Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
Established June 1931
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening at 8 pm at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, 16 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli (near Milson's Point Railway Station). Visitors and prospective members are welcome any Wednesday. To advertise in the magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|George Mawer, 42 Lincoln Rd., Georges Hall 2198. Telephone 707 1343.
|Joy Hynes, 36 Lewis St., Dee Why 2099 Telephone 982 2615 (h), 888 3144 (w).
|Fran Holland. Telephone 484 6636.
|Kenn Clacher, Kay Chan, Barrie Murdoch, Margaret Niven and Les Powell.
|Up, Up, Up, & Down, Down, Down
|The Glory of the Blue Breaks
|Wait a While
|Six Foot Track - Cox River
|Search & Rescue Weekend
|The May General Meeting
|Our Year in Colorado
|Hawaiian Volcanoes - Extinct & Active
|Eastwood Camping Centre
Up, Up, Up, & Down, Down, Down.
Easter - 9th to 12th Arpil, 1993.
Leader: Ian Rannard. Followers: Glad Rannard, Sev Sternhell, Geoff Macintosh, George Mawer, Judy Mahaffey, Michelle Powell, Mirella Hogan, Richard and Karen Brading, Maurie Bloom, Barbara Bruce, Bill Capon, Peter Rossel, Val Douglas, Ray Turton, Tom Wenman, Don Willcox, Maureen Carter and Morag Ryder.
Friday, April 9
Sev drove the car out of Goulborn Caravan Park just before 8 am. We sped towards Cooma, admiring the golden poplars blazing like torches all over the countryside. From Cooma to Jindabyne and down The Barry Way to meet Ian at Jacobs River Picnic Ground.
In fact we met Ian and Glad at Wallace Craigie Lookout, just finishing their lunch. Our tribe of 20 eventually arrived at Jacobs, and around 2 pm we splashed across and strolled along the old fire-trail beside the Snowy River. Emus had fed on the abundant rose-hips, leaving interesting droppings; like mini cow-pats studded with seeds.
Passing Several vast campsites, Ian finally halted at one large enough to accommodate a small suburb. Everyone scattered far and wide - great for privacy, but not for communication.
Saturday, April 10
After a mild and starry night under the venerable old callitris trees, we crossed a chilly Snowy River at a knee-deep spot we had discovered the previous afternoon. Ian wanted to use his wide-angle camera, so we stood in the freezing water trying to look nonchalant while he tried various perspectives.
We strolled up the wide and sandy Horse Creek until it divided and Ian said, “Up here”, and we began to toil 600 metres up the ridge. Morning tea just before the old fire-trail, then up, up, up, in 23° heat.
“Snake” said Ian, pointing. It was lounging in the sun, graphite grey with pale yellow. belly. “Copperhead” said Ian. “Yellow bellied black” I said. “Copperhead” said Ian. Not being a herpetologist, I didn't argue.
As we were relaxing for lunch on a shady patch of road, a faint sound of engines floated up the hill. Snatching up our goodies we scrambled away as two utes and a trailbike trundled through our dining room. The drivers waved cheerfully so we decided they must be locals.
After lunch, more road - up,down, up, up. “We leave the road here” said Ian, consulting his map, and sure enough, there was a rock cairn, hidden in the bushes.
Having gone up, up, up all morning, it was now down, down, down, to camp at Byadbo Creek. A grassy clearing about the size of the average bull-paddock, occupied by kangaroos standing upright as Victorian matrons. Equally upright was a huge blue drum, securely lidded. Someone murmured “Portaloo” - but it wasn't. There were also some old bricks in the grass - remains of an old hut - two ancient fruit trees, and deciduous bushes.
Having secured our pieces of real estate, we congregated around the fire to eat and sing. Later, when the stars burned bright and the fire burned low, Ian told us of his exploratory visit here with his son Tim. About 2am, they were asleep under their fly, when they heard a piercing scream. Startled, they sat up and heard another scream, this time from the opposite side of the clearing.
What was it - the ghost of some despairing settler, going mad with loneliness? They never did find out, but at first light they departed with all speed. Later that night, we too heard a couple of faint screams, but they seemed to come from the direction of Bill's tent. Bad dreams?…. We didn't ask.
