Image for Global rock climbers alarmed at cable car proposal

The Hon.  Will Hodgman
Premier of Tasmania,
Minister for Tourism
Level 11, 
Executive Building
15 Murray Street
TAS 7000
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18 August 2014

Dear Premier Hodgman,

As rock climbers who have had the privilege of visiting your State and who deeply value the unique environment of Mt Wellington,  we are extremely concerned at reports of a proposed cable car being built directly over the Organ Pipes. There are very few places in the world where there is a climbing venue of this quality,  on an imposing mountain with an amazing sub-­alpine ecosystem,  easily accessible by road and serviced by all the amenities of a major city.

Cable cars are far from unique and in our experience can and do have a marked negative impact on the wild environment,  as we have seen happen in so many other locations around the world.

The projected line of the cable car, as shown on the proponent’s web site, is of particular concern as it goes directly over some of the most iconic climbs in Australia,  let alone Tasmania, climbs that we and many others will travel half way round the world to enjoy.

These climbs and this cliff feature in international magazines,  books and blogs around the world.

Unfortunately,  for Tasmania,  we live in a world where news of adverse developments such as this also travels quickly and impacts potential tourism. It would be a tragedy,  both economically and environmentally,  if Tasmania’s reputation as a wilderness climbing venue was tarnished and this fabulous natural resource was vandalised for uncertain, short‐term economic gain.

Any development of this sort inevitably changes the very nature of the environment it crosses,  sadly usually for the worse,  with a detrimental impact on the recreational and related commercial opportunities for visitors and Tasmanians alike.  The building of a massive tower close to the cliff edge,  visually obvious buildings,  more access roads and paths,  let alone the problems associated with an increase in visitors close to the cliff edge,  are exactly what should be avoided.

As we understand it,  no actual proposal has yet been submitted,  let alone agreed to.  We would urge caution before any definitive action is taken.  Hopefully,  good sense will prevail and we,  and the increasing numbers of climbing visitors to your wonderful state,can continue to enjoy the unchanged delights of the Organ Pipes and Mt Wellington.

Yours sincerely,

Henry Barber USA
Sir Christian Bonington   CVO,  CBE,  DL UK
Paul Caffyn ONZM NZ
Simon Carter Australia NSW
Kim Carrigan Australia QLD
Greg Child USA
Dr James Duff Australia NSW
Monique Forestier Australia NSW
Michael Groom OAM Australia QLD
Lynn Hill USA
Gary Kuehn NZ
Andrew Lock OAM Australia ACT
Tim Macartney-­Snape OAM AM Australia NSW
Dr Rick McGregor Sweden
Greg Mortimer OAM Australia NSW
Brigitte Muir OAM Australia VIC
Dr Simon Parsons Canada
Doug Scott CBE UK
Louise Shepherd Australia VIC
Heidi Wirtz USA

CC: The Hon. Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania, Minister for Tourism
The Hon. Matthew Groom MP, Minister for State Growth, Minister for Environment
Lord Mayor Alderman D C Thomas, Hobart City Council
Dr Christine Mucha, Chairperson, Wellington Park Management Trust
The Hon. Bryan Green MP, Leader of the Opposition
Mr Kim Booth MP, Leader of the Tasmanian Greens

An additional 50 leading climbers from interstate and globally in support of the letter:
Stuart Anderson UK
Conrad Anker USA
Bill Begg Australia SA
Mary Behan USA
Steven Bell Australia VIC
Kim Bischoff Australia WA
Dr Andrew Bissett Australia ACT
Dave Bowen Australia SA
Philip Box Australia QLD
Bruce Cameron Australia NSW
Bill Cassimatis Australia VIC
Lyle Closs Switzerland
Penny Cooper Canada
Michael Dillon Australia NSW
John Fantini Canada
Hazel Finlay UK
Geoff Gledhill Australia VIC
Stuart Grant Australia NSW
Mike Grimmer Australia VIC
Vince Hempsall Canada
Marcel Jackson Australia VIC
Jon Jones Canada
Kieran Lawton Australia ACT
Gareth Llewellin Australia VIC
Enga Lokey USA
Nat Mather Canada
Sean Mather Canada
Doug McConnell Australia NSW
Duncan McGregor Australia VIC
Michael McHugh UK
John McKenny Australia QLD
Tom Meldrum Scotland
Frank Moon Australia NSW
John Moore Australia VIC
Carol Nash France
Timmy O’Neill USA
Allie Pepper Australia
John Pitcairn NZ
Gordon Poultney Australia VIC
Julie Robinson NZ
Natasha Sebire Australia NSW
Ross Taylor Australia VIC
Ian Thomas Australia VIC
Mary Trayes NZ
Sarah Truscott Australia ACT
Noel Ward Australia ACT
Ryan Weller USA
Sarah Whitehouse UK
Tony Whitehouse UK
Gemma Woldendorp Australia NSW

