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

Map

Grampians_Road_Report

Northern Grampians Reopenings – Further updates

Hi All,

Below is the official update from Parks Victoria on the reopenings that will take place this Saturday 20th September. Please take note of what isn’t accessible at this point in time and also the fact of what campgrounds are not open – especially Stapylton Campground. Most of all, while you are having a great time out there, take great care of the places you love.  Cheers!

Grampians National Park Update – 17 September 2014 (Rock climbing and Bouldering)

In January 2014 a large bushfire swept through the Northern Grampians causing widespread damage to visitor sites, roads and walking tracks. Many popular rockclimbing and bouldering sites were also impacted including Hollow Mountain, Summerday Valley and Mt Stapylton.

The dry, rocky landscape is now extremely fragile and will take a long time to recover – the fire burnt extremely hot so in many cases regeneration will now occur (very slowly) from seed. Loss of vegetation, loose rocks, unstable soils and loss of access tracks means any foot traffic will have long term impacts on the recovery of the environment. Impacts now will also affect the sustainability of rock climbing sites well into the future.

Recently, Parks Victoria, volunteers and contractors completed recovery projects within rock climbing areas to reinstate damaged walking trails, realign rock climbing access and replace directional signage.

As of Saturday 20th September access will once again be available to rock climbing and bouldering areas within the Stapylton Amphitheatre in addition to those already available in the Flat Rock area. The access track from Flat Rock has been realigned into Grey and Green Walls and to Taipan wall. Please follow these new alignments and refrain from walking off track.

Open Rock Climbing and Bouldering Areas in the Northern Grampians:

  • Central Buttress
  • Grey & Green Walls
  • Taipan Wall (Upper and Lower)
  • Spurt Wall
  • Epsilon Wall
  • Trackside Bouldering area
  • Snakepit
  • Wildsides
  • Spurt and Afterglow

Closures remain in place at all other Northern Grampians Climbing and Bouldering sites for the time being, including Summerday Valley, Andersons, The kindergarten, Van Diemens Land and Cut Lunch Walls. Stapylton Campground also remains closed. Plantation Campground is the closest, open campground.

Parks Victoria will continue to assess damage and undertake recovery works over the coming months. Updates will be posted as re-openings occur.  Please respect the fragility of the environment and support the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians by remaining out of any closed areas. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on anyone found in any closed, fire affected areas.

 

Due to closures in the Northern Grampians, the availability of rock climbing, camping, car touring and bushwalking experiences is limited. Sourcing information on available campgrounds and other accommodation options is recommended. Please visit www.parks.vic.gov.au  for park maps and regular Grampians fire recovery updates.

For detailed information on available rockclimbing and bouldering sites in and near to the Grampians please refer to recognised guidebooks/websites. A general list of open and available areas includes the following:

Rockclimbing sites open in the Grampians:

  • Stapylton Amphitheatre
  • Flat Rock
  • Wonderland Range
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt William Range
  • Victoria Point area
  • Victoria Range (Including the Red Rock, Muline and the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)

Limited Bouldering Sites available in and near the Grampians:

  • Stapylton Amphitheatre
  • Victoria Range (Including the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt Arapiles
  • Mt Talbot
  • The Black Range

Please remember your climbing etiquette:

  • Only climb and boulder in open accessible areas
  • Stick to tracks
  • Respect fragile environmental areas and cultural heritage
  • Keep an eye out for Aboriginal Art sites – Report to Parks Victoria if you come across anything new.
  • Be mindful of cleaning
  • No chipping or bolting
  • Avoid excessive chalk
  • Take your rubbish home with you

Northern Grampians Fire Update 14/2/14 & Victoria Range updates

Having arrived back from Thailand last week it didn’t take long to get right back into the swing of things. I will have more information soon on the closed burnt areas of the Northern Grampians. I visited the sites of Summerday Valley, Taipan and Stapylton Ampitheatre last Wednesday. It is still very early days when it comes to planning openings and work projects – of which there will be many. Once again, patience will be called upon. Bear with me as this post will be a long one and includes some relevant infomation from Parks Victoria.

