Mount Cooke Walk (Walk #21)

 

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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see Photo Galleries)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references

 

 Walk map  Photo
Click on map for large version.

View NW to Mounts Vincent and Cuthbert

 from near summit of Mt Cooke,  Dec. 2002

(i.e.prior to the Jan.2003 wildfire).

Click on photo for larger version.

More photos.

        3D map view

 

 

  

  Google Map

Using this map.

 

 

 Additional Satellite Imagery
 

Click here

for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area.

-Use zoom bar

for road details.

For Google Earth users

Step 1: Left Click here

For fly-in to waypoints and route

 on image of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Step 2: Left Click here

For fly-in to 3D view

 of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

in Google Earth to "3" (via 'Tools' menu, 'Options' & 'View' tab).

 

         Route profile

 

                                    

 Walk description  
Location :

44 kms SE of Armadale along Albany Highway.   

Length :

8-11 field kms (60% off-track)

or 10 field kms (7% off-track) Easy version.

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM - HARD   (What does this mean?)

Also see EASY alternative.

See 'Update & Caution' below.

Amount of uphill walking :

440m (cumulative ascent)

GPS-preferred :

YES

Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

Continue down Albany Highway for 2 kms past the start of the Cooke Pine Plantation (which was logged and mainly cleared in 2004 for re-planting), then turn left onto a narrow dirt road at waypoint 'MTCK-1'.  Follow the dirt road NE across the plantation area to reach a T-junction with another dirt road (Cooke Rd) along the NE side of the plantation.  Cross the road and park in the large cleared area at the Start point. (Note: By 2010 the narrow dirt road from 'MTCK-1' was becoming a bit rutted, so care is needed if not in 4WD. If necessary park close to Albany Highway in a sidetrack off the dirt road. Walking to the 'Start' point from there will add 1 km to the start and end of the walk.)  

Important access issue:   Walkers need to be aware that this walk area and many others on WalkGPS lie within drinking water catchment areas. In 2007 DoW in effect recommended a prohibition of all traditional off-track bushwalking activities across the entire Perth region catchment areas covering 4500 sq km, far beyond the limits of  existing or proposed Reservoir Protection Zones (see map). By March 2008, the DoW had been persuaded to reconsider its published position. The new Policy of 2012 refrains from banning traditional bushwalking in the outer catchments. The community, including visitors to WalkGPS, need to remain vigilant to ensure that commonsense continues to prevail over regulatory zealotry. See also Home page: 'Access' and Related access issues on WalkGPS, and DOW's "Canning River Catchment Area Drinking Water Source Protection Plan" of 2007.

Escape route/s :

In east, to Powerline Road, then due south to meet Albany Highway. 

In NW, to Bibbulmun Track and Mt Cooke Campsite, then NW to soon meet Cooke Road (dirt road) then SE about 3.5 kms to the Start point.

From summit ridge area, follow Bibbulmun Track either NW to Mt Cooke Campsite, etc, or follow it SE until it meets Powerline Road,  then south to Albany Highway.

Main features

/Highlights:

This walk within the Monadnocks National Park includes about 3 kms along the main ridge and summit of Mount Cooke which at 582m above sea level (and about 200m above the surrounding plateau) is the highest granite monadnock in the Darling Range.  There are some excellent views from the ridge, including to Mounts Vincent and Cuthbert (7-8 kms NW), Geddes Rock (7 kms NE) and more distant Boonerring Hill (17 kms SSE).  Almost 3.5 kms of the walk is on the well maintained Bibbulmun Track, including a section extending from the Mt Cooke Campsite in the NW to the summit and then along the summit ridge.   The initial, off-track part of the walk visits the less known eastern side of Mount Cooke, near the foot of steep, 100m high granite rock faces. (See Update & Caution below). It then climbs mainly gently to the ridge again before descending to join the Bibbulmun Track at the Mt Cooke Campsite. The hut there was rebuilt by DEC in mid-2004 following a devastating January 2003 bushfire which swept along the whole of Mt Cooke.  This very hot fire destroyed most of the forest canopy, including some  picturesque  stands of wandoo and butter gum.  Only 18 months later most of the trees were strongly regenerating and several years later, by 2010, the walk along the summit ridge had returned to being a very pleasant bushwalk. The stark burnt 'skeletons' of the former mature forest overstorey still remain however, protruding above the new vegetation as a reminder that it will be many years before the forest grows back to anything like its previous state.  

