A Top spot in Western Australia
by Joe Fury
(Newman Western Australia)
Juna Downs access road signage to Mount MeHarry.
Rock bars and steps on the track up to the summit.
The summit and surveyors cairn.
The beginning of the climb.
The Pilbara region of Western Australia can and does lay claim to many things and places very worthy of a grand title and the states tallest mountain is just one of these places.
Mount MeHarry is our tallest/highest land form rising to 1248 metres above sea level, situated in the southern region of the Karijini National Park it is the tallest peak in the Hamersley Ranges.
Access to the base of Mount MeHarry is through Juna Downs Station and several mining leases, currently there are no real restrictions but you should firstly contact the Juna Downs Station manager to let them know what your intentions are as you are on an operational cattle property and you should obey all mining signage and be watchful for people and machinery operating throughout these leases.
Mount MeHarry is named after the late William Thomas "Tom" MeHarry, who was the chief geodetic surveyor for Western Australia from 1959 to 1967 ~ Mr MeHarry's calculations confirmed this mountain as the highest point in WA, this claim was previously attributed to Mount Bruce, a summit some 62km to the north-west of mount MeHarry.
The track leading into the range and to the start of the climb is not overly challenging in a four wheel driving sense, but due care should be used in the rougher sections of the track and through the usually dry water course, as help is a long way off should things go wrong.
The trek to the summit is fair dinkum hard core four wheel driving and I need to stress that only competent drivers, vehicles with high ground clearance and LOW range gearing proceed any further beyond the point where there is a turn around
place, as the track gets very rough and very steep.
Once you go beyond the turn around area you need to be fully committed as the track surface is very loose shale - very steep with rock reefs up to half a metre in height that cut the track diagonally ~ this is serious off roading and vehicle damage or roll over a very real possibility.
The track culminates at the highest point of Mount MeHarry where there is a new rock and stone Cairn dedicated to Mr MeHarry, this monument was recently completed by a group of 15 motivated West Australians, the construction crew was comprised of people from Landgate, Heliwest, the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Curtin Universty science students, individual surveyors and Tom MeHarry's eldest son John.
An estimated 14 tonnes of Hamersley Ranges rock was used in the construction of this survey cairn, with 400 litres of water and some 22 bags of cement they created a fitting monument to a man who explored and mapped the West Australian outback.
The track conditions as of yesterday 8-10-2013
Mining lease roads are in excellent condition well graded and signposted.
The National Park track/road into the start of the climb, rough weather affected, narrow scrubby single vehicle, sign posted.
The actual track ~ the climb.
Very steep, very rough and loose ~ but the effort is well worth your commitment, magnificent scenery, fantastic vistas and your rightful place as a hard core four wheel driving adventurer.
Please record your visit in the log book at the cairn, I trust the construction crew won't mind the few extra rocks and the plastic container I added to house this new log book.
Safe travels : Joe Fury