West Peak and J5 Monolith
This walk commences from the vehicle access track heading to Mount Jackson. The bush is open all around so find an open spot to park just off the track, taking care to cause no damage.
The walk can be conducted in either an anti-clockwise or clockwise direction, but the latter is strongly recommended. This way the walk ascends the West Peak first, followed by a fine eastward traverse, accompanied most of the way by magnificent views over to the main range.
From the start, head in an approximately NW direction, slowly ascending the lower slopes through open woodland. After about 2.3 km the route turns to the north and commences the increasingly steep ascent to the summit of West Peak, with at times fine views out to the west over the low hills of the far west of the Helena Aurora Range and over towards the Mt Jackson Range. As the summit approaches the slope becomes increasingly steep and rocky underfoot.
Looking from below, the West Peak looks unassuming and lacking interest, but on arrival at the rocky summit a magnificent 360 degree vista unfolds – indeed the only significant peak in the entire range with a full 360 degree panoramic view. To the west is the Mt Jackson Range, while dominating the skyline to the east lies the entire main Helena Aurora Range. On the horizon to the North are the Die Hardy and Mt Manning Ranges and far to the south, over a vast expanse of flat sand plain, is the Koolynobbing Range and Lake Deborah.
Enjoy the summit vista before heading down the south east ridge. This drops steeply down at first before ascending once again a small rise. This gives more outstanding views over to the main range and also to the J5 monadnock which is now prominent along the ridge ahead.
The ridge line continues to drop, eventually reaching a saddle before the rise to the J5 monolith. Around here there is a clutter of mining exploration tracks – a stark reminder that this area, including the magnificent J5 monolith, was all earmarked to become an unsightly hole in the ground.
The J5 monolith can be optionally ascended with care from its western spine. However, remember this is a simple rock climb and hands will definitely need to come out of pockets! Its only a short walk back to the start from here, albeit in parts down through steep and rocky terrain.