Although the walk is only 11 kms in length, allow at least 4 hours including a 1/2 hour rest stop. In mid-winter conditions along the narrow summit ridge can be unpleasant and special care is needed in high winds and when rain or low clouds reduce visibility.  The 240m climb up Mt Cooke along the Bibbulmun Track from the Campsite should otherwise not be too challenging for a reasonably fit walker.

For overnighters: For those keen to camp overnight in the area: The Mount Cooke Campsite (which includes a 3-sided shelter; at waypoint 'CAMP') on the Bibbulmun Track is located at about the halfway point on the walk routes.   

Update & Caution (July 2006): The off-track portion of the original WalkGPS circuit has now become very scratchy/prickly and unpleasant in places. An increasingly dense new understorey of low shrubs (including thick patches of 'Prickly Moses', Acacia pulchella) has become established following the fires of January 2003. This has replaced  sections of previously easier open forest walking and has over-grown previous animal tracks.

Sections worst affected by dense regrowth are along the northern extension of the Mt Cooke ridge (between waypoints '11' and '15') and between waypoints '29' and 'LGSLB' in the south. Those sections are now best bypassed by 1) going direct from waypoint '11' to join the Bibbulmun Track at '25' (and therefore also bypassing the Mt Cooke campsite); and 2) taking an alternate route segment in the south, via '40-ALT' etc.  These easier options shorten the total walk to only 8 kms and are described in red in the route notes below.

Or follow the Easy alternative, mainly on-track route.

Gaiters, trousers and long-sleeved shirt should be worn to protect yourself from prickles and scratches if you do want to brave the off-track sections.

EASY ALTERNATIVE :  This is now recommended for a much easier, mainly on-track 10 km walk; after reaching waypoint 'BIBB' stay on the Bibbulmun Track to cross Mt Cooke from south to north.  Then after reaching Mt Cooke campsite (at 'CAMP') continue along the Track for 300m and turn left onto Cooke Road (dirt road) at waypoint '50'. Follow Cooke Road (via waypoint '51') for 4 kms SE back to the Start point, with the pine plantation on your right hand side for the final 2 kms (see orange route segment on the map).  -  As an option for a more interesting and energetic walk for those final 2 kms, veer left about 200m before reaching waypoint '51' to follow another old forestry track which sub-parallels Cooke Road, then turn right near waypoint '42' to follow an old foot-track back toward the Start point.  

Additional maps :

WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.

WalkGPS reconnaissance history: Click here for a map of past WalkGPS test walks in the walk area, plus the final routes. The final routes were selected only after several visits to the area which aimed to achieve a walk that would be the most rewarding.

Other: Jarrahdale 1:50,000 Sheet (WA Forests Dept., ca. 1990);

or Jarrahdale & Yaganing 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2133-3 & 2133-2.

Other background references :

"Forests on Foot (40 walks in W.A.)" by Meney & Brown, 1985, pp.38-47 (Wescolour Press, Fremantle).  Includes the Mount Cooke ridge walk (prior to development of the new Bibbulmun Track).

"A Guide to the Bibbulmun Track, Northern Half, Kalamunda to Donnelly River Village" by Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) 2002, 2nd ed., pp.104-107.

For a climber's perspective of Mount Cooke  see the Climbers' Association of W.A. website. Also the "Mt Cooke Bouldering Mini-guide" by Emil Mandyczewsky and Caine Delacy, May 2006.

"Wildfires can be bad for biodiversity" by Neil Burrows, DEC., Information Sheet 17/2009, Science Division. - Describes the long-term damage to the Mt Cooke area caused by the high intensity 2003 wildfire which swept through forests that hadn't been 'prescribed burned' for about 20 years.

Place name origin: Mt Cooke was named after Ernest William Cooke, the first Government Astronomer of W.A., from 1896-1911.  (This Mt Cooke is not to be confused with Mt Cooke in the east Pilbara, also named after E.W. Cooke.)

Route notes :

 

From the Start point, head initially NE gently uphill (via waypoint '2'). The slope soon steepens and then flattens onto a narrow lateritic ridge before descending a short distance through quite dense low foliage  - mainly a 'temporary' understorey of Net-leaved Wattle (Acacia urophylla) and jarrah trees which reshooted after the 2003 bushfire  - to meet the Bibbulmun Track (at 'BIBB'). 

