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Some of you may have met me about the place but I am a fairly recent Hobart resident of the last 18 months. I've just recently headed up the mountain and noted that there is a lot of work that has commenced on access tracks, tags and the like. At the outset I must congratulate those that have taken the time and effort to do this, the small tags are unobtrusive and a good way to mark the start of tracks. I am not sure if this is in conjunction with Wellington Park management or not, I know that there were murmurings of this about the place. I must admit that I am a little disturbed by the extent of some of the track clearing that has been done. Climbing for me is a minimal disturbance activity, I can't speak for all others but part of the enjoyment for myself and many other climbers I know in all parts of the world is the sense of untouched natural beauty. I have at times taken secateurs or small folding saws into places that I have frequented to keep tracks just clear enough that you aren't getting a face full of the dozens of spikey plants in the Australian bush however the works that have been done on the mountain I feel are a little excessive.

I am also somewhat shocked to read that people have been "gardening" established vegetation on routes such as Digitalis. On previous visits I have also seen shrubs and small trees around Great Tier and Bulging Buttress have been removed from cracks and ledges on the rock face. Removing established vegetation as opposed to the odd bit of grass or moss ceases to be gardening and progresses to vandalism. Established vegetation in cracks and on ledges are a part of the trad climbing landscape, they often form holds or viable protection, but this is also their home. We are all temporary and transient visitors to these places and should be more considerate and cognisant of the environment and ecosystem that vegetation in the vertical world represents.

Aside from this removal of vegetation in Wellington Park and National Parks/Conservation Areas is illegal. If you happen to find yourself with a new gardening tool for Christmas or a birthday present then get your fix at home on the wood pile or the neighbour's fruit trees, not halfway up a cliff where a warratah or hakea seems inconveniently placed. Again I must stress that I am appreciative of the efforts made by people to improve the tracks to single clear points of access however if there is to be significant work or removal of vegetation or even new routes for that matter then the pulse of the wider climbing community should be sought not just those who have the time, tools and inclination to act on the community's behalf.

I am more than happy to discuss

Regards, Tim Smith

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20 Comments

  1. Wow really Tim? I have to disagree with you. Can't please everyone though. Keep up the gardening Al, I might even buy you a chainsaw for xmas (wink)

  2. Tim Smith AUTHOR

    Thanks for that Jon. I can see that if there are sanctioned tracks then there are a bunch of other requirements at play for the council, hence the wider track etc.

    Jed, which point do you disagree with? All too often I see examples of people in the climbing community forgeting exactly who the visitors are. We are the interlopers, not the locals, whether that be other humans, flora or fauna. We are also the custodians of these places (and we are historically pretty good at stuffing them up) which means that we have a greater responsibility that just whether a line is perfectly clean or not. Cutting out estalished trees and shrubs is tantamount to chipping holds, sure trim a few branches that might stick you in the face but to remove them is going too far.

    It also can't be any more plain than this: It is not legal to do so. It is not legal to disturb and flora, fauna or geological feature in most of these areas where they are within the bounds of national parks, concervation areas or special interest areas such as Wellington Park. As an aside it's also in theory not legal to trundle rocks but at least a tree or shrub adds security whereas loose blocks are in the least scary and at worst plain deadly.

    Much vegetation was likely removed from the mountain post 1967 bushfires, and with the considerable time it takes vegetation in an alpine environment to recover it is likely that in relatively recent times we are seeing areas of the mountain fully vegetated. Some cracks that were first climbed soon after this in the 60's and 70's were likely relatively free of vegetation and have since had regrowth, where these are damp and soiled cracks, such as near Blue Meridian, they should be left to revegetate - they are no good to us climbers anyway...

  3. You've got yourself up on a bit of a high horse, Tim, when you talk about it being "not legal to disturb and (sic) flora, fauna or geological feature (sic)  in most of these areas where they are within the bounds of national parks, concervation (sic) areas or special interest areas such as Wellington Park". In the greater cosmic scheme of things, by making access to the crag easier and cleaning up some routes so they are more enjoyable to climb, we about as significant as ants moving a bit of debris in their way. Are you serious - or maybe I should say you are far too serious - in suggesting that moving a bit of vegetation and loose rock to make our paths through life a little more enjoyable is somehow morally bankrupt. In both of your posts you touch on legality. Where exactly are you coming from?

