Alpine rescues a reminder to be prepared and stay safe this winter
Thursday 30 May, 2019
Parks Victoria and the Victorian State Emergency Service (VicSES) are reminding visitors to the Alpine National Park and Mount Buffalo National Park to remain aware of the hazards and assess whether it’s a good idea to continue with their activity following a series of rescues this week with the Victorian Police and VicSES.
While winter doesn’t officially start until the 1st of June the recent polar blast has resulted in early snow dumps across the Victorian mountain peaks. Whether snow camping, hiking, driving, or back country skiing it is important visitors understand the risks associated with the alpine environment in winter, are experienced and well prepared for sudden changes in conditions. A range of hazards including unstable snow, steep icy slopes, avalanches and extreme weather may be encountered.
Dramatic weather changes are common in the Alpine areas and should not be underestimated when planning a winter trip. Here are some basic preparations to stay safe this winter:
- Check park conditions: Visit www.parks.vic.gov.au or call 13 1963 for current park conditions.
- Prepare for adverse weather: What’s the forecast? Are you weather-ready? Check www.bom.gov.au or download the BoM app for forecasts in your area.
- Seasonal road closures: Many of the seasonal road closures within parks take effect from the Thursday AFTER Queen’s Birthday weekend (from 13th June 2019).
- Carry snow chains and check road conditions: Visit www.traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au
- Stay in touch: Let friends or family know your plans. Avoid walking alone. Remember, phone reception may be limited.
- Pack the right gear: Protective clothing, appropriate footwear, plenty of water, extra food, wilderness first aid kit, map, compass and GPS.
- Rubbish is not fire fuel: Do not put rubbish, including cans or bottles, in campfires. Take all rubbish with you.
- Emergencies: In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000). Be aware you may travel out of phone range.
Quotes attributable to Victorian State Emergency Service North East Regional Manager, Keith O’Brien:
“Those engaging in alpine activities need to consider the risks and hazards associated with winter conditions in remote backcountry areas and heed any warnings. Conditions can change rapidly in the alpine environment and it’s really important visitors are adequately equipped and prepared to make changes to their plans.”
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria, Andrew Davies District Manager:
“Visitors are advised to prepare for alpine conditions by checking the relevant websites for snow and weather safety information and road closures.”
“Seasonal road closures apply to areas within the Alpine National Park every year for the safety of park visitors and to protect tracks vulnerable to damage during the wet, cold months. Many of these occur after the long weekend in June.”
“Snow chains must be carried on certain roads as road conditions can change very quickly. Please use caution when driving and obey all closure signs.”
“We want visitors to enjoy backcountry travel across our alpine regions, but they must be sufficiently prepared, experienced, understand the hazards and notify someone of their intentions. Consider changing your plans in the case of severe weather warnings like these recent snow storms.”