Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

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Doug Bruce
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Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by Doug Bruce » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:08 pm

The Organ Pipes on Mt Wellington are under threat. A proposal to erect a cable car directly over the crag, with a 36 metre high pylon and a three story building to be erected directly above one of the best parts of the crag. Apart from completely wrecking the aesthetics of the area, who knows what damage could be done to the crag through the blasting that would be required?
Proposals to build a cable car on Mt Wellington have been floated before, but the latest proponent is well-connected to powerful people in the Tasmanian political landscape and is a slick customer in terms of dealing with the media.
Unlike the cable car at Squamish which brings mixed blessings, there is nothing in this proposal for climbers. It will surely wreck a unique and wild climbing environment. If you have experienced climbing on the Organ Pipes, you will know what we are on about. Recently a great new track network around the base of the crag has been established in harmony with the revitalised rainforest habitat around the base, which was devastated in the 1967 bush fires. Along with improved access, there has been an explosion of activity; lots of great sport climbing alongside the fantastic trad routes for which the crag is so well know and new trad routes being opened. Many rap stations have been installed to improve the overall experience of climbing on "The Pipes", so there's pretty much something for everyone.
Local climbers are attempting to mobilise support amongst the worldwide climbing community to fight this proposal. If you have climbed on Mt Wellington and/or wish to do so in the future we hope you will get behind us.
What can you do? In the immediate term, contribute to this thread. Have you climbed on the Organ Pipes? Do you hope to climb there one day? Please have your say.
In the near future, there will be opportunities to contribute signatures to a letter petitioning the Wellington Park Management Trust, as well as being able to present individual submissions to The Trust.

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by squamish climber » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:39 am

Sounds like a great climbing area. Good luck with campaign to stop the cable car. We did it once, when the original idea was to put a gondola to the top of the Chief.
Do you have any links you can post?
I came across a photo, is this the mountain they want to put a gondola on?
Image
Has anybody here climbed there?
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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by BONSTA » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:51 pm

Wow, that's very sad news indeed! I've climbed at the pipes and planned on heading back there over Christmas. What I don't understand is why they would bother with a gondola. There's already a perfectly good (free to use) paved road all they way up to the top plus mountain biking and hiking trails to get you there. I feel like the whole point of a gondola is to open up access to an area that's otherwise only available to those fit enough to hike/climb/bike up. Are people so lazy that they can't operate the stick shift for 10 minutes? Also, the number of tourists passing through Hobart, I would argue, is significantly less than that which passes through Squamish each day/month/year. I don't see a gondola increasing that amount (again, to a place where it would be far cheaper to drive and the view not much different than from the road) or being as viable as the Sea to Sky Gondola, which offers unique access to an otherwise hard-to-get-to place.
If more traffic in the alpine is what they want, spare the crag and build a Wal-mart, they will come. Sigh…
squamish climber, that photo is the crag. Tasmania has 90% of the world's exposed dolerite, let's all try to protect those perfect splitters!

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by Doug Bruce » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:37 pm

squamish climber wrote:Sounds like a great climbing area.
Believe me, it is.
Good luck with campaign to stop the cable car. We did it once, when the original idea was to put a gondola to the top of the Chief.
Thanks!
Do you have any links you can post?
I'm still trying to work out how to embed links using your tools. Not quite so intuitive as either thesarvo.com or supertopo.com! :oops:
I came across a photo, is this the mountain they want to put a gondola on?

Image

Yep, that's it. The cable car would be situated right about where I've drawn in the red ellipse ...
This is the part of the crag that the proponents want to hang a cable car over:

Image

There are four brilliant routes on Cossack Column, including the inimitable Skyrocket, which the guide describes thusly: Trad climbing on the Pipes is epitomised by this signature route. The climbing is outstanding and the position preposterous.

Here are some photos illustrating that climb, starting with a black and white shot to set the scene:

Image

The following photos link back to photobucket so you can view them in a larger format.

Here's a shot of Pete Steane about half way up the business pitch ...


http://i1336.photobucket.com/albums/o66 ... e8645a.jpg

... and nearing the top ...

http://i1336.photobucket.com/albums/o66 ... 39b85d.jpg

... and finally a shot looking down the route ...

http://i1336.photobucket.com/albums/o66 ... 1c84c6.jpg

Can you imagine a cable car going directly overhead? Assuming of course that the buttress is even still standing after the terminus and its 36 metre high tower are blasted into the hillside. I will endeavour to work out how to embed links so that folks can see for themselves what is proposed. In the meantime you could visit this thread on Chockstone:
http://www.chockstone.org/Forum/Forum.a ... &Replies=1
Last edited by Doug Bruce on Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by Doug Bruce » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:22 pm

BONSTA wrote:Wow, that's very sad news indeed! I've climbed at the pipes and planned on heading back there over Christmas.

Thanks for the positive feedback. If you are coming across later in the year BONSTA, get in touch. We can do some routes together or I can put you in touch with some of the local hard-ons.

