Tasmania hiking grades

Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion.
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Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Spoke » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 10:31 am

Hi
I'm wondering if anyone can help me by posting a link that shows the grades of tasmanian hikes please. I've had a look but can't find anything that actually grades each mountain/hike.
Is there even such a list? :?
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby pazzar » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 10:57 am

I'm not sure such a list exists. Hobart Walking Club have a grading system (http://www.hobartwalkingclub.org.au/Pub ... Walks.html) and you can get a gauge of walk difficulty by looking at their program, but obviously not every single walk is on their calendar. You could perhaps ask them for their past walks calendars though to get more walk grades.

Were there particular walks you wanted to know about?
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby LoaferBread » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 3:32 pm

I agree with what pazzar has written here. I'm not aware of any list as such that ranks Tassie walks in terms of different grades (steepness, length, terrain, accessibility etc.).

The PWS site has some information about more accessible walks, and the descriptions they give of walks tend to be a little generous for time and difficulty in my experience. Otherwise, Chapman gives a good overview of many walks in his guides, though I've found his times to be a little quick - he must be a hiking machine!
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby axcarmil » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 4:10 pm

TasTrails classifies the grade of the 93 walks on their website - http://tastrails.com/
The grading system is subjective and may not correspond with other grading systems. The site includes an information key (under "about us") that describes the different grades they use (easiest to very hard).
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 6:14 pm

How wrong you are folks - all Tasmanian Tracks are graded by the Australian Standard AS 2156. The most comprehensive list is in the WHA Track Management Plan however, they have also started using the DSE system as well which is more 'tourist related'.

http://www.wyatt-family.com/index.php/w ... tegy-1994/
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/file.aspx?id=36771
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=aust ... EDanDYVL1M

If you also go to the LISTMAP and turn on walking tracks you can also identify the AS2156 classification for all tracks

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Cheers - Phil

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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 6:15 pm

PS - Can probably get hold of a full list if you want one!
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Orion » Wed 09 Aug, 2017 1:05 am

tastrax wrote:If you also go to the LISTMAP and turn on walking tracks you can also identify the AS2156 classification for all tracks

Cool feature but very limited discrimination between tracks. The South Coast, Port Davey, Western Arthurs, Farmhouse Ck / Eastern Arthurs, Marion Lake, Freycinet Loop, and Frenchman's Cap all have the same rating of AS2156 Track Class 4 (PWS).
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Wed 09 Aug, 2017 2:33 pm

Correct - that's because AS2156 is a prescriptive system and PWS want all those tracks to remain within the limits of that classification. That's why each track classification scheme is aimed at different clients. Also remember that a short section of a track that is significantly different to the rest of the track may well force the land manager to classify the track at a 'lower' level.

maybe this guide helps to explain the differences

https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/recreational ... ing-system

https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/__data/asset ... tagged.pdf
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Orion » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 2:36 am

Thanks. That makes it pretty clear. But when it comes to deciding whether a particular walk is appropriate I don't think it would be worth the few minutes it would take to to find out what the AS2156 rating is.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby north-north-west » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 9:00 am

tastrax wrote:Also remember that a short section of a track that is significantly different to the rest of the track may well force the land manager to classify the track at a 'lower' level.

So, despite the upgrade to the nastiest bits, the Frenchmans track is still the same grade because of the climb to the summit. I can see why, but it would be more helpful to have a record of how much of the whole thing is lower grade.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 10:53 am

Thats right - the 'worst' piece of track (either for steepness, roughness etc, depending on the classification system) usually dictates the overall track classification (in AS2156). PWS also used to hold more detailed information on track 'sections' and on the major tracks they actually have metre by metre records of track techniques (total lengths of duckboard versus doubleplanking versus benching etc).

They also have hundreds of monitoring sites that allow them to 'type' the track on environmental conditions (use, slope, vegetation, cross slope, width, bogginess, water present etc). Much of that can also be done as a desktop GIS operation and guides the types of environments that are best suited to long term stable tracks. It also assists in determining when a track might start to fall apart.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15217719

http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/Walk ... 1-2020.pdf
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby pazzar » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 11:41 am

north-north-west wrote:
tastrax wrote:Also remember that a short section of a track that is significantly different to the rest of the track may well force the land manager to classify the track at a 'lower' level.