     You are right when you say you "can't speak for all others". Yes, most of us love feeling we are out in nature and that's one big reason why we prefer to climb on the Organ Pipes rather than Waterworks Quarry. But climbing on Mt Wellington is hardly akin to being immersed in a "sense of untouched natural beauty" once you've driven your car up the road, walked on a track, done a climb - enjoying the marvellous views over the South Hobart tip and down into the city - and then - in most cases  - rappelled off. Or do you climb blindfolded and not use any of the aforementioned amenities?

    (BTW, have you got any comments on the "new" mountain bike tracks and the re-establishment of some of the older walking tracks on the mountain? The "damage" done there is far more significant than the tiny bit of tidying up that some of us have been doing in the Organ Pipes environs.)

    I don't mean to be dismissive, but Mt Wellington is our local crag, and has been so for some of us for a number of decades. I hope you can continue to enjoy climbing on the Organ Pipes despite the work being done to make this more amenable for the average punter, whose main focus is getting to the crag relatively unscathed and enjoying climbing a clean line of reasonably stable rock. But, if your main focus is a  "sense of untouched natural beauty", there's plenty of that spread right around Tasmania. Lots of unclimbed, un-trundled and un-gardened cliffs in National Parks on the Tasman Peninsula, Southwest Tasmania, the far reaches of Ben Lomond and remote corners of Freycinet, just to mention a few. And they're even out of sight of any road or cityscape ...

  4. Hi Tim

    You raise a number of points that folk have agonised over for some time. The debate maybe isn’t as black and white as some people may paint it – there are shades of grey, maybe not fifty but several...

    The CCT position has been that there were too many additional tracks being added and that we would rather have traffic concentrated on to fewer, maintained and labelled access points, a view shared by the Trust. There have been numerous field trips by CCT and Trust staff and lengthy discussions to develop the tracks policy.

    This has all been against a background of very rapid plant growth, particularly over the last couple of years. After the latest bush fires in‘67, as you mentioned,  there was virtually NO vegetation left – photos from then show totally bare scree and white dead tree trunks. The cliffs were vegetation free and you could see the cliffs and climbs from the main track. You could argue that the vegetation itself is but a “temporary and transient visitor “to the cliff.

    Fast forward and now many climbs themselves are disappearing under the shrubbery and are becoming impassable due to the re-growth.  I spent some time  a week or two back talking to  Trust and HCC staff about the problems this is causing climbers, (apart from the overgrown access routes),  and how we are dealing with them: that is how climbers are trying to maintain access to climbs and minimise vegetation removal.  While not officially endorsing any position, there was, I think, a measure of understanding amongst the HCC and Trust members at the meeting, particulalry when we touched on examples of the development of other recreation facilities on the Mountain such as the bike tracks, walking tracks etc etc  which have involved much more extensive environmental alteration.

    The dilemmas - do we resurrect the increasingly vegetated climbs such as those next to Blue Meridian or remove them from the Guide and leave them to the regrowth?  Do we clean them back to their original state and simplify access to try to get traffic on them and keep them available for future generations of climbers – or let nature take its course?  New routes have always required cleaning – do we change our ways and only climb the clean arêtes  and stop any cleaning? Or is it okay to take out little shrubs, grass and herbs before they become too big? When is a plant "established”?

    There doesn’t seem to me to be any simple answers to all this: rather I think we, through the CCT, should maintain the dialogue with the land manager and the climbing community, and be thoughtful about how we manage the cliff environment. To my knowledge, no one is making random or arbitrary decisions – they are being taken with a great deal of care and thought

    The next bush fire of course may make the whole debate superfluous anyway....

    PS. The direct finish to Digitalis was put up a year or two back, with a small bush left blocking the access at the very top.  The bush, however, didn’t stop growing! It was not a threatened species and is extremely common on the mountain. It has not been removed but pruned back out of the way.

     

  5. Tim Smith AUTHOR

     

    Tony, I appreciate your constructive response. I feel like I am being taken as a lurker ready to whinge at a moment's notice but I am actually the type of person who is interested in getting involved. Background is important to this type of thing and that is what I was trying to establish. Glad the shrub on Digitalis direct (I was aware that this was a relatively recent addition) has had a hair cut and not an amputation at the stump

