Race Against Giles-Time

Conquering Mt. Giles

Extract from Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.

[In memory of my Dad, C.D. Trudinger 1928 — 2012]

Determined to reach the peak, we plunged forward, despite being famished, wrung of perspiration, weary and late. We were so close.

*[Photo 1: The Giles Challenge © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

Every so often, the trig teased us appearing as we reached a high point, and then vanishing as we dipped into a valley. My brother (MB) and older cousin (C1) raced each other.

[Photo 2: Razor back ridges © C.D. Trudinger 1992]

I climbed over a wall of rock and saw the trig wobbling above the slope in the oily heat. I scrambled upwards. A saddle stretched and rose before me. Damn! Another false top! I struggled over the saddle to face another false top. After staggering over the fifth false top, I saw the trig and blinked. Was it real? Or was it a mirage? I limped up the jagged path, pain shooting down my calf muscles with each step. The trig disappeared behind an outcrop of rocks. We’ll never get there!

[Photo 3: One Ridge After Another © C.D. Trudinger 1992]

I skirted the rocks and saw the trig fifty meters away, bold, rusty, and high. Under the shade of an orange sheet that fluttered like a flag in the wind, MB, C1 and younger cousin, C2 lounged by the stone cairn, packs off their backs, stirring Salvital into their cups of water and then sipping with delight the reward of their labour. The time was one o’clock.

[Photo 4: Exploring the summit © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

Ten minutes later, Dad dragged himself over the last ridge and limped to the summit. There, he sat on a rock and rubbed his knee. ‘O-o-oh!’ He inspected the damage, red and swollen. ‘I tripped and fell on my knee. I hope I can get down alright.’

‘You better,’ C1 laughed. ‘You can’t exactly camp up here.’

‘You’ll have to get down,’ MB said.

‘Yeah!’ I gazed at the view entranced by the once-ancient ocean bed surrounded by islands of mountain ranges that snaked like the backbone of a prehistoric creature into the haze on the horizon.

[Photo 5: True T-Team victory © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

‘Hey, look at these!’ C1 excavated some calling cards from a tin can wedged in the monument to the summit. Our predecessors had conquered the mountain one year earlier to the day. The scribe wrote: “The climb was well worth the effort”. They described ascending to the peak by the southern ridge starting from Giles Spring. This tip gave us the idea to descend by the south ridge and traverse west through the pound to the camp.

[Photo 6: View from the summit—Foreground, the Pound, Ormiston Gorge behind, and in far distance, Mt. Sonder (left) and Mt. Ziel (right) © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

We celebrated with lunch of scroggin and copious amounts of Milo and strawberry flavoured Quick mixed with powdered milk and water. We took photos of the stunning scenery and each other as evidence of our triumph over adversity.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2019

Feature Painting: Mt. Giles through Ormiston (acrylic on linen) © Lee-Anne Marie King 2015

***

Dreaming of Australian Outback adventure?

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon Kindle or as your own Aussie coffee-table book.

Click on the link below…

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