Bluff Knoll snow trek a gru­elling ad­ven­ture

Albany Extra - - News - Toby Hussey

Climb­ing Bluff Knoll in pur­suit of rare WA snow­fall can be a tempt­ing chal­lenge, but his­tory will show it’s not for every­one.

On Thurs­day, we set off be­fore dawn in cold driz­zle, start­ing a two-hour quest through se­quences of knee­high steps, icy rocks, deep pud­dles and blis­ter­ingly cold winds on the way to the peak.

The 6km trail can take up to two hours each way de­pend­ing on fit­ness, and snow chasers should be pre­pared for warmer sec­tions in the first half of the trail be­fore en­ter­ing sub­zero tem­per­a­tures higher up.

Af­ter nav­i­gat­ing the of­ten slip­pery and sod­den track which caught out many hik­ers, the re­ward at sun­rise for those who made it was spec­tac­u­lar: icy peaks over­look­ing green, sun-lit pas­tures more than 1km be­low.

How­ever, re­port­ing on the phe­nom­ena re­vealed one telling truth: it’s not for every­one.

It should be taken as fair warn­ing that while most can com­plete the hike at a leisurely pace, the lure of snow can cloud the judg­ment of some who may be bet­ter off in a team, or not at all.

On Fri­day, an 81-year-old Spencer Park man known as Harry was res­cued by emer­gency crews at 1am af­ter leav­ing the main track on the es­carp­ment. He was res­cued from freez­ing tem­per­a­tures with a leg in­jury just me­tres from the track and more than five hours af­ter he was due home. It was a res­cue op­er­a­tion only made pos­si­ble af­ter po­lice man­aged to track his phone.

Harry was the only re­ported per­son to go miss­ing on the hike, but he was not the only per­son in­jured; even the fittest and youngest peo­ple were seen slip­ping and slid­ing down the path as the low tem­per­a­tures turned rock sur­faces to ice.

For those who can make it, the ex­pe­ri­ence will be a mem­ory to hold onto for years.

Pho­tos avail­able at west­pix.com.au

An elated Clemens Wun­der­lich is the new Bluff Knoll Ski Club cham­pion with a dis­tance of 4.51m.

Climbers trekking up Bluff Knoll.

Pic­tures: Laurie Ben­son

A quokka ven­tures out in the snow.

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