    Doug, you have misread what I am saying and then have taken it a bit further by highlighting spelling mistakes annotated with Latin short hand. Unnecessary and not particularly constructive. You've also assumed that I am some fringe dweller who loves to grovel up obscure classics and shuns the clean crisp lines of well-loved crags, and further allude to the fact that you have to live somewhere for decades for it to become your local crag. I started climbing bouldering with Bryden Allen, Pete Balint and others at Lindfield Rocks, spent a lot of time climbing in the Blue Mountains, the Wolgan Valley, Nowra, Pt Perp, Tarana, the Warrumbungles, Mt Kaputar, deep water soloing on the Hawkesbury. Moved to Darwin climbing existing routes and developed a couple of areas with Colin Reece and Hamish Jackson, Moved to Adelaide spent a lot of time in the Adelaide Hills, Arapiles, the Gramps, Moonarie, Buffalo, Waitpinga before moving to Hobart climbing at Ben Lomond, Launceston, Freycinet, Bruny Island, Kempton, Waterworks, the Paradiso, Frauhoff etc. I've also climbed in NZ, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, California, France, Morocco, Italy and Germany. I climb all manner of styles and even appreciate sensitively and sensibly placed fixed protection as well as well-maintained tracks to minimise impact. I know when I am onto a good thing and the Mountain is exactly that, it's a world class playground right at my doorstep and I think that there are aspects of that worth protecting

    It doesn't matter how long you have been in a place, or even if you have ever been there to have an interest in it. Take the Franklin River, Kimberly or Antarctica as examples.  I am putting my words up here because I am happy to be involved, not just as a foil for dismissive members of the establishment, but with pick and shovel in hand.

    The place that I have visited that I am most impressed with the style and ethics of the area is the Elbsandstein or Saxony Switzerland near Dresden in Germany. For a number of reasons they have a well-established and well adhered to set of ethics. The code of conduct is passed from generation to generation and the beauty is that they have enjoyed fantastic access and preservation of style and culture for 100 years. (As an aside Ben Lomond is the only place that has close to this strength of ethic in Australia and the danger is that once Gerry Narkowicz and Robert McMahon are gone will it be preserved?) If there are to be new routes, changes to access, vegetation removal and the like it is discussed by the climbing clubs before anything is done and if it is decided that it’s not appropriate then people accept it and move on. I can see that that is the intent of the CCT and that it is starting to happen.

    Can I suggest that if there are to be new routes, vegetation removed from existing or potential new routes, new anchors or retro bolting that, in addition to this forum being used, a little laminated message of intent (much like a DA) be placed at the bottom access car park, that an email be sent to those you know climb (with a note/understanding to forward on to climbers that they know) and that it be discussed with others seen using the pipes. We’re all a pretty friendly bunch I find even if I do ride a high horse Doug..

  6. Congratulations on your extensive climbing resume, Tim.  I can't claim nearly such a list. However, I don't see how I have misread what you are saying - especially when you used the term "illegal" in two different posts. (I'm still trying to figure out where you are coming from with that.) One thing that has been made clearer by spending a fair bit of time in Squamish though and living here in Hobart for thirty-five years, is that a lot of work needs to be done in high rainfall areas to keep routes climbable and tracks tractable! Mt Wellington gets almost a metre of rain per year. While this doesn't quite classify as Tasmanian Temperate Rainforest (despite the proliferation of myrtle especially), as the vegetation in the Organ Pipes vicinity has got increasingly well established after the devastation of  the '67 bushfires the growth of everything has exploded.  Some terrific moderate routes became overlooked because they were on the unbeaten trail, resulting in the trail becoming even more unbeaten and the routes then started to disappear. Those of us who have lived here for a long period of time perhaps have a greater understanding of the degree of the way this process has occurred here, and the work that needs to be done to keep it at bay. Otherwise virtually the whole crag would be covered in hakea. Thanks to a core of locals who have an intimate knowledge of the crag and care about the history of climbing on the mountain, this process has started to be reversed.

    Re Ben Lomond: it is not the Organ Pipes. The trad climbing ethic that exists on the Ben is terrific - apart - of course - from the removal of the rappel station at the top of Frew's Flutes that helped reduce the impact on the vegetation at the base of the crag and in the descent gully. The Organ Pipes is a very different sort of crag in many ways. The development of sport climbing on Mt Wellington has added another dimension to the crag, breathing a new lease of life into the place. It is also my impression that quite a few younger climbers who started climbing in The Climbing Edge in Hobart, then initially did mostly sport routes on the Pipes before becoming keen on trad climbing because they saw what was there. Might never have happened if they weren't up there doing sport routes beside the great trad lines that are on the Pipes. The Organ Pipes is a wonderfully inclusive crag in that regard.

