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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 75
Area Location Sub Location Crag Links
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Author
Balls Pyramid

Zane Priebbenow
31/05/2009
9:27:16 PM
To Climbing club access officers and climbers everywhere, I wish to draw to your attention to a climbing ban on Balls Pyramid and in particular to the LHI-Draft Plan of Management, currently on public exhibition till the Monday 29 June 2009.

Link:http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/LordHoweIslandpomdraft.htm

For nearly two decades now the NSW Government Dept. of Environment has banned recreational climbing on one of Australia’s only true expedition climbing icons, Balls Pyramid. Located 600 km off the coast of NSW, and accessible only by sea voyage of up to four days, Balls Pyramid has a rich history of climbing from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Since then sadly climbers have been denied access to this 560 meter volcanic monolith on questionable grounds.

Those grounds, as stated in the ‘Lord Howe Island Park Preserve – Plan of Management’ are listed below along with some counter arguments:
1. “Lack of adequate rescue facilities” – This is questionable and only takes into account the Lord Howe Island community. In fact an official rescue would fall to the responsibility of the NSW police, be undertaken with mainland emergency services’ aircraft and has no greater complications than say a rescue from the Warrumbungles, a similar distance from say Sydney. Secondly, the logistical and physical difficulties posed to recreational climbers in accessing Balls Pyramid, by its nature attracts highly experienced climbing parties.

2. “Biodiversity Hot Spot containing endangered species” – This is in reference primarily to the LHI-stick insect, however the insect is now in a captive breeding programme and may now be at expectable numbers? In any case climbers by nature are environmentally sensible stakeholders who would have zero impact on this interesting insect and its natural habitat. Indeed it was rock climbers, David Roots and friends who uncovered the sole remaining habitat of the LHI Phasmid in 1964, 40 years after it was considered extinct!


And finally in support of its current climbing ban, the Plan of Management claims as justification of its ban:
3. “That no applications for rock climbing have been received in recent times” – One can argue that the levels of Bureaucracy and previous failed attempts to gain formal approval in the past – by several parties and at a cost to Australian Geographic in the order of $65k - has simply discouraged recent climbing parties from applying.

4. “And that it is generally believed that the geology of most cliff faces is too ‘unstable’ to permit safe climbing”. – Firstly this is not accurate and secondly the nature of the medium we chose to climb is in part the reason for climbing it, decisions of safety should be left to the individual climbers who endanger only themselves.

I urge climbers everywhere to make there voices heard on this matter, even if you never even aspire to climb Balls Pyramid, or indeed have never even heard of it before today, please just take 2 minutes to voice your opinions by completing this online form : www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/form_LordHoweIsland.htm

It’s simple. Don’t let them arbitrarily deny you access to what is Australia’s Matterhorn, Australia’s Everest.

The ‘Lord Howe Island Park Preserve-Draft Plan of Management‘ is currently on public exhibition until the Monday 29 June 2009. During this period, you can comment on the plan both here and most importantly by making a submission. You can make a submission in one of the following ways:
1. Fill in this online form:
www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/form_LordHoweIsland.htm
2. Write a letter to the following address:
The Planner, Lord Howe Island Board
PO Box 5
Lord Howe Island NSW 2898

If we in the climbing community let this opportunity slip by we will only validate the LHI board’s opinion: “There is no interest in recreational climbing”




Balls Pyramid Climbing chronology
- a work in progress -
< 1964 Several unsuccessful attempts - thwarted by not being able to overnight on the Pyramid – a restriction imposed by charter vessels from L H Island.
1964 Rovers and Syd climbers sail to BP, summit not reached – LHI stick insect rediscovered- Dave Roots.
1965 First ascent SE Ridge, John Davis, Bryden Allen, John Davis & David Witham
1968 J.Davis and others - 2nd assent - filmed
1972 First full traverse, Greg Mortimer & Keith Bell.
1980 January: Joe and Tina Friend, Phil Stallard & David McGrouther set out to claim Ownership of the Pyramid as a special province for climbers and Naturalists of the world in the name of Climbers International & World Ecology. They were thwarted by heavy rain and gale-force winds. They left a sealed document on the south-east ridge.

