Planned burn info for Grampians May 2015
Hoping that many of you manage to check this before you head off for the weekend. As I noted in the previous post, the main bouldering areas such as Andersons and Kindergarten are still closed but there have been a few new openings so check the post or download the official PV document uploaded to this site.
As always, please remember that many of the sites that have been opened are still recovering from fire. Take care to stay on the designated tracks, avoid going in with large groups and be mindful of your packs and gear and try to keep them off the vegetation as much as possible.
Grampians National Park Fire Recovery Update – Parks Victoria
For rock climbing and bouldering
Monday 30th March 2015
In January 2014 a large bushfire swept through the Northern Grampians causing widespread damage to visitor sites, roads and walking tracks. Many popular rock climbing and bouldering sites were also impacted including Hollow Mountain, Summerday Valley and Mt Stapylton. While three main visitor sites have since re-opened ( Flat Rock, Mt Stapylton return walk and Mt Zero), the majority of the Mt Difficult Range remains closed to visitation, this includes rockclimbing.
Environmental recovery in the Northern Grampians has been slow – shallow soils and lack of rainfall has meant vegetation has taken longer to regenerate. The landscape is still very fragile – Parks Victoria has been working closely with the local rock climbing community and CliffCare to ensure there has been a considered approach to re-opening rock climbing sites in the Northern Grampians, taking into account long term sustainability of climbing. Please support the long term recovery of fire affected areas by remaining out of any closed sites.
Open and accessible rock climbing and bouldering areas in the Northern Grampians:
(Accessible from Mt Zero Picnic Area, Flat Rock and Stapylton Amphitheatre areas only):
• Spurt and Afterglow
• Between the Sheeps
• Plaza Strip
• The Citadel
• Caves Club
• Central Buttress
• Grey & Green Walls
• Taipan Wall (Upper and Lower)
• Epsilon Wall
• Trackside Bouldering area
*Hollow Mountain (Gun Buttress to Andersons), Farside, all climbing areas on the Northern Side of Stapylton (Van Dieman’s Land to Sandinista) and other climbing areas in the Mt Difficult Range such as Eastside, Pohlners and Smiths Rd remain closed. Summerday Valley is currently only accessible via Licensed Tour Operators and school groups.
Other accessible rock climbing areas in and around the Grampians:
• Victoria Range (Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
• Mt William Range (Seven Dials area)
• Serra Range (Including Bundaleer and Mt Rosea)
• Wonderland Range
• Mt Arapiles
• The Black Range and Mt Talbot (west of the Grampians) remain closed due to fire.
You can help support sustainable climbing in the Grampians by considering the following:
Stay on designated tracks – any off track walking can impact soil stability and the regeneration of vegetation. Spread of weeds and other pathogens can occur by foot traffic in fragile soils and recovering mossbeds. Don’t create short cuts or new tracks.
Consider other options – There are many climbing and bouldering sites within the Grampians. By giving these fire affected areas some time to recover they will be here to enjoy in the future.
Think about your safety – tree risk and unstable soils are present across all fire affected areas. Please remember your climbing etiquette when in the Grampians National Park:
Only climb in open and accessible areas and keep group numbers low – Avoid taking large groups into area where there are no designated tracks.
• Respect fragile environmental areas and cultural heritage
• Keep an eye out for aboriginal art sites – report to Parks Victoria if you find anything
• Be mindful of cleaning
• No chipping or bolting
• Avoid excessive chalk
• Take your rubbish home with you.
* Visit http://www.cliffcare.org.au/ for rock climbing access and environmental reports.
* For detailed information on open and accessible climbing areas please refer to relevant guide
books or websites. Please note park closures.
* The closest camping option in the National Park is Plantation Campground, approximately 10km north of Halls Gap, or private accommodation in the Northern Grampians area. Bush camping in closed fire affected areas is not appropriate.
For updates on the many camping, walking and driving opportunities in the park, call into Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap, visit the local Visitor Information Centre or call Parks Victoria on 13 19 63.
While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on those found in any closed, fire affected areas. For fire recovery updates, maps and further information on activities, campgrounds and car touring options in the Grampians National Park please visit http://www.parks.vic.gov.au phone 13 1963 or call into Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre, Halls Gap, open 9am-5pm daily.