    Thanks to an exhaustive - and exhausting - consultative process between the CCT, Hobart City Council and the Mount Wellington Trust which took place over the past 2 and 1/2 years, we now have a plan for renewing and maintaining a track network that was in existence before the 1967 bush fires. Climbing on Mt Wellington is more popular than ever, with a great variety of traditional and sport climbing, thanks to the work that has been done over a long time by a dedicated but relatively small number of climbers. The rappel station on Buttress Pinnacle on Northern Buttress has been there for more than 45 years. Di Batten remembers it being there when she did her first climb on Northern Buttress in 1968. It was placed by members of the CCT. More recently, ad-hoc rap stations that were put there to facilitate getting off routes without leaving inconvenient, dangerous and unsightly tat behind are being replaced with stations that of an extremely high standard that will stand the test of time. The recent revival of the CCT - thanks in particular to the determined efforts of Simon Young - was the catalyst and provided a focal point to re-open dialogue with the Hobart City Council that they started back in mid 2009 when they invited input from climbers about how they could better meet their charter of catering for various recreational user groups. At that time the CCT had ceased to exist, so they had no representative body to consult, unlike with the walking and cycling communities.

    It was great to be on the mountain today and run into Phil Bigg, who along with Simon Parsons put up a number of terrific routes on the Pipes in the late seventies and early eighties. We had a great conversation where he described remembering being able to see all the whole crag from the track - which I've been telling visitors and recent arrivals about for years - and how you could just wander up any old way - across vegetation that for the most part didn't exceed knee height -  to whatever route you wanted to do. After listening to Simon Mentz tell me about a year ago that he thought there was some great climbing on Mt Wellington but that fighting through the scrub to find the routes was an absolute pain, Phil's  enthusiastic endorsement of the work that is being done to make climbing more accessible again was music to my ears.

  7. Quote:  "we (sic) about as significant as ants moving a bit of debris in their way" 

    Oh, the irony!

     

  8. I would have to agree with Jed, and disagree.

    You approve the tracks, but think it was too heavy handed? Does those 5 extra shrubs removed in a 100m section of track really take away from your experience? Your friend could just push your pack about as you walk up to simulate those bushes being there. You can't see that continuous effort is needed to maintain them so they will start growing over again? I still struggle to see whats taken away by establishing clean, quality climbs that are accessible via well thought out tracks that limit impacts from lost wanderers.

    Comparing the ben to elbsandstein, really?? Preserving the rock is the number one aim for those guys, and they place many bolts. So you think we should put in some thought out bolts, stop using chalk and all metal protection? I can agree on one of those points.

    It seems people can talk about what we could do in theory, float up to the cliff, ascend magically on the back of a unicorn not having any impact before flying off over a rainbow. In theory there's no difference between reality and theory. In reality however... Don't get me wrong, that does sound like an amazing time, but until we can have zero impact in reality, im going to work hard to maintain awesome areas and put in the effort to keep climbs clean and enjoyable, im sorry if this offends anyone.

     

  9. Hi all. Tony, thanks for even handedly describing the process and considerations at hand. Well done for maintaining a good relationship with HCC/parks. It sounds like a lot of time has been put into the process by some CCT members, and therefore criticisms of the track-work raised now are understandably difficult to incorporate into the process.

    Some comments all the same:

    • I haven’t seen the new track works, but for a number of reasons I do support in principle a minimalist approach to such works. I agree tracks should consolidated, and some clearance will assist in this, but I don’t personally feel they have to be particularly wide or thoroughly cleared. I do feel that the mountain has a wild atmosphere might be undermined by 'extensive track clearing’, accepting Doug’s point that it is also a 'local crag’ so the approach may be different to that for say Frenchmans. What is ‘Extensive clearing’?: Not surprisingly opinions vary among climbers as to what constitutes ‘appropriate' tracks works, and it sounds like Doug might support more extensive works that does say Tim or myself. 

    • Tony: 'When does a bush become established?’ I agree a difficult question. There does seem to be a difference between clearing small shrubs and clearing small trees, doesn’t there? Clearing 'trees' has been widely considered poor form in many Australian areas.  'Shrub-trees’ are the largest trees on the organ pipes (Eg the famous Hakea on Fiddlesticks); I’m not sure how big they would get in the absence of fire. I would be concerned that on the pipes clearing of larger and larger ‘shrub-treees’ might become acceptable if other ‘extensive’ clearing has been mandated. For example I personally view  the cleaning  for ‘Schizophrenic’ was an example of clearing shrub-trees that were too big and should be been left alone (no personal offence intended to Jon Nermut or Dave H, but i think it is a good example for this discussion). They were in size among the larger specimens on the cliff, and if left in place they would have constituted very good protection - could this measure be used as a good rule of thumb? I appreciate that clearing smaller veg from old/new routes is part of climbing game in wetter places such as the pipes.