Sunday 11 April
The Easter Bunny did several rounds, dropping assorted eggs in the frosty morning. Fortified with chocolate, we began again the up, up, up, to Big Byadbo Mountain. Maurie gave Maureen navigation lessons along the way, and somehow they reached the trig before us. Morning tea and more up - until the road. Then another repeat of down, down, down, turning off near the bottom to follow the horse tracks along Sheep Station Creek. We did find the remains of some wooden construction - was that the sheep station? More importantly, we found water in the creek, beside our campsite.
A couple of deepish pools were too good to resist, so there was much scrubbing in the creekbed. Suitably washed and dressed for dinner, we organized the Happy Hour. Enough rum-and lemon, cheese, oysters, dips, chocolate and other delectables to make dehydes seem definitely second-rate. Why can't all bushwalking be like this?
Monday 12 April
Starting in the cool of the morning, we turned right at the T junction into Joe Davis Creek. Before long were going up, up, up, to Pinch Gap. A quick stop to catch our breath, and it was down, down, down, into Willis Biddi Creek. Following the horse tracks finally brought a reward, the sight of six startled brumbies galloping up the hill ahead. Pity we couldn't make them carry our packs.
“Emus!” cried Ian pointing - two huge birds springing lightly over the ground. Sev was delighted. “The first I've seen in the wild”. he declared. I thought, “How I envy their long legs”. They reminded me of someone - our leader perhaps?
At noon sandbanks appeared ahead - The Snowy again! Much warmer now, so there was skinny dipping before lunch. Getting up the bank was interesting - it was earth, vertical and crumbly. Some animal (wombat?) had carved a narrow passage - just wide enough to jam our packs and cover us with showers of dirt. Lunch was a short but glorious pig-out, as we finished off any remaining goodies. This gave us energy for our stampede back to the cars - with Sev leading the charge.
Great trip Ian - here's hoping there will be many more of them.
The Glory Of The Blue Breaks.
Do you want to see some of the best views in the Blue Mountains?
From Belloon Pass, from Lacey's Tableland, over Lake Burragorang, from Broken Rock Range, The Axehead, Mount Cookem and the top of Taro's Ladders? Do you want to walk in open rolling country, through untouched bush, and see the most impressive stand of blue gums outside the Grose Valley? Camp on high escarpments and beside clear creeks in some of the finest country our State has to offer?
Then join Bill Capon for five days in this classic walk in The Blue Breaks.
Departing - July 6th next - Don't Miss Out!
Wait a while.
What a name
yet the reality
is not at all the same.
The setting frequently
has rare beauty,
while these vines
have uncommonly deceitful ability.
In the sky, galahs
seem to know;
they wheel about
and screech their laugh.
n the ground we find,
to be be free of this bond.
And all the while,
a tangle of lawyers
negotiate 'rites of passage',
asking us to 'wait a while'.
by John Hogan
As video cameras diminish in size and weight and battery life increases it seems inevitable that many of us will be lured to this form of photography in the future. It also offers a cheaper format after the initial outlay and a much greater scope for expression. However as we are all aware from the home movie efforts of so many amateurs, the results can fall a long way short of great. So on July 28th we have invited a very talented freelance cameraman, Len Zech and his wife Jackie who is a film editor to come and demonstrate some basic techniques for filming and editing so that we may come up with some more professional results when we make the step to video.
We also have Ione's stall on that night - remember, 5% discount to you and 5% to SBW, so please support it.
The program for the three months from September is filling up but we still need ideas and suggestions, so please contact me if you can assist.
Finally I would like to point out that we have become rather slack as far as starting times are concerned. I am going to endeavour to start our meetings and guest spots as close to 8.00 pm as possible, so please try to be punctual, it will ensure we get home at a reasonable hour.
Six Foot Track - Cox River.
Ian Debert's Walk - 6/7 March 1993.
by Errol Sheedy
Ian's expedition began on Saturday morning when we met at the picnic ground at Megalong Creek. We drove from there to the Euroka horse stud where Ian had thoughtfully obtained permission for us to park our cars for the weekend safe, we hoped, from the slings and arrows of outrageous vandals - and so it proved.
The Six Foot Track was originally made in 1884 as a horse track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. Acting under the instruction of the Premier of NSW seven men took eleven days to mark the bridle tack. Parliament then allocated 2500 pounds for the construction of the track, and from about 1896 the Royal Mail was delivered along it daily, except Sunday; to a Post Office near Hampton. Two men had the job of maintaining the route using wheelbarrow, pick and shovel. In 1981 the Track was remarked by the Orange Lands Office to permit walkers to use the original Six Foot Track.
