Packing it Out
20+ years of stewardship
For over 20 years, CliffCare has worked with land managers & owners to achieve positive outcomes for both environmental and cultural considerations and climbing access.
This also includes responding to extreme weather events such as floods and fires, which is just one of the reasons that underpins how important a collaborative approach is between frequently over-stretched land managers and a responsible stewardship body such as CliffCare.
Note: entries from 1998 - 2010 do not have months included as they are from old records prior to the creation of the first CliffCare website in 2011. Also note this is not an exhaustive list of every working bee that has occurred over the years.
All photos supplied by VCC/CliffCare SmugMug account and previous CliffCare website unless credited otherwise.
The CliffCare Trust formed by Victorian Climbing Club.
CliffCare, Horsham ATSIC Cultural Officer and an archeologist meet at Lil Lil (Black Ians Rocks) to manage possible climber impacts to cultural heritage. This includes a no bouldering/climbing rule in what was formerly called the 'camping cave' and avoiding routes in nearby vicinity.
Closure of climbing areas in central Grampians for brushtail rock wallaby protection.
Summerday Valley working bee to stabilize trails and retaining walls.
Parks Victoria-funded belay anchors installed at Werribee Gorge to protect trees and improved safety.
Working party to stabilize the base of the Organ Pipes, Mt. Arapiles
CliffCare successful in receiving grant from Parks Victoria to repair and contain bush camp sites and carpark within the Bundaleer/Rosea area.
Track and step construction at Camels Hump.
Major working bee in collaboration with PV on access track and base for Taipan / Spurt Wall to fix erosion issues.
Climbers hauled timber up Flat Rock and the trail to base of Spurt Wall, and constructed silt traps and rock steps to control erosion.
In one area where soil in a rock trench had eroded, volunteers installed a wooden ramp to prevent further deepening.
Working bee at Mt. Arapiles to control erosion on Pharos Gully tourist track.
Working bee at Mt. Rosea to clear and repair track after bushfires.
Closure of bush camps in Victoria Valley for rehabilitation.
Working bee at Bundaleer to rehabilitate access track after 2007 bushfires. This included replacing burnt-out silt traps, positioning of large boulders by hand, and safe removal of burnt vegetation.
After Aboriginal Surface Scatters were discovered under Manic Depressive at Bundaleer, CliffCare and Parks Victoria Cultural Heritage team worked together to create a boardwalk and wooden tripod to protect both this area and the climb above.
Suzy Scurrie (Cultural Heritage Ranger, Parks Victoria) with the new signage for the Bundaleer, 2008.
Working bee at Bushrangers Bluff (Mt. Arapiles). Volunteers hauled gravel and rocks into position for stonemasons to construct dry stonework at base and prevent further erosion.
Retaining wall repair at Summerday Valley.
Flat Rock/Pohlner Road track repair with Healthy Parks, Healthy People grant.
Lou Shepherd indicating where erosion has occurred at Bushrangers.
Clean Up Australia Day working bee at Mt. Arapiles
In preparation for a major revegetation project in the Pines Campground at Mount Arapiles, Jim Newlands propogates native callitris pines from around the Mount.
Successful negotiation of ongoing access to Grampians sport crag The Ravine.
Dry stonework construction at Mount Arapiles on long-term Pharos Gully tourist track project.
Revegetation planting day in Pharos Gully
Using native-species seedlings, a planting day is held in the Pines Campground with CliffCare, Friends of Arapiles and local volunteers, plus the Natimuk Primary School lending a hand!
Fun fact: the school planted the original pines in 1936.
Beginning of You Yangs repair project in collaboration with Parks Victoria.
Another Pharos Gully working bee!
Over three days, the Grampians experiences massive floods which destroy roads, tracks and vegetation throughout the park and cause widespread closures.
Follow up working bee in The Pines to stake and protect native pines (planted in 2009). Help included volunteers from Chisolm TAFE and materials donated by Dahlsens Building Centre in Horsham.
Launch of the first Cliffcare website and social media channels, creating a new platform for education and awareness around climbing access in Victoria.
Victoria Range re-opens after flood damage repair.
Continuing work on long-term Pharos Gully track project, Mt. Arapiles.
CliffCare awarded Parks Victoria Kookaburra Award.
"Parks Victoria’s Kookaburra Awards recognise and honour individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to Victoria’s parks. The awards are held bi-annually.The Awards are open to all volunteers, both individuals and groups, who participate in activities across the Parks Victoria estate."
You Yangs post-floods inspection.
Installation of stone steps at Black Hill.
CliffCare reps and David Roberts, Head Ranger of the GNP, inspect Bundaleer and Mt. Rosea to assess flood damage and plan for repairs and re-openings around upcoming VicRoads work.
Climber-built trail for Bundaleer (2008) has held up well but the road suffered serious damage. Mount Rosea has a new gully from a huge landslip.
After consulting with PV on site, it is agreed that CliffCare will stabilize a trail to cross it as well as look after the climbers track to Rosea cliff base and any erosion issues on Giant Staircase.
