Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

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Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Lynda Moir » Sat 14 Jul, 2007 1:14 pm

We have just returned from three magnificent days on the Stirling Range. This is a great walk but as everyone said to us - it's harder than you think. Will add photos to the gallery so that you can check out the views and track.

Water is a major problem with no reliable water source. We were fortunate and there was water in a barrel - that some very energetic and clever people have placed high in a cavern in Third Arrow to gather the drips of water from the peak.

Finding your way is also a problem as there is no marked trail. The track is marked on a Department of Land Administration map 1:15 000 Eastern Stirlings.

The must have book for this walk is 'Mountain Walks in the Stirling Range' by AT Morphet. We hope to make it back there in October - the wildflowers should be impressive at this time. Even in the middle of July there were some wonderful flowers.

Heading to Tasmania next year around February/March. Maybe the Western Arthurs traverse?
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Postby walkinTas » Sun 15 Jul, 2007 7:51 pm

Looks and sounds wonderful Lynda.

You will have to tell us a bit more about your future WA walks. I hope to visit next year around September to November and was wondering what would be the best time to photograph wild flowers and which walks would be best.

I have family in Perth and Manjimup and was thinking I might spend a few nights camping in a National Park or two.
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Walking in WA

Postby Lynda Moir » Mon 16 Jul, 2007 11:21 am

Great to hear you are heading over this way for some walking. The Stirling Ranges would be an obvious place to spend some of your time. There are lots of tracks and some great views/flowers. Also Porongorup Range nearby.

I would say the time you are coming is perfect. Generally speaking the further south you head the later in the season are the flowers.

The Cape to Cape is another wonderful extended walk but can also be done in small sections.

Walking here is nothing like Tasmania. We love the Bibblimun track which you can easily reach from Manjy and Perth. The shelters, toilets, well-defined and marked tracks and water tanks make it all very enjoyable - the weather can be wet and cold but mostly not!

The Department of Environment and Conservation web-site would be a good spot to start gathering info. As is the Bibb track web-site.

Happy trekking.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Larsygirl » Mon 13 Dec, 2010 9:54 am

I've did the walk up Ellen Peak in mid November this year and the surprise for me is that the wildflowers are better at the top in the warmer months. So, while most of the flower display was over at the lower levels, the higher you climbed the more intense the flower display is. It was incredibly good. I'm told the flowers last most of the summer on the higher peaks (nice reward for effort).
The trail isn't clearly marked so there's a few false leads, where people have wandered off and back but it's clear enough to follow. Having had that little taste of the Sterlings I'm really keen to do the whole ridge walk.
I was thinking of starting at Bluff Knoll - do the easy climb with the full pack, figuring the pack will get lighter as the trail gets harder?? How did you go for water?
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Lynda Moir » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 9:42 am

We did our walk the other way around. We were dropped off by the the staff of the nearby caravan park. We had no problems with water. We did the walk once in July and once in October. I think in the summer it could be a different story. We carried enough water to get to the barrel, which I think was about mid-way on our trip. If there had been no water there we would have descended the range early and walked back along the base - you definitely need a fallback plan as the barrel cannot be relied upon. You are right about the false trails. We spent a lot of time considering our position - take care and be very vigilant. We werre fine but we were paying close attention. There are many stories of lost people. We preferred to be heading towards our vehicles - left at the caravan park. It would be interesting to hear from someone who has done the track both ways. I am not sure that one way would be easier than the other. In some places the surface was quite loose underfoot and we did pack haul two or three times on our first walk and I think once on our second walk. So take an appropriate length of packhauling rope and you do need a good head for heights. We loved the walk both times - the range is a very special place to be.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Fri 15 Jun, 2012 11:55 pm

I hiked the Stirling Range Ridge walk at the end of April. We went East to West, camping at the start of the firebreak the first night then heading off at 6. We planned to do it in one night to save on the amount of water we had to carry as we didn't want to rely on the barrel. After 10 hours hiking we set up camp in the cave on the north side of the First Arrow. Spectacular views in the morning.

The next day I had to run back to the barrel as I had drunk a litre and a half during the night and was down under 2 litres for the rest of the day and wasn't comfortable with that. We ended up starting around 9 I think. Reached the Bluff Knoll summit around 4/5.

