Mt Arapiles Campground Repair Project – Pines Revegetation June 11th, 2017

Saturday 11th June saw approximately 30 volunteers rock up to the Pines campground at Mt Arapiles to plant out 100 young trees and shrubs – 80 of which were grown from seed collected from the area, by Ollie Sherlock. Ollie ran a VCC trip that weekend and recruited helpers from the trip for a couple of hours before they headed out climbing. A number of locals turned up. Louise Shepherd who runs Friends of Arapiles was there to help guide some of the planting and put her digging skills to the harder ground around the Squeeze Test Boulder. This area was also suggested to help reveg the area and provide a barrier to the cars driving in closer. Zoe Wilkinson and colleagues from Parks Victoria were also on hand to welcome everyone and go over safety briefings and planting advice with volunteers. Many thanks to everyone involved. It’s great to see such a fantastic turnout. I like this quote that Ollie used in his trip invite – An old Greek Proverb says it all: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

Thanks people! More photos in the Smugmug gallery here https://vicclimbingclub-cliffcare.smugmug.com/Access-Environment-at-Climbing/Mt-Arapiles/Revegetation-Pines-Campground-and-Beyond-2/

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Access & Environment report May 2017

Central Gully Repair Project is travelling along nicely. Walter Braun has been at the mount a number of times working by himself or with someone else he has managed to recruit for a day of volunteer work. Cameron Abraham, Steve Monks and Steve Findlay have helped shift rocks via the power barrow. And a cast of thousands helped out on a working bee on 1st April. Awesome turn out and a huge thanks to all who gave up a few hours of their time. This really makes the difference about getting the project finished in a decent time frame. The power barrow can bring the rocks to a certain point on the old track and then humans need to carry the rocks down. Most of the last rock pile at the top had been carried down to the intersection where the new track benching starts. This work day had the volunteers moving the rocks down the new track site so that Walter could start creating the hardening of the track. We are almost ready for a new load of rocks to be delivered – so we can start the process all over again. Stay tuned!

This Saturday 10th June (Queens Birthday long weekend) sees another working bee. This time it’s the revegetation of the Pines campground and beyond. Ollie Sherlock has been doing a brilliant job of growing and nurturing the little treelings from the seed collected at the mount. We will be supplementing these plants with some others sourced from the local nursery. Predominantly in the Pines campground but we also have a number of other sites where we will plant. See the details below and please rock up at 9.00 to give a hand. Those who have already contacted, you will receive a confirmation email shortly.

Fabulous work climbing community! All of this work will last for years to come and help manage the impact that our ever growing numbers have on the sites.

Planned Burn Mt Arapiles 15th May

As noted in a previous post, there are planned burns scheduled for Mt Arapiles. This will be occurring on Monday 15th May. Please note details below – in short Bushrangers Bluff and Campbells Kingdom will be closed and access to other climbing areas will be limited to bottom up only. Acquaint yourself with the specifics in the notes provided by Parks Victoria below.

Parks Victoria Update

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) conduct planned burns to reduce the bushfire risk to communities and the environment. Our crews include staff from DELWP, Parks Victoria and Vic Forests and the burning will only go ahead when the weather conditions are suitable.

Two Planned Burns have been been scheduled in Autumn this year for Mount Arapiles – Tooan State Park.

PLANNED BURNS SCHEDULED FOR AUTUMN 2017
Name Location Planned Area (ha)
Arapiles – Summit Road 8KM SW OF NATIMUK 120
Dyrrite – Wanjap 8KM WSW OF NATIMUK 9

Monday 15 May 2017 – Arapiles – Summit Road Planned Burn

On the day of this burn Summit Road into the park will be closed, including vehicular access to walking tracks from Summit Road and the Basin Creek area west of Summit Road.

The following areas are Open:

  •        All climbing areas apart from Bushrangers Bluff and Campbell’s Kingdom (Note – only bottom up access to all open climbing areas as Summit road is closed)
    ·        Natimuk Golf Links Road
    ·        Central Gully Walking Track (bottom up access only with closure at the top)
    ·        Pharos Gully Walking track (bottom up access only with closure at the top)
    ·        Declaration Crag/Taylors Rock
    ·        Mitre Rock
    ·        The Centenary Park campground and picnic area

The following areas are CLOSED to cars and walking access:

  •        The Ring road around Arapiles block
    ·        The Bushranger – Melville Cave
    ·        Campbell’s Kingdom
    ·        The Summit Picnic Area
    ·        The Bluff Lookout and the Fire Tower Lookout
    ·        The bluff lookout unsealed road

Traffic management will be set up in the area and surrounding communities and visitors may see and smell smoke.

Tuesday 16 May 2017 – Dyrrite – Wanjap Planned Burn

No park or road closures are expected on the day but traffic management will be set up in the Mt Arapiles- Centenary Park Campground area and surrounding communities.

Visitors may see and smell smoke.

