Climbing to the summit of Bluff Knoll has been on my radar since I first started hiking. It’s one of those things that I just needed to be able to put a tick against, and this week I finally did, that tick is firmly in place.
Bluff Knoll, at 1095 metres is the highest point in the southern part of Western Australia, beaten into first place as the highest point in the state by Mt Meharry in the Karijini National Park which reaches to 1,249 metres.
Along with a couple of hiking friends I spent a few days this week based in Denmark with plans to summit Bluff Knoll and also hike a section of the Bibbulman Track – despite some very wobbly legs and some rather stiff and achy thighs by the end, we achieved both.
We decided to start with the climb. The weather wasn’t promising as we drove nearly two hours to the Stirling Range National Park, the rain although not heavy was constant but my optimism proved itself as the clouds started to disappear as the ranges came into view.
Our first sighting of Bluff Knoll was spectacular, most of the sky was bright blue but the white fluffy clouds draped themselves across the peaks looking for all the world like snow. Apparently though the local people believe this mist to be a spirit named Noatch which literally means dead body or corpse. I’m thankful I didn’t know that at the time.
The top of that highest peak looked so high up and so very daunting but we weren’t deterred, the sun was now shining, we felt fit enough and we were prepared. What could possibly go wrong?
As you can imagine the only way to the top is up! Up lots and lots and lots of steps. We started off with a light hearted positivity and although the positivity stayed with us the light hearted bit sort of did a runner around half way up. There’s no doubt that it was a hard slog and then the weather did what mountain weather tends to do and changed quite dramatically. One minute we were in bright sunshine and the next we were donning the waterproofs and bowing our heads into the drizzly onslaught as visibility diminished.
By the time we made it to the summit around two hours after starting, the apparently fabulous 360 degree views were completely non existent, we had a lovely grey vista to welcome us as we stared into the cloudy abyss.
As I said though, we were prepared with fleeces and rain jackets, others weren’t and were in a rather drenched and shivery condition by the time they got to the top. We had also taken along our lunch and the makings of a warming cuppa so we crouched behind a sheltering rock, boiled the water, made the tea and sat quite comfortably with our lunch and chocolate muffins.
Going down was definitely more difficult than the climb up had been. My legs were obviously not as ready for this as I’d thought they were and it was a major struggle to negotiate the steps down. It took just as long to get down as it had to get up there and my legs were so weak and wobbly by the time I made it back to the bottom that I seriously thought they were going to give way on me.
Some serious mindset work was needed on this climb but the struggle, the drenching and the pain were definitely worth it. The rewarding views we were expecting from the summit didn’t eventuate but we were so very lucky to get the views we did as we approached Bluff Knoll earlier in the day.
Distance – 6kms round trip
Time taken – 2 hours up, an hour on the summit, 2 hours down.
Height – 1095 metres
Number of steps – squillions
I’ve put a tick against Bluff Knoll, which peak is next?
Ben Nevis – the highest peak in the UK. Stay tuned for more on that 😊