New emergency shelter for Overland Tk trekkers

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

New emergency shelter for Overland Tk trekkers

Postby Nuts » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 1:10 pm

Borrowed from a mate for the purpose is this image:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 2.02.22 pm.png


It's true, people get themselves into strife on the cirque, those ill prepared. And to my knowledge one person has died there?
Albeit under rare and confusing circumstances.


Is this the reaction we want within our parks?

Not me.

It's as dumbed down as placing a toilet wherever folks errantly poop. Moreso, it's a national wilderness and WHA, attempting to absolving 'oneself' with infrastructure should be a last (failed) resort.
Last edited by Nuts on Thu 18 Jan, 2018 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby stepbystep » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 3:06 pm

Disagree...it's a good idea. Have a chat with the ranger who has saved lives and watched someone die in their arms...your assertion that it's akin to a toilet is ridiculous...
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Strider » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 3:13 pm

Low impact, removable and [unfortunately] necessary. What's the issue?

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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Nuts » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 3:38 pm

It's not planned for removal strider, if it was would further negate the reason for having it there?

That it wasn't there until recently, to me, points to whether it is necessary.
I (purposefully) don't ask, but keep in mind that these decisions are not made by track rangers or necessarily other park, even park management staff.
Such a decision could very well be politically motivated, thrown together against a bad look for tourism.

Alternatively iv'e seen track notes now in several languages, an educational and no impact solution for which I see no issue.

Whatever the reason, I see (and am pointing at) a foreign object in a wild landscape...
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Paul » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 3:56 pm

By your reasoning then, a boardwalk is a foreign object in a wild landscape.......
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby GBW » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 4:09 pm

I've seen one in KNP for people working on the Main Range track.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Nuts » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 4:10 pm

(Paul)

It was, for a while.

But perhaps of relevance (outside a need to defend the idea of wilderness... and get back to this idea of catering for the 1%..) would indeed be the 'new' boardwalk.

Here from Marion's LO, i'm certain there were never as many tourists out around the mtn wearing boaters as iI did see since. Fewer reaching the 'salvation' of Kitchen Hut, distressed or 'needing' emergency accommodation. shrug
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Lost » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 5:22 pm

Nuts wrote:(Paul)

It was, for a while.

But perhaps of relevance (outside a need to defend the idea of wilderness... and get back to this idea of catering for the 1%..) would indeed be the 'new' boardwalk.

Here from Marion's LO, i'm certain there were never as many tourists out around the mtn wearing boaters as iI did see since. Fewer reaching the 'salvation' of Kitchen Hut, distressed or 'needing' emergency accommodation. shrug


Nuts you wouldn't by any chance earn a living by taking these boater wearing tourists up to Marion's lookout who might need at some time the ugly pod put in place to save said boater wearing tourists?
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Mechanic-AL » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 7:23 pm

If Nuts happens to earn a living from taking boater wearing tourists up to Marion's Lookout then it's maybe a better option than letting them wander off alone.

Bush walking is a lot like boating. If you only have a little tinnie and limited experience then it's a no brainer that you hug the coast. When you gain more experience and get a bigger boat only then is it possible to venture further out to sea. The problem with the OLT and improvements to tracks like Frenchman's Cap is it is attracting people in little tinnies out into the wide blue sea. The day they start plonking little pods in the ocean to save people who shouldn't be out there in the first place will indeed be a sad day.
Could the money spent on these pods be better directed in educating walkers of the potential risks................or is the $$$$$ to be made from sending inexperienced walkers out to sea in a leaky boat more important ?
"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?
A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Lost » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 7:46 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:If Nuts happens to earn a living from taking boater wearing tourists up to Marion's Lookout then it's maybe a better option than letting them wander off alone.

Bush walking is a lot like boating. If you only have a little tinnie and limited experience then it's a no brainer that you hug the coast. When you gain more experience and get a bigger boat only then is it possible to venture further out to sea. The problem with the OLT and improvements to tracks like Frenchman's Cap is it is attracting people in little tinnies out into the wide blue sea. The day they start plonking little pods in the ocean to save people who shouldn't be out there in the first place will indeed be a sad day.
Could the money spent on these pods be better directed in educating walkers of the potential risks................or is the $$$$$ to be made from sending inexperienced walkers out to sea in a leaky boat more important ?