[Alternatively,for an easy bypass of this initial off-track section, follow the dirt road ESE from the Start point to waypt '53' across a low ridge (with a view NW through the forest to the southern granite slopes of Mt Cooke). At '53' meet the Bibbulmun Track on the Powerline Rd. Turn left  to follow the Bibb. Track initially northward. Stay on the Bibb. Track when it leaves the road at '54' and continues through 'BIBB'. This on-track variation is a good and very easy option even though it adds about 1.5 km to the walk route).  

Follow the Bibbulmun Track northward (via '3') and gently uphill along  the ridge for about 400m. When the track veers slowly left (at approx. 'LVTRK'), continue approx. north along the east-sloping hillside (to '4') and then continue along slope NW (gaining views through the burnt forest of the steep eastern granite face of Mt Cooke).

[Alternatively, at 'LVTRK' if you wish to follow the now recommended EASY alternative on-track route, continue NW-ward on the Bibbulmun Track.]

Soon descend to cross a steep-sided stream gully (at about '5').  Continue along slope northward  (via '6') and cross a smaller stream gully (at about '7'). Continue northward, initially climbing a moderate slope (again gaining views back to the eastern granite face through the trees). The slope flattens and there is a view NE (about 6.5 kms) to Geddes Rock. Cross another stream gully (soon after '8') and then veer NNW to climb along a moderately steep forested slope skirting around granite boulders and small outcrops, gaining a view NE across a side valley to a rocky ridge.  Cross the granite slab in the stream gully (at 'SLAB') which is a good spot for a break. Then head NE to climb uphill behind large boulders and outcrops to  reach the spur ridge (near '9'). Follow the narrow ridge uphill NNW (picking a way through thickening 'Prickly Moses'), gaining eastward views  across the Darling Range and again to Geddes Rock. After 'VUROK' the slope flattens onto the northern extension of the Mt Cooke ridge.  Continue NW initially along the lateritic ridge top and then descend slightly on the western side to gain (at '11') a view south to the granite outcrops below the summit of Mt Cooke.  At this point, due to dense new growth of 'Prickly Moses' along the ridge to the north, it is now recommended you go direct from waypoint '11' to join the Bibbulmun Track southward at about '25', following the alternate route segment, in orange on the map, bypassing the northern section of the original walk route. [Alternatively if you wish to stay on the original WalkGPS walk route (in red on map), continue north (to'12') and NW (via '13' ) along the ridge through quite dense regenerating foliage in places. Veer WNW at '14' to head along a narrowing, rocky spur ridge. Cross a dark-coloured dolerite outcrop (at 'DOL'; now largely hidden under a blanket of 'Prickly Moses') and continue along the narrow ridge to '15', then turn sharp left (SW), to initially descend quite steeply and cross a low granite outcrop slab before the slope flattens. At  '16' veer WSW and continue gently downslope. After the slope steepens again (near '17'), veer approx. SW and soon reach the Mt Cooke Campsite (at 'CAMP') on the Bibbulmun Track (camp toilet nearby).  This is the halfway point on the walk and a good place to stop for a lunch break.  Then head initially E/ESE (via '22' and '23') along the Bibbulmun Track.  The track soon veers southward, after '24', with a view south to the rocky summit area of Mt Cooke, and starts the fairly steep and steady climb to the rocky summit at 'SMT'.]  

After '25' there is an excellent view NW to Mounts Vincent and Cuthbert (from a large granite slab on the right soon after '25A').  Continue SSE on the Bibbulmun Track along the narrow rocky ridge, again gaining views east (near '27'). About 200m further along the Track, the view opens up impressively to the south. There are also good views to the east, and also 31 km due north to Mount Dale, on the horizon.  A large boulder located just to the left (east) of the track before a large SE-sloping granite slab contains a sizable, low-ceilinged cave.  The cave can provide good shelter for walkers caught on the ridge during inclement winter weather. Then descend the large granite outcrop (with a view south to distant Boonerring Hill), initially following the small rock cairns. Just before the Track starts to veer more eastward (following the cairns),  continue southward and off-track (at approx. '28' ) to cross a partly shrub-covered (Calothamnus sp.), gentle gully to reach the southern edge of the outcrop at about '29'. At this point,  instead of re-entering the forest (and braving the dense new growth of 'Prickly Moses' along the ridge to the SW),  head SE downslope and near the southern edge of the outcrop to '40-ALT' on the alternate route segment (in orange on the map). Then follow an old foot-track eastward and  downhill quite steeply for less than 100m to 'TRK1'.  Leave the track to head SSE gently downhill through forest to cross a creek gully at 'CK-1'.  Follow a track on the east side of the gully for about 75m to reach a small granite slab above the gully. Then head due south through the fairly dense regenerating forest down the sloping eastern side of the small valley to '2', then veer SW to retrace your outbound steps back to the Start point. [Alternatively if you wish to stay on the original WalkGPS walk route (in red on map),  re-enter forest at about '29' and head approx. southward along the eastward slope of the ridge. Proceed slowly and patiently to find the easiest route through the increasingly dense understorey regrowth.  (Previously, animal and human tracks could be more easily followed here, but are now overgrown and mainly concealed). Then descend more steeply to soon reach a large SW-sloping granite slab (at 'LGSLB'; This outcrop is seen on right hand side of photo of south slopes). Head SSE down the  edge of the outcrop, following an old and  quite steep  foot-track (and in wet weather, very slippery on the red clay surface). Part of the way down the outcrop (at 'TRK'), follow the old track when it veers off through the shrubland and  forest. Then follow the track southward through the forest (via '40' and '42'), then SE to cross a stream gully (at '43'). Then head approx. due south to soon return to the Start point.]

