Uncategorized

Rising Number of Rescues at Bluff Knoll Strains Emergency Services

Ossie Khan

15th May 2024 3 min read

social photos

 

A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources.

Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by global standards, the mountain attracts more than 50,000 hikers annually, drawn by the breathtaking 360-degree views that extend for over 100 kilometers.

Social Media Boosts Popularity

The mountain’s popularity has surged, thanks in part to social media. Hikers frequently share stunning photos of their climbs on platforms like Instagram, boosting Bluff Knoll’s profile and drawing more visitors.

However, this increased foot traffic has led to a rise in the number of rescues. State Emergency Service (SES) crews have already been called to rescue stranded, lost, or injured hikers five times this year, with three rescues occurring in recent weeks.

Challenging Conditions

Bluff Knoll, known by its Goreng-Menang-Noongar name Koi Kyeunu-ruf, meaning “misty mountains,” is notorious for sudden weather changes and a steep climb. The mountain’s rugged cliffs, peaks, and gullies, coupled with a unique mix of flora and fauna, make it both a challenging and rewarding climb.

Albany SES captain Ben Whittle highlighted the significant resources required for rescues, particularly when a helicopter is needed to winch hikers off the peak. “We generally need anything from 15 to 30 members to do that, and from the top, it can be anywhere from a five-hour to a 10-hour carry down,” he said.

Increasing Rescue Incidents

Typically, the mountain sees four to five rescues annually. However, the increasing popularity of the hike has kept rescue crews busier than ever. “It’s getting more popular … last time we went up for a rescue at 7 a.m. we couldn’t get a car park, it was that busy,” Mr. Whittle said. Most rescues involve medical episodes or injuries, such as rolled or broken ankles, often due to hikers being ill-prepared for the climb.

“A lot of the travelers are from out of region and not aware of the conditions,” Mr. Whittle explained. He urged hikers to plan ahead and be mindful of the weather, which can change rapidly. “It could be bright and sunny, but when cloud comes in, it gets really cold.”

Preparing for the Climb

Rated as a hard, grade four climb, the 3-kilometer track was rebuilt in 2020 and realigned with more steps. The temperature difference between the car park and the summit can be dramatic, often leaving hikers ill-prepared.

Bluff Knoll is popular year-round and is one of the few places in WA to receive light snowfalls in winter, attracting snow chasers.

First-time climbers Matt and Sasha from Perth found the hike “fairly physical” despite being well-prepared. “Because this is the first time we’ve done it, you are not sure exactly how physical, or how steep it’s going to be,” Matt said. “The gradient can be steep, so just bear in mind it’s not a sprint up; take your time and stop a few times.”

Call for Better Preparation

As the number of visitors to Bluff Knoll continues to grow, so does the need for better preparation and awareness among hikers. Emergency service crews are urging climbers to plan ahead, check weather conditions, and ensure they are physically prepared for the demanding ascent.

By taking these precautions, hikers can help reduce the number of rescue incidents, allowing emergency services to allocate their resources more effectively and maintain safety on the mountain.

More News

66 Teams Set to Compete in 2024 Suzhou Jinji Lake International Dragon Boat Race news

66 Teams Set to Compete in 2024 Suzhou Jinji Lake International Dragon Boat Race

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

24th May 2024 3 min read
Mastering the Flop Shot: Ben Crenshaw's Timeless Tips from 1984 AdventureSport

Mastering the Flop Shot: Ben Crenshaw's Timeless Tips from 1984

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

24th May 2024 3 min read
Kenyan Mountaineer Dies on Mount Everest: Search Continues for Missing Sherpa Mountain Climbing

Kenyan Mountaineer Dies on Mount Everest: Search Continues for Missing Sherpa

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

24th May 2024 3 min read
Surfing at Paris 2024 Olympics: A Complete Guide AdventureSport

Surfing at Paris 2024 Olympics: A Complete Guide

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

24th May 2024 3 min read
AdventureSport

Jake Fraser-McGurk joins Australia's Twenty20 World Cup squad as travelling reserve

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

23rd May 2024 3 min read
AdventureSport

Alex de Minaur and Australian contingent poised to break French Open hoodoo, Rinky Hijikata says

  A growing number of rescues on Bluff Knoll, one of Western Australia’s most popular mountain ascents, is increasingly straining local emergency service resources. Bluff Knoll, standing just over 1,000 meters high, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range, located approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Albany in southern WA. Despite its modest height by […] Read More

Ossie Khan

23rd May 2024 3 min read