National pass - any news ?

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National pass - any news ?

Postby oldlock » Sat 05 May, 2018 8:29 pm

I took my first trip out to wentworth falls today.

From what I saw I would have been keen to do national pass etc. However as we know they have been closed for some time - is there any hint or suggestion that these trails may re-open at some time ?
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby tom_brennan » Fri 25 May, 2018 11:11 am

No suggestion.

Given that no geotechnical engineer is likely to sign off on the guaranteed stability of Blue Mountains cliff faces, there's a real possibility that some of them will never reopen.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Fri 25 May, 2018 12:14 pm

Considering how much has been invested in the National Pass track recently it's a real shame that it might never be open again...

Haven't been in the area since the landslide, but why did they feel it was necessary to close Wentworth Pass and Roberts Pass as well?
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby ribuck » Fri 25 May, 2018 12:23 pm

Well, they did eventually re-open the Giant Stairway after the collapse there (maybe 15 years ago). It took a long time though.

The escarpments are all in a constant state of slow collapse. It's just how escarpments work.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Fri 25 May, 2018 12:27 pm

ribuck wrote:The escarpments are all in a constant state of slow collapse. It's just how escarpments work.


Yeah, and I wish NPWS wouldn't be so excessive with closing tracks because of it. I'd rather make the decision of whether it's safe myself, within reason.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby Lith » Fri 25 May, 2018 12:33 pm

Is there any way to get from WWF to katoomba now without going over solitary?

Yeah, and I wish NPWS wouldn't be so excessive with closing tracks because of it. I'd rather make the decision of whether it's safe myself, within reason.


This is how people die, don't be silly.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Fri 25 May, 2018 12:49 pm

There's still a few options- you could follow the cliff-top walks around, either all the way (which would mean some roads), or probably drop down Gladstone Pass. I don't think it's closed, but haven't been in the area for a while.

You also could walk out along Kings Tableland and then back along Sublime Point Firetrail, but this probably wouldn't be much fun.

Edit Edit: Removed suggestion 3 as apparently it's closed too...

Lith wrote:This is how people die, don't be silly.


I said within reason. If it's actually dangerous, then sure, there's a reason to close the track. But I very much doubt the risk of rockfall on Roberts Pass and Wentworth Pass is any higher than it ever was. National Pass is a lot more exposed to rockfall than either of them, so it could very well be a different story. But the ambivalent NPWS closure notices that give no indication about why a track is closed, what's being done about it, and when the track will be open really irritate me. Even a photo of the problem would make me happier- if I can see that most of the track has disappeared and there's a massive unstable rock perched over it, then I'm happy to accept that the track is closed.
Last edited by LachlanB on Tue 29 May, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 25 May, 2018 3:10 pm

I agree with the National Pass closure its right below the cliff line, its a tourist track and there have been several rockfalls within the last two years.

I dont agree with closing the lower tracks like wentworth pass, roberts pass or the vera falls track.

In my opinion the danger of walking wentworth pass or the vera falls track is no greater than any other track below a significant cliffiline in the blue mtns. The entire area is unstable, its just the way it is.

The closure of the lower tracks is just a case of NPWS covering themselves after the accident.

In my opinion have more chance dying from a tree limb falling on your tent than you do getting hit by some massive bolder that has rolled all the way down to the wentworth or vera falls track.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby ribuck » Fri 25 May, 2018 11:43 pm

For sure, there's no elevated risk on the Vera Falls track. Closing it must be a decision made in an office meeting rather than by an engineer on the ground.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby Grabeach » Sat 26 May, 2018 8:08 am

One method of dealing with 'disasters' is to apply bans that would appear over the top until the authority get a handle on what's happening. Remember the 9/11 decision to ban all USA flights until they knew what was going on. Once you know, you then reduce the bans down to what is actually necessary. I would think it prudent for a government department to act in this manner. The alternative is to deny there's any problem and hope nothing happens or, in the case of the Ford Pinto exploding fuel tanks, decide that profits come before lives. I think I know which method I would prefer.

