Mike Law Training Clinics – Register Now!

Posted on January 20, 2016 by to Events, News | No Comments

Somewhere on the Sydney sea cliffs.

Mike somewhere on the Sydney sea cliffs.

We recently announced Mike Law’s visit to Perth to run some climbing clinics and speak at the AGM. One of Australia’s climbing legends (‘The Claw’), he is both knowledgeable and entertaining.

Perth climbers have a unique opportunity to come and learn from the master (and marvel at his amazing Hawaiian shirts). You can now register for the training clinics scheduled at the end of February. Current members have been given the opportunity to register for the clinics ahead of advertising on the CAWA website but there are still a few spots left.

There will be two clinics:

1. Transition from indoor to outdoor climbing: being self sufficient

  • This basic course in outdoor safety will make climbing a bit safer and more enjoyable. It provides some training in the skills you need to progress your climbing safely in the outdoors and be self sufficient.
  • WHY? Many climbers with gym training have high technical skills, but have little practical experience in staying alive outdoors.
  • WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?  A bit about belaying methods, abseiling, falling, retreating and rescue.
  • WHO SHOULD COME? Anyone who thinks their survival skills might be improved. This course is perfect for novice climbers who are looking to make the transition from indoors to outdoors; those who already climb outdoors but have limited experience; anyone uncertain of whether they are employing safe practices or if you aren’t confident you could manage a difficult situation when out climbing with a buddy.

Date: Friday 19 February 2016

Time: 6 pm – 9 pm

Venue: Climbing gym. TBC.

Cost: $ 50 per member (plus normal gym entry)

2. Advanced climbing skills (applicable to both trad and sport)

For the more experienced, Mike has some special treats in store, including:

  • The physics of climbing and belaying: Trad belaying, light and heavy climbers, belaying seconds and belay methods.
  • Trix and red-pointing: How to cheat at climbing. Speeding up multi-pitching.
  • Training: mental, technique, strength, movement on rock and how failure is the best teacher.
  • Trad and anchors: Hauling and setting up 2 bolt belay. Why does trad feel hard?
  • How to choose reasonable goals and achieve them and how not to destroy your body in the process by over-training.
  • How to deal with fear and what it reasonable to be afraid of.
  • Route and trip planning

Who is this course best suited to? Intermediate to advanced climbers (this means you have been spent quite a bit of time outdoors). It is not suitable for novice climbers.

Date: Sunday 21 February 2016

Time: Early start, TBA. Full day (likely to be a long one).

Venue: TBA and weather dependent. Starting outdoors then moving to indoors. In the event of truly vile weather (wet or really hot), then it will be run entirely indoors, where the skills can still be easily taught. Participants should be prepared to be flexible about course content.

Cost: $100 per member (plus normal gym entry)

Please note: HELMETS ARE COMPULSORY while we are outdoors and must be worn any time you are at the base or on top of a cliff.

Clinic numbers will be limited, to allow for individual attention.

Comprehensive notes will be provided to participants of both courses on the day. There will be a mix of theory and practical. Please bring a pen and notebook (unless you want to scribble on your handout).

Please note that the clinics and AGM are strictly CAWA member only events.

Keen to participate but not a CAWA member? Joining online is quick and easy: Become a CAWA member today.

How to register for the clinics:

Please email me at denar@climberswa.asn.au to register.

Please state which clinic you would like to attend and outline your climbing experience. I will then confirm your place and provide you with further details.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Dena Rao
CAWA President

CAWA Brings Mike Law to Perth Feb 2016

Posted on January 12, 2016 by to Events, News | No Comments

Working the first ascent of Grass Direct (25)

Working the first ascent of Grass Direct (25)

Mike Law is an Australian climbing legend and CAWA is bringing him to Perth in February 2016 to run a couple of clinics and speak at the AGM.

Mike was a leading climber in the 70s, developing many cliffs and new routes. Over the next 40 years he continued to put up many new routes (2800 m worth in one year!). Along the way he has climbed around the world, developed and tested bolting methods (placing over 2000 bolts in the last decade), and used his degree in materials science to test bolts and trad gear.