Like others have said, the path is often not clear and I was glad to be with someone who had done the hike before. At places the scrub was quite thick too. At two days hiking, it was very challenging but doable. That being said I wouldn't recommend this unless you're ready to punish your body a little; we were all thoroughly exhausted.

All in all, a very rewarding hike. I used the Google Earth co-ordinates on Walk GPS to familiarise myself with the walk and would recommend anyone interested in it to do the same.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Lynda Moir » Sat 16 Jun, 2012 12:36 pm

It is a fantastic walk. I must say I would recommend taking the three days but water can be an issue - so you need a backup escape route plan if water is a problem. Your post made me feel like rushing down there again! As you mention, close attention myust be paid to where you are. The first time we walked the Stirling Ridge this added a lot of time to our walk - but did save us from getting lost! The second time was more comfortable from a navigation point of view.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Sun 17 Jun, 2012 6:37 pm

Yeah we had a bit of trouble navigating past the first arrow, lost the better part of an hour I think. Staying as high as you can is the general rule but at some points it can lead you to a cliff. This was my first hike where navigation was not straightforward and I loved it.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby redrock » Thu 21 Jun, 2012 3:39 pm

This would have to be my favourite hiking destination in WA, and one of the few 'mountainous' areas we have! That cave on 3rd arrow is the bees knees isn't it!!!

I've hiked it about 14 times in all seasons except middle of summer, in 1-3 day combinations, and would have to say a Spring 2-day trip is the top of the lot. The profusion of colours and insects, wedge tailed eagles flying overhead, and the backdrop of acres of gold/green/purple fields of crops/canola/lavendar is absolutely stunning!!

I've been keeping an eye on the weather in recent years as well for any chance of snow. It was actually forecast last week around the storms in Perth but i didn't have a chance to go down. Didn't hear any reports later though.

Lynda, you aren't related to Shirley from Glenelg by any chance are you?

PS. We lost a hiking pole last trip on the way down from East Peak just before hitting the plateau towards Moongoongoonderup I think it was. It was just after short section of big, rocky scree where we briefly lost the track. If anyone picks it up, please let me know and take it to the Stirling Range Retreat. Thanks!!
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Sat 23 Jun, 2012 2:25 pm

I didn't get a chance to look at the cave on third arrow, we were pushing for first arrow. We fit 4 guys in there but they were a bit uncomfortable.

I'll definitely try and head up there in Spring; the brown of the surrounding fields wasn't very appealing for me in April. Would love to catch a bit of snow up there as well, but that's just for bragging rights.

One of the highlights for me was sharing the Ellen Peak summit with the eagles. Could have stayed up there for a lot longer than we did.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby stepbystep » Sat 23 Jun, 2012 2:40 pm

About time we saw pics from this range peoples. Please :D :D
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Sun 24 Jun, 2012 5:40 pm

Download Google Earth, and get the file from walkgps, it has some photos. I don't have any from my trip, I still need to get them off our photographer.

http://www.walkgps.com/useful_links_and ... ling_Range
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby stepbystep » Sun 24 Jun, 2012 5:57 pm

Scinap wrote:Download Google Earth, and get the file from walkgps, it has some photos. I don't have any from my trip, I still need to get them off our photographer.

http://www.walkgps.com/useful_links_and ... ling_Range


Hey thanks mate, some great images. The images from Pyungoorup Peak are very tantalising. I'm an ex-Sandgroper that only ever did BK. Great motivation to go home and get amongst it!
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby baldhead » Mon 25 Jun, 2012 5:16 pm

Here's a couple of photo's of the Stirling Ranges
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SR Western Peaks.JPG (28.25 KiB) Viewed 12518 times
Stirling peaks  east to main ridge in background.JPG
Stirling peaks east to main ridge in background.JPG (32.39 KiB) Viewed 12518 times
The Arrows.JPG
The Arrows.JPG (37 KiB) Viewed 12518 times
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P1010521.JPG (33.21 KiB) Viewed 12518 times
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby bigkev » Sat 30 Jun, 2012 8:12 pm

I did the ridge walk in early December 2012. Starting at Bluff Knoll car park I walked to the cave on First Arrow (4 guys must have been tight!), the next day I completed the walk to Ellen Peak and then dropped down and walked along the fire track back to the retreat. Due to the weather heating up I had to bypass Ellen Peak (that'll give me a reason to go back). There is a rough pad along most of the route, I found that the roughest section was heading around the south side of the cliffs of Pyungoorup Peak, the trick being to follow the pads as close to the cliffs as possible. There was a bit of scrambling up ledges around First Arrow, a rope may come in handy to pack haul. I was lucky that there had been good rain before the trip, I found water just off the track up Isongerup Peak, in the barrel at Third Arrow, and in Woolaganup Creek on the fire track. None of these should be relied on though.

