In late May 2002 I took a small trip to Western Australia's Stirling Ranges. Now Western Australia is a BIG place, but very FLAT. The Stirling Ranges are small "mountains" by world standards (peaking at 1098m) but are the only ones of any note in the South West corner of the state.I climbed two "mountains" during my stay. The first - Bluff Knoll - is the highest in the range at 1098 metres. It's the only place in Western Australia that gets snow - and only every 5 or 6 years.
The track to the top is a popular mountain walk and has a reasonably good trail with steps along some of the steeper sections. Now I'm not the fittest person around. I had to rest every 10 minutes or so during the climb - and at every rest point I marveled at the effort which many workers must have made to carve out the steps and trail out of the rock. Every piece of wood, every sign, every nail must have been carried up by hand.
The view from the top is spectacular, especially looking down on the lower peaks. There are quite a number of eagle pairs in the area, and I saw at least three pairs at reasonably close range.
The road to Bluff Knoll
The other climb was Mt Hassel, which at 893m is the range's 11th highest peak. The track is a bit rougher that the Bluff Knoll ascent, but very manageable without special precautions. Again, the view is spectacular.
Mt Hassel is on the right
View from the top of Mt Hassel
Bluff Knoll Revisited November 2010
In November 2010 I climbed Bluff Knoll again with my son Michael. The start of the track has been improved with a new information centre, but after that it's still lots of steps and a track that winds up the mountain with a cliff on one side and a huge drop on the other. In places, the track is little more than arranged rocks and you have to do a bit of scrambling. Still, on that day there were quite a number of people on the track, including tourists from Sweden and other Aussie states.