There are a few more updated areas to those that can be accessed for climbing in the other areas of the park. In the post previous to this from 23/1/14 it notes that the Victoria Range is open to climbing except for those cliffs along the Camp of the Emu Foot Track (note the new indigenous name is Janangin jawi) These cliffs are now open for climbing but there are some changes in the access to them. And these are permanent changes. Access is now only by foot. The track which was previously accessible for vehicles has been given a MVO status. Management Vehicles only. As noted above, this is not temporary, it is permanent. This has been a request by the Indigenous team and community and was a request that was in the pipeline previous to the fires. With the fragile nature of the area along with the high density of of cultural heritage sites in the Victoria Range, this has made it even more relevant.

From a climbers perspective, it does mean that the walk in will be longer. For cliffs further along such as Weirs Creek definitely a fair hike. However it is really important that this change is understood and respected. The cultural heritage team and indigenous groups do want to work alongside other user groups so that we can continue to use these areas. Hopefully most climbers are aware by now that the Victoria Range is an exceptional place when it comes to cultural heritage, it should be protected and I would hope that climbers as a community will respect the measures that have been put in place.

Please park out side of the gate and don’t drive in. If for some reason the gate happens to be open – same thing. It is a MVO track at all times.
And do remember that this area is still very fragile. Take care and treat it as such. Keep to the one track. The same goes with the rest of the Victoria Range. In many of the areas, CliffCare and members of the climbing community have helped repair and mark tracks best that are the most sustainable. It is in everyone’s long term interest that we focus a little more on looking after the areas.

Cheers, Tracey

The following is the latest information from PV in regards to climbing and bouldering:

Grampians National Park Update –  14 February 2014 (Rock climbing and Bouldering)

The Northern Grampians Fire severely burnt the natural environment and much of the park infrastructure in and around Hollow Mountain, Summer Day Valley and Mt Stapylton – this includes many popular rock climbing and bouldering sites; as a result there are many park closures in place. The dry, rocky landscape is now extremely fragile and will take a long time to recover – the fire burnt extremely hot so in many cases regeneration will now occur (very slowly) from seed. Loss of vegetation, loose rocks, unstable soils and loss of access tracks means any foot traffic will have long term impacts on the recovery of the environment. Impacts now will also affect the sustainability of rock climbing sites well into the future.

Please respect the fragility of the environment and support the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians by remaining out of any closed areas. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on those found in any closed, fire affected area.

Parks Victoria recognises the importance and popularity of the Northern Grampians to the rock climbing and bouldering communities and will be working closely with industry and community representatives throughout a staged reopening process.  Environmental considerations will largely determine when sites are available to be reopened, and replacement of damaged infrastructure will occur as suitable funding is available.

As part of the recovery process, Parks Victoria will be identifying alternative options for climbing and bouldering, and will closely monitor impacts on these sites as their use and popularity increases. There will also be significant work done on the future experience of visitors in the Northern Grampians.

Parks Victoria is continuing to improve its understanding of the needs of climbers and boulderers and is intent on providing an experience that is well respected, regarded, promoted and understood throughout the Australian and International Climbing and bouldering communities.

Parks Victoria will be relying heavily on the climbing industry to work together to spread the messages about the fragility of the landscape and the long term sustainability of rock climbing in the Grampians. There may be opportunities for licenced tour operators, school and community based groups to become involved in the recovery process.

Due to closures in the Northern Grampians, the availability of rock climbing, camping, car touring and bushwalking experiences is limited. Sourcing information on available campgrounds and other accommodation options is recommended. Please visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for park maps and regular Grampians fire recovery updates.

