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

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

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 Reopening update Jan 2014

It has been a while between official updates posted on the site so see below:

img_4029-1024x683The Billimina Art Shelter was impacted by fire with the complete destruction of the timber boardwalk adjacent to the art site. In consultation with Traditional Owners, a replacement structure will be installed to provide access to the art site. Parks Victoria are currently discussing the type of structure to be installed with the potential to stone pave the area instead of a timber boardwalk to be more in keeping with the setting of the art site. They aim to have this site re-opened prior to Easter. Please note that the walk to Buandik Falls that follows part of the Billimina walking track is open (see below).

Buandik Falls – OPEN
The walking track to Buandik Falls has been re-opened following repairs to the pedestrian footbridge along the path.

Strachans Campground -CLOSED
Plans are in place to repair and re-open Strachans Campground prior to Easter. Quotes are currently being obtained for the construction of a new toilet facility immediately adjacent to the campground, and for repairs and a subtle upgrade to the campground itself.

Chimney Pots Carpark and Walking Track
The Chimney Pots walking track is open for to visitors. However the Chimney Pots Carpark is currently closed to allow some minor works to take place. Visitors are advised to park along the edge of Glenelg River Road or the entrance to the carpark.

Please note that all other visitor sites, walking tracks and roads in the fire recovery area are open, except for Sawmill Track between Glenelg River Road and Victoria Range Track. This road will remain closed until Strachans Campground is repaired.

Update 1st January, 2014 – Access to all  previously closed climbing areas – with the exception of those along the Emu Foot track – are now possible. All the roads are open. Please remember though that these areas have been impacted by fire, so treat and tread in the areas with care. Follow the established tracks, many of which have been marked and delineated. If you do come across and area or track which is severely eroded please email me at cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au. These climbers tracks are maintained by VCC/CliffCare and the climbing community and it helps if we can repair or stabilize a track before too much damage is done. At early stages, the solution is often easily and quickly done.
As noted above, the cliffs along the Emu Foot Track area are still closed due to the area being the most severely burnt. The ground is still very sensitive so we are asking climbers to respect these closures and give enough time for regrowth to establish itself.

Victoria Range Workday and Reopening Update

red rocks gully

red rocks gully

Following a very successful workday in the Victoria Range on the 24th August, I am pleased to let everyone know that we are able to access a few of the areas. First up, though, I must thank the 26 people that rocked up on a perfect working bee weather day. (This was about the 5th attempt to get this day off the ground). We had a great selection of people with the local Halls Gap crew, Nati crew, Melbourne and Warrnambool volunteers. Big thanks also to Ross and Simon from Vertical Life/Adventure Types for getting the word out in their circles and helping with providing info. The team I work with at Parks Victoria and Claire being there on the day once again proved the great working relationship we have with them.

Please remember that these areas have been impacted by fire. While they may have been the least damaged of the climbing areas, there are sections that have still been quite badly burnt, so extra care really does need to be taken. Don’t go in with large groups, really keep an eye on the track markings such as tape, cairns and delineation. Just be a little more vigilant about keeping to the one track. The teams have assessed each area and for the most part, tracks are the same but there have been some realignments. These are the better, more sustainable options with what we have to work with. Please don’t decide otherwise by creating new tracks and new cairns. Some follow up work will be done on these tracks in another couple of months when more regrowth has been established. Point to note: The Victoria Range has a strong indigenous cultural heritage content and all visitors should be aware of this and take due care and respect when visiting the area. https://cliffcare.org.au/2012/07/06/indigenous-cultural-heritage-and-climbing/

Due to the recent weather and rainfall, unfortunately much of the planned works by PV for the roads hasn’t eventuated and some of the roads and tracks are definitely bogworthy, so at this present time, roads are still closed. A small extra walk is all that is needed to access a couple of the cliffs. Others require a bit more motivation.
NOTE: In the case of Red Rocks, this access is the new access approach that was established before the fire. Do not cross the paddock – this is private property and no longer allowed. https://cliffcare.org.au/grampians/victoria-range/red-rocks-creek-area/ (scroll down to page bottom on this link)

TEMPORARY (Due to road closures)– From the Henty Highway, take Andersons Road. Follow this all the way through to where it intersects with Red Rock Road. Park up here on Andersons Road not Red Rock Rd. This is closed so please respect this closure even though it may seem super easy to just park on it or drive a little way down. We are trying to establish some kind of road access but for now it is not possible.
Red Rocks Pinnacles
Mt Fox
Hollywood Bowl
Turn left and walk a short distance (150m) to a sandy track on the right. This track leads you to all of the above climbing areas and is the permanent access track after the road closures finish. Follow this track for approximately 500m to the intersection. Turn right. Another 70m will get you to the Mt Fox track(cairned) and a further 450m along will get you to the access track to Red Rocks area.

Muline
Emu Rock/Emu Cave
Muline and environs is as before (some track realignment) but will require a longer walk from Andersons road to get to the start of the access track.

– Track here has been cleared and re-established (no foot bridge) but with the road closures, you are going to need to be keen, as access at the current time is only by foot. A big walk. This area can be accessed by the Tower but this area is very wet and boggy at the moment, and we couldn’t get in to assess the track.

