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Bundaleer - June Update
big arms
10:56:42 PM
Fellow climbers, on the long weekend in June this year, Parks Victoria Ranger, Sylvia van der Peet escorted two of us into our beloved Bundaleer where we were very lucky to be able to witness first hand, the impact that the January fires brought to this significant cliff line.

Please be aware that even though we were allowed to visit under the watchful eye of Parks Victoria to gain insight for this story, this area and others are CLOSED. Under no circumstances should you try to enter this very fragile area.. Apart from the issue of safety, access to CLOSED sites has been prohibited to allow the vegetation to recover and the soil to stabilise.

Depending on my failing memory, we managed to meander up the original track from the road to the cliff line, although in some spots the track is unclear. You can actually see most of the lines from the road where you previously parked your car. Most of the lower boulders that litter the upper part of the walking track seem to have simply exploded. Massive blocks have just fallen off, exposing unseen flesh, and some so darkly burnt they resembled large black cows.

The area was very weird, much more like a moonscape than the Australian bush. Nothing major was standing, only a few blackened skeletons of larger trees that are trying to survive and photosynthesize as they produce masses of green leafy growth (via epicormic shoots or lignotubers).

The cliff face itself looks great until you realise that it has been badly scorched. All of the vegetated growth on the cliff, no matter how high has been burnt. You can actually see where flakes have come off and what the affect of extreme temperatures have had on glued in bolts is yet to be determined.

No assesment has been conducted on the suitability and safety of bolts and fixed slings. Much of the rock has fractured and split and the fire intensity may have compromised the integrity of metal protection. I for one would either want a written report confirming their safety, or for these to be replaced although Parks Victoria have asked us to note that replacing bolts should not occur in the fire affected areas (or any area of the National Park) without full approval from Parks Victoria and people should be reminded that bolting of new routes at any location in the Grampians National Park is prohibited. I am very sure that the fixed slings that tend to be found on some of the routes will definitely need to be replaced before use. One of the bolts on Angular was blackened and would certainly need to be inspected. I have a series of photos for you to see what I had witnessed so you can understand what has happened.

Parks Victoria is currently working very hard to re-open the majority of visitor sites in the Grampians with a lot of work already achieved. Focus is currently on re-opening the Wonderland walking track network and opening tracks and replacing burnt bridges in the Victoria Valley. Remember that this area is closed , and until Parks Victoria give the climbing community the green light to climb here, please stay away and assist PV in its long and difficult task of restoring the Park.

Many thanks to Sylvia van der Peet who went about gaining special permission for our entry from Parks Victoria.


Richard Melder.

ps. Remember that the fires where in January and my photos were taken in June.

7:50:10 AM
The Canberra Climbers Association recently went through this exact proccess with parks after this 03
fires, they conducted impact studies of the rock, bolts and access whch they gave to parks.
it may be worth contacting them for advice
Big Arms
3:49:34 PM
Thanks very much, it;s always good to get a heads up.

5:05:14 PM
On 15/07/2006 big arms wrote:
>I have a series of photos for you to see what I had
>witnessed so you can understand what has happened.
Big Arms are you going to post a link to these photos or is there another way for us to see them?
Big Arms
9:34:34 PM
Hey there Zeb, sorry for the delay with the photos. I am pretty lame at trying to compress them so in turn, will not go onto this website. I have sent all the photo's to the CHOCKSTONE GURUS and are awaiting their response. Maybe it's not important enough.

9:36:02 AM
Bump- Calling all gurus.

12:59:33 PM
>Big Arms are you going to post a link to these photos or is there another
>way for us to see them?

There is a way for you to see them, and more:

Richard will be talking about the trip and showing the pics at a VCC general meeting, titled ''The Burning of Bundaleer", on thursday 24th August. So come along an hear his tales - there is more devistation than the pictures themselves convey.

In addition, Parks Vic Ranger for the region, Sylvia van der Peet, will
be giving a short update on the work that has been carried out to date,
what works are in progress, and the immediate priorities for re-opening
access to the Grampians.

When: Thursday 24th August, 8:00pm
Where: Australian Gemmological Association 380-382 Spencer Street, Melbourne

See: for further details.

Cheers, Richard

1:03:41 PM
Well, most of you missed a very interesting presentation last night, Richard's stories of sinking into piles of ash on the ground, and Sylvia's outline of the massive task Parks Vic face to reopen areas, 3,300 + trees needing removal or other attention (and counting), and the need to plan items such as the realignment of tracks etc and not just recreate what was already there but improve apon it. ie stone steps rather than wooden ones so they won't get burnt again. But that sort of construction is slower...