From the Euroka property the Six Foot Track goes through the private property of the Euroka farm and Lands Department signs enjoin walkers to conduct themselves appropriately, and notify that no camping is to be done before the Cox River is reached. We had not gone far before we came to a fence where a helpful official stile made it easy to climb over. On the other side were two 4WD vehicles and people hovering around a table set out with plastic cups full of water. Before the more naive of us could protest, “But really, you didn't have to go to all this trouble - and how did you know we were coming?….” we were informed by our Knowledgeable Leader that today was the day when 300 runners were racing the whole length of the Six foot Track, on the annual run from the Explorer's Tree (2.5 km west of Katoomba Railway Station) to Jenolan Caves, a distance of 42 km. The runners had not yet arrived so we walked a short distance off the Track to see the tree where a memorial plaque remembers Rob Webb.
Then back to the Track where for the next hour or so we were constantly stepping aside and off the Track (which belies its name by being, in many places, only about one foot wide) to allow the runners to pass. They were invariably polite and said (gasped?) “Thank You”, but I could have done without the collection of grass seeds my socks thus accumulated. Some walkers were heard to mutter about gaiters, but who would have brought them on a track walk…. But the minor annoyance was forgotten in the amazing spectacle of the hundreds of sweaty ladies and gentlemen panting vast. Eventually they were all gone and we began the descent to the Cox where we had lunch at a well-grassed site which was also, as it turned out, where we would spend the night.
During the afternoon we did some short walks. One was upstream in search of a better campsite, which proved to be non-existent; however the stroll allowed us to meet a local in the sunbathing form of a two-metre black snake which lay on the sand, eyeing us as we walked past. The other walk took us downstream to view the new bridge over the Cox. It was erected in 1992 by Army personnel to allow the river to be crossed in flood times. It is about 15 metres above the river and consists of a footpath about 30 cm wide made of several thin steel cables which run the length of the bridge. These cables are joined by steel connecting supports and wire mesh, to provide a solid base. The sides of the bridge are formed of steel cables and slope out at an angle sufficient to allow one's hands to comfortably grasp the top cables. The steel cables are stressed at each end of the bridge over steel towers and fixed to steel bolts which are embedded in rock. A safety warning sign at the end of the bridge forbids the passage of more than one person at a time. The reason for this becomes apparent when one begins to cross and experiences the interesting phenomenon of the swaying from side to side caused by one's progress.
Back at the campsite tents were erected and several of us took off in various directions for swims, the rocky nature of the river bed at this point preventing any one pool from proclaiming itself to be the Official Swimming Hole. The evening camp fire was very pleasant with the customary fraternisation and conviviality.
Sunday brought an end to daylight saving and early morning rain continued through breakfast before, mercifully, ceasing in time for us to break camp. Then it was time to retrace our steps on a track free of the accompaniment of hundreds of runners.
We drove the cars back to Megalong Creek where we lunched on the remaining food in our packs.
Many thanks, Ian, for a good weekend; and thanks to the owners of Euroka Farm for permission to park our cars.
Participants: Ian Debert, Joy Hynes, Margaret Niven, Lorraine Bloomfield, John Carlson, Bronny Niemeyer, Derek Wilson & Errol Sheedy.
Southern Chile and Argentina: 5 weeks Dec 1993 Jan 1994
Peruvian Amazon: 3 weeks, Jan - Feb 1994
- Travel with a Spanish speaking guide.
- Spend a few days on Easter Island.
- Climb an active volcano.
- Cruise through the Chilean fiords.
- Do a 7-10 day walk through the magnificent Torres Paine National Park.
- Visit the Perito Moreno glacier where huge ice towers crash into the lake every few minutes.
- Do a walk around Mt Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, mountain scenery second to none.
- Visit Manu National Park and see an incredible variety of wildlife.
Sound interesting? Write for details.
12 Carrington Street Millner NT 0810. Phone (089) 85 2134. Fax: (089) 85 2355.
Mary and Bert Carter
Have moved to Ballina on the far north coast of NSW and would be delighted to have any of their SBW friends drop in when passing through. Could arrange a walk with the Northern Rivers Bush walking Club based at Lismore. There is good walking in the surrounding hills.