Once road closures are lifted, I will provide further info on areas such as The Fortress, Chimney Pots and environs. Cliffs around the Camp of the Emu Foot Track will remain closed even after road closures are lifted. These areas were really badly burnt and need to recover. Please respect this.
Cheers,
Tracey

Access Officers Report May 2013 – Vic Range Fire update

On Friday 19th April, a small group of climbers – Steve Monks, Malcolm Matheson and myself and PV staff attend some onsite inspections of climbing sites in the Victoria Range that were recently affected by the Victoria complex fire in February. Our initial meeting in March was to discuss the known and suspected impacts of the fires to climbing sites or access to them. At that stage we had very little firsthand knowledge of damage – only some aerial photographs of certain areas where we could see whether it was severely burnt or, patchy and moderately burnt. All areas are still currently closed, with some of this being due to the roads requiring repair due to the heavy firefighting load it was subjected to.

A drive along Camp of the Emu Foot Track gave us a good look at some of the more severely burnt areas. Tree risk work has now been done on the road sections along here. While there were a few sections where it appeared the fire had jumped or lightly skimmed across it, the damage is very obvious. No ground cover whatsoever and all trees that are still standing are mere skeletons of what they once were. A few are showing some epicormic growth so fingers are crossed that many of these will continue to fight. A little rain would definitely be a plus to help them in their recovery. As always, words are difficult to find to describe the impact – photos do a much better job of this. The areas along this road – Lost World, Gondwanaland, Eureka Wall, Eureka Towers, Red Sail will still be out of bounds for a while yet. From our early discussions, in order to give it a chance, it really needs a good season or so to get some ground cover established. There are some new shoots pushing through and the grass trees that have managed to survive are already sprouting new growth but the ground is devoid of any cover and extremely loose and soft. This also makes it susceptible to weed species and pathogens brought in from other areas on the tyres of cars and shoes of people. Giving it this time to establish a colony of indigenous flora gives it a much better chance  before any introduced seeds and disease make their way in. We didn’t walk up to the cliffs to inspect further track access but the general consensus was that once this road was open, climbing sites would be accessible and certainly at the start of the walk in, little work would be required. Some well worded and educational information could be circulated and also as the PV staff noted, could be helpful to be posted at the road access, on care to be taken when people did start walking into cliffs. Early days to be giving time frames but for this area it could be 6-9 months. Weir Creek which due to its lower grade of climbs on offer will often see a busy weekend, was out of our time frame to walk in any further. There were also a few access points here that we needed to address before the fire so a bit further down the line we will look at how we can resolve these for Weir Creek. Whilst in the area, we did walk up to the Jananginj Njani area which has unfortunately copped a lot of the heat. It was also very easy to see the rock exfoliation in this area.
In previous fires, such as the Mt Lubra one, there was a certain amount of exfoliation, especially at places like Bundaleer, but it was contained to lower rock which impacts very little on the climbs themselves. No fixed protection appeared to have been compromised and still to this day, there has been no reported cases of fire compromised bolting. This again, in the Vic Range fire area, will need to be assessed by the climbers themselves and when climbing in any area, bolted or otherwise, the responsibility is upon yourselves to assess any protection and rock quality and to climb, or not climb accordingly. I will chase up and promote more discussion on this closer to the area opening and some of those that know these areas best have been approached to help and provide guidance on the access.

We then drove to the Red Rocks/Muline area. There are a number of climbing sites along here. It appeared from the aerial photographs that fire damage was patchy and upon our hike in to Muline, this appears to be the case. There are sections untouched, then there are sections which have burnt really hot. Steve, Malcolm and myself walked up to Muline itself to assess damage and what work we might need to undertake to the track in order to minimize any further damage for the future. First up, the cliff itself is totally untouched in any way. Still as gloriously beautiful as it ever was. The walk up the first section is quite patchy in regards to burn and as it is not steep poses no problems with erosion. As the track access starts to head into the gully, this is where care will need to be taken. The fire has raced up here and has burnt quite hotly. After looking at the old track access(up and along the rock platforms) and new access (directly up the gully) thanks to Malcolms knowledge, we have assessed that to create and direct the track back up along the rock platform is the best option not only for now because of the fire and loose soil, but also for future longevity. Keeping to rocky surfaces when accessing cliffs is always the best especially on steep ground. Climbers track will sometimes be developed because of the quickest and most direct access – this doesn’t always mean it’s the best in terms of damage and sustainability. I will be co-ordinating a work day over the next 3 weeks or so, to fix up a couple of problem areas and delineating the track we want people to use. We have already cairned a bit of the new section and think the work we will need to engage in is quite minimal. PV are hoping to get a loop section of Red Rocks road open in this time frame as well so that the climbing areas will be accessible. A 2wd car can still drive, albeit carefully, but this could all change if we get a heavy rainfall. Dave Roberts would like a trailhead to be constructed at the track access that services all these areas, again, with the idea of educational info being available to climbers on the care they need to take on these access tracks. All things going smoothly, May could be an expected opening.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to check the other sites in the vicinity. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks, we can assess Red Rock Pinnacles area itself as this is popular. Accessing anything via Buandik will be a problem for a little while as the bridge is no longer there. Funding for this involves a process and could take some time. Discussions were had on the possibility of some temporary measures for here and I will keep you up to date on progress. For more photos on the visit please visit http://vicclimbingclub-cliffcare.smugmug.com/

Malcom surveying damage Camp of the Emu Foot Track area

Malcom surveying damage Camp of the Emu Foot Track area

damage to cliffs along Camp of the Emu Foot Track

damage to cliffs along Camp of the Emu Foot Track

 

 

 

 

Steve and Malcolm clearing and marking track to Muline

Steve and Malcolm clearing and marking track to Muline

Track to Muline

Track to Muline