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VIC Eastern Cathedral Range (General) (General) [ Cathedral Guide | Images ] 

Cathedrals Re-opening & Ongoing Access updates
Access T CliffCare
10:49:05 AM
Have posted this on a couple of relevant threads)

Hi All,

Spoke to the ranger at Cathedrals. The target opening date is end of October. Cup weekend 09.
There has been a lot of work going on clearing trees and getting the park to a state where people can visit. Some tracks are closed such as Friends nature walk and possibly the track that goes through the Farmyard area. They are wanting to realign this track so work might or might not have started on that by then. You can still access North Jawbone where most people do which is by turning right heading up to the cliff base steeply, rather than continue left through to the Farmyard. Basically all the climbing areas are still accessible, its just some of the walking tracks which need work. Neds Gully and Mills Campground were untouched by the fire so camping is ok.
From what the ranger has said, the view is amazing!! As in, you can see everything across the park now. This obviously means that cliffs more difficult to access will be easier now. The idea to keep in mind is be thoughtful about the track you are creating. While a steep track might get you there quicker, the damage it creates once it gets used a lot is severe and sometimes difficult to repair once done. There will be no ground cover, making erosion a definite. The damage has been severe so be prepared to see a very different Cathedrals. As for rock quality, not a huge amount of inspection has gone on. Some of the boulders have some exfoliation on them. As quite a few of the climbing areas are heavily visited by groups there is not a lot of vegetation close to the cliff so this could have meant less impact heat wise. But as always, be aware that the area has been fire damaged and take care and precaution when considering what you are doing and what you are climbing.

When we get in there, we will get a better idea if anything needs to be done from a climbing and climbing access perspective. Possibly the steep track up to the Jawbones might benefit from a little stabilizing as it was pretty bad in sections before the fire. Maybe even a little consultation might work re tracks accessing uncovered cliffs.


11:33:19 AM
Thanks for the update and following this up access t.

Will be good helping with exploration but also means one secret bouldering spot won't be so secret anymore...

2:20:37 PM
(copied from duplicate thread

I checked on the web and the cathedrals range is closed closed closed. Apparently 80% of the park was destroyed (including infrastructure). So I'm pretty sure this means a little romp up Spiegals Overhang is out of the question for this Sunday. But im pretty new to Melbourne and new to bushfires so just to check... can we climb there?

2:22:08 PM
I just rang parks vic and apparently if you have a party of 6 or more you need to book in which case you should call Kaye Carney on 03 5772 0276 (for climbing at Sugarloaf).
However, he couldnt really advise me if I would be able to get access through the park. So all he could really tell me was that from a legal standpoint he thought I was good to go but only if the park was open!!!

My current understanding is it is still shut but I am following up with Tracey.
Access T CliffCare
4:31:43 PM
Hi All,

Visited the Cathedral Ranges on 11th November, met with the Ranger and checked out some of the climbing areas - mainly the walk in and around North Jawbone. The following is an extract from my Access Officers report which is always available on our website and in Argus. I have also taken pictures and a small video(video still to be uploaded) You can view these at They will give you an idea of how badly it was burnt.

(Excerpt from Argus A&E Report Nov 09)

Some of the facilities, such as the Campgrounds were untouched by the fires and there is little evidence in the immediate area to show this. Other facilities such as the visitor info, toilets and the old historical VCC hut at Sugarloaf, a popular group area, were completely destroyed(one of the areas where the fire burned hottest. This area is still on the cards for being closed when the park re-opens because of the fact that it does receive more traffic than some of the other parts. What is amazing is that Sugarloaf is now visible in such a way that it never was before.

