Question Old Rope Tow Outside Brockhoff Hut

Discussion in 'Hotham & Dinner Plain' started by Thomas WHiteside, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Anyone know anything about this old relic outside Brockhoff Hut?

    I assume it's some kind of old portable rope tow.
     
    neilmny likes this.
  2. Boodwah

    Boodwah Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,458
    Likes Received:
    3,769
    Think it was moved there from the old Blue Ribbon.
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  3. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,021
    Likes Received:
    559
    Blue ribbon was a rope tow?
     
  4. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    91
    About 20 years ago there were remnants of the rope tow sitting in amongst rubbish out the back of the old Hotham Chalet.
     
  5. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Yeh, the blue ribbon tow was built in '52 and operated until the early 70s.

    It was built by members of the Alpine Club and USC, who formed 'Ski Tows Ltd'.

    Here's an ad for the tow from the 50s


     
  6. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Twenty years ago was 1997. The old Hotham Chalet ('Hotham Heights Mark 2') burnt down in '76.

    Do you mean the site of the old Chalet or do you mean behind the current 'Hotham Chalet' ?
     
  7. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,021
    Likes Received:
    559
    I'd love that as a poster to hang up.
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  8. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    From Don Bennett's book, 'Hotham Horrizons', describing the Blue Ribbon tow,

    The Hamilton tow consisted of an endless one inch diameter sisal rope passing over pulleys, mounted on brackets adjustable in height to cope with varying snow depths. The pulley brackets were attached to nine inch steel pipes some 20 feet high, set at appropriate intervals down the slope. A 'nut cracker' attached to a waist belt, clipped onto the moving rope. These waist belts were fabricated from old war time aircraft belts. Power was derived from a 28 Horsepower, 6 cylinder, Bedford Truck motor, located in an engine house just below the road. The engine house also provided accommodation for the tow operator in separate living quarters.

    The tow here has the pulleys / wheels, and the steel pole is approx. 9 inches. The pole clearly isn't 20 ft high, but it also looks like it could be adjustable.

    Perhaps the skis / runners on the bottom allowed the height to be set from fluctuating snow level (rather than static ground level), and then packed up in the off season?
     
  9. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    Actually, I remember the remnants of an old hut and machinery near the top of Roaring Forties. (near where the "R" is on the current trail map) Also, the place where the black line is next to the Blue Ribbon chair (above and below the Davenport Trail) was a 4-5m wide run cut into the trees. This was the original line of the rope tow, running down probably to the Plains of Heaven.
    The machinery and cutting were there until maybe early 1990s.
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  10. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Very interesting. So the remnants of that old hut you remember at the top of the roaring forties must have been what was left of the engine house of the original tow!

    What era do you remember the remnants being there? Mid 70s?

    Do you have any photos?
     
  11. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    No, there was no cable on the ground then. The cutting 4-5m wide in the trees was there until the early 1990s, iirc( might have been late 1980s). There was a strip of trees 4-5m wide between it and the Blue Ribbon Chair. They cut those trees away, eliminating the cutting.
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  12. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Sorry, I misread your post initially. Took 'line' to mean cable rather than a cutting.
     
  13. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    If you look at the Google maps satellite picture, you can see where that cutting was, because looks like some bushes have grown back where the strip of trees used to be.
     
  14. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Do you mean here?

     
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    No, Blue Ribbon Chair is towards the bottom right. The cutting was located up against the current line of trees. The rope tow looked like it ran from 1/4 from the bottom(centre) of that shot, out to the middle of the right edge.
     
  16. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    In the 1980s, you touch the tree leaves, sitting on the right side of the the Blue Ribbon Chair. These were later removed
     
  17. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Would you be able to map out the original line using google maps?
     
  18. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    Yep, I can do that tonight!! :)
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  19. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    91
    Ermmmm I'm referring to what was a white brick building which was renovated / extended to maybe 5 years ago. Is seems to now be called 'Chalet Hotham'.

    The remnants of the engine house are still there in the trees where Sandy mentions however has all but completely collapsed and not much more than corrugated iron on the ground. I can ask my old man about the lift as he rode it, I think it only went down about as far as where Wood Run joins in below the Access Track.
     
  20. Boodwah

    Boodwah Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,458
    Likes Received:
    3,769
    When they built the BR chair, the old rope was still there. A couple of the pole/pulleys were too and they looked like the top picture. Think the old wood shed still standing was engine house.
     
  21. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    The cutting was a bit below the Davenport track. (I will show that later on the map)
     
  22. stansi

    stansi Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,372
    Likes Received:
    424
    Please get Him to post that "historically important"
    video of the Orchard towers being lifted into place by the helicopter.
     
  23. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    Ok, here it is as I recall. The hut and machinery were in a gap in the trees part way down Roaring Forties:


    The line of trees was between the Blue Ribbon Chair and the cutting for the rope tow, so it was a run 4-5m wide. The cutting extended past the Davenport Trail. I've shown the trees and the cutting here, and where the hut was, as best as I can recall. The cutting came out onto the lower Wood Run:


    *Edit: Let me say that the rope tow may have extended further down than I've shown. The only on ground evidence I recall is up where the machinery and tree cutting was.

    BTW, the "Plains of Heaven" platter was located below(on the map) the current bottom station of the Blue Ribbon Chair
     
    #23 Sandy, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017 at 11:14 AM
  24. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Great map! I'm gonna try to find the ruins of the engine house next time I'm up
     
  25. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    91
    Pretty sure I have it at Merrijig backed up on CD....now to find a CD player......hmmmm that could be a problem.
     