So, despite the upgrade to the nastiest bits, the Frenchmans track is still the same grade because of the climb to the summit. I can see why, but it would be more helpful to have a record of how much of the whole thing is lower grade.


Rock climbing grades work in the same way. The route is graded by the hardest section. I think it is a mostly good system as it stops people attempting things they aren't capable of.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Orion » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 12:31 pm

pazzar wrote:Rock climbing grades work in the same way. The route is graded by the hardest section. I think it is a mostly good system as it stops people attempting things they aren't capable of.

That's a good point. But it also leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Sometimes pulling on a single piece of gear will lower the overall rating substantially.

Maybe it's just too obvious. Any rating system is ultimately flawed from some perspective. That said, I'd go to Chapman first. Then the internet. I'm not sure I'd ever bother with the AS2156 rating.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 12:37 pm

A 'tourist classification' might do something different like drop the best and worst sections and classify on the 'norm' but then it would generally have some notes on anything 'tricky' for the expected client group.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Orion » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 9:37 am

I assumed that's what the OP was asking for: a list of tourist ratings, not one intended for land managers.

Back to the rock climbing analogy, there is a higher resolution in the difficulty scale for rock climbs. Who thinks that the hardest parts of the Freycinet loop and the Western Arthurs are equivalent? It's only true if the scale is very coarse. Furthermore, rock climbs also often have danger and duration ratings. So there's an easy way, at a glance, to tell the difference between a short, well protected route and a multi-day wall with death potential, even if the hardest moves on each are the same.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby tastrax » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 11:22 am

Granted - a 'tourist scale' may need a much finer level of classification but at this stage I have not come across one that takes into account the length of 'hardest parts' in relation to the rest of the track. Also you then need to determine if the 'hard part' is actually hard for the intended or advertised client group.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby north-north-west » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 11:31 am

Orion wrote:Who thinks that the hardest parts of the Freycinet loop and the Western Arthurs are equivalent?

Given that there's no actual scrambling at Freycinet, just one steep eroded slope and one tiny piece of rock hopping, they really can't be compared. There is a need for a more accurate grading on these things to give visitors a good idea of what they are actually looking at.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Strider » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 12:10 pm

north-north-west wrote:
Orion wrote:Who thinks that the hardest parts of the Freycinet loop and the Western Arthurs are equivalent?

Given that there's no actual scrambling at Freycinet, just one steep eroded slope and one tiny piece of rock hopping, they really can't be compared. There is a need for a more accurate grading on these things to give visitors a good idea of what they are actually looking at.
I'm assume the steep slope is approaching the summit of Mt Graham when travelling clockwise?

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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby north-north-west » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 6:15 pm

Between Freycinet and Graham. Descent to or ascent from the saddle, depending on direction of travel.
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Re: Tasmania hiking grades

Postby Tortoise » Sat 12 Aug, 2017 6:36 pm

tastrax wrote:Granted - a 'tourist scale' may need a much finer level of classification but at this stage I have not come across one that takes into account the length of 'hardest parts' in relation to the rest of the track. Also you then need to determine if the 'hard part' is actually hard for the intended or advertised client group.

So functionally...
tastrax wrote:How wrong you are folks - all Tasmanian Tracks are graded by the Australian Standard AS 2156.

...the folks were correct in their response to the OP. :wink: Perhaps your tongue was in your cheek. :)

I wonder how hard it would actually be to come up with a grade for known tracks, standardised around Tassie. Not too hard? A lot could be covered by caveats re weather conditions, tree fall or whatever. It should be easy enough to distinguish between walks where there is significant scrambling, where a rope would be helpful (e.g. W Arthurs), and those in which there's a tiny bit of scrambling that most bushwalkers could manage without too much trouble, and ropes would never be recommended.

Perhaps Tassie bushwalking clubs could come up with something?? Consensus might be tricky for some walks, but I reckon a lot could be covered without too much trouble. Perhaps I'm dreaming'.
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