Following quite a few enquiries more recently about bouldering areas open in the Grampians, notably the Northern Grampians, I have tried to put together a list of bouldering areas and their open/closed status. As was noted in an email I received from boulderer Vanessa Tocatijan, it can sometimes seem a little unclear especially to international climbers, what is exactly what. Trying to marry up areas in the reports which often highlight ranges and popular bouldering areas to the info contained in the Grampians Bouldering guidebook can be a little tricky if you aren’t that familiar with the Grampians. As I explained, putting the information together in a report in a timely manner can often make this quite difficult and we don’t always manage to get it right. It is an important point that Vanessa has raised and I hope this info can help clarify things a little more. What I must also say is the interest of the climbing community to get the right info and get it right when it comes to closed fragile areas is really heartening and should be commended.
There are a number of extra bouldering sites reopened for Easter. They are still contained predominantly in the Mt Stapylton area
Northern Grampians areas
Andersons, sub areas include: CLOSED
This area, including the sub areas mentioned, is still closed and needs more time to recover. It was burnt quite extensively, with the fire quite hot. Little rainfall hasn’t helped.
Hollow mountain, sub areas include: CLOSED
Hollow Mountain Cave
As above, this area is still closed. Hollow Mountain provides access to a much larger area, parts of which are still delicate and will not handle the traffic climbers and boulderers bring as well as all the other park users who want access to the tracks. Another point to note – It is also a trait of climbers and boulderers to wander off track to find and develop new areas. After fires the ability to access these is made much easier. Unfortunately, this is a death sentence for recovering environments. And as it has been proven in the past, new sites have been developed whilst the areas have been closed. This is not the only reason (climbers are not the only users that are being taken on board) but it does inform whether opening a particular area that provides easy access to another nearby fragile area is a wise move.
Mt Stapylton area, sub areas include:
Kindergarten – CLOSED
Daves Cave – OPEN
Epsilon wall – OPEN
Trackside – OPEN
Spurt and afterglow walls – OPEN
Snakepit – OPEN
Lower Taipan – OPEN
Wildsides – OPEN
Between the Sheeps – OPEN
The Citadel – OPEN
Caves Club – OPEN
Ground Control Caves – ??
Campground area, sub areas include:
Campground Boulders – The boulders that are in park property are still off limits. There are some boulders that are on private property. These boulders were part of a negotiation with the private owners a number of years ago, whereas we managed to arrange access providing we took care of the sites, not using them to toilet etc. I have not managed a site inspection of this area as yet but would imagine the area would be quite fragile if it was contained in the fire zone. I would recommend giving this also some time to recover. Also accessing the boulders on private property requires you to pass through parks land and then the issue of toileting elsewhere becomes a problem.
Titanic – CLOSED
A number of enquiries have revolved around the Kindergarten closure. The track in is predominantly on rock, the site itself has a solid rock base so the question is – how is the environment being impacted and why is it still closed? On a site visit early last year that included myself, local boulderers and Parks Victoria, this was one area that we were really hoping would be in a situation that it could be reopened. All of us were throwing around possible workable options to make it happen but the agreed outcome at the end of the day was that it wasn’t really possible without risking 1. Access to nearby Andersons which was in a very fragile state 2. The amount of users that would then use the Kindergarten would be substantial and along with this would come the need for toileting areas. The surrounding soil was very fragile and shouldn’t be accessed. Where would people toilet? If you think about it, the reality of this ‘ small’ problem isn’t so small. Toileting on the rock is never acceptable yet digging a hole or moving off rock wasn’t an option either. Multiply that by the groups of people that head out to the area. Makes it tricky.
I will have a couple more updates to put up on the blog today. Stay tuned and be informed.
you think about it, the reality of this ‘ small’ problem isn’t so small. Toileting on the rock is never acceptable yet digging a hole or moving off rock wasn’t an option either. Multiply that by the groups of people that head out to the area. Makes it tricky.