CliffCare awarded community group grant for upgrades to Burnley Bouldering Wall, including the matting path between walls, bike racks and interpretive sign for newcomers to the sport.
CliffCare, Friends of Arapiles and Parks Victoria initiate the first Campground Host program for Mount Arapiles.
The Campground Host is a friendly person able to provide important information such as rules and guidelines for the park. The first trial is deemed a success.
Following some flood damage to the lower section of the climbers track to the Gallery, climbers began using an alternate (previously closed) trail to the right of an art shelter.
CliffCare notified Parks Victoria upon becoming aware of this and directed climbers away from this area with plans for trail repair to protect cultural heritage site and environment.
theCrag.com joins as a sponsor for CliffCare. theCrag is an excellent resource for up-to-date access information.
CliffCare and Parks Victoria inspect access trail to the Gallery following flood damage to prepare for repairs.
CliffCare working bee at Mount Rosea to repair access track after the 2011 floods.
Work included track delineation and stabilization across landslide section, clearing of fallen trees and branches, water bar/trenches above landslide track, track delineation for trimming braken and stabilization work on Giant Staircase.
Working bee to continue hauling rocks for Pharos Gully track construction.
CliffCare working bee to establish a retaining wall at Royal Flush wall, You Yangs.
CliffCare working bee to repair the Gallery climbers track post-floods.
Work included clearing trees with licensed chainsaw operator volunteer and constructing water bars with instruction from Parks Victoria.
A PV-supplied "Climbers Access" trail also installed.
Beginning of a dialogue between PV and Cliffcare about the concerns surrounding growth of bouldering and increase in climbing in the Victoria Range and possible impact on cultural heritage sites.
Negotiation of new approach for Red Rocks following change of land ownership of adjacent paddock.
With support from the climbing community, CliffCare is able to negotiate a lower per person camping fee at Arapiles instead of a higher per car fee that was originally introduced by PV.
Mt Rosea re-opens for climbing only.
The Victoria Valley, Grampians, is hit by major bushfires from 14th February for 20 days. In the aftermath, a small group from CliffCare meets with PV to discuss access.
Pharos Gully working bee.
Review of restrictions on climbing access in the You Yangs by PV in consultation with CliffCare and Licensed Tour Operators to allow year-round climbing.
Another Pharos Gully working bee.
CliffCare volunteers and PV representatives inspect the Victoria Range bushfire damage.
The Lookout area at the You Yangs re-opened after a collaborative approach between CliffCare and PV to resolve issues for original closure years earlier.
The VCC also ran a climbing trip and boneseed removal working bee for the area at the same time.
New CliffCare logo!
CliffCare working bee in the Victoria Range to re-open Red Rocks, Mt. Fox, Hollywood Bowl, Muline and Emu Rock.
Closure of peregrine falcon occupied areas at Arapiles while nesting.
Mt. Arapiles 50th Anniversary Access Forum
Photo: Victor Hurley
More cliffs, excluding those along the Jananginj Njani road (formerly Camp of the Emu's Foot - Eureka, Weir's Creek, et al), in the Victoria Range are re-opened.
The entire Grampians National Park is hit by devastating bushfires. In the aftermath, the Northern Grampians is closed for recovery.
CliffCare inspection of Summerday Valley and Stapylton Amphitheatre following fire damage.
Re-opening of cliffs along Jananginj Njani (formerly Camp of the Emu Foot) in Victoria Range albeit with permanent closure of the road, now for Management Vehicles Only.
This road closure has been a request by the Indigenous team and community and has been in the pipeline since before the fires due to the high density of cultural heritage sites.
CliffCare urges climbers to respect this.
Another CliffCare inspection with PV of Flat Rock and Stapylton Amphitheatre with decisions to keep areas closed for more recovery time.
After much planning, a 3-day working bee takes place in the Northern Grampians with members from MUMC, The Lactic Factory and VCC pitching in to help.
- Clearing of tracks to and around the bases of Taipan, Spurt, Grey and Greens Walls, Summerday Valley.
- Clearing of tracks to Sandinista, Amnesty, Andersons and marked the track to Kindergarten.
- Clearing of trail to Van Diemans Land, work on Barc wall stonework.
Stapylton Amphitheatre re-opens for climbing, with cautions to climbers to be mindful of the still recovering environment.
Bushfires sweep through Black Range State Park and Black Hill Bushland Reserve.
The Grampians receives nearly 100mm rain on Jan 13, causing damage to roads and trails in already sensitive Northern Grampians area.
After six years of hard work, the Pharos Gully stone steps trail is finally complete!
Massive thank yous to the countless volunteers who hauled rocks over the years and the tireless work of master stonemason Walter Braun.
Official opening and celebration of Pharos Gully track completion.
Additional areas in Northern Grampians including Summerday Valley re-open.
Update on brushtail rock wallaby project that 4 wallabies are persisting in the colony and two have pouch-young. The recovery team decide to not introduce more due to low survival rates.