My main task of the day was to assess North Jawbone. From a distance, you can see that the fire has burned much hotter around the cliff but quality of the ground environment is not so obvious. PV has been working on the main walking trail. Most of it has been cleared and the track is holding up quite well. The steps down from the North Jawbone carpark are still undergoing work with half of the risers still missing. The bridge was burnt and no longer exists, so rock hopping across the creek saw us onto the opposite bank. Although the track is in good nick there are times when it all looks so unfamiliar with no previous landscape markers to guage your location. Once you arrive at the large boulders(again so visible you feel you are somewhere else) a few more metres sees you up to where the climbers access track would head steeply uphill to the cliff base. And unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, this is where the track begins to deteriorate and except for a few flat rock sections continues to deteriorate. Before the fires, the track was beginning to look the worse for wear and now it is pretty much just sliding loose soil that will not handle even minimal traffic. The track will need to be realigned to prevent further damage.

Landing on the left side of the cliff near Here Catch This we walked along the cliff base checking out cliff face and base. Much of the vegetation on the left side looks quite green and untouched. From then on the vegetation looks progressively burnt - arriving at Spiegals Overhang where it can be seen that the tree on the ledge that many people land for their first belay has definitely been burnt with some green shoots of epicormic growth starting to show. The cliff base is strewn with exploded rock which appears to have come from lower on the cliff rather than higher up and no vegetation remains. Next area to look at was the descent track which is non existant and the soil there is probably in the worse state because of the steepness. Bathtime Gurgles area is quite loose and looks like itís taken a hammering. So a definite realignment for the descent track.
What does look possible to use for the descent and should take about the same time or just a little longer, is to walk from the summit down to the saddle area and then head down the gully turning rightwards to then land at the cliff base. The gully hasnít had much fire damage and as the ground is not so steep it will handle the traffic causing less erosion and will also be a much safer descent.

As I mentioned earlier, the park now has a targeted opening for Christmas although its best to be prepared for a change in these plans. For the most part, many areas of the park can handle the visitors. The campgrounds were untouched and some of the walking trails are still sturdy and will definitely afford those who walk them a changed and very interesting view. Rock faces not previously seen are clear to the eye. And the rock itself, although we didnít climb it, looks relatively untouched except for some of the lower sections. Our access track will require changes and I am currently in the process of organizing another visit so we can ascertain the best alignment. After this, the next step will require a few more helping hands to get it in place. Timeline for this Ė very dependant on weather. We visited on a 35 degree day and it was hard and very thirsty work. Should the park open in the meantime, please tread very carefully when you leave the main trail. There have been cairns placed by ?? along the track always used, but as mentioned, this wonít handle much traffic at all.

And as always in a bushfire damaged area, take care, take responsibility and check what you are climbing on.
4:51:30 PM
Sounds like the approaches in the guide book will be obselite?
Access T CliffCare
4:58:58 PM
Hi Blake,

Yep, likely. As with many climbing areas, access changes as natural events occur. Once we have a better idea, we can make moves to get the information out to as many info points as possible - forums, website updates, new guides etc.

5:40:52 PM
Why not close the climbers track that goes straight up to Nth Jawbone for good? Everyone can take the main track to where it flattens out and take the track that traverses around past the giant blackwood. It was always a more pleasant walk and less prone to erosion.

Perhaps South Jawbone will be clean enough for decent climbing. Perhaps it will be possible to touch rock on Possum Run now??


1:01:59 PM
On 22/11/2009 access t wrote:
>have also taken pictures and a small video(video still to be uploaded) You can view these at They will give you an idea of how badly it was burnt.

For comparative purposes, the first from Tracey's recent visit, the latter is from November 2008:

North Jawbone from the carpark
1:12:30 PM
Tracey, you do a lot of hard work so it feels like being a knowitall chipping in. Shouldn't climbers form 1 track that for a short period is marked with tape/ ribbon etc as opposed to willy nilly eroded goat tracks?
Access T CliffCare
5:50:26 PM
I thought I should put a end result for this thread. Andrew(Ajf Clark) put a reopening post on the Jawbones porter/sherpa thread and although I put notices elsewhere, this particular thread slipped past me. So just in case in the future anybody does a search.....