The new address is Cedar Crescent, East Ballina, 2478.
by Ray Hookway.
Blue Mountains N.P.
Batsh Camp, Mootik Wall, Yerranderie Peak, Yerranderie, Colong Swamp, Green Gully, Colong Caves, Acetylene Spur, Batsh Camp.
Leader: Ray Hookway.
Party: Heather Finch, Robin Plumb, Spiro Hajinakitas, Bob Hodgson, Ray Hookway.
Weather: Fine and sunny.
The party followed Bent Hook Swamp, then up over Baralliers Pass.
Morning tea on Mount Meier overlooking Colong Station, lunch on Mootik Wall. Running too late to complete the walk to program and leader tired, so shortened walk by dropping down bridle trail from Mootik Wall to road to Tonalli Gap. Early camp on excellent site on bank of Tonali River.
Bob went for a brisk walk up to Zucheti Head then after dinner entertained us with the harmonica. Spiro regaled us with hot rum and barley and coffee whilst Ray supplied the port.
The walk to Green Gully and Colong Caves next day was easy and uneventful.
Bob took the rest of the party on an inspection of the caves as far as Kings Cross. Back at the cars by 4 pm. (What about Acetylene Spur?? Ed.)
An excellent dinner at the Grandview at Wentworth Falls.
Bob had car trouble, probably due to the beacon on Nyanga Mountain interfering with the engine computer of his BMW. The problem started at Mount Werong on the way in and finished at Mount Werong on the way out.
Comments on walk: I have not been in the area for eight years. The road to Batsh Camp is in reasonable condition - turn off to Batsh Camp is now clearly marked with a N.P.& W.L. sign. The 1.5 km road in after the turn-off has been cleared of all of the fallen trees and has been graded. Good camping is available on both sides of road at the car park.
The scrub along Bent Hook Swamp to Baralliers Pass has grown up since my last visit and is bad in some places. Once out of the swamp it is easy walking until you are at Byrnes Swamp below Mootik Wall.
The land around Colong Station has been cleared and fenced with an electric fence and has several No Trespassing signs. Water is available at the creek before the old Colong Station.
The track from Colong Swamp to Green gully is marked in places by plates on trees and becomes clearer and well worn the closer you get to the saddle at the head of the swamp.
The old Rover Trail from the top of Acetylene Spur back to Batsh Camp is very noticeable and cuts off a lot of the road, particularly the section along the fence and swamp behind Grimshaw Hill.
Petrol is very expensive in Oberon and at Hampton. Fill up at Katoomba.
A change to the Social Program.
25th August - Dot Butler will not be talking on “Muscles & Joints” but on “Canoeing the Yukon River in Alaska”. Very much more interesting!!!
Search And Rescue Weekend.
by Maurice Smith
The Cataract Scout Camp on the weekend of 27 and 28 March, 1993 saw about two dozen ardent bush walkers from 8 to 10 clubs spend an interesting weekend talking about and practising a variety of skills which can be required in the bush if, by chance, a variety of problems are encountered.
Saturday morning saw us starting off with the correct use of HF (high frequency) radios which are used in a Search and Rescue situation. The radio demonstration was brought to a close by the arrival of the National Parks Service helicopter.
The copter landed in a nearby clearing and we spent a fascinating hour and half talking with the pilot and crewmen about such matters as:
- the best way to be seen from the air, in daylight, a marine smoke flare, at night, a marine magnesium flare, both are quite cheap and extremely effective, if these are not available, brightly coloured (red or yellow) regular shaped cloth (pack covers, sleeping bag covers, etc).
- how to approach a copter which has landed and has its rotors in motion, from the front and uphill, so that you can be seen and so you do not go any where near the tail rotor, which is far more dangerous than the main overhead rotor; speaking personally, as either rotor can chop you into small messy pieces inside a second, I don't want to find out the hard way.
- what is involved in being winched into or out of a copter, two of the walkers attending the sessions were volunteers and were winched into the copter which hovered about 10 meters above the ground, the most important thing is not to spin, keep your arms extended and horizontal to the ground to prevent a spin.
- how to make the pilot's job easier in the event that they are called out in a search situation, simply make sure you leave behind with a trustworthy contact as detailed an intended itinerary as possible, including the proposed starting and finishing points and times, car registration numbers, walk routes, camp sites etc; often an aerial search is made very difficult because nobody has a good knowledge of where the walkers were intending to start from, walk to, finish etc.
