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Grampians re-opening plans from VCC and PV
john s
10:19:31 AM
Here is the latest on the recovery from the fires in the Grampians and the plans for affected climbing areas.

PV has a huge job. Miles of roads and walking tracks need to be restored Ė over 3,000 trees will be trimmed or removed, and they are building new tracks in stone. Five road bridges are out. Houses and toilets at various campgrounds and lookouts were destroyed. In the burnt bush, the rangers have been baiting foxes to protect native animals surviving with little food. Another dry summer is on the way, so they are getting organised for fire threats to the rest of the park. Around 50 extra staff are working on all these projects.

The regeneration of the bush is slow Ė especially in the rocky areas and because the winter was so dry. There are a lot of tiny shoots coming up, but it is all very delicate.

In the middle of all of this, access for climbers is now on the PV to-do list. The VCC has been talking to PV about the process for re-opening affected climbing areas. It will be a slow process but the main job is to choose and mark the best access tracks through the regrowth (not necessarily the old alignments) and to rehabilitate bush campsites. There have been a couple of short visits to Bundaleer, Rosea and Redmans Road to get an idea of what will be needed.

PV wants to set up a small consultative group of climbers to plan new access tracks, check out bush campsites, and sort out the jobs that will need to be done at volunteer workdays. If youíd like to be part of this, contact me ( or Sylvia van der Peet at PV ( Sylvia is a climber Ė some of you will know her from when she worked at Cliffhanger.

The priorities are directed by the order in which PV is opening roads:

1. Asses Ears Road is already open. So, the cliffs that are reached off the main walking track will probably need to be looked at first.

Other cliffs, like Cherub Wall, which you get to along Wallaby Rocks Road, will be looked at later.

2. PV hopes to open Redmans Rd by Christmas 2006. A small bridge needs to be replaced. Borough Huts campground will be partly opened in September and fully opened for Christmas

Amazingly, the fire jumped the lower part of the Dials valley, so First Dial is virtually untouched. We haven't had a good look yet, but Fourth Dial was probably less lucky.

Both Barbican cliffs were badly burned.

Roads in the Victoria Valley are also likely to open before Christmas when bridges are re-built. This will help access to the Vic Range, but wonít get us in to any new cliffs. Bush campsites will remain closed for next summer, at least.

3. Silverband Road probably won't be open till late 2007. This is mainly because PV wonít get to work on the Sundial walking tracks till next year and they donít want people in there until the tracks are ready and the regrowth is less sensitive. Also, they have wanted to relocate the Rosea campground for a while and the fire has cleaned it up for them! A new walkers and climbers camp needs to be planned, but it wonít be in the old site.

Wonderland: the pressure is on from the tourist industry to open tracks but there is a lot of work and the new tracks are being built in stone. Climbing sites havenít yet been looked at.

Rosea and Bundaleer access will not be possible until Silverband Road is opened.

Further down Rosea Track, access to Tower Hill, Eastern Wall, and Western Bloc has not yet been looked at yet.

4. Central Serra Range

The cliffs off Henhams Track (El Dorado, Dreamtime Wall, Green Gap Pinnacle) were burned badly. The bush in this area was 12 year-old regrowth after the hot escaped control burn in 1994. It was just the right age to burn very hot again! There is no timing yet on reopening Henhams Track.

So, the message is:

∑ Donít go in there yet.

∑ Join in the planning work, or come to work days that will be announced soon.

∑ When cliffs are open, check for the latest details of any new access arrangements, and keep to the newly marked tracks.

∑ Donít use any bush camps till they are clearly re-opened

∑ Youíll want to be careful when you finally do get to climb at any of the burned out cliffs. There will be loose rock, dead vegetation and, maybe, dodgy bolts.

∑ Donít go looking for new routes on the little crags and boulders that you will be able to see! People have explored these areas for years and the good crags are already in the book. Small crags where the fires burned hot will also have more than their share of new loose rock and dead vegetation, and you will be trampling on vegetation that is struggling to survive.

10:26:03 AM
On 29/08/2006 john s wrote:
>∑ Donít use any bush camps till they are clearly re-opened

Since bush camps are usually un-marked - how are we to know when something is open or closed? I
presume you are only referring to fire affected areas?
john s
10:39:11 AM
On 29/08/2006 nmonteith wrote:
- >how are we to know when something is open or closed?

This is just in the fire-affected areas. We are thinking that work like we did along Stony Creek Rd and Rosea Track a few years ago will be needed. Thiis means things like rocks arranged to stop the campsites spreading and replanting. I don't imagine that this won't happen everywhere though.

When the regrowth has reached a certain point, PV will announce that bush camping is now open in particular areas. Until then, it is generally closed in the fire areas.