What a load of hog wash. " The day they start plonking little pods in the ocean to save people who shouldn't be out there in the first place will indeed be a sad day." News flash they have been pulling people out of the ocean for along long time whether by pods ie Helicopters plane etc droping life rafts etc etc you name it for decades experienced or not whats the difference placing a pod up at cradle news flash they have huts up there also to save people.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Mechanic-AL » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 8:22 pm

I must've missed a 'News Flash' or two. I wasn't aware that the purpose of the huts on the OLT was actually to " Save People ". :shock: :shock:
( thought it was more to do with a warm dry bed and some of the comforts of home ? ).
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Lost » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 8:43 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:I must've missed a 'News Flash' or two. I wasn't aware that the purpose of the huts on the OLT was actually to " Save People ". :shock: :shock:
( thought it was more to do with a warm dry bed and some of the comforts of home ? ).


Yep think you might have missed a thing or two. That cross on it might help give people an idea what it's about..
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby tastrax » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 9:26 pm

I am not sure of the actual location of this structure but if it has been placed on the cirque as an emergency shelter then I am sorry, but I cant agree with its placement either.

At a time when information about weather conditions, experience and gear requirements are plastered all over the web, blogs, posters, information centres etc this is a knee jerk reaction that in some respects actually encourages poorly equipped or prepared people to 'take a chance'. Will there be an expectation in other locations like Pine Forest Moor, Pelion Gap, the Acropolis, Mt Rufus, the Walls etc etc.

Its time to take on personal responsibility for your actions in natural areas.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby taswegian » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 10:27 pm

I'm thinking like Tastrax on this, however I can see merit in shelters to help those stricken,
But what I'm not sure is if you're to place shelters for whatever reason how do you work out where the ideal location is?

How would a stricken person(s) know where these things are?
If they've done their homework beforehand to know their locations what chances of them falling foul in that location, but also if they've done that homework then what else have they read, seen, watched in coming to that place of knowing and understanding where they're located?
Would they also understand and digest the scale of the ferocity and meanness of our Tasmanian landscape in those highland areas.

There's an old photo etched in my mind of a horse and walker heading off up the Horse Track from Waldheim, deep snow in conditions few could imagine yet alone survive in and even more confounding to the mind set out in.

I've long held the view we (many) are or have become too yahoo when it comes to bushwalking in the highlands and the more the uninitiated and the untrained people venture out, and get into difficulties, the easier it comes to justify civilising and taming our great outdoors.
Hence the need for more and more to aid in preventing or hoping to prevent the unfortunate from happening. And the more people are lulled into a false sense of "she'll be right mate".

How one trains people for such events is beyond me. It's something I grew up with, 'apprentice' style, and I expect many here the same.
Tragedy can hit anyone, but difficulties to the uninitiated are often just an inconvenience to the trained.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby north-north-west » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 7:09 am

Mechanic-AL wrote:I must've missed a 'News Flash' or two. I wasn't aware that the purpose of the huts on the OLT was actually to " Save People ". :shock: :shock:
( thought it was more to do with a warm dry bed and some of the comforts of home ? ).


TasPAWS' justification for huts was originally as emergency shelter and to minimise the environmental impact of so many people camping (and often lighting fires) all over the place, principally the latter. (And yes, I do recognise the sarcasm in your post.) But with the negative publicity from occasional avoidable deaths and the increased insistence on commercialisation of our NPs, the rationale has changed.

I can understand and even sympathise to a degree with the idea of putting an emergency shelter somewhere on the cirque, but that thing there is a monstrous eyesore. Surely they could find a better place for it - and a less obtrusive structure.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Nuts » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 9:53 am

Lost wrote:
Nuts you wouldn't by any chance earn a living by taking these boater wearing tourists up to Marion's lookout who might need at some time the ugly pod put in place to save said boater wearing tourists?


Lost, no, strictly no boaters! :) though I have nothing against boaters.

I heard of the new shelter from a guide earlier in the week, who seemed fairly complementary. As a guide, or track ranger perhaps, could have likely most seen the immediate purpose, and some positives. Probably think it was a well chosen spot (most likely emergencies would probably be weighted back towards the scree slopes but anyway,. perhaps there's better phone reception or a number of other reasonings). I'd be focused on just getting folks over to WFV in some shape or form, as was the task.

