Cathedral Ranges – Interim Update

CATHEDRAL RANGE SURVEY, Victoria, June 2010.
Cathedral Range
The Cathedral Range is a spectacular 7 km ridge of sharply upturned sedimentary rock. Potential launch altitude approximately 3000’ asl. The Cathedral Range is located some 90km NE of Melbourne via the Maroondah Hwy. Airspace overlays do not restrict hang gliding operations in the area.
Background
As a result of the 2009 devastating bushfires, the Marysville economic development group approached the Melbourne Hang Gliding Club to request assistance in their redevelopment efforts. The MHGC in turn approached the Victorian Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association. The assistance was to be effected by locating and developing a launch site attractive to the Melbourne hang gliding and paragliding pilot population to encourage pilot visitations and development of an additional tourist attraction within the Marysville area.
Plan
A plan was conceived to conduct an aerial inspection of Mt Gordon, Cathedral Ranges main range and Blue Range Rd. Followed by a ground inspection of potential launches. A survey team (Gabriel Toniolo (MHGC/VHPA) and Mark Pike(VHPA)) volunteered to execute the plan.
Information previously obtained from Tim Osborne a pilot previously resident in the area, suggested a launch site he had used many years ago was ‘somewhere on Blue Range Rd, but was a bit of a walk in’. An aerial inspection would be required to locate it. As Tim O now lives interstate, he could not be used as a guide.
Potential launch site/s would be recommended to the Marysville economic development group, prior to approaches to Parks Victoria (land manager).
Outcome
26th June 2010
Low cloud prevented an initial aerial survey, it was decided an attempt would be made to ground scout Mt Gordon (Marysville) and Blue Range Rd.
Mt Gordon is significantly lower than the main range and closer to Melbourne. On arrival at the top of the mountain, low cloud restricted visibility preventing a view of glide path, hazards, or landing options. There was adequate room for set ups, the launch slope was steep and only a few previously burnt trees would need to be removed. Although promising, the aerial inspection conducted on the following day showed the nearest landing area to be at an unsafe distance from launch.
The team then drove along the Blue Range Rd, again low cloud, and rain, prevented a view of potential launch sites. No view of the ridgeline could be obtained from the valley floor.
During the following days (27th June 2010) aerial inspection, again low cloud prevented viewing Blue Range Rd, however an adequate inspection of the Cathedral main range was possible. No obvious signs of vehicle access, or potential launch site could be identified. During orbits of the valley, no other potential locations were sighted on the Western (East facing) slopes of the valley.
Recommendations
  1. Contact Marysville development group and identify a suitable local person who may know of ‘lookouts’ on the range
  2. Conduct a further aerial inspection during clear weather, mark GPS coordinates of potential sites and again conduct ground inspections. Alternately;
  3. Arrange for Tim Osborne paid passage to Melbourne to act as guide to a ground survey team.
Report prepared for;
Victorian Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association
For info copies to;
Melbourne Hang Gliding Club
Marysville economic development group (via MHGC)
Rebecca Porter, Parks Victoria
Rob Jarvis, Parks Victoria
Mark Campbell, Hang Gliding Federation of Australia
Mark Pike
VHPA Site Development
29th June 2010

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