    • Clearing veg (and other alterations such as bolting) during new routing is currently ad hoc and not consultative in most areas of tas. It is not always carefully considered. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, this is no doubt due in part to climbing previously being a fringe activity involving very few participants. I am not suggesting one should consult the CCT opinion on every bit of cleaning during new routing, but when actions are likely to be controversial, consultation is the only way to participate harmoniously within the climbing and broader outdoor community. This website site has helped define what actions are likely to be sen as controversial. 

    • Sanctioning larger scale clearing does potentially promote an attitude that cliffs are ours to adjust for our own gain without consideration of broader issues, even if the people involved in the original intervention considered their actions carefully. On the other hand if  interventions are carried out with careful consultation, it sets a good example and others are actually less likely to take actions to new level without consultation. 

     

    • 'Illegal'. I think it is reasonable for Tim to remind us that many climbers sometimes act outside the law during their ‘routine’ activities. Parks Tasmanian sent me a letter to same effect back in 1996 when I was TUCC president after they noted bolting at Freycinet. The laws around interfering with parks are quite strict in my experience. Even to pick a flower from a national park requires a special permit!!  In the instance of the track works under question evidently this was done with consultation with land-managers, same with the sanctioned mountain bike tracks, so this is different from the ad hoc actions during climbing trips that are usually done without consulting with anyone. I think it is reasonable to raise legal positions as these may become important when climbers' actions are controversial and arguments arise.  A little bit of cleaning is rarely controversial in my experience, so it passes under the radar of the law, fortunately.


       
    • Cliffs are refuges for species of low fire tolerance, so after a fire the seeds from the remaining specimens on the cliff can be important for the regeneration process. Sassafras specimens on the pipes would a good local example. Ultimately I agree with the assertion that cleaning mostly does not present a significant ecological impact on the pipes, but at the same time I don’t think we can be too dismissive of our impacts as ultimately may small impacts can add up to significant incremental deterioration. I think that we, like other users of parks, should use a minimal impact approach, and then discuss exceptions to this approach carefully with each other, and managers where necessary, as exemplified by Tony’s description of the track-work process. When minimal impact principles are transgressed without consultation or an agreed approach, passionate objections and acrimony within the climbing community are to be expected!

     

     


  10. Tim Smith AUTHOR

    To clarify my position and support Hamish's response I don't object to the consolidation of tracks on the mountain, I think this is good practice. I acknowledge the amount of work that goes into establishing these tracks and if I take a step back, then yes, the fringes of the access tracks will regenerate and have a less confronting appearance (to my mind and eye). My main issue, and it seems to have been lost in some parts, is that consultation and approval to form and maintain tracks is a separate issue to vegetation removal on the cliff face.

    Simon, your comments are rather fanciful and off topic – a red herring if you wish. No-one has suggested that any activities can occur with no impact, the discussion is about minimal impact. As the president of the CCT it would be helpful to the whole community if your comments were constructive and considered in nature, acknowledging there are differing views out there that are all equally important and in need of consideration in establishing a representative middle ground. You are not correct with respect to the Elbsandstein (German side) and bolts. Amongst many things the original intent of the rules was to ensure access and enjoyment for walkers and climbers was maintained in the park - hence you can only climb the free standing pinnacles where walkers cannot access. Bolts can be no closer than 3m apart and no closer than 3m from viable natural protection, bolts must also be placed on lead and of a stipulated type (they look like a drawbridge anchor or unicorn tether).

    When is the next meeting so that I (and others) can be a contributing member of the CCT and not try to have discussions via a forum where the nuance of language and body language is lost?

    In reference to legality I can point to 3 bits of legislation that support what I was saying, I was merely highlighting this as the legality/illegality of these activities has a broader context than conflicting ideas within a small group of users (climbing community). By not giving thought to this we are making the jobs harder for an already over taxed and underappreciated group of Parks rangers around the place.

    Commonwealth Law

    NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT 1975 No. 12, 1975 - SECT. 10.

    Mining, works, forestry, &c., in parks and reserves and wilderness zones.

     

      10. (1) This section has effect notwithstanding any law of Australia or of a

    State or Territory.

      (2) No operations for the recovery of minerals shall be carried on in a park

    or reserve other than operations that are carried on, with the approval of the

    Governor-General, in accordance with the plan of management relating to that

    park or reserve.

      (3) Subject to sub-section (4)-

      (a)  no excavation shall be carried on;

      (b)  no building or other structure shall be erected;

      (c)  no works shall be carried out; and

      (d)  no timber shall be felled or taken,

    in a park or reserve except in accordance with the plan of management relating to that park or reserve.