The following 57 experienced Tasmanian climbers have also asked for their names to be appended:
Al Adams Australia TAS
Geoff Batten Australia TAS
Sue Batten Australia TAS
Bill Baxter Australia TAS
Al Beech Australia TAS
Dr Anna Brooks Australia TAS
Doug Bruce Australia TAS
Bob Bull Australia TAS
Steve Bunton Australia TAS
Tim Chappell Australia TAS
Helen Crawford Australia TAS
Nic Deka Australia TAS
Grant Dixon Australia TAS
Adam Donoghue Australia TAS
Dr Kevin Doran Australia TAS
Dr Richard Eccleston Australia TAS
Dr Clair Eccleston Australia TAS
Catherine Fitzpatrick Australia TAS
John Fischer Australia TAS
Dr Cathy Foreman Australia TAS
Chris Gallagher Australia TAS
Cam Godfrey Australia TAS
Ben Griggs Australia TAS
Chris Hampton Australia TAS
Darren Harpur Australia TAS
Andrew Hill Australia TAS
Greg Hodge Australia TAS
Dr Hamish Jackson Australia TAS
Dave James Australia TAS
Ben Jones Australia TAS
Dr Shumita Joseph Australia TAS
Stefan Karpiniec Australia TAS
Vonna Keller Australia TAS
Tommy Krauss (President TUCC) Australia TAS
Barbara Matthews Australia TAS
Rex Matthews Australia TAS
Tony McKenny Australia TAS
John Middendorf Australia TAS
Jon Nermut Australia TAS
Jed Parkes (President TCC) Australia TAS
Stuart Pengelly Australia TAS
Alison Phillips Australia TAS
Dr Annie Phillips Australia TAS
Garry Phillips Australia TAS
Paul Pritchard Australia TAS
Haig Rice Australia TAS
Phil Robinson Australia TAS
Mark Savage (President TCIA) Australia TAS
Stuart Scott Australia TAS
Peter Sims OAM Australia TAS
Dr Ian Snape Australia TAS
Carrie Southern Australia TAS
Pete Steane Australia TAS
Philip Stigant Australia TAS
Lachlan Taylor Australia TAS
Caroline Walch Australia TAS
Robert Wilson Australia TAS

Henry Barber

Henry Barber was as a leading American rock climber and ice climber in the 1970s. Known by the nickname “Hot Henry”, Barber was a prolific first ascenscionist and free soloist. He was one of the first American rock climbers to travel widely to climb in different countries. Barber visited Tasmania and climbed on the Organ Pipes and other Tasmanian crags in 1975. He stills climbs and is widely regarded across the international climbing community.

Sir Christian Bonington CVO CBE DL

Chris Bonington is one of the 20th Century’s most well-known mountaineers. His career includes nineteen expeditions to the Himalayas as well as the first ascent of the south face of Annapurna. Bonington has written and edited numerous climbing and mountaineering books and is well-known in the UK. In 1974 he received the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1985 he received the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. He was knighted in 1996.

Paul Caffyn ONZM

Paul Caffyn is a NZ mountain guide and expedition kayaker. He was born in Sydney and has spent much of his life involved in kayaking, caving and rock climbing. Paul has completed many solo kayak circumnavigations, including mainland Australia, Tasmania, and all three major islands of New Zealand. Caffyn was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 for services to sea kayaking and water safety.

Kim Carrigan

Kim Carrigan was a leading exponent of Australian rock climbing in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Carrigan put up several hundred new routes on crags around the country, in particular at Mount Arapiles, Victoria. In the 80s, he established some of the hardest new climbs on the Organ Pipes at the time. He repeatedly extended the limits of Australian climbing. He is now a keen mountain biker.

Simon Carter

Australian born photographer Simon Carter has spent the last two decades documenting some of the most important climbers and climbing areas in the world. The result is an incredible portfolio of photos, which capture climbing at its best. He is an award-winning photographer of international fame, publisher, and guidebook author. He recently completed a photo-shoot on the Organ Pipes in early 2014. Simon’s next book to be published this year will feature the Organ Pipes.

Greg Child

Greg Child is an Australian-born rock climber, mountaineer, author and filmmaker who now lives in the US. He has authored several books: Thin Air: Encounters in the Himalayas, Mixed Emotions: Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child and Climbing Free (co-authored with Lynn Hill). He has written numerous magazine articles for “Outside”, “Climbing”, “Rock and Ice” and “Men’s Journal”. In 1987, Child was honoured with the American Alpine Club’s Literary Award for his prolific and insightful literature.

Dr James Duff

Dr James Duff grew up in the UK but now lives in Australia. Jim has more than 30 years’ experience climbing, trekking and teaching wilderness medicine, first aid and leadership in the Himalaya. He was doctor on Chris Bonington’s 1975 Expedition, which made the first ascent of Everest’s Southwest face, and on the Australian first ascent of the North face of Everest in 1984. Jim has climbed in the Himalayas, UK, Alps, Norway, New Zealand and North America. In 1997 he founded the International Porter Protection Group and is currently working in the Gokyo valley in the Everest region.

