VCC Access & Environment Report – February

Earlier last year, after a number of meetings and discussions on the Arapiles Advisory Group, we decided to actively pursue a project on the revegetation of the Pines Campground. The issue of erosion and lack of shade for campers has been an ongoing one. As with any kind of State or National parks, there is a process to go through and while immediate decisions and acting upon it sounds like the way to go, the reality is that it always takes a little longer than hoped for. Our hope to get some plants in the ground last planting season didn’t eventuate for a variety of reasons but in the end, the bad rainfall would have severely impacted our ability to do this. At our last meeting in January, we spoke of the need to get the ball rolling on this project asap. We are hoping that rainfall this year will help us out in order to get plants in the ground. CliffCare also put out a survey to the general climbing community and park users to get their feedback on some of the issues and topics which climbers have certainly brought up to me over the years. There were also more indepth suggestions via the survey and emails that I received and I hope to be able to put these into something a little more readable in the near future. Survey results were actually quite close to the general feedback I have received over the years when discussions like this have come up with various members of the climbing community. Hopefully what this means is that the end result of revegetating the Pines will be an acceptable outcome for the majority of park users. I will continue to fill you in as decisions are made.

Along with the Pines revegetation project, we discussed the next trackwork project for Mt Arapiles. There are many areas requiring a bit of TLC in the park, especially as climbing becomes more popular. Louise Shepherd who heads Friends of Arapiles, Zoe Wilkinson who is Head Ranger at Mt Arapiles and myself, recently got together outside of the Advisory Group, with our whizbang stonemason, Walter Braun to discuss the starting date and course of action for Central Gully track. While this certainly doesn’t have the steepness of the Pharos Gully track and therefore the excessive erosion that often goes along with steep tracks, it does suffer from the same ‘loved to death’ syndrome. It is used extensively by climbers to access various climbing areas as well as walkers. Some sections will require little work whereas others will definitely need stonework to keep the track where it belongs. Some work was done on the track many years ago using concrete. This won’t be removed excepting where it has broken (concrete is wont to do this after time). Any work now done, will work with what was put in place previously. Following our meeting, we have decided that first workday will be sometime in March. Weather will have cooled by then (hopefully). I will be putting out a date shortly so keep an eye on your inboxes and on social media/websites as volunteers will be required. And whilst we are on the subject of volunteers, we have another smaller project that will require a few for a morning. Around the Pillars of Hercules area, between top of Dracula and Preludes,there are a lot of loose rocks and rubble that are starting to come down more often. Louise Shepherd has suggested a date in March and thinks that using a human chain method might be the best way to get the rocks moved. The larger rocks would be moved hand to hand well to the back of the Pillars. The smaller loose rubble could be gathered into buckets and then deposited at the back of Pillars cave. Again, a date will be announced for this shortly so keep an ear open.

There is also a further project around the Dreadnought Gully which has a loose dirt and rock shelf. This will need to be further assessed though and there is a good chance we may need to engage a little more than just volunteers to get this sorted. I will keep all informed as to the situation with this.

Survey results here Centenary Park Campground (The Pines), Mt Arapiles Questionnaire – Google Forms

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Checking out Central Gully with Area Chief Ranger Zoe Wilkinson

 

 

CliffCare Raffe Winners. WooHoo!

The CliffCare Raffle was drawn on the 5th December. Thanks to everyone who purchased a ticket and to all the sponsors who provided prizes. CliffCare couldn’t continue without all of your support. Below are the list of prize winners. You will be contacted over the next 2 days to organize your prize redemption.

1- 2 Bayside Rock 6 month memberships: 3000 0967
Tim Lucas. Anthony Cheffings

3.$500 Bogong voucher: 5822
Paul Reich

4.Roos with a View weekend accomodation: 1175
Norma Costorphan

5.Beal Opera Rope from Sea to Summit: 4291
Tim Preston

6. Breathe Pilates 10 class multipass: 1759
David Focken

7.Mount Zero Log Cabins weekend accomodation for 2: 5633
Stuart Holloway

8-12. Hardrock 10 visit pass: 5762 5660 1713 5761 3348
Les Tate. Andrew Conolly.John Fells. Les Tate. Kate Sandford.