The owners at Stirling Range Retreat are extremely friendly and helpful and dropped me off at Bluff Knoll car park (for a fee), the retreat was for sale when I was there so things may have changed. I used AT Morphetts, and Chapmans notes and they were more than adequate. I wrote up a report at http://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/stirlingridgewalkwa if you want to see plenty of photo's.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Fri 20 Jul, 2012 9:59 pm

Just picked these up today. This was from our trip in April.

DSC_0025.jpg
Looking up to the range from our starting point near the creek
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Looking onwards from Ellen Peak
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Looking West from near the cave on First Arrow
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Bit clearer, from First Arrow
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Sunrise from cave on First Arrow
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Scinap » Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:11 pm

And the end result.

DSC_0217.JPG
Looking back from Bluff Knoll
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby mcjrhl » Wed 04 Dec, 2013 1:09 pm

WP_20131117_008.jpg
Approaching Bluff Knoll
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby mcjrhl » Wed 04 Dec, 2013 1:16 pm

Very satisfying to have completed the Ridge Walk again after 27 years. Hardest thing I have done in a very long time.
WP_20131117_008.jpg
Approaching Bluff Knoll
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby farefam » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 11:09 am

For a fairly extensive collection of views along the Stirling Range ridge walk check out the following links:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1140642448 ... econdArrow
https://picasaweb.google.com/1140642448 ... oEllenPeak

As others have indicated, this is a harder walk than you'd think, mainly due to the heavy amount of water you have to carry and the steepness of some of the climbs. Although there is a pad along much of the route; navigation can be an issue in spots, especially around the Arrows and the eastern part of Bluff Knoll, or if there is cloud about the peaks.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby englishmanbo » Fri 21 Apr, 2017 8:52 am

Failed attempt at the Stirling Ridge Walk this Easter. Would like to try again in the Spring.
I did not have 'Mountain Walks in the Stirling Range' by AT Morphet and now have a copy. I would not attempt without it unless ready to do heaps of bush bashing searching for tracks on the side of a cliff in the rain and heavy cloud. I found Hema Pro Maps App a waste of time, the DOL 1:15000 map and 'Bushwalking in Australia' by John Chapman of some use (John walked W to E, I was E to W). I was never lost but did lose the track. Are there any recommendations for a GPS/nav system that can really follow every twist and turn?
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Laurie » Fri 21 Apr, 2017 7:00 pm

I must have been just in front of you. I set out on Friday morning with my son for Ellens Peak.
I can empathise with regards to directions. I was fortunate enough to be able to join up with a group of three walkers who had done the walk before. Even then we had our fair share of "unplanned detours".
The track is not always obvious, but my advice is to do your best to find it and stick to it rather than head off in the general direction and hope to bump into it along the way. This is what I started to do, and while it worked for summiting Ellens Peak, it was not good enough to find my way around Pyungoora. Fortunately for me, that is when I met the guys who were more familiar with the route.
Having looked at Morphets notes, I would advise that you keep these on hand regularly as they did assist greatly.
The Saturday and Sunday were all walked in the cloud, so I had little idea as to what visual reference points I could use in future.
It does make me want to look at doing the walk again so that I can see what I missed on the second and third days of the hike.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby englishmanbo » Sat 22 Apr, 2017 10:41 am

Hi Laurie,
congratulations on making it through. Some say there is no reliable weather forecast for the Stirling Ranges, next time would you wait for a clear sky? Have you had any experience with GPS accurate enough to follow the track? Was there water in the barrel?
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Al M » Sun 28 May, 2017 3:11 am

Coming up is the WA Monday 5 June public holiday long weekend, which is a good opportunity to have a go at the Ridge Walk, pending weather window. Forecast showing medium rain Saturday, 2-17 C. If there are any others thinking the same perhaps could share ride and resources.

Have been doing the walk 1-2 times annually for about the last 20 years usually from East to west direction over 2 days with one night camp in the Sheoak Col just west of the Arrows. Until about 5 years ago I used to do it in 3 days and 2 nights camp.

