Many moons ago, when I was younger and prettier, we used to run the Mt Frankland trip on this weekend. March 2009 it rained. March 2010 it was lovely but got a little toasty in the afternoon by the second day.
In our great, wisdom, we decided to try and trick the weather gods and moved it to the September long weekend. The first time we did this, in 2011, the Queen conveniently postponed one of her numerous birthday celebrations (it must be exhausting) and so it was the end of October instead. The weather was great and we had an awesome turn out. In 2012 the weather was okay, slightly warm and then 2013 the trip was cancelled due to rain. Mind you, I didn’t miss out entirely, having snuck down there at Easter.
Maybe I should write to the Queen and ask that if it’s not too much trouble, could she please move her birthday to the end of October every year because it makes our trip planning much easier.
In March, the rock is dry (it seeps after rain); it is less likely to rain; temperatures are generally pleasant and cooler than Perth and there are March flies. In September, the rock is generally seeping, making for very exciting slab leading; the higher face climbs are often totally waterlogged and you need to wait half the day for it to dry out; it is more likely to rain and there are no March flies. On the bright side, March flies are verrrry slooow and therefore easy to swat. And who doesn’t enjoy a good slapping?
Why does all of this very interesting history matter? Because not everybody reading this will be aware of how fickle the weather is in that particular part of WA. Trying to organise a trip to Mt Frankland seems to involve the development of a temporary obsessive compulsive behaviour called ‘frantically checking the Elders weather site’. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week. Yes, I confess I’ve even been doing it more than once a day.
Currrently it looks dry (yay!) but also a touch warm (boo!).
For the uninitiated, Mt Frankland is a 422 m high granite dome set in the middle of a beautiful karri forest, conveniently located in the Mt Frankland National Park. The main and most worthwhile climbing is on the main dome. Best known for its slab and face climbing, you will also find the odd crack as well. It involves multi-pitch climbing with a mix of bolted and traditional. You can just do the single pitch stuff but will run out of climbs fairly quickly and it is only possible to top rope a few climbs from the bottom. To get a better idea of the climbing, check out the West Australian Rock or the South Coast Rock guidebook and the newer climbs are detailed on the CAWA web at the link Mt Frankland New Climbs or at On-line Guides/Mt Frankland.
Camping is no longer allowed at Mt Frankland but comfortable sites with a camp kitchen and drop toilet are not too far away. Water is generally available but this is variable. BYO firewood. The road off the main highway is dirt and can be in variable condition, though always 2WD friendly. Mt Frankland is about 400 km drive from Perth and well worth the effort.
An email has already gone out to members during the week. In order for us to proceed with planning, we need to know how many people are interested in attending this trip as soon as possible. We understand that many may already have other plans. Coming on the heels of the AGM it is always tricky to have this weekend organised further in advance.
Your coordinators for this forest romp will be myself and Hamish Carrad.
If it’s looking too hot for Mt F then we will head further south to Albany, weather permitting.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org within the next few days to register or if you have any questions.
Please note that CAWA trips are a benefit for members. Non-members who are interested in coming can join online now (easiest) and bring their receipt to show proof of membership.
All participants need to be ‘independent participants’. This means you are responsible for your own safety. Due to legal and liability issues, CAWA does not provide training.