13.Cliffhanger 10 visit pass: 1752
David Focken

14.Balance Control Pilates 5 mat classes: 2890
Tim Lockwood

15-16.Lactic Factory/Northside Boulders 1 month dual membership: 3932 0638
Cam Oxley. Peter Brookes.

17.#1.5 WC Helium Friend from Wilderness Shop: 0829
Neil Campbell

18. $100 Climbing Anchors Gift Voucher: 5989
Aaron Campbell

19.Arapiles Resoles Voucher: 4555
Fabian Schuelte

20.Ocun WeBee Move Harness from Verx: 5760
Sirja and Chris

21. Meal Voucher from the Natimuk Cafe: 1707
Verene Gomez

22. Meal Voucher from the National Hotel Natimuk: 0275
Jeremy Baba

23. Grampians Guide from Onsight Photography: 3443
David Hunchak

24-25.Ocun Crack Gloves from Verx: 3624 1898
R. Day. Geoff Gledhill

26-27. Vertical Life Magazine: 5827 3851
Andrea White. Michael O’Reilly

28. Arapiles Pocket Guide from Open Spaces: 5996
Vince Waters

29.Arapiles 444 of the Best from Onsight Photography: 5181
Peter Watson

Access Report Dec 2015-Part 2. Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Project

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Project

There have been a number of enquiries over time as to the progress and status of the Rock Wallaby Reintroduction in the Grampians. The programme has certainly had its downs although much has been learnt and continues to provide much needed info on what might make a reintroduction successful. The downs unfortunately has been the high mortality rate of the introduced wallabies. After much consideration, it was decided that for the time being, the Moora Creek colony program will be halted and the previously closed area is now accessible to visitors.

Interestingly after the decision to halt any further re introductions into this site, camera evidence showed that of the 4 wallabies that are persisting in the colony, two actually have pouch young. These remaining wallabies will continue to be monitored by the Recovery team. There is a smaller section that the recovery team are requesting that visitors access in a limited capacity so that the wallabies can continue to be monitored. Please respect this request for the sake of the remaining wallabies.

I received the following advice from Ryan Duffy at Parks Victoria. Along with this, he has provided a map that highlights the area where continued care needs to be taken. Please note that there are a number of abseiling anchors on Flat Rock in this area, that PV will be removing.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby site

In response to questions regarding the Moora Moora creek Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby site, I have included a map of the area where we ask people not to walk off-track, climb / abseil or camp. The rock-wallaby recovery team have asked that visitor don’t access this area as human activity can disturb the wallabies and also attract predators into the colony area, particular through regular use. Parks Victoria even limit the amount of times we access the colony.

At present, there are only 4 wallabies persisting in the colony, however two have pouch-young. The Recovery Team won’t be releasing more wallabies into the colony site in the near future as the program has experienced higher than expected mortality and there has been no successful recruitment into the colony (offspring surviving long enough to reproduce). However the remaining animals will stay at Moora Creek and continued to be monitored closely as the Recovery Team is still learning from this program which will aid future rock-wallaby reintroductions. Rock-wallaby recovery efforts will continue in Victoria, however the focus has turned to making sure there is enough animals in captivity to aid future reintroductions in Victoria, and the small and last remaining wild population in Snowy River National Park is strengthened by reintroducing animals with healthier genetic diversity.

The Moora Creek colony site is bounded by Homestead track, Rosea Track and Henham Track. Attached is an image of recent pouch-young that have been detected in the colony.. We will be removing the abseiling anchor points at Flat Rock as this is consistent with limiting access to the colony site.

