Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

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Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Apr, 2022 5:07 pm

Very sad news, on a Blue Mountains track that would be familiar to many of us on here:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/five-bushwalkers-hit-by-landslide-in-blue-mountains-20220404-p5aaqc.html
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby crollsurf » Mon 04 Apr, 2022 5:43 pm

That's tragic especially as the track has been around for maybe a 100 years or more.

You'd think it was safe after all that time but there are a lot of overhangs and big cliffs on that walk.

Wonder if the recent rain was a factor.

A track worker died a few years back and now this. National Parks are going to start closing a lot tracks. Unfortunate but I wouldn't blame them now.

Very sad for all the families and rescuers involved. RIP.

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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Turfa » Mon 04 Apr, 2022 7:25 pm

A terrible tragedy...

All the rain does seem to have made the area more unstable. The weekend before last I was on Dardanelles Pass and came across a new landslip on the track (only a small one) and it got me thinking about the risk of being caught by one. Not 5 minutes later a large boulder came crashing down the slope and across the track about 30m in front of me. It was before dawn and pitch black with heavy fog...the noise was quite terrifying.

Be careful out there
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Apr, 2022 6:17 am

Get ready for multiple track closures.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Warin » Tue 05 Apr, 2022 9:56 am

A NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman said a "routine track assessment" was recently undertaken.
"The walking track where this incident occurred was inspected in the days before the rockslide as part of a routine track assessment program," the spokesman said. "Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict and eliminate all natural risks such as rockslides, which can occasionally occur around the state." The spokesman said the track infrastructure was maintained to the "greatest extent practicable".


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-05/ ... /100965956

I have no comment to make.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby jrg » Tue 05 Apr, 2022 2:19 pm

Xplora wrote:Get ready for multiple track closures.


Looks like the whole park is being closed ahead of rain later in the week…
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Warin » Tue 05 Apr, 2022 5:07 pm

jrg wrote:
Xplora wrote:Get ready for multiple track closures.


Looks like the whole park is being closed ahead of rain later in the week…


From https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/vi ... cal-alerts

Applies from Wed 6 Apr 2022, 12.01am. Last reviewed: Tue 5 Apr 2022, 4.01pm


Govetts Leap Lookout and Evans Lookout are the only 2 locations that remain open in Blue Mountains National Park at this time.


Blue Mountains National Park will be closed from 9am Wednesday 6 April 2022 due to predicted weather event. Please check park alerts daily for updates. This closure includes the Wentworth Falls area and the Kanangra-to-Katoomba (K2K) walking track.


Easier to list what is open.. and the closures look to be assessed day by day. Given the weather predictions may well be closed through to Sunday ...
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby jrg » Tue 05 Apr, 2022 8:06 pm

The landslide is a tragedy and I can understand a large scale closure when we have the sort of weather event like a month ago (so understandable if this week’s one is similar), but I hope going forward they won’t just close the entire park every time it rains - an accident like that could happen anywhere, and there has to be some common sense applied.

I suspect Wentworth Pass is going to be closed for ages though (if National Pass is anything to go by).
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby sandym » Wed 06 Apr, 2022 3:32 pm

I think wide spread closures "just in case" are on the cards and are happening already. Not sure if this is litigation driven or society in general is becoming so risk averse. Down the south coast, almost all the parks have been officially closed for almost 3 weeks now, which is ridiculous as we have had minimal rain so far. Here is the list of closures: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/vi ... cal-alerts

I am not sure how robustly these are enforced but I admit to finding the increasing "nanny state" annoying.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Gadgetgeek » Wed 06 Apr, 2022 8:23 pm

If the areas are not reasonably easy to use, they will not get used, and they will get resource extracted. It's a tough call all around. With upcoming rain, it will be hard to know if it was something that should have been caught, or not, and unfortunately, a track inspector would need an immense level of experience, and potentially local knowledge to really be able to make the fine-grained assessments required. While it wasn't a rock fall risk, a trail I used all the time at the center ended up with a huge dead hanger over it after a storm, three people who were experienced missed seeing it, because it was just in a very challenging location, and the person who saw it only noticed it because they caught that some brush off the track was moving in a strange way. The broken end was totally hidden, and you all know how big flooded gum branches can get. Hopefully they can locate a cause and see if it was due to the weather conditions, or another more predictable factor.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Warin » Wed 06 Apr, 2022 9:47 pm