For detailed information on available rockclimbing and bouldering sites in and near to the Grampians please refer to recognised guidebooks/websites. A general list of open and available areas includes the following:

Rockclimbing sites open in the Grampians:

  • Wonderland Range
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt William Range
  • Victoria Point area
  • Victoria Range (Including the Red Rock, Muline and the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)

Limited Bouldering Sites available in and near the Grampians:

  • Victoria Range (Including the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt Arapiles
  • Mt Talbot
  • The Black Range

Please remember your climbing etiquette:

  • Only climb and boulder in open accessible areas
  • Stick to tracks
  • Respect fragile environmental areas and cultural heritage
  • Keep an eye out for Aboriginal Art sites – Report to Parks Victoria if you come across anything new.
  • Be mindful of cleaning
  • No chipping or bolting
  • Avoid excessive chalk

·         Take your rubbish home with you

Burnt Valley near Hlw Mtn - Marty Schoo

Burnt Valley near Hlw Mtn – Marty Schoo

Hollow Mountain Area SMentz

Hollow Mountain Area SMentz

Hollow Mtn Carpark - Simon Mentz

Hollow Mtn Carpark – Simon Mentz

SDV Access - Tschoo

SDV Access – Tschoo

Summerday Valley- SMentz

Wall of Fools - TSchoo

Wall of Fools – TSchoo

 

 

 

 

 

Grampians Fires January 2014

Hi All,

Just letting you know that the entire Grampians National Park has been closed as of around midday today. This has been done in the interests of public safety and will be reviewed midday Saturday 18th Jan.
With regards to closure signs, the reality is that currently there are only road closure signs in place in some parts of the Northern Grampians – north of Mt Victory Rd. The plan is to work with the various shires and try and get some more signs out for southern parts. Hopefully this will be tomorrow morning.

Please get the word out to all those that you know that the entire park is closed, not just a few roads here and there. I would imagine human resources will be pushed to the limit as they always are in this kind of situation and the more the community can get the word around, the better it will be.
Some of the fires are burning quite hard. The Hollow Mountain area fire falls into this category.

Please share this to all your networks.

Victoria Range Fire Update

The Victoria Valley complex fire  fire burnt long and hard, from the 14th of February and was declared officially under control on the 6th March.  20 days of unrelenting fire. Speaking yesterday to someone who was fighting the fire, they noted that it was the most fierce  they have ever dealt with. Fingers have been crossed for the best outcome for the myriad of cliffs and climbing areas that dot the Victoria Range.

A meeting was held today between a number of climbing community representatives and Parks Victoria Grampians rangers. Steve Monks, Malcolm Matheson, Simon Weill, Earl from Hanging Out and myself, Tracey Skinner, met with Ranger in Charge Dave Roberts, Zoe Wilkinson and Claire Evans from PV to discuss the outcomes of the Victoria Valley complex fire.The issues that we are faced with and how we can move forward. It is still very early days yet in regards to assessing the areas so the following information is based only on what has been gathered so far and this can be open to change as more information comes to hand. What I can say is that PV staff are really keen to open as much as they can, as soon as possible.

From aerial photographs that were taken of some of the areas last week, it appears that The Gallery, Red Rocks,Millenium Caves and Muline have been moderately burnt whilst Eureka Wall, Lost World and Red Sail areas have been severely burnt.  Fortress and Chimney Pots area again look to have been moderately burnt and patchy in areas. There are other areas obviously and as time goes on, more information on these will come to light. There is currently a Rapid Assessment team in place who will be reporting back shortly.

At this stage, the Victoria Range will remain temporarily closed for at least 4 – 6 weeks. Priority for reopening will be for those areas that have been impacted the least which from our early discussions points to The Gallery, Red Rocks, Millenium Caves and Muline.  The campground at Buandik has been hardly touched by the fire but the pedestrian bridge that connects climbers to the Gallery is now gone. Keep in mind that as yet, no on site assessments have been made.One of the main concerns with reopenings will be a number of the roads that are needed to access the areas. Red Rock Road, Harrops Track and Syphon Road have all been badly damaged and these will all need to be repaired before access can happen. This can be a lengthy process and will come down to funding but these roads are a priority and Parks staff have them high on the agenda.

As noted Eureka Wall, Tower, Red Sail  and Lost World area look to have been severely impacted so closures to these areas will more than likely be in place for a lot longer.

There are a variety of issues which can affect and delay reopenings and need to be assessed – such as soil stability – let’s hope the rains don’t come in one fell swoop when they do.

