Bluff Knoll snow trek a gruelling adventure
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.
An elated Clemens Wunderlich is the new Bluff Knoll Ski Club champion with a distance of 4.51m.
Climbers trekking up Bluff Knoll.
A quokka ventures out in the snow.