There are many ways to find out where planned burns are happening in your area. You can sign up online by searching for the Planned Burn Notification System (PBNS), which you can customise to suit your notification needs, or contact the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.  Alternatively you can contact the Horsham DELWP office on 03 5362 0720.

Map below available for download

Mt-Arapiles-Summit-Rd-burn-closures

Dogs and Cats at the Crag

We love our pets. So much so that we want to take them everywhere. And therein lies the problem. Sometimes that everywhere includes the cliffs you climb at. In Victoria, most of the climbing areas are in National or State Parks. And apart from a few State parks and reserves that will allow leashed dogs, everywhere else is a no go. And no exceptions whatsoever for National Parks. There have been a couple of reports recently of climbers taking dogs and cats on leashes to the Grampians.

Short and sweet – Don’t do it. Politely – Please don’t do it. Below are a few bulleted points as to why these rules are in place. They are in place for everyone from day visitors to overnight campers to climbers. From a climbing community perspective, and from my perspective as someone who deals directly with access issues and land managers, this is not cool. It does influence non climbers and land managers opinions on the climbing community and it doesn’t bode well when I go in to bat for the community about the responsible actions of climbers. It’s also illegal and worth a hefty fine.

There are many reasons as to why it is not appropriate nor allowed, to bring animals into the park. In most cases, dogs have been the pet of choice to bring but it appears that pet cats have now joined the visitor list. Feral cats are a growing problem in the parks with a number of control programs currently being discussed. Their impact on the native wildlife is extensive. Bringing a pet cat into a park can attract feral cats merely through their scent.

  • Animals are not allowed in National Parks to ensure that the park is managed in accordance with its objectives, which is to preserve and protect the natural environment and to conserve flora and fauna.
  • They can compete with or harass, chase, trample or prey upon native fauna, especially ground-dwelling species.
  • They can also disturb wildlife by their scent, sounds, scratching and digging. They may also transmit diseases and parasites to native fauna.
  • Their urine and excrement can attract wild dogs, foxes and feral cats.

Please don’t think that because your animal is on a lead and well behaved that it is an exception to the rule. And understand that by bringing your pet in, you will have influenced someone else to do the same with their beloved pet.

Note: The responsible actions of fellow climbers were to thank for the reports of these incidents. If you do see a doggie or moggie at the cliff, even if the owner is a friend and a generally all around nice person – please let them know it’s not right and to leave the furry family member at home.

Arapiles Rescue Locations

Zoe Wilkinson who is the Area Chief Ranger Wimmera and who is a climber herself, recently put together this article to explain the new Rescue locations system that has been put in place at Mt Arapiles. Whilst we hope of course that this doesn’t have to be used, the reality is that at some point an accident will happen, and knowing the best way to report this can save vital time when it comes to emergency services accessing the injured. Climbers might know where an area is, but expecting emergency services to, without any point of reference is a tricky one. Arapiles now has it’s own system that relates to climbs and staging points rather than the standard Emergency markers that are at many other parks and coastal areas. Take the time to acquaint yourself and then print off a copy. And pass it on.

Arapiles rescue reporting and locations

Improving emergency response

Rock climbing accidents
at
Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park

by Zoe Wilkinson – Climber, VCC Member and Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Wimmera

Do you know what to do if you have a climbing accident at Mount Arapiles that requires an ambulance and cliff rescue?

·       Call Triple Zero 000 – clearly stating the need for an Ambulance AND Cliff Rescue

·       Tell operator:

–        Accident location – Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park

–        Name of the climb (For example:- Spellbinder),

–        Climbing Area Name (For example:- Pharos Gully Right Side)

–        If known, name of nearest vehicular access point (For example:- Pharos Gully Carpark)

·       If possible send someone to the nearest vehicular access point to meet and direct the paramedics and other responding emergency agencies. These may include SES, CFA, VicPolice and Parks Victoria.

 

The emergency response problem

Rock climbing accidents requiring an ambulance to Mount Arapiles are fortunately uncommon. When they occur, Triple Zero 000 operators are likely to ask for information to verify the location of the incident to guide the ambulance. This may include the names of the nearest road intersection, the co-ordinates of the incident if known, the name of the climb and the name of the climbing area (eg Pharos Gully).

This is the standard way that the operators at Triple Zero 000 (ESTA – The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority) locate an incident. While effective for road traffic incidents, having the responding paramedic directed to the intersection of Summit Road and Centenary Park Road at Mount Arapiles is not going to be a great help in locating a climber having fallen off ‘Snow Blind’, for example, in the bottom of Yesterday Gully.

All too often the responding paramedics and emergency services providing cliff rescue have to drive around at Mount Arapiles until hopefully they come across the location of the accident or bump into someone who knows where the accident has happened. This is at best frustrating and at worst potentially a matter of life and death for the individual if they are suffering critical injuries.

