A running commentary (pun intended) on climbing frenchmans peak in cape le grand national park by local shop owners

Posted by ANDREW HALTER on

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to a thrilling running commentary of the daring adventure of climbing Frenchman's Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park. I'm your host, and I'll be taking you through this exhilarating journey step by step.

Hopefully by the end of this epic story you too will be equipped and knowledgeable to its hike. 

The morning golden hour is upon the three hikers and therefore so its against the clock to reach the peak before the sun ascends too high and the majestic light and shadows are lost.

our climbers are :

  • Andrew - a 44  year old  with a dad bod and carrying 15kgs of camera gear, he's wearing solid hiking boots.
  • Tania - 50 year old fit looking cougar  - carrying her camera gear too , approx.  3 kg and wearing the appropriate shoes as well!
  • Joseph - a 7 year old - he's charged like an ever ready battery and  speed walking back and  forth and left and right - equaling twice the distance traveled than necessary, they will have to keep a tight rein on this kid if they want to get their without an incident!

Its mid winter and you can see the white mist of condensation in their breath to just realize how cold it actually is - not that the thick jumpers and beanies didn't give it away, but it looks like they come well attired for the climb. 

As our intrepid climbers approach the base of Frenchman's Peak, they are greeted by a majestic sight. Rising 262 meters above sea level, this granite peak is a true icon of the national park and an ever present iconic silhouette from  the Esperance townsite to even as far as twilight cove on clear calm days.

comparison of a frenchmans cap and nose to frenchmans peak

Its unique shape, resembling the profile of a Frenchman,  is it the frenchmans hat - or is it the  frenchmans nose?  This debate continues rage on between locals and no doubt for decades to come, but it does adds an extra touch of intrigue to the challenge ahead.

Bets are on - will it take 40 minutes?, one hour or longer to climb to the peak? As they are against time lets call it 45 minutes.

One imagines they have given themselves at least two or three  hours for the round trip. Lets hope they packed a flask of coffee or a hot chocolate to drink! 

Our climbers begin their ascent, carefully navigating the well-marked trail that winds its way up the rocky slopes. The initial stages are relatively gentle, with a gradual incline allowing them to warm up and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. They're surrounded by the park's diverse flora, including banksias, grevilleas, and the iconic kangaroo paws.

native esperance flowers at lucky bay and frenchmans peak

As the climbers progress further, the trail becomes steeper, demanding greater strength and concentration. They start encountering sections where they need to scramble and use their hands to grip the rugged surface. This is where the true adventure begins, and the cardio workout starts.

Andrew looks to be taking a breather and catching his breath as much as  catching the views, if he isn't saying anything it looks like he is thinking something  in french , no doubt you would have to  "excuse his french" if it was spoken out loud.

Tanias up ahead and navigating the tricky rocks and checking her phone reception - looks like there isn't any - so no instagram selfie post this morning - thats got to be rough ,meanwhile joseph is returning from 30 meters ahead to touch base with dad and check on him.... to draw a picture  - it kind of has a cartoon road runner feel to it  - obviously dads the coyote.

Our climbers now face the vertical challenge of the final push to the summit. The rock face becomes steeper and more exposed, requiring them to use their climbing skills and be mindful of their safety. They rely on sturdy footholds, taking one careful step at a time, Andrew is trying not to let the counterweight of a 15kg backpack in camera equipment take bias to the effective downward pull of gravity.

panoramic image for the top of frenchmans peak

Despite the physical exertion, the climbers are rewarded with stunning panoramic views as they ascend higher. The turquoise waters of Lucky Bay and the surrounding coastline stretch out before them, contrasting beautifully against the rugged cliffs and rolling hills of the national park. It's a sight that makes all the effort worthwhile. 

Fortunately its a calm windless morning and  there has been no  rain for several days - it would certainly not be advisable to climb on a windy or rainy day and Tania's idea of checking the weather  forecast the night before was a stroke of genius,  who would want to get up at 5am to only make it halfway to the summit and have to turn back due to dangerous conditions...and Tania  secretly didn't want her hair messed up , she  cant run a hair straightener from the caravans battery so there's that!

Reading the information signage in the frenchmans peak carpark is  not a bad idea too!

frenchmans peak signage in  the carpark with climb information

Andrew sounds like he could use an oxygen bottle - its not  the elevation that lacks oxygen but  there is definitely a great amount of  puffs and huffs sounds going on as he climbs.

will it be mountain peak = 1  and dad bod = 0 on the scoreboard or does he push through to the top...

With unwavering determination, our climbers conquer the final section and reach the summit of Frenchman's Peak. They stand atop this remarkable geological formation, taking in the 360-degree view that unfolds around them. The feeling of accomplishment fills the air as they bask in their triumph over the mountain.It's a photographer's dream come true as Tania and Andrew set up their cameras and happy snap until their cards are almost full.

pano on top of frenchmans peak in cape le grand park
As they catch their breath and finally relax as they have beaten the Sun's rising and overbearing power of the morning light, the climbers can't help but appreciate the serenity and natural beauty of Cape Le Grand National Park from this elevated vantage point. They spot the pristine beaches below, such as Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove, their white sands contrasting against the vivid blue of the ocean. It's a sight that will forever remain etched in their memories.

But the adventure doesn't end here. Beneath the towering peak lies the hidden gem of Frenchman's Peak Cave. As they make their  way down, they enter the cave's entrance, which is nestled amidst the granite formations. Inside, greeted by a world of shadows and echoes, as the cave's cool air wraps around them and  so out comes the camera's for more stunning imagery.

panoramic shot inside the cave of frenchmans peak after climbing the mountain in cape le grand

After a well-deserved rest, it's time for our climbers to make their descent. They carefully retrace their steps, ensuring each foothold and handhold is secure. The descent can be just as challenging as the ascent, as fatigue sets in and concentration becomes crucial.

Finally, our climbers make it back to the base of Frenchman's Peak, their bodies tired but their spirits soaring. They've conquered this iconic climb and experienced the raw beauty of Cape Le Grand National Park from a unique perspective.

They settle back at the lucky bay camp for a morning coffee and crank up the laptop to view the new captured images of Frenchman's peak.

And with that, we conclude our running commentary on climbing Frenchman's Peak. It has been a thrilling adventure, showcasing the physical and mental challenges of scaling this remarkable natural landmark. Until next time, happy climbing!

sun setting frenchmans peak landscape photo  with flowering Christmas tree

You can be sure these images and more will be in their store on products and Esperance gallery prints. 

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