Stirling Range National Park
Directions - Mount Hassell is the first day hike you'll reach along the gravel track of Stirling Range Drive if you head west from Chester Pass Rd. At the top of the first big rise look for the left turn into the car park and the trail starts from the information board.
The Hike - After blowing the cobwebs out of the system hiking up Mount Trio, it was time to move onto the next summit for the day. Having seen Mount Hassell and Toolbrunup from the summit of Mount Trio, it was only a short drive up Stirling Ranges Drive to reach the car park. The fine weather continued and it looked like it would be cloud free for remainder of the day. I filled up the water bottles again (must remember to actually drink from them whilst hiking this time) and had a bit of a talk to some guys who had set up camp chairs next to their cars after completing the hike. I'm not sure if they were trying to psych me out or genuinely thought they had conquered a difficult summit but they seemed hell bent on warning me of the section that required scrambling over and over again.
I nodded along and thanked them for their advice before going off to apply more sunscreen. As I was doing this another car rocked up and a lady disappeared onto the trail before I had finished packing all my gear up (I doddle sometimes). With camera in hand I snapped a few photos of the start and began the hike with renewed energy. Thankfully the first part of the hike is a gentler start than Mt Trio and you can enjoy the wildflowers that dot the eastern slopes. Being a climb, it isn't long until the gradient gets a bit tougher but unlike Mt Trio, which can feel closed it, Mount Hassell is very much an open hike and the views keep getting better as you rise. With a nice vantage point to take in Mt Trio to the north east and Bluff Knoll to the east, I kept reminding myself to stop and take it all in. Doing the exact same thing was the lady who started before me and as she was snapping away with her camera, I headed up the path towards the first summit. The original name for Mt Trio was Warrungup (three become) but I feel like this should have been applied to Mount Hassell. Unlike Mt Trio that is a continual uphill hike to the highest point, leaving the other two peaks to be admired, Mount Hassell is a tale of three climbs.
The mystery of this is destroyed at the car park as you can clearly see the highest point of the climb and the two lesser peaks below it but when you are out there it really does feel like this sometimes. Joking aside it is fun to reach the top of one hill and be confronted with another climb not once but twice. Having reached that first summit I enjoyed the views for a little bit, taking yet more photos, before relaxing on the short flat section. Occasional rocky outcrops dot the traverse to the next climb and given the lack of tall trees, you are soon confronted with the next summit. Being an afternoon hike the sun was making its daily descent in a westerly direction, meaning shooting into the glare was never going to yield fantastic results unless it was sunset so the photos aren't the best quality. The second climb didn't feel as tough as the first but a look back every now and then confirmed that I was actually climbing quite a bit. The first summit was now well below and the car park just a tiny dot in the distance. What greeted me at the top of the second summit was the view to the final summit and what I had been told by the guys in the car park was a hands and knees scramble up a near vertical rock face.