Monique Forestier

Monique Forestier is one of Australia’s leading female climbers. She was born in Austria but grew up in Australia. She trained as an elite gymnast before she discovered climbing, which she has been practising for almost 18 years. Monique lives in the Blue Mountains and is the first Australian women to climb routes graded 31, 32 and 33. She has climbed in 18 countries included China, the US, Borneo and Spain.

Michael Groom OAM

Michael is an Australian mountaineer who became the fourth ever person to summit the four highest mountains in the world (Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, K2 and Everest) without the aid of bottled oxygen. He proceeded to climb the fifth highest, Makalu, in 1999. In 1987 he lost the front third of his feet to frostbite descending from his successful summit of Kangchenjunga. Michael is now an inspirational public speaker.

Lynn Hill

At one time Lynne was the best female climber - and arguable of any sex - in the world. She became famous for her first free ascent of The Nose on Yosemite’s El Capitan and subsequently the first free ascent in a day. One of the first successful women in the sport, Hill shaped rock climbing for women and became a public spokesperson, helping it gain wider popularity and arguing for gender equality. Hill has publicized climbing by appearing on television shows and writing an autobiography, Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.

Gary Kuehn

Gary is a senior mountain guide. He is a member of the American Mountain Guides Association, has Physics and Engineering degrees, and has many years experience as a field leader and training officer for the Australian Antarctic Programme. Gary has extensive expedition experience, climbing and ski touring globally from the New Zealand and European Alps to the Patagonian Icecap and Alaska. Gary grew up in the US and is now resident in New Zealand.

Andrew Lock OAM

Andrew is the first Australian mountaineer to climb all fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres above sea level in October 2009. In all he has 18 personal 8000 metre summits, having climbed several twice. His preferred climbing style is in small teams, climbing without sherpa support or auxiliary oxygen. Along the way he has achieved six first Australian ascents (Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat, Hidden Peak, Manaslu, Annapurna and Shishapangma) and four solo ascents (Lhotse, Broad Peak, Shishapangma Central and Cho Oyu).

Tim Macartney-Snape OAM AM

Tim is an Australian mountaineer and author. Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer were the first Australians to reach the summit of Mount Everest via a new route on the North Face without supplementary oxygen in 1984. In 1990, he became the first person to walk and climb all the way from sea level to the top of Mount Everest. Macartney-Snape is also the founder of the Sea to Summit range of outdoor and adventure gear and accessories, and a guide for adventure travel company World Expeditions.

Dr Rick McGregor

Rick is originally from New Zealand but is now living in Sweden. He was a senior Lecturer Otago University, and is an accomplished kayaker and climber with many first ascents across the Globe. He is also a prolific climbing guidebook author. Since spending several long winters in Kiruna Ricj, he has also become a keen ice climber and ice skater.

Greg Mortimer OAM

Greg Mortimer is an Australian climber and mountaineer most well known as one of the first two Australians (with Tim Macartney-Snape) to successfully climb Mount Everest in 1984. Mortimer was also the first Australian to climb K2, Annapurna II by its south face, and Antarctica’s highest peak, Vinson Massif. Since 1992 he has led over 80 expeditions to Antarctica, many on a commercial basis with his company Aurora Expeditions.

Brigitte Muir OAM

In May 1997, Brigitte became the first Australian woman to climb Everest, and the first Australian to climb the Seven Summits. Her autobiography, ‘The Wind in my Hair‘, was published in September 1998. Since retiring from high altitude climbing, Brigitte has concentrated on keynote speaking, developing treks for women, fundraising for adult women education in Nepal, film making, and guiding.


Simon is one of the strongest, most experienced climbers to come out of Tasmania. He was born in Tasmania but is currently residing in Canada where he is Chief of Critical Care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. He has climbed around the world, including the North Face of the Eiger in just 2 days as well as the Nose of El Cap in just one day. He also completed the second Australian ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia.

Doug Scott CBE

Doug Scott is an English mountaineer whose career includes over 30 expeditions to Asia and he is regarded as one of the world’s leading high altitude and big wall climbers. He has climbed the highest peak on each of all seven continents. He has received numerous awards including Lifetime Contribution Award at the 2011 Piolet d’Or awards in Chamonix. Scott founded the charity Community Action Nepal and spends much of his time fundraising for this cause.

Louise Shepherd

Louise has been rock climbing for 30 years and guiding for 25 years. She was one of Australia’s top climbers during the 80s and was one of the first women to regularly onsight grade 25. Louise made many significant ascents in Australia and around the world, including several new routes, and is now working as a climbing guide. Louise regularly coordinates Friends of Arapiles track-building,  as well as assists Cliffcare Victoria.

Heidi Wirtz

Heidi Wirtz is one of the USA’s few prominent female adventure climbers. She has been climbing for over twenty years, letting her passion for adventure and exploration lead her to places such as Nepal, Morocco, Jordan, Siberia, Tasmania, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Pakistan, South America, Canada etc. She is known in the United States as “Heidi Almighty” for her bold and technical climbing as well as speed ascents in Yosemite Valley. Heidi is also an inspirational speaker and adventure leader.

The Media Release, here

Christine Milne: Economy, Tarkine, Tasmanian Brand, Jacquie Lambie, RET