    Tasmanian State Law

    National Parks and Reserved Land Regulations 2009 (S.R. 2009, No. 169)

    PART 2 - Care, Control and Management of Reserved Land

    Division 1 - General protection

    4. Restrictions relating to reserved land

          (1) A person must not, on any reserved land –

    (a) take a growing or standing plant; or

    (b) dam up, divert or pollute any water on or under the surface; or

    (c) interfere with, dig up, cut up, collect or remove any sand, gravel, clay, rock or mineral or any timber, firewood, humus or other natural substance.

          (2) Subregulation (1)(c) does not apply to –

    (a) the collecting or cutting up of dead plant material lying on the ground for a fire lit in accordance with the regulations; or

    (b) a person depositing and burying their faecal waste and toilet paper in a manner consistent with the minimal impact practices published by the Secretary of the Department.

          (3) A person must not, on any reserved land –

    (a) remove, damage, deface or disturb any brick, glass, coin, masonry, ceramics, Aboriginal relic or any object of architectural, archaeological, historical or scientific interest; or

    (b) remove, damage or deface any rock, stalactite, stalagmite or other formation in a cave; or

    (c) destroy, damage, alter, tamper with or deface any building, fence, gate, fireplace, notice, sign, structure or other work erected or placed on that reserved land.

          (4) A person must not, on any reserved land, erect, place or modify any building or structure, other than a tent that is intended for use while camping.

          (5) A person must not, on any reserved land –

    (a) erect, exhibit or display any notice or sign or any bill, poster or advertisement; or

    (b) make or mark out any track or route; or

    (c) erect any cairn, memorial or plaque.

          (6) A person must not –

    (a) bring any plant onto any reserved land; or

    (b) have possession of any plant on any reserved land.

          (7) A person must not, on any reserved land –

    (a) deposit or leave any litter, except in a receptacle or place provided for that purpose; or

    (b) deposit the dead body of any creature; or

    (c) deposit, discharge or leave any offal, filth, dung, rubbish or any other noxious or polluting matter or thing.

    Wellington Park Regulations 2009 (S.R. 2009, No. 19)

    5. Water and other natural substances

    Unless authorised to do so by a permit, a person must not, in Wellington Park –

    (a) dam up, divert or pollute any water on or under the surface; or

    (b) take or collect any water for sale; or

    (c) interfere with, dig up, cut up, collect or remove any sand, gravel, clay, rock, mineral, timber, firewood, humus or other natural substance; or

    (d) remove, damage or deface any rock, or any stalactite, stalagmite or other formation, in a cave.

  11. Im sorry but I still struggle to see the point your making. Yes removing branches from a hakea on a climb is different from one on the ground. It seems you do agree with the track work, but feel the council have been too heavy handed? I guess the track that you would find most offensive is the natural one to Northern Buttress. It is getting suffering from erosion, hence the council are 'interfering'. Are the new tracks excessive highways? I think any notion towards this is fair fetched in the least, as most tracks follow scree and boulders as much as possible. Having been up and down the new Central Buttress track the day before the wroks, and then the day after, I can attest it was barely modified. But much easier to get through with thoughtful pruning having taken place.

    "ensure access and enjoyment for walkers and climbers was maintained in the park" - The CCT has a good relationship with the Trust, and both sides currently feel we are achieving this within a popular area a stones throw from the city. We welcome new members with enthusiasm to help maintain access within the state.

    Perhaps my comments were a bit of topic, perhaps I'm not the best President for the job. I am however someone who is willing to do the job nobody else wants to. Gladly accepting nominations for my replacement. Until then however I'm going to continue putting in the effort to maintain the good thing we have going on with the CCT, and I gladly welcome any new blood into the fold!

    I feel the intent of the legal jibber has been lost. I'm sure one could argue the fact that if I were to roll a large boulder that had become dislodged and remained on the road, I would be interfering with a rock or natural substance.  I don't believe for a second that example is anything but a Red Herring, but a good example of the need to interpret the rules to some extent and acknowledge there are grey areas. The Trust aren't idiots, and do read these forums and know whats going on.  Please see intent the people carrying out the work have, to sustain classic climbs for generations to come. I don't think they are any where near the boundary of whats unacceptable. If you wish for climbs to be re-claimed by the mountain, and never climbed again your most welcome to that opinion. That opinion is the overwhelming minority however, and I don't feel it is of equal consideration to the majority that wish to continue having fun, wholesome days out climbing the many good routes on the organ pipes.

    Please note that I'm a pretty easy going person that rarely wishes to offend and do hope I haven't in this instance.

