Death at Stathams – Cliff Safety

Posted on March 03, 2011 by to News

Hi Everyone

For those who don’t already know, as it was not well publicised, a woman fell from the top of Stathams Quarry and died last weekend. I was aware of the accident last Sunday but have only just obtained the details and felt that in advance of this coming long weekend, when many of us will be heading away climbing, it would be prudent to remind everyone, experienced and inexperienced alike, to be be mindful of safety.

It would seem that this lady was on her own and taking pictures with a camera set up on a tripod on the top of the quarry. She fell on the Saturday afternoon/evening and her body was not found until Sunday morning. As far as I’m aware, she was not a climber. It is assumed that she lost her footing and went over the edge, but it isn’t clear exactly what happened.

I see some of my friends scampering around the top of cliff faces with gay abandon, becoming more and more casual about safety the more experienced they become. Familiarity breeds contempt in many areas of life, but when it comes to cliff tops, that contempt may just kill you. There is often gravel and loose rock at the top of climbs. Sometimes it’s really windy. It is possible to just trip over your own feet. The point is, if you are playing around the edge of a rock face, then you owe it to yourself and your climbing partner (yes, you should be considerate of that person as well) to be careful and ensure you are attached to a safety line and solid anchors.

We have many new members and quite a few of them are beginners. Remember that no matter how good a climber you are or become, in that split second when you slip and fall off the edge, we are all equal.

On a happier note, I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend away climbing. I know I will!

Regards

Dena Rao
CAWA President

1 Comment to Death at Stathams – Cliff Safety

Andrew Stuart
March 10, 2011

Dena, totally agree with you here on your timely reminder of general safety on cliff tops. Over the past 30 years we also have a fairly somewhat disturbingly long list of ‘OMG’ type observations from all around various WA sites (including each of the quarries that you have touched on). However, it is the sad case, that even when our staff have very gently requested that both the general public (sometimes with their dogs)also ‘other’ groups, please keep back from the edge when near our groups activities – they are often non-compliant, generally rude or even on the odd occassion downright aggressive, obstructive, inept or all three. What is even more sad to see, is other outdoor community groups (or businesses) displaying the same contempt for other groups members safety as well as their own, in some cases warrants some ‘time out’ for our activities to hold-off for 30-60 minutes, until some of these agressive morons move-on to the next slope!

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