IIRC Sydney's rain prediction for;
today (Wednesday) was upto 40 mm and Blue MT NP was closed for it
tomorrow (Thursday) is upto 100mm and Blue MT NP remains closed
Friday is upto 30 mm ... park closures look to be updated daily after lunch..
Saturday is upto 15 mm
Sunday is upto 2 mm
Monday 'mostly sunny'
Tuesday is upto 10 mm

I don't see than reopening the park with forecast weather... several days of no rain I think will be required, possibly with some time for 'inspections'. The inquest may have future impacts.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby sandym » Thu 07 Apr, 2022 7:01 am

This is a cynical opinion, but sadly, frequently comes true. The father of the family was a "high profile" UK lawyer. I see lawsuits and closures ahead. I would love to proven wrong.....
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Xplora » Thu 07 Apr, 2022 6:50 pm

Several days of no rain before things reopen? Several months maybe. Winter is coming (no pun) and water in the rocks will freeze and thaw. The freeze causes expansion and that will create pressure which then causes more collapse. There is no way NPWS can possible inspect and verify all the tracks safe. It is unfortunate people were there when it happened. A bit like a tree falling on a car that is driving on a road. It happens. So do we take all the trees away? Whether there is negligence determined will be up to the investigation, Coroner's report and any other civil action.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 08 Apr, 2022 8:16 am

Re longer term closures.. I think there is also a point where if all apart from a handful of undercliff trails are closed semi permanently then it's just going to corral a huge amount of people in one area. Then if a landslide does happen the chances of people getting injured is much greater.

I don't think it's possible to completely make a trail safe. All under or over cliff trails have a risk factor.

Better to reduce the risk by spreading people out.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby DaveNoble » Sat 09 Apr, 2022 5:26 pm

wildwanderer wrote:
Better to reduce the risk by spreading people out.


No - that is not the best strategy. Think back to the Battle of The Atlantic in World War 2. A lot of British admirals thought similarly -and spread out the merchant ships, and there were terrible losses, and so convoying was reintroduced. It is better to concentrate in these situations.

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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Warin » Sat 09 Apr, 2022 7:52 pm

The 'enemy' does not think. The 'attacks' are random and not targeted.

Need a statistician to give a 'correct' least risk answer. Really depends on the frequency of 'attack', numbers of people and their clustering time wise. Without that information ... not good.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Sun 10 Apr, 2022 10:18 am

sandym wrote:I think wide spread closures "just in case" are on the cards and are happening already. Not sure if this is litigation driven or society in general is becoming so risk averse. Down the south coast, almost all the parks have been officially closed for almost 3 weeks now, which is ridiculous as we have had minimal rain so far. Here is the list of closures: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/vi ... cal-alerts

I am not sure how robustly these are enforced but I admit to finding the increasing "nanny state" annoying.
Yes becoming more and more frequent, and frustrating. Broad brush closures are targeted at the lowest common denominator walking in the more frequented areas and belies the fact that there are a cohort of us who go further afield and can assess and manage risk ourselves. The WF incident is a tragedy but i hav no idea why Kanangra NP is completely closed for example.... sure the Kowmung will be up but that's hardly unusual.... the ridge tops will be fine (albeit wet, again not unusual)? I'd be more understanding if it were on environmental grounds but for managing public risk widespread closures seems like massive overkill?

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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby FatCanyoner » Sun 10 Apr, 2022 4:22 pm

I've seen lots of wild speculation around what National Parks may do re ongoing closures. It's worth pointing out that, in the last couple years, the NPWS actually brought in a really detailed, expert-led policy for assessing geotechnical risks and making decisions on closures. Unlike in the past, when a local park manager would just close an area, it involves geotechnical analysis of the physical hazard, with a quantitative analysis of the actual risk. It's an amazingly detailed piece of work that provides a consistent, evidence-based approach for making these decisions.