I prefer to try from May to September, although the weather is less predictable, there are several advantages such as more likely to find water in rock drips and the water drum at Third Arrow is likely to have water from the winter rains, more challenging alpine conditions with chance of seeing rare light snow, and the coolest time to walk sweating less so reduces water demands. A lot less flies and fewer snakes also in the earlier period of those months, while either side of September the wildflowers are great.

It depends on how fit one is and if you know the way or are good at navigating, but the two day walk has its advantages in that you need to carry less water say 6L and one days less food supplies so overall several kg lighter and able to move much faster. I have managed to reduce the backpack weight over the years from carrying about 18-20kg for a 3 day hike down in later years to about 13kg. To achieve this you only need to plan for a shorter two day and faster walk and rely less on cooking by making ready to eat food and boil water only for coffee and soup times. Further reductions of around 3kg in backpack weight have also been achieved by switching from old school hiking gear to modern lighter gear (not without expense).

Last year was a good smooth trip in late October after one earlier failed trip due to wild weather (see youtube link below). Started early at BK car park, reached camp by 4pm, following day out past Ellen Peak track junction of fire break trail by 12.00 noon, hiked the full circuit back to BK end by 5pm where car was parked. Came across large unusual coloured snakes on two occasions on the ridge nearly trod on them through the bushes (strikingly beautiful with dark olive backs with saffron bellies, perhaps 90cm long). Wedge Tailed eagles as usual circling above most of the time and large rock skinks keeping good company looking for treats from my biscuit crumbs.

The failed trip was ambitious to think we could have pulled it off in that weather as in the first two hours setting off from the east end of park we were hit with extremes of weather one minute clouds and rain, high winds up to 130kph gusts, extreme wind chill, ocassional hail, light snow flakes half way up Ellen Peak and rain at ground level, got soaked, then the wind chill dried us off frozen only to get rained on repeatedly, then clear blue skies and then bad again constantly. We only got as far as half way up Ellen Peak and decided to take it on the chin and back off. Lesson re-learnt respect the mountain conditions.

A few other observations from last October, disappointingly I continue to see evidence of people leaving rubbish behind. The water drum was missing it's hose at the usual place and I did not climb further up to see if the drum had water.

YouTube and pictures below of both trips

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YDMHFruabZI[youtube]
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Wild flower mountain bell
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby nuskel01 » Wed 31 May, 2017 1:32 am

Hi there.

My wife and I are doing the ridges hike starting the Saturday the 3rd of June and will finish on the Monday the 5th at about midday hopefully. I have done the hike before in the middle of winter with two mates and loved it and this time I want to take my wife as she also likes hiking.
We are walking from Ellen Peak to BK and was going to get transport from the lodge otherwise If we had two cars we would drive one to BK and then then the other to Ellen Peak and once finished at BK drive to Ellen Peak to pick up the car. Maybe we could sort something out if you would like? Or even share the cost of the transport from the lodge.
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Re: Stirling Ridge Walk Western Australia

Postby Al M » Thu 01 Jun, 2017 1:39 am

(Edit) Just completed the Ridge walk yesterday 4 June over 2 days. The caravan park shuttle to Ellen Peak end of the park was full with about 12 hikers in several groups plus another party of 3 so quite a busy day for the Ridge as often it may not have any hikers or only a few. Approaching the start of climb up thick cloud gathered on Ellen Peak and started drizzling with white outs at the top. Half the hikers decided to wait out the rain camping at the escape or half way route below the Arrows and continue the next day onto Bluff Knoll.

A few had enough and retreated and about 8 hikers decided to push on through rain, slush, mud and clouds with many of us quite drenched and wind chilled with light rain coats managing to find camp sites along the way with rain continuing to about 7pm. Next day was good with no rain, some cloud and sun to dry off.

The Arrows water drum is still out of action with poly pipes pulled out and rat chewed. For those Good Samaritans with a mind to fix maybe try re-install the pipes but keep them raised above ground level somehow on stakes or wire so rats don't chew them?

Another challenging Ridge Walk run, you never know what you gonna get up there.
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Shuttle bus push start ready to go some can't wait
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Approach track and task in sight
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Pea soup weather at Ellen Peak saddle
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Local native snails enjoy the rain
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Rain soaked Bottle Brush
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Next day better weather and way ahead to Bluff Knoll finish
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