1980 20th June, Dick Smith John Worral & Hugh Ward, Plant NSW state flag on summit, claiming Balls Pyramid for Australia as part of NSW. A documentary film was made by the ABC of the combined climbing and scientific expedition.

1982 First solo ascent, Rick White via the South-east Ridge in 1 hour & 45 min.

Climbing banned under amendment to LHI Act.
1986 May 86. Keith Williams, Scott Ruddock and others in 2 parties do the last know officially sanctioned ascent. Via SE Ridge.

All access to Balls Pyramid banned by LHI board
1990 The policy temporarily changed to allow some climbing under strict conditions requiring application to the NSW Environment minister.
today: Total ban imposed.



surfinclimb
31/05/2009
9:53:33 PM
I dont want to sound like the party pooper but you said it yourself, Its 600km out to sea.
It's only had a hand few of accents by the sound of it and from what I understand it has the only colony of this specific insect in the world and there is a chance that if a hoard of climbers turn up it could seriously help threaten to wipe it off the face of the earth. The only upside is that we as climbers get to climb to the top of another piece of rock. I dont suppose that the hundreds of cliffs and mountains and the hundreds of thousands of climbs on the main land could satisfy us climbers and not leave us desperate to sail 600 km to do one more climb.
I'm sorry Zane but I dont think that this is going to get a lot of support. Then again there may be a group of greedy selfish climbers out there?
patto
31/05/2009
11:34:58 PM
On 31/05/2009 surfinclimb wrote:
>I dont want to sound like the party pooper but you said it yourself, Its
>600km out to sea.
>It's only had a hand few of accents by the sound of it and from what I
>understand it has the only colony of this specific insect in the world
>and there is a chance that if a hoard of climbers turn up it could seriously
>help threaten to wipe it off the face of the earth. The only upside is
>that we as climbers get to climb to the top of another piece of rock. I
>dont suppose that the hundreds of cliffs and mountains and the hundreds
>of thousands of climbs on the main land could satisfy us climbers and not
>leave us desperate to sail 600 km to do one more climb.
>I'm sorry Zane but I dont think that this is going to get a lot of support.
>Then again there may be a group of greedy selfish climbers out there?

Your argument is quite contradictory and senseless. On one hand you are saying that it hasn't has many ascents and is is 600km out to sea and therefore unlikely to attract many climbers. And on the other you are saying a hoard of climbers will turn up and destroy the stick insect. You aren't making sense.

If this was a reef or an atoll that offered 'conventional' sports and tourism then the government would have no problem with people visiting balls pyramid. But climbers seems to be treated like a pariahs and prohibited for spurious reasons. Just look at the ban on climbing at the Prom. If this island was navigatable by regular tourists on foot then there is little doubt that it would be open to tourism and visitors. But for some reason climbers are banned simple because they climb.

EJ
1/06/2009
5:56:41 AM
Not sure if Balls Pyramid really qualifies as, "Australia's only true expedition icon".... Even if it were in the same league as Everest or the Matterhorn, then I support the management authorities descision to prevent the same level of traffic and rubbish from damaging it. Climbers unfortunately don't have a great track record for minimal impact, even if we'd like to think we did.

I'm all for the open discussion of access issues, but I reckon it's important to choose the right cause.
dmnz
1/06/2009
7:58:09 AM
Climbers unfortunately don't
>have a great track record for minimal impact, even if we'd like to think
>we did.
patto
1/06/2009
8:16:11 AM
On 1/06/2009 EJ wrote:
>Not sure if Balls Pyramid really qualifies as, "Australia's only true expedition
>icon".... Even if it were in the same league as Everest or the Matterhorn,
>then I support the management authorities descision to prevent the same
>level of traffic and rubbish from damaging it. Climbers unfortunately don't
>have a great track record for minimal impact, even if we'd like to think
>we did.
>
>I'm all for the open discussion of access issues, but I reckon it's important
>to choose the right cause.

