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Crag & Route Beta

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Area Location Sub Location Crag Links
VIC Buffalo (General) (General) (General) [ Mt Buffalo Guide | Images ] 

Mt Buffalo NP closed 2/1/20 due bushfires.

12:51:29 PM
A bushfire has started today 12 km WSW of Porepunkah and is heading in a NE direction.
Looking at the Vic Emergency App it appears to be located westward and down in the valley separating The Horn from Back Wall.

As a result PV has closed Mount Buffalo Park to all visitors.

(Please update this thread with applicable information as it comes to hand...)

As an aside, it goes without saying that Mt Mittamatite (a lesser known climbing area in NE Vic), immediately west of Corryong is also closed, due currently subject of an out of control bushfire as well.

9:34:56 AM
An update of sorts.
The predicted SW change isnít far off arriving in this area, and the Buffalo fire doubled in size overnight.
It currently has four helicopters cycling through the area refilling water buckets every 3 to 4 minutes out of Lake Catani...

There are other active fires near the Mt Buffalo area generally, particularly over eastwards, with evacuation warnings current for them.

All public parks / reserves / forests / etc in NE Vic are currently closed, along with many roads.
Itís a dynamic and evolving situation with ABC Radio warnings of unsurvivable firestorm conditions likely and townships like Hotham, Dinner Plains, Omeo, Falls Ck, Khancoban etc in the firing line...

The SW change will have strong gusty north and northwest winds ahead of it that will drive the fires fast and further, only to have their flanks turn into fire-fronts after the change.

Temperatures in the area today are mid 40ís, and tomorrow are predicted as being mid 20ís!!
Less than 5 mm of rain is expected with the change, unless fire driven thunderstorms evolve, in which 10 mm may happen but be offset by further lightning strikes...

Local fire controllers say we need at least 100 mm to have any impact on the fires, and they will likely continue burning for the foreseeable future.

11:40:48 AM
Vic Emergency App last updated 2.34 pm indicates the fire at Buffalo has now progressed to The Horn and includes the Dreamworld location in its consumed area...

Not that I want to test my theory, but the labyrinth of holes under boulders there is one place Iíd mentally stored at back of my mind as an emergency escape from radiant heat should I be caught in a fire in that area...

2:39:39 PM
5.30 pm update.
Last update graphic on the fire app indicated part of The Horn road affected but not the carpark or communication facilities there.
This has now changed and the whole of The Horn area has been burnt including comms facilities and climbs accessed from the lookout.

~> Might be sensible to assess any fixed pro, particularly low stuff there (includes nearby climbing sites), before using, when access is allowed again...

5:06:39 PM
Todayís update as of about 5 pm.

The Mt Buffalo fire has increased in size from 700 hectares to 1,000 hectares despite the cooler conditions and light sporadic rain today.

It is basically following the road NE back towards Lake Catani and the Chalet.
Yesterday it was on the west side of that road but overnight and today it has spread to over and along the east side, with its fire-front in the vicinity of the old Tatra Inn site and encroaching The Hump / Cathedral and The Castle / Sentinel areas.

Local Fire Incident Controllers are now saying we are in for the long haul and these fires (includes Lake Buffalo - Nug Nug area), will go for weeks and have revised the amount of rainfall required to quench them up to 200 mm from the 100 mm previously stated.

6:53:53 PM
Thanks for the updates Rod, miserable news as it is.

Stay safe.

9:39:59 AM
And you and yours are safe M9?
10:38:21 AM
Thanks for this Rod. Hope you're in a safe location. There goes my trip to Buffalo the week after next; small beer in the scheme of things.

6:13:51 PM
Yep, pi/ajf/kl/dalai; (thanks gents for the concern), safe; though even at a distance of 70 km from it as the raven flies, and offset re its travel direction from a predominant wind point of view, we're smoked in with visibility down to a couple of hundred metres.

Our fire plans revolve more around what might start up in closer proximity to us in upwind direction/s!
Due getting a tad older our plans no longer involve 'staying and defending', so instead we grapple with prioritising what to take with us when we 'leave early'.
Van and motorcycle are pre-packed ready for departure... Interestingly enough some of my ancient climbing gear made the cut, due no longer being available and hence hard to replace, while newer gear remains behind out of availability of space considerations!

The Vic Emergency App and ABC Radio coverage have not added anything significant to the situation up Buffalo today, other than the last update at 10.53 am indicating size of fire was 1008 Ha.

6:31:31 AM
Glad to hear you're safe Rod. Smokey in Horsham today too:,142.189,6z/date=2020-01-07,08:30,+11

3:02:22 PM
One of my family, similar vintage to you Rod, stayed. It caused considerable consternation in the family; especially when the the mobile network went down for a day or two.

Glad to hear you are prepared, and planning to be sensible. Iím bemused, however, at your climbing gear priorities, clearly Iím not old enough to have those kinds of bonds - push come to shove all climbing and cycling gear would be low on the list.