 

 

 Waypoint listing

 

Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..."  if you wish  to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX  file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software.  If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk Map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)

 

Route list :

Projection : UTM       Datum : Australian Geodetic 1966       Zone :  50

Waypt name         Easting      Northing      Comments

START       435281  6411262  Park car in cleared area off Cooke Rd.

2           435466  6411467 

BIBB        435683  6411842  Meet Bibbulmun Track.

3           435656  6412054  On Bibbulmun Track.

LVTRK       435561  6412211  Leave Bibbulmun Track.

4           435584  6412389  On eastern slope.

5           435279  6412792  Near steep stream gully.

6           435259  6413017

7           435306  6413085  Near small stream gully.

8           435250  6413510

SLAB        435123  6413789  On granite slab in stream gully.

9           435188  6413832

VUROK       435123  6414008  Granite outcrop on spur ridge. Nearby view.

11          434945  6414269  On west side of northern ridge. View south.

12          435011  6414511  On ridge.

13          434900  6414604  On ridge.

14          434839  6414761  On ridge.

DOL         434530  6414913  Dark dolerite outcrop along narrow ridge.

15          434197  6415137  On narrow ridge.

16          433978  6414903 

17          433635  6414782

CAMP        433535  6414591  At new (rebuilt) Mt Cooke Campsite.

22          433807  6414549  On Bibbulmun Track.

23          434431  6414280  On Bibbulmun Track.

24          434707  6414276  On Bibbulmun Track.

25          434815  6414120  On Bibbulmun Track.

25A         434843  6413860  On Bibbulmun Track. (Nearby views NW.)

26          434698  6413436  On Bibbulmun Track.

SMT         434783  6413343  On boulders at Mt Cooke summit (582m).

27          435039  6412557  On Bibbulmun Track.

28          435199  6412282  On Bibbulmun Track. Southern granite slope.

29          435183  6412150 

40          435154  6412005  In forest, on hillside sloping south.

LGSLB       435143  6411869  At edge of large SW-sloping granite slab.

TRK         435197  6411766  Old foot-track veers from outcrop into forest.

41          435234  6411678  Old foot-track.

42          435199  6411406  Old foot-track.

43          435280  6411347  Cross stream gully.

END         435277  6411258  Back at Start point. 

Additional Waypoints on map : 

MTCK-1      434637  6410580  Narrow dirt road running NE from Hwy to Start pt.

MTCK-2      433434  6412189  Dirt road off Albany Hwy, connecting to Cooke Rd.

50          433228  6414704  Bibbulmun Track crosses Cooke Road (approx.)

51          434063  6412701  Junction of Cooke Rd and road to 'MTCK-2' on Hwy.

53          436174  6410937  Junction of Cooke Rd and Powerline Rd(& Bibb. Tr.)

54          436167  6411550  Bibbulmun Track meets Powerline Rd. (approx.)

55          436139  6413088  On Powerline Road (east of Mt Cooke).

40-ALT      435305  6411993  Near south edge of large SE-sloping slab.

TRK-1       435398  6412002  On minor foot-track nr foot of large slab,

CK-1        435452  6411874  Cross small south-flowing creek.

SLB1        435486  6411807  On small rock ledge above stream gully.

 

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This page was last updated  :   15 June, 2013

 Site authored by David Osborne.  Photographs and text are copyright  2003-2013 David Osborne.