Parks Victoria Equipment Ban Challenged

ACAV has written to Parks Victoria raising concerns over safety instructions given by a Parks Victoria Director, in a letter to Open Spaces Publishing:

“A rope may be used to assist hikers on a designated trail. However the use of additional equipment outside of a designated climbing area is not permitted.”

Letter from Parks Victoria to Open Spaces Publishing 18022022

Any prohibition of safety equipment presents a glaring safety risk, exposing Parks Victoria and its policy-makers to litigation in the event of an accident. We see it as our duty of care to raise this matter.

Tragedy on the first ascent of the Matterhorn, 1865 – drawn by Gustave Doré

Many experienced climbers and hikers will be aware of a tragedy that occurred on the first ascent of the Matterhorn, Switzerland in 1865. Four people died on the descent when one person slipped and pulled three others off the mountain to their deaths. They were simply roped together with no point of attachment to the rock.

The present ruling allows a fine of $1817 for carrying karabiners, slings or rock protection while deemed by a ranger to be doing the wrong kind of walking / hiking / scrambling / climbing, in the wrong place.

Parks Victoria must step back from banning “additional equipment” under any circumstances and must publish updated advice at the earliest opportunity, to ensure that outdoor enthusiasts feel able to equip themselves properly, without fear of prosecution. Any group, in any part of the Grampians may be hit by bad weather, become lost, experience illness or may encounter another emergency. Group leaders must have the freedom to carry equipment as they see fit.

ACAV remains available to assist in the implementation of the Victorian Climbing Management Guidelines.


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