I highly recommend people have a read of it: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topi ... -rockfalls

The attachment titled "Landslides and rockfalls procedures" is a must read for anyone interested in understanding what the thinking will be regarding closures. If you're really interested in taking a deep-dive into the topic, the "Guidelines for Quantitative Risk to Life Calculations for Landslides" document involves more detail, although much of it goes over my head.

In short, no, Blue Mountains NP will not face permanent closures / closures every time it rains. Most tracks will reopen. In some cases, where expert analysis by a geotechnical engineer concludes that the risk is too great, we may see specific tracks permanently closed.

The good news is, unlike the experience of past decades, these significant decisions are no longer being made in a knee-jerk manner, but are based on a transparent, expert-designed, evidence-based process.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby sandym » Sun 10 Apr, 2022 6:37 pm

That may all be true for rockfall areas but currently, a large number of NSW National Parks have blanket closures because of "poor weather conditions."

Take a scroll down this list and be surprised. Almost every National Park near where I live is clsoed due to "weather conditions" and they have now been closed for almost 3 weeks. This is nanny state at its most extreme

https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/alerts/alerts-list
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby tastrax » Mon 11 Apr, 2022 10:27 am

Cheers - Phil

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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Hoojar » Mon 11 Apr, 2022 11:47 am

FatCanyoner wrote:In short, no, Blue Mountains NP will not face permanent closures / closures every time it rains. Most tracks will reopen. In some cases, where expert analysis by a geotechnical engineer concludes that the risk is too great, we may see specific tracks permanently closed.


https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au ... fety-risk/

Here is one track that looks set for permanent closure.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Xplora » Tue 12 Apr, 2022 6:55 am

Hoojar wrote:
FatCanyoner wrote:In short, no, Blue Mountains NP will not face permanent closures / closures every time it rains. Most tracks will reopen. In some cases, where expert analysis by a geotechnical engineer concludes that the risk is too great, we may see specific tracks permanently closed.


https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au ... fety-risk/

Here is one track that looks set for permanent closure.


My assessment would be it should be closed also but the upper section is the exit point for Pilcher canyon. It has always been a dodgy track and prone to slides. Not one for the average punter.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby johnw » Tue 12 Apr, 2022 3:29 pm

Xplora wrote:
Hoojar wrote:
FatCanyoner wrote:In short, no, Blue Mountains NP will not face permanent closures / closures every time it rains. Most tracks will reopen. In some cases, where expert analysis by a geotechnical engineer concludes that the risk is too great, we may see specific tracks permanently closed.


https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au ... fety-risk/

Here is one track that looks set for permanent closure.


My assessment would be it should be closed also but the upper section is the exit point for Pilcher canyon. It has always been a dodgy track and prone to slides. Not one for the average punter.

Yes, they undertook a lot of remedial work on Rodriguez Pass in the last major slip, below Beauchamp Falls. Very pretty track though. I note in that linked article they are considering using the Horse Track as an alternative should Rodriguez Pass be closed permanently (seems more than likely). It was always possible to walk the Horse Track before the fires albeit NPWS didn't maintain it. Very sad if RP closes, one of my favourite loops is Horse/Rodriguez/Grand Canyon. The article also states that Juggler (Pilcher) Canyon exit will remain.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Avidbushwalker » Thu 14 Apr, 2022 8:02 pm

Anyone heard an update on the two that were critically injured?
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby johnw » Fri 15 Apr, 2022 10:47 am

Avidbushwalker wrote:Anyone heard an update on the two that were critically injured?

Seems to have dropped off the news radar, which hopefully means no news is good news and they are recovering.
The family may have also asked for privacy, which is completely understandable.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Avidbushwalker » Fri 15 Apr, 2022 4:55 pm

Yes true. As long as its good news.

Yes, it is understandable. Just wanted to make sure the two that were critical are ok.
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Re: Two dead, two critical after landslide hits bushwalkers

Postby Avidbushwalker » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 8:04 pm

Anyone got any idea as to when the access to the Grosse will be open? Or guessing after inspection including the Grand Canyon Track?

Also there seems to be repairs/helicopter operations at Wentworth Falls of some description??
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