After lunch we had some demonstrations on improvising stretchers for carrying injured or ill walkers. Among the techniques shown were the use of two rucksacks, a bivvy (bivouac) bag, a sleeping bag. Anything in your, or ideally, the patient's rucksack, can be used in an emergency situation.
We spent some time discussing the hazards which can confront bushwalkers including bushfires, hypothermia (core body temperature too low), hyperthermia (core body temperature too high), snake bite, lower limb injuries (fractures and sprains) which seem to be the most prevalent of war stories offered by walkers from all the clubs. One of the most important pieces of advice offered was that in an emergency situation we should work on the basis of that it may take from 24 to 48 hours for specialised help to arrive, and in that time we have to do the best we can for the casualty.
We were very fortunate to have as our medical instructor a doctor (Ken Wilson) from Westmead hospital, who is a very keen walker/ruck-sack sports “nut” (of the nicest kind), who demonstrated and refreshed our knowledge of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation using a dummy/mannequin. Ken also told us about a climber from Uni of NSW club who was unfortunate enough to have a serious fall in the Blue Mountains recently and suffered a fractured pelvis, fractured skull and internal bleeding in the brain. Despite the fall occurring very close to a roadway and assistance being able to be called promptly, it still took 10 hours from the time of the fall to the time that the helicopter arrived to lift the climber out. By the way the climber has fully recovered and has returned to rock climbing (but now wears a helmet), certainly a dedicated outdoor enthusiast.
Sunday saw us split up into parties of six and we were presented with a variety of situations which could occur on a walk and in which we had to assess the situation and carry out the appropriate emergency responses. What an eventful walk we had, first we went out on a search for a missing walker, whom we found to have a snake bite on the right ankle, then we had a walker from our group suffer a fractured upper femur, followed by another walker who had a compound fractured leg for whom we also had to improvise a stretcher, after recovering rapidly from this fracture, the same walker then collapsed from hypothermia, after securing the casualty we then had a major bushfire to contend with.
Ali in all, an instructional weekend, nothing too heavy, and an enjoyable way to meet walkers from other clubs. If you have the time when the next “S & R” weekend comes up, make the effort to attend. I'm glad I did, although I hope that I never need to use the skills gained during this weekend.
Alico Cross-Country Ski Boots, Size 41. As new $120 ono.
Please contact Christine Austin 484 1519.
The May General Meeting.
by Barry Wallace
There were around 15 members present when the President called the meeting to order at around 2015. Apologies were received from Denise Shaw, Margaret Sheens and Fran Holland. New members Alexander (Sasha) Lituak and Gerhard Ruhl were welcomed into membership in the usual way.
The Minutes of the previous general meeting were read and received with no matters arising/ Correspondence was Comprised of letters from:- The Total Environment Centre regarding a conference they plan to hold, an academic from Melbourne University who is seeking information on tourist use of the Victorian Alpine Park areas, the South East Forest Alliance regarding the environmental challenge of trying to protect the remaining remnants of our old growth forests, the Confederation regarding the possible uses of free publicity to promote awareness of the search and rescue activities, the Solicitor acting on behalf of our insurer in the matter of the damages claim by Frances Drew advising that the matter has now been deferred for hearing to February 1994. There was also light relief in the form of promotional material from an organisation who offer a “mobile motel” service. Come to think of it, next time a party is stranded on the wrong side of the Kowmung during a flood, why don't we give them a call?
The Treasurer advised the meeting that we earned income of $3,789, spent $862 and closed with a balance of $4,368.
The Walks Report was next, with David Rostron leading a party of 12 on his stroll in the Wollongambe Wilderness over the weekend of 16,17,18 April. Saturday conditions were cloudy with misty rain and David experienced some navigational “blips” he called them. Sunday delivered better conditions and they all came out on time. Belinda McKenzie's Bundeena to Otford walk did not go and of the day walks - Zol Bodlay reported 17 on his Faulconbridge to Yarramundi walk in fine conditions, Morag's Faulcoribridge to Blaxland walk had a perfectly good report somewhere in the Walks Secretary's filing system, and Alan Mewett had 27 enjoying sunny conditions on his Wondabyne to Wondabyne via Patonga trip.