10:40:18 AM
Are we allowed to climb at Asses Ear?
john s
11:21:31 AM
On 29/08/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>Are we allowed to climb at Asses Ear?

Not yet, but when the access track and the best descent routes from the cliff get sorted it should be OK.

Do you want to come on the trip to work this out?

6:03:14 PM
I don't really understand why Rosea can't be open yet. There's an issue with the stability of the road down Silverband Creek, but that's no reason for not either opening the road to car or just foot traffic from the Sundial Road.

Getting a few major crags like Rosea open would take pressure off Mt Stapylton.


john s
7:31:58 PM
On 29/08/2006 JamesMc wrote:

> I don't really understand why Rosea can't be open yet.

The issue from PV's perspective is that none of the walking tracks that start at the Sundial carpark will be repaired for some time (because the first priority in the Wonderland is at the northern end). While the regrowth is so sparse and it is possible for people to walk almost anywhere they don't want to re-open Silverband Road at the Mt Victory Road end.

Access to Rosea is, in a way, collateral damage from this bigger problem of managing larger numbers of walkers without propoerly defined tracks.

I agree that getting Rosea open would ease pressure on Stapylton and I think we should try to find an alternative that allows climbing access to Rosea to be separated from the Sundial walking track issue. I'll see what can be done.

You are right that there is an issue with the Silverband Road on the steep section down Silverband Creek. It seems that it never really met safety standards for a two way road but this only became a problem when Vicroads had to 'sign off' for the reopening. Looks like the solution will be a one way section from the Rosea turnoff to Silverband Falls. The bottom section, from the Falls to the Dunkeld Road, will be two way and will open in a few weeks - when the walking track to the falls is ready..


8:23:37 PM
On 29/08/2006 john s wrote:
>On 29/08/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>>Are we allowed to climb at Asses Ear?
>Not yet, but when the access track and the best descent routes from the
>cliff get sorted it should be OK.
>Do you want to come on the trip to work this out?

I've been in Wartook for over 3 years, and was there for most of the fires in Jan/Feb. When the Asses Ears Rd reopened I drove it to check out damage and was surprised to see no 'Closed' sign on the steep track that accesses the Asses.

I walked in the week before Easter with a friend. It burnt really hot all through there; white ash about 30cm deep, no green, only a few black stumps and no wildlife (except 1 big wedgy circling us). The track was quite hard to follow. Once we left the walking track and started following the cairns it was a little easier as they're still there. However, the ground was fragile - ash sitting lightly on the earth and very easily disturbed.

We did a climb. There was some evidence of damage from the heat to the rock, particularly on the walk in. All vegetation growing at the base, on the cliff and up the top is burnt. We did the walk down descent through the bowels of the cliff. That was ok and noticed the little rock gardens that are tucked away on the way down were partly burnt! The bolts I could see on The Infinite Saddness were black.

There were some green shoots on Eucalypts higher up, esp. nearer the cliffs. However, coming away I felt the area too fragile for people to use at that time. I'm not sure what it is like now, but I think it would still be a highly sensitive area. From the road there's not much regrowth and the walk in would still disturb the ground as there is no vegetation holding the earth together.

john s
9:53:25 PM
On 29/08/2006 swampy wrote:
From the road there's not much regrowth and the
>walk in would still disturb the ground as there is no vegetation holding
>the earth together.

there should have been a 'closed' sign on that track. They get souvenired pretty regularly. It is closed now.

Sounds like we will have to have a good look at how the regeneration is coming on before the cliff is re-opened.


9:15:40 AM
On 29/08/2006 swampy wrote:
>The bolts I could
>see on The Infinite Saddness were black.

They were painted black!
1:24:39 PM
John, could you find out about access to Mt William Upper cliff. This cliff can be accessed from the open summit road without crossing any fire affected ground. The foot of the cliff has always been a fairly open rocky slope so it can be walked along without going into delicate revegetation areas. Whilst it is not much of a winter cliff as the weather warms up it is a nice place to go.
7:50:37 AM
Hi John,

I'm keen to be involved in some track works. Let me know what your dates and locations are when you know them and I'll help get volunteers together.

Everyone else - I think what John is actually looking for here is a list of people who are interested in getting involved in putting something back into the beautiful Grampians national park. We are all very good at using it. Now it's time we put aside climbing (for a little while) and got involved with doing some of the hard work that will benifit us all, not to mention demonstrate to Parks Vic that we are a responsible group and good at organising track marking and whatever other works are neccessary.

I suggest we contact anyone we know in bushwalking clubs or other clubs/friends who either love the grampians or want to see these areas opened up ASAP.

Good luck John!



2:54:14 PM
when are the work days and where can i get that info??

There are 13 messages in this topic.


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