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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion
General Climbing Discussion
On 18/11/2003 MikeR wrote:
> The reason stated was that fire retardant
>used heavily in this area was toxic and all water was undrinkable. Contact
>Park Victoria to find out about accessability and water drinkability.
I followed this up and received the following from Parks Vic.
Thank you for inquiries regarding Buffalo National Park.
After a converstion I had with staff at Mt Buffalo I have been informed that
there are no known problems with water quality in that area. Not all the
routes are open. To view the list of which areas are open to the public
please visit the "Where can i go after bushfires" section of our website (
www.parkweb.vic.gov.au <http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au> ).
If you require additional information please contact the Mt Buffalo office
on 5755 1466.
On 14/11/2003 gemmaw wrote:
>We are planning to climb it over 3 days
and on 20/11/03
>Our aim is to have a great adventure and great fun!
Keep us informed gemmaw with a post-trip report :)
... As I type this on 'day one' of their adventure, it is sprinkling rain here where I can see Buffalo 80km away. Weather forecast says clearing today, but the overcast hasn't broken yet ... Last night was 20-30mm rain up Buffalo way, so Crystal Brook will be flowing strongly.
I expect that they will do OK, but even recconnaissance up there can be an adventure!
Back after our ozy experience! We actually got rained off, but there is already discussion of returning very soon.
We had a bit of trouble on the first day (Friday) trying to find the track down - ended up going down the wrong way for a bit, turned around, then found the track. We thought it would be a good idea to be familiar with the track in case we had to bail, which was a good idea since we did have to bail. Got down with enough time to get up the first pitch (this wasn't a planned climbing day).
Rain started up in the wee hours of Saturday morning and rained all day. Our bivvy at the base was a stream. It eased up a bit late on Saturday and we managed half of pitch 2 before it got dark. We thought a whole day wasted reduced our chances of getting up in time but thought if it dawned fine and clear on Sunday we could still have a go, or at least assess our speed when we got to 'big grassy'. Unfortunately it was overcast and cold and still drizzling a bit on Sunday, and most of our gear was wet, so we decided to walk out (we still had Monday as well to climb but we also had to fit in the 6 hour drive back to Canberra on that day/night!). We completed pitch 2 and rapped down.
There was some discussion amongst us as to whether we should keep going. It did take about 4 hours to do pitch 2, and the wet and cold put a dampener on it. However, as A5 mentioned, the reconnaissance was an adventure in itself and we did enjoy ourselves (although lugging the haul bags down and up the track was exhausting). We also got to see more of the area on Monday, and climbed at the Cathedral. It is truly an amazing and beautiful place.
Also, Crystal Brook was indead flowing (particularly after Saturday!) and the water was clear and delicious.
And thanks for the offer of they butt-seats, gfdonc. We actually had a great little belay seat, like a mini porta-ledge which will comfortabley seat 2 people (although we didn't get to use it!).
I do have another question though, as there is talk of returning in a couple of weeks. What is the abseil like down the comet ramp, and is this preferred over the south side track, by those who have done both?
And thanks again for all the fantastic info.
The Comet Ramp absiel sucks big time as is is slabby, has loose rock and yuck slimey chimneys. With heavy haulbags it is a nightmare. Only worthwhile if you are planning to climb a route in a day and can shoudler your bags. I have done the south side walk down many times... once you know the way down it only takes about 30-40 minutes. Much easier than Comet Ramp. A better rap route is straight down Defender of the Faith in four big raps - but again not reccomended with heavy haulbags.
On 25/11/2003 gemmaw wrote:
>I do have another question though, as there is talk of returning in a
>couple of weeks. What is the abseil like down the comet ramp, and is this
>preferred over the south side track, by those who have done both?
Good to hear of how you went.
I have used Sth Side access, Comet Ramp access and a variation of Comet Ramp in using Defender of the Faith access.
My preference is the South Side access, followed by Defender access and last, the Comet access.
The reasons for this vary depending on how much gear you have, its weight, and the number in your party.
If you have minimal gear then Defender is probably the best and quickest*. If you have huge loads then South side seems more manageable.
(* Particularly if you have a long rope and a non climbing member of the party willing to retrieve it once you arrive at the Comet ramp ledge).
Comparing times down from 2 trips with identical huge loads, South side is quicker than Comet.
Comet can be quick if you have 4 ropes (2 x lead, a haul and a zip-line?) and a three person team, because each abseil can be set up while the last is still in use or being broken down.
PS I also found the chimney-type abseils on Comet grievous with haulbags, and once I got stuck/hung-up because my home-made ledge (worn backpack style), got jammed in one of these narrow confines. This is not pleasant when you have a heavy haulbag suspended off your abseil device beneath you!
Hey, time to rename this thread "Buffalo aid climbing"?
I've never walked down South Side to do the north wall - abseiled down Comet each time. If you dangle the haulbag below you (on a sling clipped to your descender) it ain't so bad. Just keep kickin' that 'pig'.
Personally it had never occurred to me it might be easier to stagger down the south side track laden with gear as an alternative. Hard enough walking up/down there with just a day rack (did Angels once), but I'll concede by the time you've farted around with ropes on Comet Ramp it may be quicker.
One tip though - if you do abseil, when you get to the big slopey ledge, *make sure* you hang onto the haulbag. Apologies for those who may have heard this story before, but on one expedition, the third man put the bag down for a rest at the top of the ramp/ledge, but failed to hang on to it. It rolled, bounced, stopped, started moving again, rolled, bounced then disappeared over the edge. We were initially relieved that the noise had stopped, thinking it had landed on a ledge, but then after a few seconds of silence we heard a BOOM as gravity finished its 80-metre tango with our possessions and let the base of the gorge serve as a landing pad.
Stop laughing, ok? It wasn't funny at the time. Had to tie two ropes together to reach the gear, including a hanging knot change, and inspect the damage. The bag had exploded and the contents scattered over a 10m radius. Underwear hanging in trees, I'm not exaggerating.
After spending 30 mins gathering stuff and tying the bag back together, we had to haul the bag back to the ledge (the gorge was impassable) and then finish the abseil. Hmm .. perhaps South Side is not a bad alternative ..
We broke two water bottles inside the haulbag when dragging and throwing the pig down comet ramp. Our sleepign bags were saturated. South side everytime from now on.
Definitely don't try the 'Big Walk' trail / variation option.
(I heard that there are still Japanese lost in there since the end of WW2).
I'm an Aussie. I drag a wombat up walls (not a pig).
Neil, ... you should have filled your water at the bottom instead of lugging it in ...
First time in - i had no clue. I learnt a lot on that trip. Comet ramp sucks, the 'bivi' ledge on Defender of the Faith is only big enough to sit on and it gets below zero even in the middle of summer. A t-shirt and shorts was not the most ideal clothing!
There are 29 messages in this topic.
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