Leaving Intentions While Climbing Around Homer Tunnel

SH94 Milford Rd, Homer Saddle to Mt Moir, Fiordland.  

2021 Rock Inspections and Light Scaling Works.

A rockfall risk assessment for the Milford Road was completed during 2019 to better understand the risk profile from the Homer Saddle to Mt Moir area. Assessment results returned a very high rockfall risk for road users at the Homer Tunnel portal approaches. This aligns with historical rockfall events observed at portal approaches and near misses witnessed as shown in the following photo.  

Still image taken from Milford Road Alliance's Homer Tunnel portal camera showing rockfall boulders impacting adjacent to the highway, narrowly missing road users. Occurance 27th May, 2019.
Still image taken from Milford Road Alliance’s Homer Tunnel portal camera showing rockfall boulders impacting adjacent to the highway, narrowly missing road users. Occurrence 27th May 2019. 

Milford Road Alliance, with assistance from professional rope access subcontractors, will soon carry out slope inspections/mapping, light scaling and installation of monitoring systems in the area. This work will reduce rockfall potential and assist with better site knowledge and is based on recommendations from specialists with skills and experience in geohazard management.    

This work will be carried out during fine weather spells to allow safe access to these slopes. We envisage up to 14 days of onsite works starting after 1st February through to 4th April 2021. 

Scaling could occur during this works period. We will undertake close management to ensure the safety of all park users in the area - from tourist traffic at road level, to climbers enjoying the Darran Mountains in close proximity to our scaling operations. With the risk of scaling hazards interacting with climbers in the area we are proposing the following steps to minimise disruption to park users and interaction with our operations.

  1. Climbers and other park users, please write your route intentions in the Homer Hut book and confirm your plans with the Homer Hut warden OR with the Dept of Conservation in Te Anau (DOC). This is critical. Please do this on arrival and before heading out on your climbing / hiking mission. We want to work with you, so please communicate your plans so we can limit the interaction and threat of rockfall from our scaling operations.  
  2. Milford Road Alliance staff will check in with DOC daily & Homer Hut warden and guests on evenings the night before scaling operations are scheduled. This will be between the hours of 4 to 5pm. We will check the intensions book, talk to the hut warden and any guests at the hut to gauge plans for all groups the next day. 
  3. Milford Road Alliance staff will check in again on the morning of scheduled scaling days to confirm guest plans. Expect this visit at 8:00am. 
  4. The map below shows the two areas we will be inspecting, mapping and light scaling in. East facing slopes are directly above the Homer Tunnel Slabs climbing area. West facing slopes are directly above the Moirs Mate Diamond Face and Moirs Mate West Face climbing areas and above the access way to Mate’s Little Brother. Scaling cannot occur either side of the divide while climbers are on or below these climbing areas. Coordination and planning will be required to keep one side of the divide clear to allow works to proceed with climbing possible on the other side of the divide. For example, we will focus on east facing slopes when climbers are on the popular west facing climbing routes. Any days no climbers are present on west facing slopes we will look to utilise and inspect/scale these slopes.
  5. Short duration scaling will occur in mornings to limit traffic disruptions below. We will manage traffic safety through Temporary Traffic Management procedures. Department of Conservation are also aware of this work.  
  6. Milford Road Alliance will undertake camera sweeps of slopes to try and identify any climbers who we are not aware of in these areas. Please remember to clearly state your intensions with the Homer Hut warden or with the Te Anau Dept of Conservation (DOC) visitor centre and in the route intentions book located in the main room at Homer Hut. 
Google Earth image highlighting areas scheduled for rock slope inspections and light scaling
Image from Google Earth to highlight areas scheduled for rock slope inspections and light scaling to reduce rockfall risk to road users below. Please state your intentions in the route book at Homer Hut and confirm your intentions with the Homer Hut warden or with the DOC Te Anau visitor centre.

 

Please call or email the Milford Road Alliance for more information.

Milford Road Alliance: phone (03)249 7004 & email [email protected]

Department of Conservation: phone (03) 249 7924 for the visitor centre.