With the benefit of hindsight, for a positive future for parks, people and wilderness together (and in mind) i'd much prefer these ill-prepared people were stopped back at the visitor centre. I'd much prefer public support for not shifting envisaged problems further out into the park. I may not have had/had space for this view at the time.

Had the chance to witness VC staff trying to convince a family group from departing when we had the late autumn snows (they did a truly impressive/ excellent job). It's not enough! (other than measured relative to 'what others do'/ duty discharged).

With plans to funnel everyone on to provided transport, think it's time (if indeed it's time for 'pods') to give these ground staff proper backing and regulate who gets to go where. A boater pass for low country and another level up higher... ultimate choice with the VC staff... better still as part of the transport contractors duty? Or something... safety and environment & not linked to immediate revenue/ subject to any political consideration?

For now I find the next question, why the pod is not Orange?
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 7:50 am

north-north-west wrote:I can understand and even sympathise to a degree with the idea of putting an emergency shelter somewhere on the cirque, but that thing there is a monstrous eyesore. Surely they could find a better place for it - and a less obtrusive structure.


Agree. The Bubble is quite out of character, and despite being green will stand out. A small hut on trad lines would be better. If the Bubble was back a few hundred metres the creek would be convenient for people unable to move.

Is there no air lock? If people take refuge, it seems that opening the door would let heat out and cold weather in. Maybe they used the Windy Fridge model. It seems that the door is on the east side, more or less, which is where snow will drift, so in winter and on some snowy non-winter days the entry will be buried. In winter the bubble will be buried. A better design would be an entry on the north side opening into a small Laserlite airlock with a rubber seal on a coaming around the outside door, which is in a small porch. Laserlite would act like a hot house, warming the refuge on sunny cold days.

The Bubble reminds me of a plan to replace Summit Hut on Mount Bogong after Bivouac, Summit and Maddisons were burnt down in 1978. There was a proposal to put the new Summit Hut under the summit cairn, a sort of Bubble with bumps. This was abandoned after it was realised that people may not find the cairn on a bad day, may not be able to open a frozen door, and once inside may not be able to escape. The Gadsden Tragedy happened when that party attempted to reach Summit Hut and died in a blizzard. The OLT huts are mostly reasonably close to each other, and the track is easy to follow, so more huts and/or refuges seem not to be needed. The places that need infrastructure are in the day walk areas, which should have more toilets and small refuges.

So it's an interesting balance to cater for those that are ill-equipped or lack adequate experience, or to make it easier or more appealing, thus enticing those that should not be there to walk the track. There are elements of the Falls Hotham Alpine Crossing here as well. If staff had the power to ban people from the OLT it may work, but the punters would just go elsewhere. There is no easy solution.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Tas Tom » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 8:05 am

I had to read this thread a couple of times to work out whether it is real or a spoof.

Assuming it is real I'm afraid I just don't get it at all. If you are going to put one there the manufacturer might as well gear up and just keep making them......

Both taswegain and tastrax have summed my thoughts up very well above so, for now at least, I'll just keep shaking my head
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Russ17 » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 10:12 am

Green is the last colour your eyes will detect if they have been damaged, hence why most safety/ first aid signs have green on them

Forgetting the lost/ injured hikers/ tourists, the idea of these pods could also be a lifeline for search and rescue who are out in bad conditions because of lost/ injured people?
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Wherever I may roam » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 1:00 pm

So did we work out where we can get a pair of those boatie shoes?
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Nuts » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 10:05 am

Lophophaps wrote: If staff had the power to ban people from the OLT it may work, but the punters would just go elsewhere. There is no easy solution.


No not easy at all, and hats off for all the good decisions made, especially to those implementing the reaction.
If walkers knew they will need to be properly prepared/or be turned away- before qualifying for a 'pass'.. before paying.. that few probably wouldn't arrive?
It's true they can just find another cliff to step off.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 16 Jan, 2018 10:29 pm