4:02:20 PM
Sharing a FB post from a local

We attended the Myrtleford fire situation briefing on Monday night where a comprehensive information on the nearby fires was provided. The briefing on the Buffalo fire was positive. The Horn / South Buffalo Fire has slowed with the cooler weather but is still active and is over a 1000 ha in size having reached Cresta Valley and the Dixon's Falls Track. Parks Victoria and Firer Crews are on the mountain and have strategies in place to manage the increase in fire activity expected later this week and on the weekend. There are fire breaks and other actions being taken to protect significant assets such as the Chalet - Dingo Dell etc. The fire teams were even able to escort a Telstra crew up the Horn road yesterday to repair the emergency services communication tower at the horn. While the mountain is by no means safe yet the fire teams and Parks are working hard to provide the best solutions and protections possible. Well done all.

Smoke is at very poor to hazardous levels for health in the Valleys- unless you are a local or have to be in the area - stay away for the moment please.

Ensure that you have loaded the Vic Emergency app and are reviewing you personal risk commensurate to the advice provided during the days ahead

6:06:17 PM
On 7-Jan-2020 phillipivan wrote:
>Iím bemused, however, at your climbing gear priorities, clearly Iím not old enough to
>have those kinds of bonds - push come to shove all climbing and cycling gear would be low on the list.

It's a situation of horses for courses.
You are young and by the time you bundle your family into the escape vehicle, you'd have almost no space left for packing anything else no matter the lable be necessity or luxury!
I on the other hand have an empty nest, and the 'save' items for me revolve more around facilitating upcoming projects, err, excursions!
... Examples being; another Ozy sojourn (with TimP and PeterW), so the esoteric aid gear went in, but not whatever I figure they'd be able to contribute in the way of a rack. While I was at it I also threw in the Silent Partner because they're hard to obtain these days and adds flexibility to my climbing, along with my equally rare Chouinard Hammer as it is excellent for cleaning recalitrant gear and also doubles to protect my harness from rope-burn during abseils.

Cycling gear? Aha, so you have discovered my secret; ie that I do more mtn biking these days than climbing... 'Twas no problem packing it, as the van has a bike rack!

Saving the motorbike along with basic bivy gear, facilitates next winters 6 week trip with some motorcycling mates out to the desert country and Flinders Ranges, plus it still puts a smile on my dial every time I ride it in the meantime; ... and life's a bit short not to take every opportunity to smile when we can!
10:09:59 PM
Yes, thanks for the thread M9 I was wondering...As for gear, would I pack the EB's in a similar situation?

11:58:26 AM
Not much happened with this fire yesterday as Authorities worked to strengthen containment measures and asset protection works back in the Chalet area.

Todays update of 2.22 pm 09/01/20.
Yesterday the fire size was 1405 Ha and it had one vehicle in attendance.

Oínite erratic wind behaviour caused the fire size to increase to 1518 Ha and it now has four vehicles in attendance.

The northern edge of its fire front has not progressed, but the east flank has extended all the way to the plateau edge.
With the next major wind change expected early tomorrow afternoon with an arriving SW frontal system, thereís a real possibility of ember attack causing spotfires in the Buckland River Valley.
If this happens then a fire run in that valley puts the township of Bright squarely in its path.

The large fire on the western flank of Mt Buffalo adjacent Lake Buffalo, with a fire front in the Carboor-Whorouly area, also increased in size.
Should this one run under the same weather conditions tomorrow, then it will threaten Myrtleford...

@ c_p; my EBís didnít make the cut...

9:08:01 AM
You can find some great video updates here

The Ovens Incident Control Update 11 January 2020 contains some aerial shots showing where has burnt around the Horn and also a shot of the Chalet where you can see they have dumped fire retardant around it.

10:28:18 AM
Thanks for your contributions gordoste; and the video links certainly save a lot of typing!

Not much to add other than the (once specific), Mt Buffalo fire has merged with the Abbeyard-Dandongadale fire and so no longer gets discreet updates of its own.

The larger fire complex has burnt further eastwards off the plateau onto the Mt Buffalo up-slopes of Buckland Valley, as well as around the southern slopes of Mt Buffalo into the Buckland Valley, but cooler weather along with hard work by fire fighting efforts have restricted it somewhat to that area.

It's still out there and we await the next high temperatures / high winds 'spike' day ...
Lee C
7:55:49 AM
Couldn't (easily) find any solid advice on whether Mt Buffalo is currently open or not. Assuming not. Anyone have any thoughts as to whether it will be open in the next few weeks?

8:30:37 AM
On 15-Jan-2020 Lee C wrote:
>Couldn't (easily) find any solid advice on whether Mt Buffalo is currently
>open or not. Assuming not. Anyone have any thoughts as to whether it will
>be open in the next few weeks?

Not likely is my guess, unless we get 200 mm rain, in which case more trees will be down, landslides on roads from scorched earth etc...

The ParksVic website has definitive info on closures, but no projections on openings.

12:06:53 PM
On 15-Jan-2020 Lee C wrote:
>Couldn't (easily) find any solid advice on whether Mt Buffalo is currently
>open or not. Assuming not. Anyone have any thoughts as to whether it will
>be open in the next few weeks?

It is not open. Road closures can be found here:

We are expecting a significant amount of rain on Sunday/Monday. If it doesn't get reopened after that, then it may be several weeks, but who knows - the thunderstorms may deliver less than expected and the lightning could light more fires on the opposite side of the mountain.

If you're planning a trip, then you should definitely make sure you have a plan B in case it's shut.

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