18/12/09 The Cathedral Ranges is now open, as planned just before Christmas. Whilst the park has quite noticeable regrowth, thanks especially to the rain we have had this year, the area is still fragile, more so the closer you get to the cliff. The access track which leads off from the main track to reach the cliff is in a pretty bad state. A couple of visits have taken place to look at possible realignment but after a number of attempts, a rethink is in place. For the time being please take extra care when heading up there using this access. The other option is the very original track which leaves further up the track to the Farmyard and then contours back to the cliff base. This crosses much more stable ground and has been recently cairned quite noticeably. It is longer in distance but not so steep.

Realigned though, is the descent track after you have climbed a route and reached the summit. You head off right onto the saddle and into a gully which has had little impact by the fire. This has been marked with pink tape. The ground here is very solid except for the last bit where you need to cross back right to the cliff base. The old descent path is completely destroyed and is basically just loose, sliding soil. Once the weather gets cooler a visit will take place to see if a little stabilizing might help the the current track in place.


4:26:55 PM
Closed again - flood damage this time. Something to do with the river being where the road is/was and doing a bit of damage ... plus a few trees lying in the way. Hopefully not loo long before it is open again.
9:13:42 AM
... and open again.
9:44:16 AM
I'm still waiting for details about the new super crag reported a while back...

..::- Chris -::..
10:43:39 AM
On 17/09/2010 dalai wrote:
>I'm still waiting for details about the new super crag reported a while

+1 : )
3:48:34 PM
... and closed again, well, at least Jawbones is during the week. Better check if planning a trip to the Jawbones. From PV's website:

"The Jawbones track will be closed for major works from Monday 22 November for 6 weeks. During this time no access will be available on or off the range from the Farmyard. All access to the range will be from Neds Gully or Sugarloaf Saddle. This closure only applies from Monday to Friday, the track will be open on weekends during this time."

Could always walk in from Sugarloaf.

Or just go on the weekend.

Access T CliffCare
11:50:23 PM
On 17/11/2010 earwig wrote:
>... and closed again, well, at least Jawbones is during the week. Better
>check if planning a trip to the Jawbones. From PV's website:
>"The Jawbones track will be closed for major works from Monday 22 November
>for 6 weeks. During this time no access will be available on or off the
>range from the Farmyard. All access to the range will be from Neds Gully
>or Sugarloaf Saddle. This closure only applies from Monday to Friday, the
>track will be open on weekends during this time."
>Could always walk in from Sugarloaf.

Just logged in to post the information and saw this ( must have missed it on one of my lurking days!) so just reiterating once again - The Jawbones tr will be closed for major track works Monday to Friday from November the 29th until Christmas . This means the only access to the Farmyard and the Jawbone climbing areas is via Ned's Gully or Sugarloaf Saddle. During this time period the track will reopen on weekends.

>Or just go on the weekend.
Access T CliffCare
12:04:36 PM
And a bit more info...

Logging of the pines at Cooks Mill will be recommencing this summer. At some stage in the near future machinery will be forming an access track through the central Cooks Mill campground and down the Little River Tr. Then the cutting of pines will begin. Over the Christmas holiday period the only logging activity taking place will be pine cutting from the 10th Jan, and log carting from the 17th Jan - all logging works will cease over the Australia Day weekend Friday, Saturday Sunday and Monday.

The impacts logging will have on visitors are:
*restricted camping around the central Cooks Mill area (Tweed Spur will remain open)
*Closures to both Little River walking tr and St Bernards tr
*Sharing the road with logging trucks (after the 17th Jan, and possibly before Christmas)
* Machinery noise after the 10th of Jan and before Christmas.

As soon as PV have firm dates for when this work will actually begin they will inform us and I shall pass the info on to everyone. St Bernards Track will most likely remain open for sometime yet. However Little River track will close as soon as any works begin.
1:55:10 PM
I've heard that the pine logging started this week. Access to the cliffs is still okay - just watch for loggin trucks on the road.

4:59:44 PM
All as above - plus St Bernards track now closed. Shouldn't affect any climbers.

There are 20 messages in this topic.


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