Parson and Clerk: 11 October 2015

Parson and Clerk GPS route

Parson and Clerk GPS route

It was my turn to choose a mountain to climb, which meant I wanted somewhere I hadn’t been yet, if possible. But the usual time restraints applied, so the choice was limited to the three closest mountains: Parson and Clerk, Dawson or Wright. Part of me wanted to go to Wright, cos I felt like a nice kind of walk, but it didn’t really make much sense, especially if we were going to do it with Stepped Hills as planned.

Parson and Clerk was the preferred option of the other two, because it was slightly less likely to be scrubby, and it had the added bonus of being able to check out the accuracy of the Abels walk description (if we’d taken the time, or more to the point PATIENCE, to follow it properly!).

Heading up.. lots of little-medium sized scree, and dry sclerophyll forest.. and rather a prickly walk thanks to the hakea in particular!

Heading up.. lots of little-medium sized scree, and dry sclerophyll forest.. and rather a prickly walk thanks to the hakea in particular!

A lovely sunny drive up promised a warmer than expected day. As we bumped along 22km of gravel road we disturbed some deer, before finding the boom gate at which we’d have to start walking.

20 minutes walk further along it, we headed up towards where our mountain was supposed to be (not much evidence of it, just a bit of a tree-topped ridge), following old sig tracks until they started to lead us too far astray. But that wasn’t such an issue, there was plenty of fairly ok scree that allowed us to escape from the worst of the hakea’s sharp needling. Gums were in abundance further up, but provided little shade from the heat of the day.

The southern bump.. DON'T be tempted to climb it ;)!

The southern bump.. DON’T be tempted to climb it ;)!

The climb was continuous, warm, and sufficiently long, but not overly steep. You could understand our excitement when we hit the ridge, followed it along a bit, and, for the first time, saw a decent sized bump ahead that resembled the photo in the Abels. Brilliant!

When we stood underneath and looked up at possible approach routes, reading the Abels description, we let our impatience and our shared desire for ‘going straight up’ take over, ignoring our slight confusion as to which part of the description we were up to. Up we went, knowing we were a few metres off the height we needed to be at, and 400m or so horizontally from the summit.

On the summit, Billop Bluff behind.

On the summit, Billop Bluff behind.

But it was to our dismay to discover we were on the southern summit (as the caption on the photo in the Abels reads) and the obvious summit was indeed 400 metres away, with a lovely scrubby and rocky dip in between. We weren’t exactly impressed, but after a bit of a whinge (at the mountain, and perhaps also ourselves) we got on with the job and pushed and scrambled the final few hundred metres to the real summit.

Typical terrain heading along the ridge..

Typical terrain heading along the ridge..

We celebrated with lunch, much needed water, and one or two photos, before deciding it would be prudent to follow the directions more carefully back down. We weren’t sure we went exactly where we were meant to, but it was a fair bit easier! A long and weary plod back followed, with both of us stumbling tiredly on the smaller, loose bits of scree, celebrating on arrival back at the road, and then the car.

We both spent the next few days picking splinters out of skin – it proved to be quite a prickly walk.

All up: 5:48 hrs, 12km, 791m ascent.

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