Ok, so I’m meant to be doing a whole heap of housework, and some editing, but I’m being naughty and relaxing first. Stacks Bluff is a great walk if you love scree, and probably a nightmare, or at least a challenge if you don’t! I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive looking scree field, and there’s just something about climbing up that wideish ‘shoot’ between ‘walls’ of dolerite that stretch straight up. Love how dolerite does that :).
Anyway, back to the beginning. Both times I did Stacks were with the Pandani Bushwalking Club, both run by the same walk organiser. The reason for the second trip, aside from the hope of a complete view, was that after returning from the first trip he realised that only a couple of hundred metres away from the summit of Stacks was another peak, Wilmot, worth a point on the peakbaggers list. So we just had to go back. And it is a walk worth doing again, even though there wasn’t anything particularly special about Wilmot.
This second trip to Stacks was the first walk I did where I worked the Sunday morning baking bread, finished at 9 and raced up to try and catch everyone else, who had met up and left at 7. I already had a rough idea where to go from last time, and I’m relatively confident on rock, so I thought I might just be able to do it.
The drive takes you to Fingal, Avoca, through Rossarden and to Story’s Creek. There there’s an old school and a signpost that now says nothing but used to say Stacks Bluff 6 hrs return! It’s like a 4wd track, and after 1.5 km there’s a spot to park cars. Just before this the road forks, make sure you take the right fork that leads uphill, and is orangish rock as opposed to grey gravel.
I made it here, driving as fast as I could without getting a speeding ticket, at 11.15. I’d probably say allow 3 hours for a normal trip. I was walking 5 minutes later, and jogging on the flat/downhill parts, knowing that if I hadn’t caught up to everyone else before the top of the scree field I would have lost my advantage. The first part is still 4wd track, but then the track heads off into the bush, marked with cairns and red markers, about 20 minutes after starting (I got here at 11.40).
I was feeling puffed, and my legs were heavy and not moving as well as I wished they could, so the jogging stopped and I struggled to walk at pace. I headed up and was glad to see the start of the scree, cos that slows me down enough to allow me to get my breath back, requiring a bit more mental concentration and less physical exertion. It was longer than I remembered, and as I popped over a small rise I started to hear noises. I walked a tad further and saw everyone ahead, an hour after I’d started out. The hard work done, I could sit back, relax and joke around. I could also enjoy the view this time, as the first time we’d walked up into cloud. It’s not a bad view up there, but I do prefer the view of stacks from a distance, rather than from on top. Just reckon it looks more magnificent :).
We took out time getting the rest of the way to the summit, spending a fair bit of time talking (as you do, and this was my first walk with other people for quite some time) and were up there just on 2. We headed across to Wilmot, there by 2.30, then back down, by 5.20, and home.
All up: 10.7km, 6.09hrs, 816m ascent.