Of course the former action requires the authority to actual proceed past the first step within a reasonable time. Unfortunately the Nat Parks, be it due to availability of expertise, funding or whatever, do not have a good reputation in this regard.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby tom_brennan » Sat 26 May, 2018 8:57 am

Lith wrote:Is there any way to get from WWF to katoomba now without going over solitary?

Conservation Hut - Lilian's Bridge - Fairmont - Roberts Pass - Lindeman Pass - Federal Pass - various options to ascend

LachlanB wrote:Haven't been in the area since the landslide, but why did they feel it was necessary to close Wentworth Pass and Roberts Pass as well?

Roberts Pass is only closed from Valley of the Waters to the junction with Lindeman Pass below the Fairmont. While there is tape at the top of Roberts Pass near Moya Point, it's not the actual closure point shown on all of the maps. The tape appears to be to stop the unwary from descending Roberts Pass and then finding that you can't walk out via Valley of the Waters. I suspect they're trying to stop people ending up on Lindeman Pass.

That said I have no idea why that section of Roberts Pass is closed (or the Valley of the Waters Track below Empress Falls). The cliff collapse was nowhere near!
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Sat 26 May, 2018 12:09 pm

Huh. So the track down to Vera Falls is closed too, not just the side tracks? Hadn't realised.

I get the feeling that NPWS isn't too fond of tracks like the ones to Hippocrene and Vera Falls, and the collective set that make up Lindeman Pass. They're not properly formed, marked and controlled by NPWS. So maybe the rockfall is being used as an excuse to close some of them permanently?

Grabeach wrote:One method of dealing with 'disasters' is to apply bans that would appear over the top until the authority get a handle on what's happening.

Personally, I'd rather that NPWS responded with measured, proportionate and considered bans. This is after all public land we're talking about.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby tom_brennan » Sat 26 May, 2018 5:52 pm

LachlanB wrote:Huh. So the track down to Vera Falls is closed too, not just the side tracks? Hadn't realised.

I get the feeling that NPWS isn't too fond of tracks like the ones to Hippocrene and Vera Falls, and the collective set that make up Lindeman Pass. They're not properly formed, marked and controlled by NPWS. So maybe the rockfall is being used as an excuse to close some of them permanently?


If we assume the landslip impacts National Pass, Slacks Ladders and Wentworth Pass, it is understandable why they might not want people walking to Vera Falls, since the usual way out would be up Hippocrene and out via Slacks Ladders or Wentworth Pass. And if they close the major tracks, they probably don't want to leave the minor ones in the same area open otherwise you have tourists getting lost.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 28 May, 2018 1:40 pm

My understanding is that a geotechnical engineer had signed off on the area where the rockfall occurred days before the accident. This was required before the work could be undertaken by the NPWS contractors. Given a geotech signed off on the rock, then it killed someone, I'm guessing whoever is assessing its future will be extremely cautious. Remember, National Pass had already been closed for some months due to the risk of rockfall before the fatal incident occurred. There was some pressure to get it open in time for the summer holiday period, which is why the contractors were there to install rock bolts to stabilise it. I would not be surprised if this closure continued for years, rather than just months.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 28 May, 2018 1:58 pm

Just curious. Can NPNSW truly close the tracks? What’s to stop the odd individual who cares to risk his/her own life?


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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 28 May, 2018 3:30 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Just curious. Can NPNSW truly close the tracks? What’s to stop the odd individual who cares to risk his/her own life?


They certainly can. In NSW, National Parks are covered by a range of legislation, but the most significant ones are the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009. The Regulation specifically states (Section 4, part 1C): "A park authority may do any of the following by means of notices displayed in, or at the boundary of, the park or part of the park to which the notices relate or by means of written notices given to park users... close the park, or any part of the park, to the public". The maximum penalty for a breach of this section is $3,300.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Mon 28 May, 2018 4:18 pm

FatCanyoner wrote: There was some pressure to get it open in time for the summer holiday period, which is why the contractors were there to install rock bolts to stabilise it. I would not be surprised if this closure continued for years, rather than just months.