As Homestead track is now open there is an opportunity for people interested in conservation to potentially see a rock-wallaby at dusk. I would suggest they sit and view the colony from Flat Rock, a rock shelf adjacent to Homestead track, at dusk. Homestead track is 4WD only accessible. In addition, PV would be very interested if climbers have observed any rock-wallaby scat (poo). Where rock-wallabies persist they leave abundant amounts of scat on rock shelfs and ledges or at the base of escarpments. Attached is a photo of rock-wallaby scat. This looks like Brush-tailed possum scat but is larger.

2015_10_07_BTRW4_Ki1 and young at foot (c)

Scat_BTRW example

Rock-walllaby reintroduction site access restriction This map shows the requested restriction area

The Great Annual CliffCare RAffle

The Great Annual CliffCare Raffle is on and in full swing. This is our main fundraiser and allows the work that CliffCare does to continue. CliffCare is responsible for generating it’s own funding so it’s really important that if you want access work to continue that you also get behind the funding of it. Some awesome sponsors and prizes are on offer. Drop either cliffcare an email – cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au or the Treasurer – treasurer@vicclimb.org.au and we can organize some tickets to be sent out to you with payment details. I am hoping to get some tickets into a few gyms etc so keep an eye out. Visit the sponsor page here http://cliffcare.org.au/about/sponsors-partners/
(Please excuse some of the formatting on the sponsor page. After a couple of hours of trying to fix, it has had to stay as it is for now)

The Raffle will be drawn on Saturday 5th December at the VCC Xmas BBQ held at Wilson Avenue Bouldering Wall. There will also be some extra prizes for those who turn up to the Xmas BBQ for the drawing. The bouldering, sausage sizzle and bevvies will start at 1pm with the drawing taking place at 4pm. Don’t miss out on the great prizes so buy some tickets now!

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CliffCareRaffle2012_ticket

North Grampians Reopening Update Sept 2015

This update is a more detailed one than the previous one that circulated on Facebook late last week. The update is also available to download.

People – it has been a long time coming, and the recovering areas thank you for your patience. As of the 18th September, most of the climbing areas in the North Grampians still closed, will once again open. These areas though, are still fragile and deserve to have a little extra thought given, if and when you decide to head there. The Mt Difficult Range is still in a very fragile state and because of this, some of the closures here will remain in place, except for those cliffs listed. Check out the list below and please continue to read the care info following it. Thank you all in the climbing and bouldering community who have been understanding of the closures and have been actively promoting it to others. Lots of other areas have seen renewed interest. Whilst Nature will continue to throw these events at us, it is obvious that there are always enough cliffs and boulders to go around.

To aid the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians there is a general closure in place for rock climbing throughout the Mt Difficult Range, except for the main climbing areas stated below. Please support the long term recovery of fire affected areas by remaining out of any closed sites. See closure map for further detail. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on those found in any closed, fire affected areas.
Open and accessible rock climbing and bouldering areas in the Northern Grampians
Hollow Mountain Area
Barc Cliff
, Gunn Buttress
, Battlescarred Blocks / The Ammo Shop, Amnesty Wall Area
, Andersens
, Clicke Area (incl. Kindergarten routes) The Kindergarten (bouldering) Expedition Crag, 
Turtle Rocks, 
Sandinista Cliffs, 
Pensioners Wall Area, 
Red Wall Area incl Echoes Block, Loopeys
, Hollow Mountain Cave, 
Legoland, 
Cut Lunch Walls
, Koalasquatsy Wall
Tribute Wall
, The Dungeon, 
Bad Moon Rising Wall
Van Dieman’s Land, Rambla Wall,  A-Frame Boulder