Emergency Markers – Useful but not considered the best solution for Arapiles

Emergency Markers (managed by ESTA) with a code (see picture below) on them that link to co-ordinates back in the ESTA 000 databases are one response to this problem. You may have seen them in Melbourne, such as around the Botanic Gardens running track ‘The Tan’, or along the Victorian coast where they are used quite extensively. If someone collapses on ‘The Tan’ running track you simply quote the code of the nearest Emergency Marker to the operator when you call 000 and the ambulance will know exactly where to go. There is also an Emergency Marker at the Burnley Bouldering Wall in Richmond

A better solution – Using Climbing Area Names to guide rescue

Detailed location information already exists – the name of the climb and the climbing area itself, as listed in the commonly used rock climbing guide books and on online sites such as ‘The Crag’. Telling any climber who knows Mount Arapiles that there has been an accident up at ‘Beautiful Possibilities’ on ‘Central Gully Left Side’ is as good as giving them a precise GPS co-ordinate. The climber knows exactly where the nearest road access point is for the responding ambulance – at the top of the Pines – and how to get to the accident site from there. The challenge is conveying that knowledge, via the ESTA 000 centralised dispatch system, through to the paramedics and other responding agencies.

So Parks Victoria has been working on an innovative but common sense solution based on a good understanding of how climbers use Arapiles. The aim is to use existing climbing area names, to improve climbing accidents rescue response at Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park. Co-ordinates and names for 57 climbing areas (For example:- Pinnacle Face, Left Watchtower Face, New Image Wall, The Organ Pipes ) and 13 nearest vehicular access points (officially called Rescue Staging Points, for example Pharos Gully Carpark – see Map) have now been collected and uploaded to the ESTA 000 database (as part of the state-wide Common Place Names geo-dataset).

All emergency response and rescue organisations – Victoria Police (who under the Emergency Management Act are legislatively in charge of all rescues in Victoria), Ambulance Victoria, the SES Horsham (which includes members of the former local Arapiles Rescue Group), CFA, ESTA (Triple Zero 000) and Parks Victoria – have been involved and informed about this process. Documentation and maps for incident management purposes have now been completed. Kieran Loughran (local climber and longstanding local rescue group member) has updated ‘The Crag’ (https://www.thecrag.com/climbing/australia/arapiles) to include a specific reference to the climbing area names that has been used in the ESTA Triple Zero 000 database (For example:- Emergency Location – Voodoo Area, Mount Arapiles). Maps and information for climbers on what to do in case of an accident have been made available on the new Visitor Information Boards and in the Toilet Block at Mount Arapiles.

The final step has been the installation at Mount Arapiles of normal low-key park signage (see below) clearly identifying the 13 nearest vehicular access points (Rescue Staging Points) for all 3000 climbs at all 57 climbing areas. The primary aim of these signs is to confirm the location for the responding paramedics and emergency agencies without being too intrusive. On a normal day to day basis the signs will help orientate visitors in the park.

Now the new system is in place, following the notification process at the beginning of this article should lead to a more informed response from emergency services. The next unfortunate climbing accident will test the system and hopefully benefit from improved emergency response times. We would like to be waiting a long time to test it.

ArapilesRescueStagingPointsMap

 

 

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Grampians Flood Update 16 Sept

Latest update from PV. Park is once again open. Please take note though of various closures. See links following this update for maps, full official update etc

silverband-falls

Grampians National Park Recovery Update

  • This morning, VicRoads reinstated access to the Mt Victory-Northern Grampians road from Halls Gap to Mackenzie Falls. Unfortunately beyond Mackenzie Falls (to the west) the road closure will remain in place until next week.
  • Parks Victoria staff have cleared debris off roads and carparks and have now reinstated access to popular visitor sites such as Mackenzie Falls (lookouts only, not to the base), Reeds Lookout and the Balconies, Boroka Lookout and  the Wonderland area – including the Grampians Peaks Trail overnight walk. Water levels remain high in some creeks however and there is a track diversion around Barneys creek, just north of Borough Huts.
  • Other popular visitor sites such as Hollow Mountain, Mt Zero, Flat Rock and Mt Stapylton in the Northern Grampians will also reopen.  There northern section of Mt Zero road is closed however, so access is best from the Western Hwy, Dadswells Bridge and Winfields roads.
  • Access to Plantation campground and Heatherlie Quarry has been reinstated however the Mt Zero Road is closed north of Roses Gap Rd.
  • Mt William and the Major Mitchell Plateau overnight walk will reopen and access is available to the southern Grampians attractions such as Mt Sturgeon, Mt Abrupt and The Piccaninny.
  • Buandik campground, Manja Art shelter, Jardwardjali falls and Billimina art shelter are open in the West of the park, as is the Victoria Range overnight walk. However due to the Victoria Valley being closed, the best access is via Mirranatawa Rd, Jensens Rd , Glenelg River Rd, Henty Hwy and Harrops track.
  • The Mt Difficult Range (between Roses Gap Road and Northern Grampians road remains under a fire recovery closure).

grampians-np-northern-grampians-fire-recovery-update-september-2016

16-sept-park-road-report

grampians-np-roads-open-closed-sept-16-2016