Curious on the life expectancy on one of these capsules? Presume it's cheaper than a log built hut. Any vandals?
Just move it!
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby wayno » Wed 17 Jan, 2018 5:06 am

if a walking track gets promoted to the wider public then you have a higher number of people walking the track and often a lot of them may not be as prepared... they are the people who dont do as much research to make sure they are up to the task, they come across promotional information readily available and join the less experienced masses often oblivious to the dangers of where they are going, an easy track that leads them easily and quickly to somewhere that can put them out of their depth...
people die on the great walks in NZ for this reason...
a place the like OLT is easy terrain to traverse and that is a bigger attractor... but its also extremely exposed, i've been there in summer in full storm gear, just to keep the cold from the strong wind out... tasmania is in the roaring 40's a very wind prone belt around the globe that will bring bad weather any time of year. I've run into aussie hikers without raingear in the hills because "it's summer" and it doesnt rain where they are from in the hot season... i think theres a lot of similarities between tasmanias weather and NZ's although i'd say Tasmanias is more likely to have bigger extremes, the mountains arent as high but it still gets the severe weather similar to any high mountain environment.
on the tongariro crossing they have the same issue, they have massive warning signs to only proceed if appropriately equipped for harsh weather, but like sheep everyone just goes past the signs regardless of how ill equipped they are.. because other people are, it must be safe... even relying on a weather forecast is dangerous, they arent reliable all the time... and often if there are huts then some people won't bother carrying any sort of shelter with them...
i did a similar walk to the OLT the other week, wind chill was minus 12 on a sunny day... how many people would expect that in summer?
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Wherever I may roam » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:41 pm

While not a recommendation, the decision to install the emergency shelter may have been influenced by the release of the Coroners report last year,where a death occurred near that location in February 2014. See the link.

http://www.magistratescourt.tas.gov.au/ ... ,_Kang.pdf
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby gayet » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 3:14 pm

If I recall correctly, that incident was at the extreme of 'poorly prepared'. The recommendations given by the Coroner do not include providing facilities such as this:
I recommend that PWS give consideration to the availability and use of legislative powers,
and consequent development of procedures, to prevent persons embarking on the Overland
Track walk when they are observed to be inadequately prepared for the conditions such as to
place the safety of themselves and others at risk.

I recommend that PWS introduces language buttons on the Overland Track web page that
enable translation of the information, including the Walker Safety Checklist, into the main
languages used by those undertaking the walk.

I recommend that PWS introduces clear signage in the Visitors Centre in the main
languages used by walkers, alerting them to the potentially difficult and changeable
conditions that they may encounter and the need for thorough preparation for the walk.


As suggested in previous comments, providing such facilities may simply encourage more people who could be seriously underprepared, to continue - 'if there is shelter provided here, there will be shelter elsewhere, we can use that...'
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 3:47 pm

There's nothing in the Coroner's Report about a shelter. However, it would be hard to resist putting a shelter near where someone died. It's the first day, a moderate climb for some, and very exposed. There were too many mistakes, starting with inadequate fitness, poor gear, a great lack of awareness of the weather, poor clothing, and a lot more.

There are two questions:
1 Should there be a shelter here or near here?
2 Is the design satisfactory?
A related point is to consider the above questions for the rest of the OLT, and perhaps other popular walks.

The report is scary reading for me. It reminded me of Glen Matters who died on the OLT near Windemere in 1971. The party was ill-equipped and badly led. In bad weather they pushed on to Windemere, arriving over a period of a few hours. I suggest reading the 2014 Kang Jin report.
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Re: Knee Jerk?

Postby tastrax » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 3:59 pm

With limited funds it would have been much better to concentrate on the Coroners recommendations of better signage, multilingual website, strengthening legislation to allow staff to prevent walkers from starting.

No multilingual checklist yet - http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=7827
Only the 'walk safely' brochure appears to have been translated

Should there be a shelter there - not in my opinion. I would love to see the planning approval for it!
Is the design satisfactory - yes for an emergency shelter. Its design also allows for it to be taken out easily as well.
Cheers - Phil

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Re: New emergency shelter for Overland Tk trekkers

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 6:16 pm

Has the bubble got a big red ' COME AND GET ME ' button in it ?
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Re: New emergency shelter for Overland Tk trekkers

Postby CasualNerd » Thu 18 Jan, 2018 8:13 pm

I don't think this is necessary, and I think people should be better prepared.

But if it saves even one life isn't it worth it ?
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Re: New emergency shelter for Overland Tk trekkers

Postby gayet » Fri 19 Jan, 2018 7:08 am

CasualNerd wrote:....
But if it saves even one life isn't it worth it ?

But will its existance simply encourage more ill-prepared people to venture out and so put not just their lives at risk but those sent to find them?
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