Summerday Valley
Flying Blind. Wall of Fools, Back Wall Bowler Boulder

  • *Note closures are in place to Main wall, Left wall, Bird wall and Calcutti crag and others east of Summerday Valley due to threatened plant species regeneration, cultural heritage protection and trail degradation.Mt Stapylton Amphitheatre
    Northern Wall, Central Buttress, Sabre Gully, 
Grey and Green Walls, Taipan Wall
    Spurt Wall, 
Bouldering Buttress, Lower Taipan, 
Afterglow Wall, Afterglow Boulders
,The Plaza Strip,
The Snake Pit
, Trackside Boulders. Citadel
. Ground Control Caves, Cave Club, 
Between the Sheeps, Spurt Wall (Bouldering), The Titanic (Bouldering)
    Flat Rock Area
    West Flank / Wall of Fuels, Bellepheron Wall
,Epsilon Wall
,Bouldering
    Cloud Cuckoo Land
,
    Note: new access track between flat rock, the kindergarten and Andersons via Bellepheron wall.Mt Zero Area
    Pangaea Walls, Toolondo Waters, 
4 Cornered Crag, 
Mt Zero Summit Cliff, Mount Zero West WallsIskra Crag
    Flower Power Block, Shadow Buttress,  Emu Crag
, Sunstroke Area
, Pigs in Space Buttress, Main West Face, Dolgoruki Wall
    First Tier, 
Second Tier, 
Third Tier
, North Western Outcrop, Eastern Walls
    36 Chambers
, Dolgoruki Wall and Three Tiers

    Asses Ears Area
    Sunset Crags, 
The Secret Crags
, Cherub Wall
, Maul Wall, 
Wallaby Rocks, 
Conifer Wall
, Geranium (Brim) Springs, Porcelain Wall
,Wallaby Rocks
,Joey Blocks

    Pohlner track and Smith Road Area
    The Rust Bucket, Martini Rock, Worship Wall, Point 447 ,Bordel Buttress, Mt Emu
    The Crows Nest, The Eyrie
, The Unnamed Cliff, An Unnamed Cliff, Olive Grove,
    Cave Of Ghosts Cliffs, Ghost Block,
The Olive Cave,
The Ravine

  Mt Stapylton Campground area
Campground Boulders

  • *******************************************

    CLOSED CLIMBING AREAS

    Eastern Mt Difficult Range
    No Mans Land, Heatherlie Heights, Cape Canavera,l Woomera
    The Promised Land / The Pine Plantation, Cliff Lebanon,
The Heavens, 
Lower Heavens,
    Lunar Walls, The Tim Tams

  • North West Mt Difficult Range
    Sickle Wall
, Mawson Slab, 
Mt Difficult Cliff, Epaminondas Buttress, Troopers Creek Cliff, Mt Difficult Summit ,Mt Bloody ImpossibleMt Stapylton Campground
    Cave
, Sentinel Wall
, The Guardhouse,  Warden Wall , Titanic Boulder, Doddery Rock, Mt Pleasant
,The Rockwall Area ,Briggs Bluff AreaNE Mt Zero Range
    Golton Rocks -
Cave Cliff
, Wave Wall (aka The Sundeck) / The Sun Deck  The Sun Gate,
Golton Wall, 
Gog-Magog Crag, 
G-Land, 
Watchmen Wall, 
Coppermine Track Cliff
    *NOTE – 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:
  • Keep in mind that any damage caused now will remain long term. 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 moss and seed beds. Please don’t create short cuts or new tracks, particularly in steep gullies
  • Only climb in open and accessible areas and keep group numbers low – Avoid taking large groups into small crags or areas where there are no designated 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:
  • Respect other climbers and park visitors
  • Stick to established tracks and avoid damaging or removing vegetation
  • Many areas have significant Aboriginal cultural sites, please respect this unique cultural landscape by 
only climbing in established areas
  • Avoid excessive chalk and be mindful of cleaning
  • No chipping of rock or new bolting
  • Carry out all rubbish
  • Use toilets provided
  • 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
    For up to date climbing access reports visit http://www.cliffcare.com.au
    For up to date fire recovery information sheets and general park information visit http://www.parks.vic.gov.au phone 13 1963 or call into Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap, open 9am-5pm daily.
  • 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 permitted.

PLEASE NOTE: CAMPGROUND BOULDERS NOTED AS CLOSED IN THE PV UPDATE IS OPEN. THIS OFFICIAL DOCUMENT WILL BE UPDATED SHORTLY.