  26. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Messages:
    3,574
    Likes Received:
    110
    Blue Ribbon towers were also brought in by helicopter. Each in two pieces, an intrepid rigger climbed the bottom half and put in the bolts to connect them together. Sadly, no pics.
    Do I see the "race line" which was the return path from the "five major runs" ?
     
  27. VSG

    VSG Pool Room
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    65,756
    Likes Received:
    2,453
  28. Cuppa

    Cuppa Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2000
    Messages:
    8,065
    Likes Received:
    611
    I assume the race line is the Brandy Creek mine water race.
     
  29. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    Just a bit more info.
    Here's an aerial shot (taken by Heli) in 2002. You can see how straight the tree line is where the rope tow was. Also, I've marked where the old run "Rickshaw" was. It was overgrown by the mid 1990s, but you can still see it in this shot. Take a look at the recent satellite shots, and it's almost undetectable. I've also marked the approx location of the "Plains of Heaven" platter lift.


    Here is part of the Hotham trail map from 1984. You can just see the cutting for the rope tow in this contour before the trees were removed:


    Just thinking about it, the Blue Ribbon rope two cutting was very similar to "Pipeline" in width (marked at the top of this map)

    @Thomas WHiteside @VSG
     
  30. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    And this from Wikiski, 1967. Shows 3 lifts: Blue Ribbon rope tow, Pole Line poma (Summit Poma), Jack's tow.

    It shows the Blue Ribbon rope tow much longer and starting near the road. If that was the case, I'm not sure what the hut and machinery were for near Roaring Forties.



    @Thomas WHiteside @VSG
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  31. snowgum

    snowgum Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,270
    Likes Received:
    286
    Continuing with the BR lift history: looking at the aerial pic and map, one wonders if there's a 'low-risk possum friendly' option for a future replacement lift to cross the road?

    Sure we'll be initially told it's impossible by official sources but most upgrades are 'impossible' when there's no apparent immediate need and/or no funding.

    Fwiw: I'm pretty 'pro-possum' (having held one carefully on mtn). But with all the infrastructure already above the current lift: i.e. GAR, Upper Higgi Rd/Track (with regular grooming & skidoo use) various lodges, the top of Big D, one wonders if a modestly sized skier bridge Over the road and extended lift pylons up to the ridge top is perhaps both possible and compatible with ongoing possum breeding.

    Or is this another factor (aside from simply politics) I'm missing?

    Given the recent Snowmaggedon events: imagine the ability to run a future BR with mid station as either a top only or bottom only lift to cope with both bad weather / good snow & good weather bad snow scenarios. Any ideas? Perhaps a crayola opportunity here VSG?

    This would also help to relieve the crowds at heavenly and would help parents to ski decent blue/blacks close to the kids on Big D.
     
  32. Cuppa

    Cuppa Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2000
    Messages:
    8,065
    Likes Received:
    611
    Had a few runs through the trees on Rickshaw this year. It's been a long time since that was skiable.
     
  33. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Messages:
    3,574
    Likes Received:
    110
    The plot thickens
    Note that Bogong's List of Lifts show Blue Ribbon tow as 560/610 meters long with 235/253 vertical whereas VSG measures the first tow as 60 meters vertical.
    Also Blue Ribbon chair as 720/560 meters long.
    The history must be:
    1. Original tow replaced by a long one in direction of the present chair run .
    2. Chair constructed to replace that tow.
    3. Chair redone with higher top station and right down to the creek.

    Dates?
     
    Thomas WHiteside likes this.
  34. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    Found this article about the building of the first tow in a 1951 issue of Schuss Magazine.

    Also, initial length estimated to be approx. 600 vertical feet.

     
    #35 Thomas WHiteside, Oct 15, 2017 at 4:30 PM
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017 at 5:39 PM
  35. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Messages:
    3,574
    Likes Received:
    110
    Plans (pies in the sky?) ended up on some maps.
    Jack Hedleys rope tow was to start at the creek (actually, the bull wheel got away from us and ended up IN the creek ) and finish at the summit. ("You built the loading platform from snowgums. Well, we will build a road tunnel "). !!
    I heard that even clipping in was close to impossible. Yet it appeared on a map, and not in it's final truncated compromise.

    https://skimap.org/SkiAreas/view/1169 (1953) shows that first tow just ending at the end of the original Blue Ribbon run, much less than 600 feet.

    No lifting in the area from 1974 until 1981 ? Dat not wight... ???
    In 82 there was a Plains of Heaven beginner lift at the bottom of the EXTENDED Blue Ribbon Chair. o_O
     
  36. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    60,325
    Likes Received:
    6,396
    I marked the Plains of Heaven lift on one of the photos.

    There were two versions of that contour map version of 1984. An earlier one (probably 1983) showed the Davenport Poma instead of the Big D Chair.
     
  37. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Messages:
    3,574
    Likes Received:
    110
    The original Blue Ribbon run went down skier's left to Varsity Drag. One could then surmise that the first Blue Ribbon tow might have gone that way? Skiers were pretty wild in those days.
    Lots of things happened in early 70's.
    The Basin Poma went to Davernport.
    (Plains of Heaven platter was much later (82) and only for a couple of years as no beginner wanted to go there.)
    And to stir the pot, from The Age May 5 1970:
    "A new run has been cut from the Blue Ribbon run to the base of their chair lift to add to the variety of slopes available."