The Anzac weekend saw Oliver Crawford cribbing an extra day to make up a weekend from 22 to 26 April for a traverse of the Wollongambe area. There was a prevailing belief that the walk went, but there was no report. The eight cyclists who went on Maurie Bloom's Canberra cycling trip from 23 to 26 April had a good trip and a good time, Kenn Clacher's 3-day walk in the Ettrema (Yalwal) area went, under the leadership of Carol Lubbers. The Saturday was hot and scrubby but otherwise all was well for the 8 who attended. Curiously enough they reported numerous wild dogs (not dingoes) in the area. Mark Weatherly had a Saturday day walk in the proposed Maroota National Park with 11 starters and reports of a good trip. Errol Sheedy led a party of 16 from Waterfall to Heathcote on the Sunday in cool, cloudy conditions. There was also some muttering about scrub along the way.
Greta James reported a beautiful trip for the 10 starters who went on her Red Rocks walk over 31 April, 1, 2 May. There were some water problems but such is the way of that area. Ray Hookway's Batsch Camp to Yerranderie and return trip, led by Ray Hookway and a party of 5, saw exaggerated and almost certainly unfounded concerns about the state of Ray's health (careful of the Coco-pops, Ray) lead to a bypassing of the climb to Yerranderie despite the good weather. (No! No! Not the punitive damages, anything but that! Well, almost anything.) The only day walk that weekend, Alex Cimbleris's Wentworth Falls to Scenic Railway trip saw the 16 starters led by that, by now, habitual substitute leader, Dick Weston.
Wayne Steele's trip to Byangee Walls had 11 starters and a reversed and truncated route. The weather was normal however, with rain and fog. Wayne reported that getting off the end of Byangee Walls in thick fog can be a time-consuming exercise. Ian Debitt's Kanangra walk did not go, with 7 intending starters and a fair degree of confusion. There were no details of Greg Bridge's Megalong day walk, but someone suggested it may have been led by Dick Weston. Similarly there was no report on Wilf Hilder's stage 6 of the great West Walk. All of which brought the Walks Report to an inconclusive conclusion. At last report Maurie Bloom has still not written up his Tassie walk for the magazine. C'mon Maurie, c'mon.
Conservation Report informed us that a bill proposed by the National Party to the NSW Parliament would have had the effect of so restricting wilderness declaration proposals as to virtually eliminate them. It seems the Independents managed to put paid to that one. Clover Moore has indicated that she will move an amendment to a National Parks Bill due to be introduced into the NSW Parliament, to include the Gardens of Stone area. A gold mine is proposed for the Sarah (?) River which flows on the boundary of Guy Fawlks National Park. The ALP is to introduce a bill to attempt to protect the rare and endangered species in the South East Forests area. This area is believed to be home to 30 species in this category. Concerned citizens are urged to write to Fred Nile putting the case for such provisions.
Confederation Report brought advice that the National Parks Association have now decided to join Confederation. A group of 6 4WDs have been sighted at the junction of the Wolgan River and Rocky Creek. Concerns continue about proposals to raise the level of Warragamba dam. There appears to be a body of opinion within Federation in favour of holding talks with the Sporting Shooters Association in order to determine whether there exists a common interest between the two organisations.
General Business was thin on the ground, but there was a proposed Mapping Instructional Aid for review. This is in the form of a self-test procedure which takes learners through a series of exercises. If you wish to contribute contact your local Committee Member. It was eventually resolved that they should consider it over the coming month. Committee will also deliberate on a proposal that we prepare a booklet for distribution to prospective members incorporating the information to new members, first aid, mapping notes and potentially this instructional aid.
Members were also urged to complete and submit one of the National Parks & Wildlife Service questionnaires on camping in the Royal N. P. as the deadline for submission has been extended.
After the announcements the meeting closed at 2125.
Our Year In Colorado.
by Bob Duncan
(When bushwalkers travel overseas either on holiday or for business they often manage to do their favourite thing - bushwalking! In 1981/2 Bob Duncan, a long-time Club member, was stationed in Colorado. The following letter - published in the December 1982 issue of the magazine - gives some interesting information about walking and climbing in the USA. Having re-read it recently, I thought newer Club members would also like to read it. Kath Brown.)