Sept 2015 Grampians National Park Rock Climbing Update v2

Sept Fire Recovery Map Nth Grampians_010915

Grampians National Park Update Sept 2015 v2

Planned Burns at Arapiles 25/26 August 2015

Mt Arapiles will have some planned burns happening today and possibly tomorrow. The burns will be happening on the west side down to the golf course area.Whilst it won’t affect any of the main faces, it will mean that the summit road from Bushrangers up will be closed for a couple of days. You are still able to access Bushrangers itself. So if you are wondering what all the smoke may be from, wonder no more.

Grampians Update – Re-openings and Bouldering August 2015

As Spring approaches, the number of enquiries  I am receiving regarding closures and re-openings in the Grampians has increased. I am hoping to have some solid dates for this very shortly but, the indicators are good – aiming for a Spring re-opening in many of the areas. And first up, let me say that the response and care from the climbing community, of the closed areas has been impressive. And duly noted. For your interest please find the most recent update regarding climbing and bouldering areas following this article.

What is also very obvious is that the popularity of bouldering continues to grow., and quite noticeably at that. While this is great for the sport, for encouraging people to get outdoors and get physical with nature, it also means that there will be more human traffic that the areas and tracks in have to deal with. And this is really where we need to work hard to get some mindsets in place with those using the areas now and also those that will come in the future. This is so important when it comes to the environmental impact that these areas will inevitably have to deal with. We should do everything we can to minimize it – for the sake of the environment we love to climb in and those that will come after us, and also for the continued access that we currently enjoy. I don’t believe that the land managers we currently deal with want to just blanket ban climbing and bouldering so that the issues don’t occur and it doesn’t have to be dealt with. I do believe though that some of the concerns they have around traffic levels and impact, especially in more sensitive areas, are real and deserve to be addressed thoughtfully. This does mean taking into account the rights we have as recreational users, but there are also a suite of other rights and park values that land managers are required to manage. The Grampians is a National Park and one of its main goals (and for those that manage it) is to conserve its environmental values. So anything that contributes to more human usage immediately will be a concern. It is also an area that contains the largest amount of cultural heritage sites and has a strong indigenous community attachment to it. Again – anything that contributes to more human usage has the possibility of hindering the preservation of these sites and therefore destroying precious indigenous history in the process. All of this must be taken into account when managing the park.

Climbing and bouldering is now a very accepted form of recreational activity in the park, and for the most part, does not occur in visitor managed areas. Visitor managed areas = hardened surfaces, tracks etc.and budgets for staff and resources (minimal as they are!) And for climbers and boulderers – that probably sits a bit better for their experience. But if we want this, it also means we need to take on a role whereby we are constantly assessing our behavior and also the environment we are accessing. And when need be, we need to make adjustments – sometimes maybe even a little unpopular with others. I also believe that we can continue to engage in our recreational activity and still look after the environmental values of the park. As always, education is the key. And it’s not a one poster, one season kind of thing where the information gets put out there and that’s it. It’s a constant as new people continue to enter the sport.

Harking back to the first sentence of the second paragraph – very obvious is that the popularity of bouldering continues to grow. New areas are being developed around the Grampians. Some are in areas that can handle the traffic and impact more, and others less so. Getting people to understand this and adjust their behavior willingly, I think, is the key to continued access over time. CliffCare will be working on an educational campaign around bouldering and I am hoping that individuals and climbing related businesses will provide feedback and help when needed. And yes, there will be some posters but more importantly the issues and how to address them is information that is so easily passed on from one person to another. In general conversation the fact that a particular area may be closed at a particular time, and why that might be so. Areas that don’t handle larger groups as well. Suggested behavior when you can see activity of the negative kind. This is the kind of education that has more chance of sinking in.

There will be more of this over the coming months. Any thoughts you may have feel free to drop me a line, write a comment on the blog or facebook and just keep the dialogue going.

Grampians-rock-climbing-update

Early post fire Andersons

Early post fire Andersons