There are currently fires in a number of areas that could impact climbing. At this stage there are fires in the Grampians, Black Range and Black Hill and while some of the fires are now under control, the areas are either closed or care should be taken. The latest updates are as follows:
Due to a fire which started on 3 January following a lightning storm the following parks are closed:
- Black Range State Park
- Red Rock Bushland Reserve
- Mount Talbot Scenic Reserve
- Daahl Bushland Reserve
- Connangorach I44 Bushland Reserve
Henty highway was closed yesterday but is now open.
There were also a number of other smaller fires in the Grampians including one near Syphon Road.
These fires are close to the Victoria Range climbing areas so if you had been planning a trip for this weekend, it would be advised to postpone.
Black Hill Bushland Reserve
There is currently a fire in the Black Hill Bushland Reserve. The area is closed. Will hopefully have more information on this after the weekend but it looks like the park has burnt quite hard.
If you haven’t already got the Fireready App, please do so. If you are going to be travelling to and around many of the climbing areas it makes sense to have relevant and timely information. You can download it here http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/fireready-app/
With the long weekend almost upon us, there have been many querying what is and isn’t open in the Grampians. The following is a current update on the situation. As it notes below, there has been significant damage to a number of the popular climbing areas. Please respect the closures .
A lightning event across the Grampians National Park on 15 January 2014 caused a bushfire that swept through the northern end of the Grampians National Park. The fire remains active in some areas but is contained.
There has been significant damage to Summerday Valley and the Hollow Mountain climbing areas and infrastructure. The Stapylton amphitheatre and access to Taipan Wall has also been impacted. All climbing and bouldering areas in the northern part of the Grampians National Park are closed, including the Watchtower.
Parks Victoria will re-open affected areas as soon it is safe to do. This may take some time as there has been significant damage to the environment and infrastructure. Please respect the closures in place and consider alternative climbing areas.
The Grampians still remains a great place to climb and enjoy the outdoors. Below is a list of climbing and bouldering areas, and roads that are open within the Grampians National Park.
Climbing and bouldering areas open
- Wonderland area
- Victoria Range – including Red Rock, Muline and The Gallery (this doesn’t include the cliffs along the Enu foot track such as Eureka Wall, Weirs Creek etc)
- Black Range (west of Grampians – Black Ians Rock and Mt Talbot)
- Grampians Tourist Road
- Mt William Road
- Silverband Road
- Sundial Road
- Wonderland Road
- Serra Road
- Glenelg Road (from Serra Road to HentyHighway)
- Mirranatwa Road
- Yarram Gap Road
- Jimmy Creek Road
- Emmett Road
- Mitchell Road
• Redmans Track (4wd) • Mt Cassel Track (4wd) • Billywing Road
• Emmetts Road
• Geerak track (northern section) • Goat Track
• Harrops Track
• Jensens Road
• Mafeking Road
• Mt William Picnic Ground Road • Syphon Road (to Goats Track) • Victoria Range Track
Generally from September to November is the Peregrine nesting season. There are a number of regular locations that the Peregrines nest at and two of these have now been confirmed with nesting activity. Please give these areas a wide berth. Climbing near and stressing out the birds can be a matter of life or death for their chicks.
CURRENT NESTING SIGHTINGS:
30/09/13 – Falcon nesting(and swooping) at Harlequin Cracks and Beau Geste area Mt Arapiles. Gets highly agitated. (This is a regular nesting area most years)
30/09/13 Kestrel now nesting near rap anchor at Cassandra. This is her usual nesting place. Please stay away from this area
NOTE: There have also been sightings of Peregrines around the Tiger Wall area. Please keep an eye out and report an specific nesting sites.
Please check out the Falconwatch page here to understand why it is so important to be respectful of the birds nesting sites
For all those heading to Buffalo this Australia Day weekend (and that includes me) there is a large fire in the alpine region at the moment. At this stage the Harrietville fire is currently moving South East, but this will change as conditions do. Please keep it in mind.
The CFA/DSE website should have the latest information about this fire here: http://osom.dse.vic.gov.au/public/osom/websites_headline_mobile.html
Those with smart phones might wish to install the CFA’s FireReady app or Emergency Aus.
The following local FM radio stations should carry warnings:
89.7 – ABC Local
93.7 – Star Fm
If this fire starts heading towards Buffalo or another fire starts you may be asked to leave the park so please be prepared