We have had a fantastic year. During the eight months of winter Rosslyn and the children became fanatical skiers, so that except for one very good 4-day walk, little walking was done. But with the coming of summer they became equally fanatical walkers.
The walking has changed dramatically since I was here 20 years ago. Then one did one's own route-finding and almost never saw a track or anyone else on the trip. Now unbelievable numbers walk so that to save the tundra from trampling the authorities have put in tracks to above the tundra line and impose severe penalties for leaving them. It makes walking much less challenging, but the mountains are still beautiful. The animals which were once so shy now blatantly beg for titbits all along the tracks.
The most spectacular peak here, which we can see from our bedroom window, is Long's Peak at 14,236 feet, and 10,000 people climb it each year! When I read this I couldn't believe it, but I did after we climbed it ourselves and saw the mobs. Such crowds are dangerous because one of the chutes which has to be climbed is very steep and narrow and displaced rocks fly down disconcertingly. Also, passing people going the other way on the ledges is quite an acrobatic feat. Thirty-nine people have been killed in the last ten years, though most of these have been on winter or technical climbs. It is an 18-mile trek (there and back) and 5,000 feet of actual climb (ignoring ups an downs). There is only one non-technical route, and this year this was only open (i.e. snow-free) for about four weeks. It's similar to Mount Anne but bigger and steeper. The altitude makes it a bit more difficult too. We have climbed two higher peaks but Long's is definitely the most exciting - it's easy to see why it is so popular.
:The big problem in climbing here, which you don't get in Australia and New Zealand is lightning. In summer, thunderstorms build up virtually every day by lunchtime and vicious ground strikes bang down on all sides. In the USA 500 people a year are killed by lightning and another 1,500 maimed. It is the next biggest cause of accidental death and injury after road accidents. Furthermore a disproportionate number of these deaths and injuries occur in Colorado, and a disproportionate number of the Coloradan deaths and injuries occur to climbers.
Everyone is justifiably terrified of lightning and our main concern when we go climbing is always to get to the top before the afternoon storms build up. When we climbed Long's we were late in starting (i.e. 7 am) and had to fight against a tide of people coming down the narrow chutes and along the narrow ledges because a big black cloud had caused a panic mass exodus from the top. Fortunately this cloud came to nothing but after we reached the top another cloud came over and chased us off. As we descended down the rock slabs three distant bangs caused me to fret, but then fortunately there were no more. The cloud produced plenty of sleet but no more lightning.
Hawaiian Volcanoes - Extinct and Active - A Peter Miller Slide Show.
by Maurice Smith
Members of SBW are a truly amazing group of people, with a love of walking and a strong interest in Mother Nature's amazing and diverse handiwork. The evening of 26 May saw members who were fortunate to be able to attend the club meeting entranced by one aspect of that handiwork with scenes of Hawaiian volcanoes, which Peter Miller showed to us by means of the “magic lantern” slide show.
A bush walkers paradise they are not, but rather they are great places for astronauts to be trained in travelling over harsh lunar landscapes, with all the comforts of the flesh spots close to hand (figuratively speaking, of course). Peter was fortunate to be a member of a small group who visited many of the volcanoes of Hawaii as part of a geology tour of the islands. Peter explained how the islands in the chain had been formed by the earth's tectonic plates moving extremely slowly over crustal hot spots.
The harsh waterless landscape of craters, cinder cones, lava tubes, lava flows, and so on, were a fascinating insight into how new land is formed and moulded by the climate, the ocean and by man. Among the slides shown were some of the recent eruptions, which Peter was quick to admit were slides purchased in Hawaii, these slides showed the spectacle of volcanic eruptions, giving us a brief glimpse at the processes which formed significant parts of the earth's surface.
Thanks Peter for sharing your experiences with us.
Please add the following names to your List of Members:-
|3/94 Station Street, Meadowbank 2114
|C/- U. NSW, School of Mechanical Eng. PO Box 1 Kensington 2033
|18 Towers St, Arncliffe 2205
|Sheens Ms. Margaret
|8/1 Fernhurst Ave, Cremorne 2090
Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs - Rogain Competition - 27-28 June.
Do you wish to commence or expand your Bush Navigation skills or compete for the Shield? Help form a 4 person team. You have the choice of a 12 hour (day) or 24 hour (overnight course).
Phone Spiro Hajinakitas 4874 (H) and join the SBW team.