controlling walkers on OT

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.

controlling walkers on OT

Postby taswegian » Tue 30 Jan, 2018 9:01 pm

theres been some talk recently and in past about conditions relating to walking the OT in regards to peoples safety and their preparedness etc along with the ability/ authority to prevent obviously unprepared walkers from such a foray.

Coming weekend is the Cradle Mt Run.
I see there are strict restrictions which are obviously sensible.
Compulsory Gear:
The organisers are really serious about runners having sufficient gear. You will not be able to start the run
if you do not carry gear that will allow you to survive injured or immobile in freezing snow, wet and windy
conditions.


Not sure what's different between a run as opposed to a more leisurely bushwalk on other occasions.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby johnw » Tue 30 Jan, 2018 10:05 pm

Yes, IMHO compulsory gear is definitely sensible in both cases. I've walked the track, never done the event but have run a few (mainly urban) marathons. Many of them will be going hard and challenging themselves physically and mentally. I would imagine the difference for the run could be a higher perceived risk of slips, trips and falls and/or the organiser's liability insurance requirements. I think it's limited to about 60 competitors? That's not many over that distance. With different levels of ability they could potentially become fairly spread out, and isolated as individual runners, with limited support if anything goes pair shaped.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby ChrisJHC » Tue 30 Jan, 2018 10:14 pm

I think that the difference is that the organisers can only prevent you from starting their event.
They can't stop anyone from running the same course at the same time as their event.

Similarly, if a charity organised a walk along the OT they could have any rules they wanted to, such as requiring all entrants to wear the official T-shirt as well as carrying the minimum mandated gear.
That wouldn't stop anyone else walking the OT at the same time completely unprepared.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby taswegian » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 5:32 am

My reasoning was the standards are different and yet we're talking about the exactly same environmental conditions which do not give favours.
They (environmental factors) are no respecter of person.
The same concern is had for welfare be it a mountain runner or a casual bushwalker when it comes to a life.

I appreciate the organisers have their risk factors and all that is associated with such. Which is what's needed.

It's common these days to have to abide by the rules to participate when you pay for something, which one is in this case.
Payment also includes Park fee.
Why the difference? Run and come under scrutiny? Walk and head off into the unknown?

There's a recent post touching on shelters in the reserve that raised the topic of being suitably prepared, skilled. And I can recall similar comments in past.

Each time there's a life lost or a hair-raising danger filled rescue the topic of 'fitness (suitability) for the task' is raised.
After a brief moment the anguish and cries subside, media moves onto the next sensation and the cycle begins again.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby bobcrusader » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 9:22 am

I was expecting a thorough search when we headed out a couple of weeks ago, but all we got was a cursory glance from a ranger who happened to be loitering around the Dove Lake car park while we took photos. His only statement was that he was making sure none of us were wearing jeans. Granted, we all had obviously large packs, gaiters, decent footwear and hats, so it was an easy pass. I think on a run, there is a greater risk of injury - on a leisurely bushwalk I can slow down and take it easy while descending down through a muddy, slippery, tree rooty section and use my hiking poles.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby weeds » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 10:39 am

Lots of difference........

Plus there is a recommended minimum requirement for walkers......keep in mind if they brought in mandatory checks somebody has to pay, and it will be the walkers to the point of walkers outside peak season having to pay.

When we did the OT we following the min. requirements...we did see a few walker less prepared.


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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Gadgetgeek » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 8:26 pm

Not hard to imagine a runner in a race deciding to take less gear to save weight and therefore do better. Some might see an organized race and abdicate responsibility for personal safety. I've seen it happen often when people get too comfortable with the level of organization, they go into a different mode and the self preservation turns off.

Should walkers be controlled? Different story. You go on your own, you walk your own risk. If you pay me to take you walking, you will carry what I require of you, regardless of if I'm right or wrong, its my responsibility under that either expressed or implied duty of care.

Taswegian, I think its necessary to review each event as it happens and see how things change. Culture, gear, processes all change over time, so I don't think it will ever be a one-and-done thing. I spend a fair amount of time on "zero-harm" sites in the north of canada where a lot of the guys and gals had very dangerous jobs. We logged every twisted ankle, every slip and fall, every close call. Because if you don't, and if you don't cover it every day, people get complacent, or the rookies don't realize the risks. I watched rookies as old hands got dressed down for a stupid mistake, you bet that they wanted to be sure not to get that same treatment, because they knew it wouldn't come with the same respect. So we armchair quarterback every rescue, because we have to, otherwise we might end up next. And every thread is a record for all the rookies doing research. They won't all do so, but as said before, can't help everyone. The news cycle is different, but there is no helping that I think.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Nuts » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 8:48 am

The thought of this... and other groups with limited, yet considered 'gear' using the track has passed me too TW.

Another way to question this, seemingly part of understanding the constraints, would be to ask whether, the runners gear being enough, there should be the same base requirements for a walker? Traveling solo? without a 'proper' shelter? minimalist footwear?