I know it's probably a pointless question as we don't know much about the rockfall, but what would they have to do to re-open it? Remove the offending rocks?
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby tom_brennan » Tue 29 May, 2018 8:35 am

LachlanB wrote:I know it's probably a pointless question as we don't know much about the rockfall, but what would they have to do to re-open it? Remove the offending rocks?


Are you talking about National Pass specifically, or any of the tracks?
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Tue 29 May, 2018 9:59 am

National Pass, as it's where the rockfall problems was.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Tue 29 May, 2018 1:07 pm

I was out there yesterday. I walked down to the bottom of the falls and shortly after that there’s a sign saying closed, penalties apply and locked gates are in place. I really wanted to do the walk so was a bit gutted. Ended up going back up top and walking the undercliff over cliff track instead.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Tue 29 May, 2018 1:09 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Just curious. Can NPNSW truly close the tracks? What’s to stop the odd individual who cares to risk his/her own life.


I thought the same thing while there. The only thing that stopped me is my inability to pay the fines associated also I had some horrible visions of them banning me from national parks for a while.... that stopped me jumping the barrier.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Tue 29 May, 2018 1:15 pm

So the barrier is above Slacks Stairs?
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Tue 29 May, 2018 7:58 pm

I’m unsure about where slacks stairs is. I didn’t go past the bottom of the waterfall (wentworth) as the sign there say don’t go any further etc
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Tue 29 May, 2018 8:25 pm

There's two main drops of of Wentworth Falls. Slacks stairs are how you get from the middle to the bottom. It's a big metal staircase with a cage over it that's very nearly vertical. You'd know it if you'd been down it, so I guess you didn't go right to the bottom, and that's closed too.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Tue 29 May, 2018 9:35 pm

Damn, no I didn’t even notice any other way down! I started walking up the fed pass track and turned around there. I had a beauty couple of days though playing on some of the heads up there!
I’m a newbie to the Blueys as you can tell. Tasmania is my stomping grounds mainly.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby LachlanB » Tue 29 May, 2018 9:58 pm

devoswitch wrote:Damn, no I didn’t even notice any other way down! I started walking up the fed pass track and turned around there. I had a beauty couple of days though playing on some of the heads up there!
I’m a newbie to the Blueys as you can tell. Tasmania is my stomping grounds mainly.

It's fine- I was in Tassie recently for the first time, and was utterly bewildered about all the walk options. :D

Yes, the area in and around Wentworth Falls is really lovely- it has some of my favourite tracks in the upper Blue Mountains. So good choice in where to visit!

A photo of the bottom of the falls:
Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 9.51.32 PM.png
The base of Wentworth Falls
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Wed 30 May, 2018 7:53 am

Yeah it really is super pretty around the falls. Those stairs going down to the middle are pretty cool.
My favourite place while exploring was around Asgard head. Walked up to Thor head and bashed out to outcrop further out into valley and dropped down and across to Valhalla head. Then went out to Asgard head and met up with track back at Pyramid rock. There’s some incredible cliffs around the historic site near Asgard head. Took the cake in my eyes.
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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Wed 30 May, 2018 8:02 am

Image


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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby devoswitch » Wed 30 May, 2018 8:05 am

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Re: National pass - any news ?

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 30 May, 2018 8:38 pm

devoswitch wrote:I thought the same thing while there. The only thing that stopped me is my inability to pay the fines associated also I had some horrible visions of them banning me from national parks for a while.... that stopped me jumping the barrier.

So yes, the restraint really lies in the rules and threats, not physical at the location. Sending an offender to goal is physical but typically well delayed. Not suggesting anyone should go against the rules but it’s really not very different to going off-track. Or is it?
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