A rock escarpment in the Moora Moora area, Flat Rock (not to be confused with the larger and more well-known Flat Rock in Northern Grampians) has abseil anchors removed to protect the colony and climbing there remains prohibited.
Graffiti is discovered on rock art at Black Ian's Rocks (Lil Lil). Since the area is a known crag, the climbing community is made aware that this has occurred, and we wholeheartedly support the view that this is unacceptable. We do not know whether it was committed by climbers, but we hope not.
Plans are put in place for projects at Arapiles including the Pines Revegetation and Central Gully track repair.
CliffCare volunteer Bec Hopkins joins volunteers from Absolute Outdoors and Tammy from PV Halls Gap for the annual Clean Up Australia Day event - abseiling from the extremely popular Pinnacles tourist area to fill six large bags of rubbish.
Climbing volunteers also participate in the event at Arapiles around the campground and Summit Road.
A temporary track that had been used for the Pharos Gully trail project is revegetated and returned to bushland with help from Wimmera Catchment Authority drought team.
The Central Gully Repair Project begins! A joint initiative between PV and CliffCare, works will include re-alignment and stabilization to make the track more sustainable for years to come.
CliffCare Access Officer Tracey Skinner recipient of Parks Victoria Kookaburra Award - Individual Achievement
After collecting native seeds from around The Plaque at Arapiles, VCC member Ollie Sherlock has grown indigenous callitris pines for the Arapiles Revegetation project.
A joint project between CliffCare, Friends of Arapiles and Parks Victoria, volunteers gather across two days to plant pines around the campground and surrounds. Some of those volunteers include young members of the Bush Kinder, who helped plant the remaining 8 trees in Pharos Gully track area.
Grampians NP is closed due to flood event.
More images are released of the ongoing Brushtail Rock Wallaby project which is managing to do better with climbers respecting the no-go-zone for their colony.
CliffCare, Barengi Gadjin Land Council and Parks Vic representatives visit Black Ians Rocks (Lil Lil) to inspect graffiti repair damage to rock art. The graffiti was mostly names and dates thoughtlessly scratched over ancient artwork. While we doubt climbers would be responsible for this, it is a reminder that it is everyone's responsibility to protect rock art as much as possible.
Central Gully track repair working bee.
Annual Queens Birthday planting weekend at Mount Arapiles, continuing the Pines Revegetation project.
Central Gully track working bee.
Another Clean Up Australia Day event in the Grampians! Qualified guides Bec Hopkins, Cam Abraham and Adam Demmert used their skills to collect rubbish via abseil access from popular Grampians tourist lookouts, while Tracey coordinated and cleaned from the top and fellow climber/volunteer Neil Kelman joined the Friends of Gariwerd team for cleaning up in and around Halls Gap.
All up, 64kg of rubbish was collected!
Annual Queen's Birthday planting weekend at Mount Arapiles.
CliffCare/VCC writes to Parks Victoria to formally request consultation and collaboration on an updated Parks Victoria Climbing Code of Conduct/Operational policy for Victorian parks, and separately the proposal for the development of a climbing management plan for the Grampians National Park.
Responding to growing concerns around Parks Victoria and Traditional Owners about impacts to environment and cultural heritage in the Grampians, CliffCare requests a voluntary moratorium on route development for one year while they work through these issues.
The newly formed Grampians Access Working Group attends a meeting with Parks Victoria where they are advised that restrictions are on the way.
Parks Victoria release maps which outline Special Protection Areas (SPZs) in the Victoria Range and close 8 crags including The Gallery and Millenium Cave.
This is followed by an additional statement and maps which put large swathes of the Northern Grampians in SPZ's as well.
Launch of a change.org petition calling for Grampians climbing not to be outright banned in favour of consultation and a climbing management plan. As of mid-2019 it has over 25,000 signatures.
CliffCare/VCC reps meet with Parks Victoria again to discuss current situation - PV outline a consultative process for development of new Park Management Plan to include input for climbing from Stakeholder Reference Group.
CliffCare releases the "Access is no Accident" poster education campaign, highlighting some of the key issues surrounding rock climbing impact and the environment. Print versions are distributed to climbing and bouldering gyms throughout Victoria.
Climb For Grampians - May8 - a fundraising day is held across climbing gyms and retailers to support CliffCare in it's efforts to tackle the issues of Grampians access.
The Upper Central Gully Walking Track Repair Project, successfully funded by a Victorian State Government Pick My Project grant, one of three in the Wimmera, is officially launched on Queen's Birthday weekend with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony with Wergaia elder Uncle Ron Marks.
Photos: Ben Wright
CliffCare was involved in a very successful tree-planting at Centenary Park at Dyurrite / Mt Arapiles last Saturday, 21 November. There were 37 people who signed the log sheets and pitched in to dig holes, plant and water the trees in the campgrounds, and make tree guards for the new plantings. It was wonderful to be part of such a worthy endeavour and witness the positive spirit and sense of common purpose among the helpers. Now the challenge will be keeping the new plantings watered over the summer. Thanks to John Fischer for the photos.