  12. wow! I can't believe i missed this thread! hang on i'm just going to put the gloves on...

     

  13. Tony, Doug, Jon and Simon, You guys have done a great job of persevering with the consultations this has taken and making your own time available to be in contact with HCC and for discussions with climbers.  In my opinion you have been accomodating to the inputs everyone gave to that process.  It is the nature of these things that you will never meet every individuals' exact personal preferences.  The reasonable ones among us will accept that and recognise the wider benefits.  The planning phase is over: anyone who now weighs in with aspertions should take a quiet look at themselves. 

    1. Hi Roger,

      while I agree with most of what you’ve said I don’t think suppressing commentary at this stage is reasonable! An important part of interventions such as track works is that people can comment constructively on the actual outcome. 

  14. I find it interesting that in reading this thread there either appears to be an inability to comprehend or a simple bloody mindedness in being obtuse. 

    There were two main point raised by the OP, and yet defensive responses from someone who really should know better and the "old guard" seem to want to resort to myriad logical fallacies in order to fool themselves and others into thinking they have a valid point, or have "won."

    In a grown up world there can be a middle ground, a grey to the black and white that the "slower" commentators seem to prefer.

    The point regarding track maintenance has been explained reasonable well; not by Simon and his straw-man games; not by through the hypocrisy of Doug who poi nts out errors in Tim's grammar / spelling and suggests Tim is on a "high horse" then proceeds to construct a sentence unworthy of a 5 year old and concludes with the contention that he has been here longer and so Tim should butt out (high horse???) - but by Jon and Tony... adult responses that elicit reasonable conversation.

    In response to this clarification Tim then conceded that perhaps this was a reasonable plan of action and further suggests that he is indeed willing to be an active member of the CCT and that he is not in fact trying to just stir up trouble.

    The next bit is astounding - in response to someone saying they would like to be an active member of the club the President then continues with childish games and accusations whilst also bemoaning the fact that no-one wants to join his merry band of "yes men" and appealing to the audience for support by playing the "perhaps I'm not the best..." card. I wonder, why is it that they have such a hard time getting members / people willing to participate? Welcome new blood? As long as they tow-the-line huh? No-one better have a different perspective!

    So, now we get to the bit where the open-minded might actually realise they have missed the second point... that is, unless they are already too busy thinking of a witty response point out grammatical errors or creating another fantasy story about fairies. 

    Tim's second concern was about the removal of plant and other material from the cliff faces. Something that the track maintenance agreements with local authorities HAS NOT GIVEN the CCT.  In fact, a quick phone call to the local folks down there in Hobart quickly cleared up that matter. It IS ILLEGAL for climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, Julia Frikkin Gillard to remove plant material - or to even be found holding it on your hand! Picking a flower is illegal. Pulling out a whole plant from the side of a cliff so you can climb nice clean routes and pretend you still have a lovely clean gym down there is also illegal! 

    I asked in a few different ways and each time we got to the point of pulling out a plant the helpful folks were quite specific... it's illegal.

    There will be a middle ground here too - as Tim has already pointed out, his stance - ready boys? - is MINIMAL IMPACT. Not zero, clearly that's imposible - so don't bother with your stupid mindless straw-man fallacies again.

    Let me give a little advice, if you reckon you're not the best president, try a little diplomacy... you may find you end up having nicer conversations with people, and - god forbid, a few more members... sure, things might not all go your way, but the reality of being a Climbing Club President is that your way is the least important one. It's the entire community - not just your members - who come first.

    Cheers (smile)

  15. From Tony, the main protagonist in keeping a great relationship up with the trust:

    "While not officially endorsing any position, there was, I think, a measure of understanding amongst the HCC and Trust members at the meeting, particularly when we touched on examples of the development of other recreation facilities on the Mountain such as the bike tracks, walking tracks etc etc  which have involved much more extensive environmental alteration."

    Yes there are shades of grey, but can you see that when there is a positive relationship, and an understanding in place. It can be quite damaging for a couple of good-intentioned individuals to stampede into the debate at the last minute without all the facts, dictating how things should be done to many individuals that have been working hard for a long time to get where we are. Can you see that your not being in any way constructive, as we are all well aware of the need to approach these issues sensitively.

    As you mention Adam, we are trying to achieve "MINIMAL IMPACT. Not zero, clearly that's impossible".

    Please stop and think on your actions when talking to councils etc on everyone's behalf, when the CCT does it it is after much discussion with a wide range of people with a wealth of experience dealing with these organisations. It is possible for well intentioned individuals to cause great headaches for the wider community by raising 'issues' where previously there was an understanding.