Sylvia also made some interesting comments about Parks Vic policy on bolts, if you weren't there you will find out if and when any changes occur..

The scale of the fire and damage is hard to comprehend, I think this is indicated by the fact that one of the pictures which summed it up best was the smoke haze taken from space..

Many thanks to Richard and Sylvia for their efforts and time giving the presentation....

1:31:43 PM
It would be great if the photos were put online at some stage. Im still not convinved that there was
wholesale destruction of routes (and bolts) at Bundaleer!
Online Now
4:23:10 PM
On 25/08/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>Im still
>not convinved that there was
>wholesale destruction of routes (and bolts) at Bundaleer!

I was there and saw the piccies Neil. Bundaleer was seriously hit the fires, I've been going to the Grampians (as a climber) for nearly 40 years and seen the results of many fires but I haven't seen anything that rivals what has happened to Bundaleer. Many climbs will need to be repeated by people who have a few spare grades to play with due to the uncertain quality of the rock. Some pics of the bolts would make you think twice about hanging your hat on them!

And to cap it all off, it could be Christmas 2007 before the tracks are open to even allow climbers back in to check out the damage.

And it would be to everyones benefit if all climbers obeyed any and all restrictions that are currently in place. Hopefully there will be something about the restrictions up on the VCC website soon.

4:31:31 PM
On 25/08/2006 BA wrote:
>Some pics of the bolts would make you think twice about hanging
>your hat on them!

Where can i access these photos from? I am really keen to see what has happened in regards to the
fixed anchors. SCV invested several hundred $$$ into rebolting at Bundaleer - i hope it all wasn't wasted.
(p.s. i couldn't make it to the meeting last night)

5:15:38 PM
I've always wanted to go new-routing at bundaleer!

(all in good time of course)

5:20:12 PM
Big Arms sent me these they are not mine if I should remove them PM me and I will.

(Edit) or alternatively if Big Arms permits I can post some others
2:11:45 PM
Hard to tell from the second shot of Angular Perspective - but is the bolt damaged?

7:19:26 PM
Dalai, You'd have to ask big arms. It is hard to tell the effect of the fire on fixed gear by looking at a photo. When I hear from Big Arms I will post some more photos (or delete the ones I have already posted) but I doubt they will provide much more than a general impression of the impact of the fires. My guess is that any glue-in would be untrustworthy but we will have to wait and see.

9:55:33 PM

Oh I just couldn't wait. Please PM me Big Arms am I wrong or right?

10:36:18 PM
There is only a handful of glue-ins at Bundaleer (Enter Sandman and Morepox are the only two that come
to mind). Both these routes first bolts are quite a way off the deck - so probably didn't get much in the
way of direct heat.

1:05:42 PM
On 26/08/2006 Zebedee wrote:
>Dalai, You'd have to ask big arms. It is hard to tell the effect of the
>fire on fixed gear by looking at a photo.

Your right, the pics won't tell Neil the sort of thing he wants to know about the bolts, and it wasn't really the inetention of the night (or I believe Richard's trip to bundaleer).

What did emerge is that the heat must have been intense - any tree no matter how high up the cliff was burnt. What would the temperature be in a fire - i know of aluminium melting in a bush fire, which requires 660 deg C, but that would likely only occur when surrounded by flamible material, so I doubt a bolt on the cliff would get anywhere near this sort of temp - maybe 100 deg C. What's the experiance from Buffalo? When access to Bundaleer gets to the stage that bolts need checking, I expect you'll get approached, Neil.

1:09:20 PM
I have seen no evidence of bolt damage caused from bush fires anywhere else (ie Buffalo etc).
Occasionally you get the 'onion skinning' effect where large plates of rock peel off - which would
obviously peel off the bolt as well - although i imagine these hollow plates are natural weaknesses that
should never had a bolt placed in them in the first place. Even at Mt Pilot I saw no evidence of bolt
damage - and that fire was similarly insane.

The Elk
1:19:25 PM
I'd still be very wary of climbing on any of the routes and trusting any of the bolts/gear. Only after adequate time and testing would I be prepared to climb confidently in there again.

I can only reitterate that it's ultra important that we all give the area time to heel and stay out of any restricted areas so as not to destroy any chance we have of ever climbing in there again.

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There are 39 messages in this topic.


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