‘We felt terrible’: Storm traps 16 mountain climbers
SIXTEEN members of a Brisbane gym are being guided off Mt Tibrogargan this morning after becoming trapped by heavy rain when a pre-dawn ascent went wrong.
The members of the F45 Caringdale Gym started the climb at 4.30am only to have the mountain top become a raging waterfall as a storm broke overhead.
Gym owner and climb organiser Emma Pearson said as the rain hit, the group became separated for a while with a decision quickly made to halt and call for help.
"It was like a waterfall," Emma said. "Straight away it became too dangerous and we made the call (for help).
"We felt terrible and a bit embarrassed, but it was safety first.
"I'm really happy. Everyone has been incredible."
Emma said the climb had been planned for a month after two successful ascents of Mount Beerwah without incident.
"We're all fit and healthy," she said.
Rescue supervisor Commander Bernie Massingham of Queensland Fire and Rescue said five vertical-descent trained rescue technicians, two fire and rescue staff and five SES volunteers assisted in bringing the climbers to safety.
"Basically, the amount of rain hitting created an absolute waterfall off the rock face making it very difficult to descend," he said.
As the skies cleared the rescue team harnessed to a rescue line and helmeted the climbers individually and brought them down to below Chicken Rock from where they were guided in groups of three down off the mountain.
Mr Massingham said it was hoped the operation would be concluded with all climbers and rescuers off the mountain by 11.30am with more storms lingering.