Again, I hardly think climbers are worse than the VAST majority of joe tourists. And if this island was accessible by foot then those vary joe tourists would be there. Besides it isn't fragile landscape this is a bloody big ROCK!

The only real arguement here is protecting the stick insects. There is no serious argument that a few hundred (at most) climbers each year are going to destroy this insect. Seriously there is alot of rock there and a parties going up and down it isn't more threatning that the wind and rain.

Opening the place up isn't going to benefit many people. But it is fairly selfish to take the attitude just becuase I'm not going to go there then nobody else should. If this was araps then half this forum would be on the picket lines. To me it is the principle of the thing, the ban there seems to be just further discrimination against climbers because as I said this wouldn't be an issue if it had foot access.

The good Dr
1/06/2009
8:50:17 AM
The threat to the stick insects is not directly from climbers themselves, it is from the predators that can be introduced from the boats that carry the people there. The insects were wiped out on Lord Howe Island by rats from a ship and the only population in the world that is known is on Balls Pyramid. Increasing visits to the island increases the risk to the species from inadvertent introduction of predators.

Given the above, I do not believe that a blanket ban on climbing should be introduced, though a 'sensible' permit system would be great. Due to the cost and difficult conditions, most climbers will not even think about going there. Limitations to the numbers of visits and numbers in the parties would also be prudent given the sensitive nature of the Balls Pyramid environment. As can be seen from the re-discovery of the LHI stick insect, climbers can play a conservation role. Combining climbing trips with some research would also assist in gaining access.

This is one piece of rock that has significantly more importance than just as a pure climbing destination.
TonyB
1/06/2009
9:06:03 AM
Is John Davis still climbing ?
grangrump
1/06/2009
11:21:44 AM
Keith Bell gave a slide show in Canberra last year.
He reckoned that climbing BP was amazing.
And he would know, having climbed around the world.
BA
Online Now
1/06/2009
11:33:28 AM
There was an ascent by the likes of Kevin Lindorff and Iain "Sharkbait" Sedgman that wasn't mentioned above.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
1/06/2009
12:42:01 PM
On 1/06/2009 The good Dr wrote:
>The threat to the stick insects is not directly from climbers themselves,
>it is from the predators that can be introduced from the boats that carry
>the people there. The insects were wiped out on Lord Howe Island by rats
>from a ship and the only population in the world that is known is on Balls
>Pyramid. Increasing visits to the island increases the risk to the species
>from inadvertent introduction of predators.
>
>Given the above, I do not believe that a blanket ban on climbing should
>be introduced, though a 'sensible' permit system would be great. Due to
>the cost and difficult conditions, most climbers will not even think about
>going there. Limitations to the numbers of visits and numbers in the parties
>would also be prudent given the sensitive nature of the Balls Pyramid environment.
>As can be seen from the re-discovery of the LHI stick insect, climbers
>can play a conservation role. Combining climbing trips with some research
>would also assist in gaining access.
>
>This is one piece of rock that has significantly more importance than
>just as a pure climbing destination.

I agree.
I shall also follow up with a submission to the link/s in the original post.
patto
1/06/2009
12:51:50 PM
On 1/06/2009 The good Dr wrote:
>The threat to the stick insects is not directly from climbers themselves,
>it is from the predators that can be introduced from the boats that carry
>the people there. The insects were wiped out on Lord Howe Island by rats
>from a ship and the only population in the world that is known is on Balls
>Pyramid. Increasing visits to the island increases the risk to the species
>from inadvertent introduction of predators.
>
>Given the above, I do not believe that a blanket ban on climbing should
>be introduced, though a 'sensible' permit system would be great. Due to
>the cost and difficult conditions, most climbers will not even think about
>going there. Limitations to the numbers of visits and numbers in the parties
>would also be prudent given the sensitive nature of the Balls Pyramid environment.
>As can be seen from the re-discovery of the LHI stick insect, climbers
>can play a conservation role. Combining climbing trips with some research
>would also assist in gaining access.
>
>This is one piece of rock that has significantly more importance than
>just as a pure climbing destination.