What I don't understand is why they would bother with a gondola. There's already a perfectly good (free to use) paved road all they way up to the top plus mountain biking and hiking trails to get you there.

We keep saying this but it's all about someone trying to make money no matter the cost to the environment. That's Tasmania, unfortunately.

I feel like the whole point of a gondola is to open up access to an area that's otherwise only available to those fit enough to hike/climb/bike up. Are people so lazy that they can't operate the stick shift for 10 minutes? Also, the number of tourists passing through Hobart, I would argue, is significantly less than that which passes through Squamish each day/month/year.

Yes, yes and yes. There are serious questions about the economic viability of the project, let alone the environmental and aesthetic impact.

I don't see a gondola increasing that amount (again, to a place where it would be far cheaper to drive and the view not much different than from the road) or being as viable as the Sea to Sky Gondola, which offers unique access to an otherwise hard-to-get-to place.

Although the proponents claim they aren't after closing the road we fear that when they aren't making the money they project they will wield their political clout to get it closed. This would be a disaster for hikers, climbers, X-country mountain bikers and mums and dads who want to take the kids to the top for an outing. This of course means nothing to those who see Mt Wellington as a cash cow waiting to be milked.

Tasmania has 90% of the world's exposed dolerite, let's all try to protect those perfect splitters!
Couldn't put it better myself!!! And Mt Wellington is unique in that it's a world class crag perched just above the city below. Help us save it and get out here and climb on The Pipes!

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by Doug Bruce » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:52 pm

MAJOR UPDATE!

According to today’s Mercury newspaper, the URL Wellington Park Management Trust have now called for submissions from the public on possible rule changes for development at the pinnacle of the mountain. Now is the time for anyone who does not want to see a cable car running directly over the Organ Pipes, with a 36 metre tower and a 3 story building perched between the summit and the Organ Pipes.

In setting up the Trust, a lengthy consultative process was undertaken to gather input from any interested persons and groups in the community. This resulted in the formulation of the URLWellington Park Management Plan The proposed extension to the Pinnacle Specific Area would significantly contravene several sections of the plan (see Chapter 8b).

Submissions can be made directly to the Trust by individuals or groups. I believe that the Climbers Club of Tasmania will put in a group submission, as will other interest groups. I intend to put in an individual submission and urge you to do likewise.

Email addresses for members of The Trust are:

Chairman: Alex von Krusenstierna axel@wellingtonpark.org.au
Others: Anne McConnell anne.mcconnell@wellingtonpark.org.au
John Whittington john.whittington@dpipwe.tas.gov.au
Ashley Rushton ashley.rushton@parks.tas.gov.au
Christine Mucha cmucha@iinet.net.au

Some of you have visited Hobart and climbed on Mt Wellington. Others of you may have yet to visit the Organ Pipes but hope to do so one day. I believe this is a watershed moment, a moment where the natural values of the southeast face of Mt Wellington, in particular the Organ Pipes and the area around URL The Columns, can be preserved or lost forever. Can you help by making a representation to The Wellington Park Management Trust?

Best regards

Doug

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by BK » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:18 pm

The situation sounds very similar to the original Squamish Chief gondola proposal that was soundly defeated by local opposition.

The basis which might work for you is that it destroyed an already existing high value and unique recreational resource used by a wide spectrum from the city and local. Their single argument was that only 'elitist hikers and climbers" had access to that resource currently, and a gondola would provide access to non hikers etc.

They were destroyed. The existing gondola ( accessing a totally diferent area) met almost zero opposition due to the fact it impinged on no significant existing recreational assets and in fact made some more remote existing ones more accessable without effecting the experience. This one provides for the pedestrian / tourist crowd perfectly, yet dosn't destroy other existing user assets to do it.

Good luck and don't let them get away with the "elitist hikers and climbers" crap

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Re: Cable Car threatens Iconic Tasmanian Crag

Post by Doug Bruce » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:40 pm

Thanks for the feedback, BK. I was aware of the previous proposal to build a cable car to the summit of the Chief (I'm actually an expat Canadian - grew up on Vancouver Island -, a big fan of Squamish climbing and a regular visitor home to the True North Strong and Free). I participated in the campaign to stop it and was rapt that people power was able to overcome big business in that case.

I hope we can get a similar outcome but we're a long way away from the mainstream down here in Tasmania, and our economy is depressed so the developer has been able to seduce large slices of the population with the theme that this will bring more people into Tasmania and lead to job creation.

The more representation that we can get from around the globe against expanding the Pinnacle Special Area - which would be the enabling legislation that would allow the cable car proposal to be put - the more likely the Wellington Park Management Trust will sit up and take notice.

To anyone who cares, now is your chance to make a statement. This link:
http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/manage ... ding-plan/
has info on how the Trust proposes to expand the PSA as well as links to various forms you can use to make a submission. We'd really appreciate your help.


Cheers and thanks

Doug

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