main

Author Archive | Kirsten Mayer

A bushwalker’s two day crawl before rescue

In kindly and candidly sharing a very painful and harrowing ordeal, a club leader has given us some important points to reflect upon. Every time we head out.

In mid-September, Neil Parker (54), an experienced leader for Brisbane Bushwalkers, was conducting a solo recce (reconnaissance walk) of Cabbage Tree Creek near Brisbane, Queensland.

While alone, Neil fell down a 6-metre waterfall, fracturing both his leg and wrist. He then crawled for two days, to reach a clearing, in the hope of a search team finding him. Excruciating.

He did not have a PLB*, and did not leave trip intentions.

It is rare, but sometimes things go wrong.

This article describes the incident: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-18/mt-nebo-bushwalker-crawls-to-safety-after-fracturing-leg-wrist/11522794

Neil’s personal account is well worth a listen:

https://www.facebook.com/ABCSunshineCoast/videos/2434513696831834/

We encourage you to reflect on Neil’s experiences.

 

Some of our reflections are:

  • Take a PLB*, especially when going solo. Even for short walks. Register it with AMSA.
  • Always Leave Trip Intentions with a reliable person.
    • That means telling someone your detailed trip plans, and when you are due to return. Plus it means that person calling the police if you haven’t returned at the time you said you would. Always call your responsible person on your safe return.
  • Neil is saying the right things in his interview so he is clearly very knowledgeable and experienced. This helped him save himself. So:
    • Join a bushwalking club to learn a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience in all kinds of adventure. For a very low cost! Have a great time discovering new places. and new types of adventure activities.
  • Neil didn’t panic and had a good first aid kit.
    • He could have also included a sam splint in his kit – it is a much better for dealing with a fracture than walking poles or tree branches.
  • Neil demonstrates how important it is to take first aid kits seriously and keep them well-stocked. Even for a short, familiar walk.
  • Neil took warm clothes and a space blanket on a short, local walk, in a warm climate. And needed them.
    • Consider also a cashmere beanie – superb warmth-to-weight ratio.
    • The space blanket kept him warm and could help rescuers see him.
    • Regularly replace your space blanket – they can de-laminate over time.
  • Neil also took a head torch, his mobile phone and energy-packed snacks. He needed all of these too.

 

If you haven’t watched it yet, do watch Neil’s personal account:

https://www.facebook.com/ABCSunshineCoast/videos/2434513696831834/

Pass it on

All outdoor adventures can benefit from Neil Parker’s experience, so please pass this onto them.

For Clubs

We’d also recommend that club committees devote some time to discussing Neil Parker’s experience and insights, and the implications for each club’s risk management.

We advise all club members to put all exploratory (recce) trips on their activities program. This is the minimum requirement for an activity to be covered by our Bushwalking Australia Insurance.

We also recommend all clubs have: (1) a way of recording trip intentions for all activities, (2) a way of checking that all participants have returned from their activities when they said they would, and (3) a person who will call the police if a person/party haven’t returned when they said they would.

 

We wish you all the best out there. And we wish Neil Parker a rapid and full recovery.

 

*PLB = Personal Locator Beacon

Packing and planning for the best trip in Europe

One of the wonderful things about walking in Europe is the accommodation available to walkers.  Amazingly, this remote mountain refuge (Rifugio Pramparet), on stage 9 of the most beautiful walk in Europe, had the most interesting and delicious food of all rifugios on the trip!

 

Local communities and mountaineers have been walking these routes for generations. So to make it all a lot easier, they have built places to stay called rifugios (refuges). Rifugios provide bunkbed accommodation, a cooked breakfast and dinner, alcoholic beverages, cakes, and a packed lunch. To top it off you can often even get a shower … though some of them are cold!

 

All this in a cozy hut, high in the mountains surrounded by amazing beauty. The speck in the middle of this incredibly steep forest is Rifugio Vassoler:

All of these luxuries can reduce the weight of your pack to a sleeping sheet, towel, your walking snacks, toiletries, and the gear you will need for the wide range of weather and track conditions you can encounter in the mountains. But don’t forget your walking sticks – they are essential equipment for the Alta Via 1 walk which is unbelievable steep in places:

The best way to learn how to lighten your pack is by joining a bushwalking club like the Coast and Mountain Walkers (CMW) and heading out on some overnight walks with them. Super-experienced bushwalking club members, like those from CMW, have so many tips and tricks for keeping you comfortable and happy in all conditions out in nature 🙂

 

Having that kind of experience behind you means you’ll enjoy your trip so much more.  Nothing beats knowing how to thrive in the wild. It’s like opening a door way to a world of adventure.
The other thing you can learn in a bushwalking club, is how to pack a light meal and save yourself some money for more trips like this! Then lunch can be a picnic spread out in the middle of all that beauty!

 

On stage 8 of the most beautiful walk in Europe, we ate our lunch at a pass called Forcella del Camp. As we ate, we watched a tiny speck of colour moving up the impressive face of Cima della Busazza in front of us – some rock climbers!
Here is where you can find a club near you that will help you discover the most beautiful places to walk in NSW, the ACT and the world: our clubs.

The most beautiful walk in Europe

For me one of the awesome aspects of being a member of a bushwalking club is discovering new places to walk and knowing what are the most beautiful and amazing places to explore. By joining a club walk, you often save yourself weeks of time researching destinations, maps, routes, access logistics, weather conditions and all other trip details. Amazingly, the trip leaders do this mountain of work for you – for free!

 

 

When I joined the Coast and Mountain Walkers (CMW), a Sydney-based bushwalking club specialising in overnight walks, I was looking forward to discovering fabulous new adventures within NSW. The CMW certainly didn’t let me down. They took me on stunning walks in NSW and across Australia. I was amazed and impressed. I learnt so much about how to walk, how to camp with the lightest-weight gear, as well as, of course, where to walk!

 

 

But my amazement didn’t end there, because what I wasn’t counting on was the CMW members’ amazing knowledge of walks in Europe. CMW members have walked in so many places in Europe and can tell you so much about the walks, how to get there, and how to have the best time while you are there.

 

 

Of all those fabulous walks in Europe their trips to the Dolomites, in northern Italy always seemed the most stunning. So, when I finally got the chance to go to Europe last (European) summer, a walk in the Dolomites was a must. But knowing the region doesn’t necessarily make it easier to be sure you’re going to get the absolute best walk for those precious few days you have in Europe.

 

 

To start my planning for this very special trip, I called a friend from CMW!  I asked him for walks he would recommend and he kindly shared loads of knowledge with me. He told me the best guide book to use, how to get around there using local transport, when was the best time to go, what the accommodation and food was like, what I needed to pack (and not pack), and what it was actually like being there.

 

I took his guidance and planned our walk. I choose to do the last six days of the Alta Via 1. These photos give you just a peek of that stunningly beautiful walk.
 

 

On the walk I ran into an old neighbour from Tasmania who had done the full Alta Via 1.  She exclaimed how the scenery just keep getting better every day.  I was delighted with yet more confirmation that my CMW guidance had paid off!
 

 

Stay tuned for more details of this amazing walk in our next newsletter! And in the meantime, find a club near you that will help you discover the most beautiful places to walk in NSW, the ACT and the world in our map of our clubs.