    I agree Hamish, we're all more than willing for people to "comment constructively on the actual outcome". Slagging off many members in the community, and the efforts they put in doesn't do a great deal for anyone does it?

  16. unfortunately sensitively and minimal impact are open to wide interpretation. Forestry for example would no doubt claim that clearfelling is sensitive, others disagree. I would say that putting in a bolt belay when a natural anchor exists could not be described as minimal impact, others would disagree. A triple bolt belay when a double is adequate, is excessive and disrespectful, others don't see the problem.

    Does minimal mean less rather than more? or the minimum possible ?

    Judging by the cleaning on slow combustion i don't think minimal impact is genuinely part of the local ethos.

    I don't mind a rationalisation of the track network. I'm pretty sure no-one does. I haven't yet seen trackwork on the mountain but i understand shrubbery can be very good at springing and growing back to cover stumps etc. Personally i much prefer more frequent snipping along trails or on the cliff face than more occasional clearfelling like on great tier. Snipping to me seems much more sensitive.

    as a standard or method  i suggest that "if it needs a handsaw then its probably a handhold or a foothold".

    I am opposed to  signage, additional visual pollution that most likely will increase traffic. traffic increases erosion. Incidentally i made this comment  during initial discussions about this issue and was disregarded and ridiculed in a similar way to Tim above. A more  minimal impact alternative exists, an old fashioned concept called a map. I'll give free lessons on how to read one. Its also cheaper so the Welly Trust can spend their money on something like controlling erosion on the track network instead.

    Of course there seems to be an idea that we need to increase traffic to keep the climbs clean- which may well lead to tails being chased.

    Interesting how we express belated concern about erosion on the trails then instant delight when someone rips rocks and trees off the crag. The active erosion gets the tick of approval the passive erosion gets a sad face. I have done my share of cleaning but its mostly been sensitive (wink).

    Can someone tell me what the plan/schedule is with erosion specific trackwork? Please don't tell me that cutting veg from the trails was considered a priority.

    Also interesting how much fear we hold that the crag will be taken over by trees. Maybe we should embrace change?

    The fires simply gave climbers a wonderful window of opportunity? 45 years of climbing bliss and now nature wants a holiday? Global warming is likely to put the trees on steroids. I'm ready to  embrace the delightful marriage of treeclimbing and rockclimbing.

     

     

     

  17. Simon, I am very experienced in these types of negotiations, I assure you that there was nothing in my communications that could have impacted upon CCT's dealing with any organisation, my purpose here is not to cause any access issues, or long-term problems at all. 

    I would never want my name associated with such a legacy, whether it was widely known, or even just a personal knowledge. Access and climber impact is the key issue here, not whether any of us feel exhalted in our assertions. 

    I would agree that my foray into the discussion has also been somewhat brash, and am willing to "bury the hatchet" (although not in a tree (wink) - nor head etc ) 

    I believe Dave raises some very important variations on the perspective of impact and through whose eyes it is viewed; You guys seem to have quite a few passionate folks right about now willing to continue with the ins and outs of a set of ethic guidelines, and I reckon that formalising this can really help to then determine a community response when an issue arises as well as having a reference point for future generations of climbers to understand the local "ethic" on all relevant issues. 

    If for instance the locals up North are advocating a no bolt ethic on Ben Lomond it can be reasonable and justifiable for bolts found to be chopped by the community and a dialogue opened with the responsible parties about that ethic. The more Southern folks may well agree that a Stallone-esque Bolt-gun approach at Waterworks is fine, in which case, pound away chaps! Meanwhile a minimal impact, bolt where necessary, but in all honesty consult with FA-ers and the general community before taking the old Hilti up on the wall ethic may be the "go" on The Organ Pipes. At least with a set of club documents that are easily accessed (and let's face it, this site and accompanying app is a really good resource) things can travel a lot smoother. 

    Simon, I also understand how frustrating it can be to be in your role, unfortunately, whether we ascend to the role of El Presidente by beating another nominee(s) or being the only dude willing to stick his (or her for that matter) hand up we generally have to abdicate having as much of a "say" as we would otherwise have liked and throw our energy into being the mediator. It sucks at best most of the time, but the role is still a very important one nonetheless. I would argue that it's in times when you are the only one willing to volunteer for the job that a President is at their finest, because without that one person willing to hold it all together the whole thing falls apart. So, please don't take me for someone willing to just throw a few interweb lightning bolts around only to then disappear off into the ether. If you want to chat or vent about issues (or even just tell me to stuff off) feel free. 

    Cheers

    Adam