Over the next few weeks, more information will come to hand and I will also be letting the climbing community know how they can help. We will be looking at recruiting some volunteers to help with onsite assessments of the climbing areas.

Please respect all park closures and know that we will be all working as hard as we can to work together to get some areas opened and back to climbing status.

For those hoping for an Easter Vic Range jaunt – best to plan elsewhere.  Rosea and Bundaleer will be open. Redmans road is open which means  the Barbican cliff areas are accessible.  Campgrounds such as Boreang, Borough, Smiths will be operational.  Strachans unfortunately has been completely razed to the ground. And of course Northern Grampians is still accessible with a good selection of climbing areas and campgrounds.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Huge thanks to the climbing reps who took part and for the Grampians PV staff who have been hot off the mark and set up this meeting so we can hit the ground running.

Mt Rosea Open

Rose - The AscensionMt Rosea is now open for climbing only.  (Details here from when it was closed. ) Whilst CliffCare has repaired the climbers access track there is still work that PV need to do on the official Mt Rosea walking track and this is still currently closed. Contractors have been engaged. Climbers do need to use the beginning of the Rosea Walking track though in order to reach the climbers access track to the climbing area. After discussions with Parks Victoria, they have agreed to let climbers use the walking track in order to do this. Please be respectful of this and don’t access any other part of the main walking track or the area itself.  There are many user groups that love Rosea and are unable to use the area currently because of it’s closure. Silverband Road is now open and road access to the area is as normal.

Access & Environment Report May 2012

mt rosea volunteer crew
With a very defined set of tasks we needed to get through on the day and a small crew, I was thankful that the weather was perfect for our working bee at Mt Rosea.  That of course meant it was also perfect climbing weather but hey, there are plenty of perfect climbing weather days in the year ahead.
Tasks
Track delineation and stabilization across landslide intersection
Water bar/trenches above landslide track
Clearing of fallen trees and branches and delineation of track before last switchback.
Track delineation by trimming bracken
Any step stabilization repairs required on Giant Staircase

By the time we had all gathered, tools collected  from the depot and entered through the gated road to the Rosea carpark it was about 9.30. With 10 people in total this meant that I could assign 4 people to the two main work areas to tackle the jobs.  The landslide track area being one and  the second  treefall area near the last switchback which had also taken out the track a bit.  Frank,Cam,James and Ben took charge of the landslide gully and David,John, Sean(MUMC) and Gaeton(MUMC) . Sylvia and myself took on the job of clearing some of the track sections of overgrown bracken. A particularly exciting aspect for me (yes, sad I know)  with this working bee was that we had our very own chainsaw wielding climber volunteer.  All properly accredited – which is basically the only way we can have our very own chainsaw wielding maniac volunteer on PV managed land. With David along it meant that we could get the trees across the track sorted then and there and be able to complete the work how we needed to. He did a brilliant job quickly – I would have hated to see how long it would have taken with handsaws and there was no way with the small team we had that we would have got through the work.
The landslide gully was a difficult one to figure out.  Even in the time since I last inspected it, the gully has deepened. Our original thoughts to put water bars further up above the track in order to divert water off the new segment of the climbers track that has been delineated and stabilized, needed to be reassessed. Not strictly water bars – this would have involved building up the gully too much, the decision made by Frank, Cam,James and Ben was to construct a 4 tier diversion by filling in tiers across the gully with large rocks and boulders.  The hope is that this will slow and divert some water off our track section.  This repair is for normal rain and water runoff not a flood event. Some of the gully is still loose in sections and I’m quite sure we will need to revisit and rework bits here and there. The following pictures before and after will give you an idea of the work that has been done. As always, a massive thankyou to the volunteers who took the time and gave up their time to look after our side of the bargain with Mt Rosea and the climbers access track.
Before – landslide gully intersecting climbers access track
After  – Landslide gully repairs. Stabilized, delineated track joining undamaged sections
Before – Second treefall over climbers track
After – Second treefall cleared and stepthrough created for ease of access

Track wall collapse and sprawl past 2nd treefall area
Track wall containment, track delineation and stabilization