Very true. I agree a permit system is perfectly acceptible.

That said from memory it is hard enough for people to land on it, getting rats in wouldn't be easy.
climberman
1/06/2009
2:30:56 PM
On 1/06/2009 TonyB wrote:
>Is John Davis still climbing ?

Maybe. His daughter (and son, I guess) is.

vwills
1/06/2009
4:58:42 PM
Thanks Zane for alerting us to that.
I will be making a submission supporting climbing.
Lord Howe Island has had a very successful breeding programme of the phasmids (the stick insect) and have rid some of the other off shore islands of rats so that phasmids may not be confined only to Balls pyramid in future. They are looking at trying to eradicate the rats from LHI in a few years time. Thus it looks like the phasmids may thrive, so if that is the case Ballls should be open on a permit basis to climbers, and the good part is you can hang out on LHI waiting for the seas to be calm enough to land.
I understand it was a climber that found the phasmid originally when it was thought to be extinct.
surfinclimb
1/06/2009
7:13:47 PM
On 31/05/2009 patto wrote:
>Your argument is quite contradictory and senseless. On one hand you are
>saying that it hasn't has many ascents and is is 600km out to sea and therefore
>unlikely to attract many climbers. And on the other you are saying a hoard
>of climbers will turn up and destroy the stick insect. You aren't making
>sense.

If you have a closer look Patto you might find that your own comments are quite contradictory. You fail to look at your own information that you supply. Do you think perhaps that the main reason other than distance that it has'nt had a lot of repeats is the rather expensive permit fee and that perhaps if this extreme permit fee is removed that it will encoureage an influx of climbers to "Australias everest"
From the numerous responses that you have gotten it appears there just might be a hoard of climbers coming on over to Balls Pyramid.
In regards to exterminating all the rats on L.H.I I wish them the best of luck. The Penguin parade has been trying to eradicate the foxes on Phillip Is now for about 20 years and are still nowhere in sight of the end.
patto
1/06/2009
8:15:43 PM
On 1/06/2009 surfinclimb wrote:
>If you have a closer look Patto you might find that your own comments
>are quite contradictory. You fail to look at your own information that
>you supply. Do you think perhaps that the main reason other than distance
>that it has'nt had a lot of repeats is the rather expensive permit fee
>and that perhaps if this extreme permit fee is removed that it will encoureage
>an influx of climbers to "Australias everest"
>From the numerous responses that you have gotten it appears there just
>might be a hoard of climbers coming on over to Balls Pyramid.
>In regards to exterminating all the rats on L.H.I I wish them the best
>of luck. The Penguin parade has been trying to eradicate the foxes on Phillip
>Is now for about 20 years and are still nowhere in sight of the end.

This post confuses me. It hard to argue with this muddle. I have no doubt that the changing current system could cause an influx of climbers. Isn't that what all this is about. ????

Climboholic
1/06/2009
8:36:59 PM
I hate to play devil's advocate, but what's in it for them? Why would the authorities go to all the trouble of justifying the measures you have suggested, so that a few climbers can enjoy a day out? It's much easier for them to leave the ban in place.

I'm not sure but I believe Lord Howe Island is a Federally administered territory. It would take a motivated official, sympathetic to climbers, in the right position to push through all paperwork involved in lifting the ban. It's not like giving farmer Joe a bottle of wine so he'll let you climb on his property. It's unfortunate but that's the way it works.

mattjr
1/06/2009
8:49:01 PM
No wine required... just don't tell the authorities!!!!

mattjr
1/06/2009
8:52:36 PM
?

Climboholic
1/06/2009
8:55:38 PM
On 1/06/2009 mattjr wrote:
>No wine required... just don't tell the authorities!!!!
>

That's what I was thinking... If you want a real 'adventure' climb try doing it while the ban is in place without getting caught. Or better yet, go climbing in Afghanistan. They've got some amazing rock there!

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