office and have decided to fill up our bidons at the local Community Hall just past Jones Tearooms on the corner of Mt Nebo Road and View Street. Mind out, View Street is quite steep. If there is a yoga class on remember to tippy-toe especially if you are wearing cleats so as not to disturb the class.

This hall is a member of the Festival of Small Halls and has music and BBQ functions on there. There is a very nice feel to the place plus they have toilets down the back. It is run by the Mt Nebo residents association and you can pick up one of their colourful calendar’s at the local Post Office.

In the late 1950s I can remember our family going for a drive up Mt Nebo. It was a particularly hot day (like this one) and the car radiator was boiling. Dad stopped and we got out to let it cool down. There wasn’t much traffic in those days. We noticed that one of the tyres was flat. This was a bit much for Mum because she was a nervous passenger when Dad was driving (for good reason). Argument and accusation ensued while we tried to change the tyre in oppressive heat. I may be wrong but I think the spare may have been flat as well. That was a long hot Sunday. It pays to come prepared on the mountain.

With our bidons full Graeme and I set off for the summit of Mt Glorious. This amounts to 4 climbs and one descent depending on road closures and detours. There have been quite a lot of road works in the past year. We go from 452 metres to 646 metres. Presently we have to take a detour because roadworks are in progress on the descent down to Stony Creek. So we take the Forestry Road turn. This is a nice part of the ride through thick forest and the bell birds cheer you along. You go along Darcy Kelly road and meet up with Mt Nebo Road.

Darcy Kelly was my doctor when I was a kid growing up at Moggill; Darcy had his surgery at Indooroopilly near the railway station. Not the same guy I suspect. Anyway you come past Manorina, which used to be a camping ground. Its in D’Aguilar National Park. No more camping is allowed but picnics are fine. Look out for the male Australian King Parrots flying past with their bright red chests and green wings.

Australian King Parrot (male)

Darcy Kelly road then meets up with Mt Nebo Road again. You make a left turn and start a steady climb through dry Scleropyll forest. If you had made a right you would have gone down to the Goat Track which is a climb from Samford Valley. On one ascent we met two German women cyclists at the top who had taken the train to Ferny Grove and climbed up from Samford Valley to Mt Glorious cafe via the Goat Track. Not recommended unless you are very fit and have a good bike.

One word of caution when you climb. You can hear motor bikes coming up behind you and can move over to let them pass. Some are really hiking, doing up to 70 kph and at that speed they have to choose their line especially into the corners. Some slow down but not all. However when you are descending you can’t hear them coming because of the wind in your ears. What we recommend is that you chose a straight line on descent and don’t weave (no ‘paperboy weaving back and forth on this mountain) . That way the bikers can see what you are doing and get around you. It can be scary because, if you are descending at speed yourself, you don’t want to be too far to the left as the shoulders can be rough and gravelly.

Often cars give you plenty of leeway, they are required by law to give you a full metre and sometimes that means they can’t pass legally because there may be blind corners ahead or double lines. Some motorists are too kind and hang back behind you, thus putting pressure on you. I try to descend quickly in these situations because cyclists can often descend faster than a car in this type of terrain. But don’t go too fast. It is best to do the climb off-peak on weekdays, I wouldn’t do it on weekends, its just too busy.

Now we are getting to the business end of the ride with two climbs. From the corner of Mount Nebo Rd & Mount Glorious Rd there is a 176 metre climb. It is 3.7 km. We are not talking Alpe d’huez here plus you don’t have to worry about snow on the road. But we are talking Mt Cootha. In fact if you can climb Mt Cootha you can climb Mt Glorious.

To climb from Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens to the kiosk at the top is a 247 metre ascent and is as steep as the final approach to Mt Glorious. However if there had not been a detour and we had climbed up from Stony creek that would be a more difficult approach with two climbs of over 500 metres, in total, spread over about 6km.

But today we are taking the high road and will have a coffee at the Mt Glorious Cafe with all the bikies who have passed us on the way up.

Mt Glorious Cafe

If you like you can go on to Maiala. We did it in the rain last time and came down through the mist to Mt Nebo. It was fantastic.

But on this occasion the climb to the very top was not to be. I had a mechanical (my cassette came loose) just one 1 km from the summit. Nevertheless it was a great descent of about 380 metres. And we had a good yarn with the contractor who cleans all the picnic areas on near Mt Glorious.

Ian Curr
22 Dec 2018

At the summit of Mt Glorious 2016
First ride up the mountain on my Trek in 2016 .

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