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Access & Environment Officer Report July 2013

Wow people – I am a bit late in uploading this report. It’s almost time for the August Sorry. It has been a crazy busy time for me and only seems to be getting busier. Amongst other things, read below and you’ll see why.

2013 is a year of anniversaries. And therefore celebrations. This will be the 60thanniversary of the Victorian Climbing Club. From it’s early beginnings climbing at the Cathedral Ranges all the way through to the development of climbing areas throughout Victoria, from Grampians to Arapiles, Hanging Rock to Black Hill, Werribee Gorge to You Yangs……the list goes on. Look at any guide book and you can be pretty positive that the names you see on many of the first ascents belonged to club members. It took the lead when it came to engaging with land managers also.

Those early days were rough in this department – when the rebellious climbing community and often non climbing friendly park managers were not a good mix. But throughout the years, through both positive and negative outcomes, these relationships have grown and matured on both sides, and the club and the community it strives to represent, has for the most part, given access a good name. In 1998, the club made its access position formal by setting up CliffCare and employed an Access officer.

While the work done previously by volunteers in the access area was certainly noteworthy, expecting volunteers to commit to longer term engagements with projects and land manager relationships would always be something that could suffer from inconsistency of commitment. And for the evergrowing need and importance of continued access for climbers, this progressive move would ensure that our status as a responsible user group was acknowledged. While I think most people would agree that climbing access in Victoria is on a good wicket at this present time, and I do hope this continues – I do have concerns with the way the park system is heading and maybe the access issues we deal with now will be different to the issues in the future, ie hunting, development etc. Anyway, that’s another story – back to the celebrations.

Yes, a celebration of everything the club has managed to achieve for itself over these 60 years and for those in the climbing community through its involvement in access. Whether a club is your thing or not, and for many of you reading this in the Argus newsletter, it obviously is – The club still plays a vital role in the bigger picture, its existence has pushed forward climbing in a positive way and I do hope as time goes on, that support for the club continues through its membership as well as in the broader climbing community.

And I did say Anniversaries didn’t I? Plural! Well, this November, Arapiles celebrates its 50th Anniversary of climbing at the mount. We have all heard the stories of Bob and Steve Craddock seeing a photo of Mitre Rock on a poster on a train, and heading out to discover that Mitre was a mere pimple compared to the much larger Mt Arapiles next to it. And the rest is history.

Come the Nati Frinj Festival in Natimuk on the Melbourne Cup weekend in November, there will be a few activities and events to celebrate these two anniversaries.

Photo exhibition – Climbing and Community – Mt Arapiles – presented by the Victorian Climbing Club 50th Anniversary pictorial of climbing at the mount.

From FA on that first weekend through to iconic moments across the years and the people that lived it. This will also be the first stage of an ongoing project to collect and digitalize many photos of Victorian climbing and community.

50th Anniversary Climbing Forum. – presented by Friends of Arapiles, CliffCare, Victorian Climbing Club and Parks Victoria.

This small scale climbing forum will look at climbing at Arapiles over the last 50 years from the sport itself to the environment we use to explore it. Static displays set up within a meeting place (at this early stage, the picnic pavilion area at Araps) across the weekend will encourage people to visit within their own time frames. These displays will cover the many aspects that climbers engage in when they climb. This will culminate in a presentation Monday 4th November evening by a number of notable climbers from the early years, followed by a Q & A style discussion. A lively attitude will be encouraged!  An entertaining and thoughtful approach to climbing then and now, what has and hasn’t changed and what do climbers want and expect from their climbing and the environment they engage in.

VCC 60th Anniversary Dinner

An opportunity for members new, old and past to meet, socialize  drink, eat and celebrate the history of the club. With the 50th anniversary of climbing at Arapiles inextricably linked with the Victorian Climbing Club, these two celebrations will happen together. A toast to many more years to come.

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