17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
Just wanted to pick the brains of the Mountains community as to whether the Dam Cliffs crag was burnt out during the recent fires? From the RFS map it's on the borderline of burnt stuff, but I guess I'm hoping that there's some local knowledge as to the exact state?
Hopefully someone local can provide more information.
Pretty sure I read some details on FB recently about access in that area (talking about a big tree / Buddhist retreat / land owner who likes shooting). Can't recall the exact details unfortunately or find the post!
From the FB post - since it says at the bottom to pass on the details I hope they don't mind!
Hi All climbers
Update from Bushfire Fixit Day to assess or fix up paths and surrounds at Dam Cliffs, Freezer and Cosmic County after the fires. Input and advice from John Smoothy, Simon Carter, Glenn Short, Damo, Craig Hitchc--k and Saxon Johns; a meeting on a rainy Saturday at Hartley Vale culminated on Jean and Saxon going off on a trek to the Freezer.
Approach to Freezer: Parked at the end of Petra Ave and walked down past the retreat. Said Hi and thanks to the monks and walked around the bend and down the road. We were chased by Nathan, who lives at John Smoothys old place, the next bit of private land you walk on if you go on the road through the retreat, Nathans land stops after the big tree, when you cross over to rail ways and Nathan warned us that he might be out shooting and would hate to hit us. I said that is a very good way indeed of keeping folks off his land. He said he didn't mind us being on his land, if only we would knock on his door and ask him if he is shooting today and then we don't get hit. We apologised and explained that we are trying to get to our favourite climbing crag to assess the damage after the fires. We asked if there was any other way we could go so as not to disturb him, we suggested going to the left of the retreat, around the boundary of the monks land. Nathan conceded eventually that this may be ok, however the pit bull doesn't really like strangers and she may attack us if she sees us, and also that the big tree is on his land and he shoots a lot down there. We all agreed that if we knock on the door and check for no shooting with him, assuming the pit bull hasn't attacked us, and then we manage to walk past the monks to the left and get through the big tree area alive, then that would work. Walked down to the railway line and then right and up the steep fire trail, taking the left fork to the trail across the tops to the Freezer. We saw a few railway vehicles who all said Hi when we greeted them and even bid us enjoy our walk.
On our return, I chatted with the monks and was introduced to their master, Chi (small, brown skin, shaved head, old fashioned glasses). We discussed various things and told him why we were going there and we thanked him for letting us walk across his property. He was fine with that ('its for sharing') and he asked if Nathan had threatened to shoot us. I said Nathan was not that happy with us crossing his property and I asked if they would mind if the climbers used a way to the left of the retreat, by the boundary, to get to the big tree. He said that was fine and said to ask for him in the future. He said Nathan would probably come around in time. This is the route that Simon Carter has talked of making.
Plateau above The Freezer is badly burned by hot fire with a lot of felled trees.The crag is fine, green band in front and underneath crag, fire came close in places but even log of death is untouched. We replaced the descent rope down the main gully (melted). The tops and gullys are unstable with deep ash. Giles climbed here last week.
We have pics taken from Freezer, band of hot fire went up 80 Minute Hour gully and over tops, right and left of this area look reasonable with lesser backburning effect. Looks like descent down into 80 Minute Hour gully will be hindered by deep ash and unstable ground (but haven't visited this area). Derek Murphy went to Green gully and said it looks ok to go down.
Canyon around cliffs is green, tops are burned, access is ok if you leave your car at locked gates and walk down. 1 tree across path, a few trees down, badly burned area.
This is a very unstable and sensitive area. We heard a tree fall near to where we were and I wouldn't go there if windy or heavy rain. Ground is unstable with deep ash and no vegetation so slopes will be dangerous in heavy rain. Ferns and grass are starting to grow but the trees are mostly dead.
Do not go across Nathans land via the retreat road. He is not happy and wants to use his gun.If we are able to continue being very discreet and quietly and gratefully go to the left of the retreat on the boundary with the crown land and gain access to the road at the big tree that way, it should avoid inflaming Nathan. The fence has burned down, the trees are very
dangerous but maybe in a month or so, a path can be made.
The railways have not been happy about use of the road. To minimise any conflict, approach the Freezer and Cosmic from Petra Ave and minimise walking along the railways road. Joining the railways road at the big tree means the railways road is not used for very long.
For the Dam Cliffs, approach from the usual way and drive the short distance down the railways road to the locked gates. park at the locked gates at the top and walk, its not far.
I would stay away from these climbing areas till at least January to give the area time to grow and stabilise, its dangerous and Damian tells us will take at least 3 months for seeds to take and gain some hold. Be great if we make a path to the left of the retreat and tell everyone who goes that way to be quiet, grateful and say thanks to the monks when they can. If they see a railways vehicle, say thanks or hello, if they see Nathan, run!
Please inform our NSW climbers obviously access is very problematic. Many thanks to all for your input so far and we will keep trying.
I went to Dam Cliff last weekend. The road and gates are all open and the cliffs themselves and base is untouched. However the carpark and surrounding bush is torched. I don't see any reason why you can't climb there.