Six Summit Challenge
Monadnocks Conservation Area
Directions - The Sullivan Rock car park is an hour's drive from Perth and is located on the south side of Albany Hwy about 9.5km past the turn-off for Jarrahdale Rd. The trail starts at the red Bibbulmun Track sign on the north side of Albany Hwy.
The Hike - Are you looking for a challenge around Perth that involves a great workout, even greater views and a bit of exploring? If you are then keep reading and start planning your trip out to Sullivan Rock for this tough but rewarding hike. Essentially this is just the two sections of the Bibbulmun Track (Monadnocks + Mt Cooke) that I have previously hiked combined into one super hike with the addition of one extra summit. Enter the Six Summit Challenge.
Combining these two sections back to back provides the opportunity to get maximum bang for your hiking buck with a combined six climbs and 1,228m vertical elevation over the 35kms. While each climb is not what anyone would consider a mountain, combining their powers Voltron-style adds up to a decent climb. In such a special location, as it is to me and with many hikers I have talked to, I can think of no better way to spend a day than hiking this trail followed by some well earned wine afterwards.
Sound good? Great, let's get into some bare essentials plus some comforts that will get you through the challenge.
At least 3-4 litres of water -There are two Bibbulmun campsites on the trail but the water will need to be treated if there is any in the tanks to start with. Please only use these if you are desperate as the supply if for overnight hikers/end to enders.
Snacks - Get inventive here. The last time I did something close to this challenge I met a group of hikers that had brought along a small burner/hot plate so they could grill up some haloumi cheese on the summit of Mt Cooke. Some good high energy foods to consider include Anzac biscuits, muesli bars, raw slice or trail mix.
Lunch - With a 35km hike to tackle, you are going to get hungry. One of a hikers great luxuries is the ability to sit on an exposed granite outcrop enjoying a sandwich whilst soaking in the sun, views and stillness that accompanies such a magnificent location. My choice - Roast beef and mustard sandwich on homemade bread.
Music - I love the sound of nature, the calls of the birds, the wind in the tree tops and the absolute calmness when there are no birds or wind. I also love my music and with 7-12 hours of hiking to get through it really helps to lift the experience. Live concerts are my favourite but everyone has their own taste so experiment with what works for you.
A Friend - Hiking alone has its advantages if you like your own company but hiking with a friend adds that extra level of fun. You can talk about all sorts, motivate each other when your legs are feeling dead and share an experience both of you won't forget anytime soon.
With all that in mind let's get stuck into the where and how based on my latest experience doing the full Six Summit Challenge.
Section One - Sullivan Rock to Mt Randall
Given the feedback I have received over the past couple of years, finding the car park for Sullivan Rock is not easy on your first time. I completely understand this so this time I marked it out properly and the turnoff for the car park is exactly 9.5km past the Jarrahdale Rd turnoff so reset your odometer and keep your eyes peeled. My challenge started with a very early wake up on Anzac Day and a long drive from Fremantle so I could get out to the starting point around sunrise. For the past couple of years I have done this hike as a personal form of dawn service to commemorate the Anzacs. It may not be the traditional service at Kings Park or Fremantle but it is quite a powerful experience to stand at the rock cairn marking the summit of Mt Vincent in silence watching the sunrise and thinking about the sacrifice made by the brave young men of the ANZACs over 100 years ago. With a reminder of how easy life is now because of what they went through, there is plenty of motivation to push on. With my small silence finished, some photos snapped and having climbed summit #1 it was time to descend down Mt Vincent and get straight into the short climb up to the more exposed Mt Cuthbert.
This is one of my favourite spots in WA but unfortunately the weather had started up for the day so it wasn't worth stopping on the exposed section given the poor visibility. With summit #2 crossed off the list it was a short descent down to the forest floor and on to the Monadnocks Campsite. This 2km section is a gradual uphill but being buried within the forest your legs don't really notice. Normally I end my hike at Monadnocks before turning around and hiking back to my car but this time it was on to the third summit of Mt Randall. This is a place I had always wanted to visit after seeing it on the