Access Report March: Clean Up Days at Mt Arapiles and The Grampians

With the Clean Up Australia event happening this coming weekend 5/6th March, it’s a great opportunity to do a little cleaning up in a couple of our favourite parks for climbing. CliffCare and the VCC  is jumping onboard and helping out. Have a look at the rubbish we have collected at other times in the photos below.

Tammy Schoo from PV in Halls Gap, The Grampians, is organizing a number of events at various locations around the park. http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/Grampians+National+Park One particular area, The Pinnacle sees a lot of human traffic and therefore collects its fair share of rubbish. Bec Hopkins (who was CliffCare’s 2015 raffle organizer extraordinaire) will be our Rep for the day. Bec will be getting on the rope to get to various ledges to help remove accumulated rubbish.

You can do your bit too. On your way to your favourite crag and at the crag itself – do a rubbish clean up. Take along a bag and fill it with any rubbish you find along the way. At the end of the day either deposit the rubbish in a public bin or take home and deposit with the rest of your rubbish.

At Mt Arapiles, we will also be running a Clean Up day with Friends of Mt Arapiles and Parks Victoria. Details are following

CLIFFCARE/VCC, FRIENDS OF ARAPILES AND PARKS VICTORIA IS RUNNING A CLEAN UP ARAPILES DAY AS PART OF THE CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY EVENT. AND IT’S ON THIS SATURDAY 5TH MARCH STARTING AT 9AM.

We’re not looking for whole day commitments – just an hour or so is more than enough. If you have ever enjoyed Mt Arapiles as a climber, camper, day visitor, please spare this time and join us to give a little back. We will be picking up general rubbish around the campground areas particularly The Pines and also Bushrangers Bluff and along the Summit Road. And following the rains, the dreaded Bindi’s have reared their ugly, spiky heads in a few locations around the park, so we thought we would remove that rubbish as well.

MEET AT THE WASHING UP TROUGH LOWER PINES CAMPGROUND AT 9AM.

KEITH LOCKWOOD IS OUR COMMUNITY REP AND ZOE WILKINSON (AREA CHIEF RANGER) FROM PARKS VICTORIA WILL BE THERE TO MEET AND GREET AND HAND OUT BAGS AND ANY DIRECTIONS THAT MAY BE REQUIRED.

If you aren’t able to attend at this time, take a bag with you and keep an eye out for rubbish on your walk around the park or on the way to the cliff. It would be great to have some kind of tally of rubbish picked up, so if you are able to, take a photo of your collection before depositing in park bins. Any further info required or photos to be sent cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au

If you are planning on coming, dropping me a line would certainly help with preparations. Thanks!

AREAS TO BE TACKLED

Pines Campground and general camping areas
Bushrangers Bluff
Summit Road
Bindi (3 cornered jack) picking. Locations to be advised at morning meetup)

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Clean Up Arapiles day 2008

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Some of the rubbish we collected in 2008 on Clean up day. Lots of micro rubbish.

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This was found a number of years ago in the Grampians.

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More recently (2015) at The Gallery, Grampians

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

 

 

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.

Pharos Gully Track Official Opening – Saturday 6th June, 2015

I know many of you have hauled a rock or two or even three. I know your forearms burned and your biceps felt like they would burst. And you thought to yourselves – not another working bee! When will this track ever be finished. And now it is! All good projects must have a good official opening. So on Saturday 6th June, we will be toasting the project and all involved. Come along to the Pharos Gully carpark where we will cut the climbers sling, have a drink, eat some cake and mutter a few words of big thanks to all involved.

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Pharos Gully Track Repair Project Complete! Pats on the back all around.

Walter Braun, Stonemason,fitting the last rock in place.

Walter Braun, Stonemason,fitting the last rock in place.

Approximately 6 years down the line from the start of the project, the final rocks were put in place, and the Pharos Gully Track is now complete. This was a mammoth undertaking in a collaboration between CliffCare, Friends of Arapiles and Parks Victoria. Our artist in residence – anyone who has seen and walked the track will know what I mean – was Walter  Braun. Walter is a climber and stonemason whom we employed to build the track. The rocks, of which the majority we had to bring onto the site were carried over the years by well over 1000 people. CliffCare and the Victorian Climbing Club would like to take this opportunity to thank Walter for his amazing work and to all the volunteers who believed the speel of ‘Take your training to a new level. Haul a rock’. We love you all and can’t thank you and your muscles enough. Peter Hawker the ranger at the park was also an integral part of this project and helped in whatever way he could along the way.  Huge thanks also to our fellow collaborators – Friends  of Arapiles and Parks Victoria. One word people. Teamwork.

I will have another article soon on the project, that gives a little more detail on project costs, volunteer hours and project timeline. Along with pictures along the years. Stay tuned.

Walter, and Peter who was also on hand to move a few rocks on the last day.

Walter, and Peter who was also on hand to move a few rocks on the last day.

Walter explaining how large the fish was that got away. That or the size of the rock he needs Peter to haul for him.

Walter explaining how large the fish was that got away. That or the size of the rock he needs Peter to haul for him. Actually, I think he may be crux miming.

Thanks to Acacia Rose and Peter from K7 Adventures for being on  hand to take the photographic evidence of finished project.

Climbing updates – Grampians Easter 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):
•    Wildsides
•    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
•    Snakepit
*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.

Further Information
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.

Grampians National Park Update 31.03.15

March 2015 Grampians National Park Rock Climbing Update

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CLIMBERS – WE NEED YOU! Quick Submission to Horsham RCCouncil due tomorrow!

Attention all climbers – For those of you that love Mt Arapiles and the surrounding area, just the way it is, could you please take a few minutes of your time to send in a small submission to Horsham Rural City Council.Their current draft document Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) is open for submissions which end tomorrow. The document is huge but the sections that may affect us are small. It is important to ensure that those sections of the document as it stands now stays the same when it comes to development and land use for the Mount and surrounding area. If there are enough submissions going the other way(and there doesn’t have to be that many) saying that development should be allowed to occur closer to the mount, it means that the document can be changed to allow that option to be there. In the bigger picture, that means that if anyone,be it individual or company wants to develop something, one of the biggest hurdles is already out of the way. Putting in a brief submission now could mean a whole lot less hurt later on. Prevention rather than cure.

Here is a link to the huge document http://hrcc.vic.gov.au/images/Haveyoursay/DraftHorsham_Municipal_Strategic_Statement_for_discussion.pdf with the pages 29 Natimuk and 41 Tourism the only ones you might be interested in reading. I have also supplied a basic idea style draft of a letter you could quickly put together draft letter ideas. Please do make the effort. This is not a NO letter, this is a support letter for the current document in its current form (specifying those sections.)

There is a little discussion also on it on Chockstone