[LINK] Lost in the Blue Mountains: triple-0 operator 'uncaring'

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Fri Apr 17 13:40:46 AEST 2009

Various random thoughts ...

Familiarity. People don't really think of Mount Solitary as "remote". It's only
a few kms past the well-frequented Ruined Castle (on the same track). Because
it's so "nearby" a lot of people wouldn't think a GPS beacon would be needed.

If you're fit and plan reasonably well, you can do a return trip as a day-walk
(I have done so, with wife and two sons - but we stopped short of the summit for
reasons of time).

For probably more than 8 km of the (roughly) 12 km to the mountain, you're
almost certainly within shouting distance of somebody, at least in high season.

This may make people complacent about what they're undertaking.

Also under the heading of complacency: if you just look at a map, you'd be
likely to underestimate the walk. It's delightfully flat for most of the way
(from the bottom of the Scenic Railway to a couple of km past the Ruined Castle
- about 8 km I guess).

- Going down the Giant Staircase at Echo Point, with overnight packs, would be
tiring (personally if I were loaded with stuff, I'd use the Scenic Railway to go
down into the valley).
- Crossing the landslide, between Echo Point and the Scenic Railway, is hard
going and would be horrible in high summer with heavy packs.
- The climb at Mount Solitary gets pretty steep.

I can't comment on this particular case; but as a regular walker, I'm frequently
shocked at how ill-prepared many people are.

- High heels in the bush? Seen it.

- Bushwalking as a shopping experience: I've seen people carrying more junk than
you'd believe, just on a day or overnighter, but having to borrow water from
others on the track, because the must-have "stuff" didn't leave them weight or
room to carry water. In summer, for a day walk, my rule is 2 litres per person.

- Inflexibility. You need to be able to abandon an objective - "We must cover 20
km today" is a recipe for trouble to which the best answer is "There's not time
/ too tired / not enough water - best turn back."

(I've seen guided groups - not under NPWS guides, under bushwalking tourist
guides - where the boot-camp type at the front of the group went so fast that
group members get injured by falls trying to keep up.)

- Inconsideration. The fastest pace should be the slowest person in the group.
If you don't like it, get a different group or stop to look at flowers or fungi
or birds. Don't turn it into a competition.


Ivan Trundle wrote:
> On 17/04/2009, at 10:53 AM, David Lochrin wrote:
>> Perhaps satellite GPS distress beacons commonly carried by those  
>> working in remote areas should be made more available to weekend  
>> bushwalkers, since mobile coverage is normally non-existent.
> They are.
> Bushwalkers and other wilderness users are encouraged to take EPIRBs  
> which are available from many outdoor shops for both purchase and  
> rental.
> Satellite phones can be hired, too - though aren't much use when it's  
> foggy or snowing (direct line of sight to satellites is generally  
> impaired when the air humidity is 100% - speaking from experience).
> Warmly
> iT
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