Adventurers document climb and BASE jump from Tasmania’s Frenchmans Cap


Updated

April 07, 2018 15:31:13

For hikers, Frenchmans Cap in Tasmania’s west offers some tough challenges.

It’s a gruelling 46 kilometre, five-day trek to the 1,446 metre high summit, which overlooks the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

For most adventurers, walking to the top would be enough of a challenge, but not for filmmaker Pete Wyllie.

“I’ve been climbing and parachuting for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to have an adventure where I could combine … rock climbing and BASE jumping into the one … challenge,” he said.

“Frenchmans Cap seemed like a perfect place for it.

“There’s a huge wall there, that can lend itself to a great climb and subsequent jump from the top.”

With the challenge set, Wyllie and five of his friends went about making and filming the journey.

It started with an arduous 25 kilometre trek to the base of a 350 metre rock climb known as The Lorax.

Then on the morning following the climb, Wyllie and his friend Lee Jackson took the plunge.

“It’s fantastic when you stand at the top of Frenchmans Caps. It really just feels like the whole of Tasmania is lying at your feet,” he said.

“It was fantastic just building up to it and then right at the right time, my friend Lee and I jumped off the top.

“It’s this incredible feeling of almost weightlessness you get for the first couple of seconds, as you come off the top, and then as you gain speed after a couple of seconds you feel that strong push of the air around you.

“You hear the wind in your ears and it gets louder and louder as you build up speed.

“It’s an amazing feeling.”

While the six-person team completed the trip in 2015, the film documenting the journey has only just been completed.

The Lorax Project debuted in Victoria earlier this year, and Tasmanians got their first look on Friday night at the Cradle Mountain Film Festival.

Wyllie said taking the film out to the public wasn’t without some reservations.

“It’s a double-edged sword when we sort of advertise these places through film and photography,” he said.

“I think with that comes a responsibility to present places in the right way, and obviously it’s going to increase the numbers that come to places like Tasmania.

“I’ve thought about this quite a bit, but on balance really people have to know about places to appreciate them and to want to try and protect them.

“If you can educate people and show them the right way to enjoy these places, I think definitely the balance is in favour of showing people how amazing these places are.”

In 2017, more than 1.2 million people visited Tasmania with the majority of them engaging in outdoor activities.

Statistics from Tourism Tasmania show more and more visitors are choosing to enjoy the great outdoors, with 872,100 people last year participating in outdoor and other activities during their trip to the state.

That’s an increase of 5.2 per cent on the year before, while the data also showed strong increases in the number of bushwalkers visiting Tasmania.

Jen Brown is an amateur film maker and ultra marathon runner based in Hobart.

She said there were growing concerns in the community about the rise of the tourism industry.

“There’s a lot of fear social media is attracting a huge amount of people to Tasmania and we don’t have the safe measures in place around that to sustain it,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are just concerned that inviting a bunch of people in through tourism, through our films those sort of things that we’re not going to put the measures in place to make it sustainable.”

Ms Brown said she saw adventure films as being part of the solution, and a way to showcase the right ways to enjoy Tasmania’s wilderness.

“I think it’s really important to share share these beautiful places with people but when we do we need to be mindful that they are sensitive,” she said.

“It’s about making people know that these places are out there and that they need to be looked after and we’ve got to really respect them.

“The most important thing is we make it sustainable and we look after it.”

BASE jumping is banned in Australia’s National Parks and on private property without permission — something that is rarely given.

Topics:

film-movies,

environmental-impact,

tas

First posted

April 07, 2018 13:42:11



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