Gear choices being only one indicator of preparedness, not necessarily related to experience, fitness/ ability?

At the end of the day requirements on the runners experience, may make them safer than a smooth talking newbie walker with a list of bombproof gear of best brands? With the exception that a 'simple' requirement of a plb may level the field?

Personally, I don't see many negatives in control, as distasteful as control sounds. A chance to educate, enthuse, and not just or particularly for their own safety. The impact can only be lessened everywhere through education of walkers on tracks (promoted day walks and long tracks) where they are likely new, learning as well, how to act.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby warnabrother » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 10:07 am

It is quite clear on the OLT website what Parks consider minimum equipment. Everyone who walks the track is required to sign it.
While I don't agree on some of the equipment requirements (boots being one of them), this gives newer walkers a good baseline.

Don't we all walk to get away from "rules" and "enforcement"..
Advising is one thing, enforcing is another..
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Nuts » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 2:28 pm

It's a fair expectation. But there are rules and enforcement brought on to serve the LCD in every facet of life.
Here P&W take a extra fee for a specific service. They have some obligation... for which it has, so far, been determined that ticking a list is enough absolution.
That's fine, paid for by minimal inconvenience, as are all such measures. So what's a little more (inconvenience/ responsibility)?

Instead we see the same urban incompetence (lack of competence) used by developers to justify their operations, and P&W following suit. Rather than regulation we will build!

Taming wild places so they are suitable for the urban escape. Even suggesting those catered for play a valuable role in preserving wilderness... really? the users have a more familiar experience, while escaping ... but not really.. and lesser so by the year as the number of tamed-wilderness supporters, and their necessary conveniences, grow?

Is the only yardstick to sanity to be populism?
(edit: lol, ok, of course it is.. so then I'd vote for visitor management by a board of creative nutcases)
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby warnabrother » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 3:29 pm

I really don't like someone else telling me I can't do something because I might die..
It's my choice to "risk" MY life doing what I want to do..
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Nuts » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 3:44 pm

Understood, and alternatively on the environmental side, issues fall down for those who are affronted by the thought someone else might be telling them how to live... we are indeed a flawed species.

Here park management is catering for 'your' right to access deathly situations regardless, whether it's progressed or necessarily limited by an affront to one's ego -by lumping you in for a competency check .. or more subtely, by attempting to tame the experience itself.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Aztec » Mon 05 Feb, 2018 2:06 pm

How do other nations cope with this? ie people hiking in NZ, or the US/Canada?
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby ChrisJHC » Mon 05 Feb, 2018 4:21 pm

warnabrother wrote:I really don't like someone else telling me I can't do something because I might die..
It's my choice to "risk" MY life doing what I want to do..


Which is fine until you have people go out totally unprepared (e.g. the overseas group that had no cold/wet weather gear recently) and then others have to put their lives on the line to rescue them.

I would expect that most of us on this forum are able to decide what risks are acceptable, but unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who don't have the training, equipment or self-awareness to make these decisions.

In my case, I approach even simple things like getting water from streams differently depending on whether I'm hiking alone or with others.
I do a continual risk assessment to look at what the likelihood of a "bad thing" occurring and the consequence and amend my behaviours accordingly.
Not sure that everyone out there does the same and so we default back to lowest common denominator thinking.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Gadgetgeek » Mon 05 Feb, 2018 7:16 pm

In Canada there are areas that are very remote where without an EPIRB the best you will get is a fixed wing search pattern, but maybe not even that. But its areas that you pretty much know that no one is coming for you. In the Rockies they will do mostly heli searches above the tree line. As far as gear and such goes, its up to the person, but in general you don't have the same tourist hiker problem as there are fewer trails that are friendly to that, and its confined to a much narrower season. I'm not as sure about out east, but in general its not like winter sneaks up on too many people, or rather even if it does, most people are ready for it.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Nuts » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 4:37 pm

Good point, and so many people, with ever-easier access, underestimate tassie's alpine country, often surprised at the chill factor traveling from the coast/ stepping from a vehicle at Dove Lake. Not extreme conditions (by world standards) but extreme enough, and lasting long enough, even in mid summer.
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Re: controlling walkers on OT

Postby Gadgetgeek » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 7:19 pm

In the rockies, the shoulder season is kinda an ass-kicker, and I've woken up in snow many a may long weekend holiday. But even if you wake up cold and wet, you probably won't die, and even if your most idiot buddy walked you off trail (which is hard, the trails are there because that's often the only option) And you were in a lot of grief, you'll probably have a nice warm day, walk yourself back to the trail, or dump your stove fuel on the firewood to get a campfire going, and someone will come put your fire out. And if they are nice they will take you back out with them. Its hard to be fit and stupid enough to get yourself into real trouble. Not that people don't die, but it usually not just from shear idiocy, sometimes momma nature wins.
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