Mount Sorrow Ridge walk
Mount Sorrow Ridge walk is a steep climb of 850m in the Cape Tribulation area in Australia. This is a track that I really wanted to do in Northern Queensland but I did not realize how hard it was going to be.
“Fit walkers should lace up early for this strenuous but rewarding Mount Sorrow ridge walk” – Lonely Planet.
There are not many activities listed for the Cape Tribulation area in the Lonely Planet so I thought that a hike would be a great way to start the holiday. We would camp somewhere close to the walk, and then get up early and head off on the Mount Sorrow Ridge for our first adventure.
Booking in at Lync-Haven Rainforest Retreat for the first night; it was a campsite with some small chalets, and a small wildlife pen with some Kangaroos, birds and a couple of easy walking tracks. We actually got to see some wild kangaroos on our first night which was exciting. They were just roaming around the park, probably looking for leftover scraps from the campers but I thought that it was a nice experience for Scott to see wild roos on his first night in Australia.
We were up early, like you are in Australia because the mosquitos were intense and it was like a sauna in the tent. After eating a quick breakfast, packed the tent away and we got back on the road in search of the Mount Sorrow trial.
With only a shop, a few campsites and a restaurant that did exotic burgers, Cape Tribulation felt like the smallest village in the world. We found a campsite that had the all-important swimming pool and bar and was enough to keep us entertained for the next few days ahead.
Setting off in search of the Mount Sorrow trail was quite a task. We first went round to Cape tribulation Beach car park where the Lonely Planet had said the entrance was. We searched around the carpark, around the toilet area and we took the miniature walk on the boardwalk to the south of the beach but couldn’t find it.
Then we took a walk out onto the Cape Tribulation beach but still had no luck. The Lonely Planet had said that you needed at least 5-6 hours to do the walk and not to start past 10am, so after taking a stroll along the beach we decided that it was a good idea to find the trail quickly or we would have to call it quits.
Finding The Path
Thinking that it would be best to ask a local, we drove back round to PK’s campsite (with the pool and the bar) and enquired inside. The receptionist told us that the Mount Sorrow path was up by the car park but just up the road a little more and to the left. However, it was a bit tricky to find. So off we went again back to the Cape Tribulation car park in one last search to find the Mount Sorrow path.
At this point after parking the car we encountered our first Australian traveler. He was a typical stereotyped Australian man, he had the jeep, wore the clothes and spoke in thick lingo. We asked him if he’d seen the track and he replied, “Ar yeah, we were looking for that track to Mt. Sorrow”. Then he continued “Nah but, I found an interesting path that leads straight to the dunnies”. Scott and I thanked the man and hurriedly departed in search of the path.
Thankfully (without the Australian in tow), we found Mount Sorrow. It was nestled just up the road from the car park, so we checked we had everything again and set off.
At this point we started to wonder if we should turn back, it was piping hot and the mosquitos were becoming really annoying. Two girls then appeared on the track coming back from the opposite direction. I was re-assured at this point as I’d thought that they had made it to the top and were heading back down. It was not the case at all!
The girls had been walking for about an hour and a half and then when they reached the steep part of the climb where you had to use a rope to get up, they decided to turn back. They had done two thirds of the walk, but they did not have enough water and the last part was the hardest. Deciding that it was too difficult to continue, they turned back…..In hindsight, maybe we should probably have done the same.
However, I was determined to get to the top and was keen for the challenge. Scott wanted to head back, but I convinced him to continue. We continued along the track for what felt like forever. Every time we got to a steep part we thought we had reached the hardest bit, but we had not.
We kept on going until eventually, we had reached the steep rope climb. It looked pretty intimidating as it was vertical and rocky, but fortunately, it did have a relatively thick rope to help you up. We were both getting super tired at this point, but we decided to press on.
The map at the start had said that the last part of the climb was only 1km. We’d already done the majority and 1km really isn’t that far…..
I was wrong, it was difficult, the climb was painful and hard on the thighs and it just never seemed to end. The heat was excruciating, the mosquitos were agonizing and the leeches at the bottoms of our legs were just unbearable.
At this point I wanted to give up … but I couldn’t tell Scott I felt this way…
I tried to be positive, and we kept on pushing on. “We had to be close” I thought, “we’ve been walking a good two and a half hours and it is going to take us at least that to get back down”. I kept on saying to Scott (whilst convincing myself at the same time), “it really must be just over this bit, It has to be just here, we are almost there”.
Then suddenly out of the blue another couple was coming towards us. “Hooray! There is someone else on this Mount Sorrow Ridge”, I thought. I asked them if we were close to the top. “About five hundred meters”, they said.
They were not looking very happy and looked kind of tired of the experience. Similarly, I can now completely understand why. I waited for Scott (as he was taking a mini break) and we pushed on for the last part.
The View at the Top of The Mount Sorrow Ridge Walk
Finally, after about three hours, we had made it to the top of Mount Sorrow. It was a small platform that overlooked the Cape Tribulation area. The vast greenness of the tree tops and crystal blue sea water was amazing. We had climbed 850 meters up the side of the mountain and it was a really great achievement.
However, the viewing area was not exactly what we’d hoped for. It was overgrown and it would have been nice if there was somewhere to sit down…. I mean, our legs were super tired. There was a massive number of mosquitos, more than what we encountered in the bush and we had been eaten alive! I think Scott was hoping for a bar at the top but low and behold, there was nothing… haha
So, we took a couple of snaps, quickly re-applied the bush spray, refueled and proceeded to make our way back down the track and into the shade where the mosquitos were not as bad….
The walk and climb back down was just as hard as coming up!
Slowly, slowly, slowly made our way down the Mount Sorrow Ridge. Scotts shins were killing and the downward climb had really taken its toll. It took us around 5 hours to do the entire walk. In addition, it was steep, there were lots of mosquitoes and leeches and to top it off, it was piping hot.
Thankful to get back onto the road where we started and get back back to the car (with aircon) we then headed to PK’s camping ground (with the pool and the bar) to camp for the night.
To our amusement, when we arrived at our camping pitch and were setting up, we were confronted with the quirky Australian that we met in the car park at the start of the day. He was camped right in front of us and was super keen to find out all about our little adventure to Mount Sorrow. Scott was definitely not in the mood, but we found it funny later on.
Thoughts on the Mount Sorrow Ridge Walk
I honestly felt really mean. I took my partner, who had never been to Australia before, on one of the hardest walks in the area…. Mount Sorrow Ridge walk… I mean the hint is in the name, right?
However, after a sit down and a couple of beers, Scott was super proud of himself. Reflecting on what he had achieved on his first trail walk was just amazing. It was difficult, it was hard and it was painful but we kept on pushing forward and we made it. The sense of achievement we felt in the end was totally rewarding and those couple of beers we drank after the hike had never tasted so good…..
And any other walk we went on in Australia was a breeze….
What to Consider for the Mount Sorrow Ridge Walk
- Take plenty of water, I would recommend at least 4 litres per person.
- Insect repellent is a must, and you will probably need something strong like Bushmans.
- Wear long trousers and a long top to help prevent the leeches and mosquitos – we did not do this :-/
- Take a snack or two, an apple for us each was not enough.
- Go early, I would get there as soon as possible so you don’t get stuck up the top at the hottest part of the day.
- BE PREPARED – this is not a walk for the unfit or those that do not like a challenge.
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