When middle-age hit he succumbed to an office job and worked on time-efficient training and climbing efficiently. Apart from climbing everywhere, his interests are the physics of climbing, belaying and gear.

Some of the best descriptions of ‘The Claw’ can be found in his book, ‘Law Unto Himself’ (2013). Reproduced here with permission are some excerpts to help create a picture of this colourful, outspoken man and whet your appetites:

Glenn Tempest says:

‘In the early 1970s a young red-headed Sydney schoolboy exploded onto the Australian climbing scene. Michael Law was born in era of dinosaur lines, etriers and ironmongery but, by a stroke of luck, his appearance also coincided with the first ripples of the free- and clean-climbing movement that was soon to become a tsunami. Young, quirky and tormented, Michael quickly became what many of us believe to be the most talented of Australia’s now legendary ‘New Wave’ generation of the 1970s and 80s.

His anarchistic behavior and constant blurring of ethical boundaries is matched only by his talent for spotting exceptional new lines and a voracious appetite for climbing them. The truth is that Michael has probably put up more classic climbs than anyone else in the country and there will be very few of us who have not praised, cursed or celebrated his efforts.’

From ‘Oozing to a Different Tune’ by Simon Mentz (foreword):

‘In today’s world where everyone climbs 8c and all you need to know about climbing can be accessed from your phone, the ramblings of some weak old codger in book form might not appear all that appealing. But while there is an ever increasing production line of strong climbers hitting the cliffs, it would appear that the factory must have lost the mould to Michael Law whose unique approach to climbing has been more akin to an artist than an athlete. (Note to reader: it should be acknowledged that Michael was once young and strong).

Michael’s impact on Australian rockclimbing is undeniable. His first claim to fame came way back in 1974 when as a fifteen year old schoolboy he made the first free ascent of the Blue Mountains testpiece, Janicepts at grade 21. Over the next four decades he went on to establish hundreds of quality new routes throughout Australia on everything from grotty little urban crags, frightening sea cliffs, consumer-friendly sport cliffs, superb trad crags and remote big cliffs. He is arguably responsible for more classic routes throughout Australia than anyone else.

But it is not just his long resume of new routes that Michael is renowned. His ability to ooze up a piece of rock that might spit off far stronger climbers, his ability to look at climbing from a different perspective and his creative and irreverent approach to so many other aspects of climbing – from protecting climbs with imaginative pieces of equipment (that may have been better left in his imagination) to outlandish fashion. He has entertained, inspired, frustrated and annoyed generations of climbers with his brilliance, enthusiasm and at times controversial approach.

From a personal perspective, I can’t think of any climber whose new routes combined with his writing I have derived so much pleasure. The more I climbed the more Michael’s writing spoke to me and the more I appreciated that X-factor that so many of his routes seemed to possess. Despite the many frustrating hours trying to work out baffling sequences to some of his climbs I always found them extremely rewarding. Usually it was a case of technique over brute strength. And like the moves on his climbs, much of his writing has lingered in my mind over the years too. Sometimes it was simply a route description from one of his guidebooks, such as this gem to Vampire Crack (grade 14) at Hanging Rock near Melbourne…
This is the token old-fashioned classic, it’s got the lot. A tight, thrutchy knee and squeeze chimney with sparse protection which is often wet. Especially in winter when the cliff is even more like a urinal wall. Despite all this it’s quite pleasant in a boy-scoutish sort of way.

Michael’s ability to capture the essence of something in as few a words as possible is also exceptional; I loved his effort many years ago when in a guidebook he reduced the entire climbing history to Mt Piddington in the Blue Mountains to this… ’64 -’67; the great John Ewbank. ’67 till now; the mobs. In recent years, grades climb and climbers fall. The only point to focus on is the leading edge of the present. However the current tendency for hung-over days on overhangs to merge into more wasted evenings can only be encouraged.’

Mike has a wealth of experience to share and we will be running two different types of clinics for CAWA members to cater for both less experienced and more advanced climbers.

More details about the clinics and how to register will be sent to members over the next month or so.

Dena Rao
CAWA President

CAWA AGM Photo Competition 2016

Posted on January 04, 2016 by to News | No Comments

It’s on again! The annual CAWA AGM Photo Competition!


Entries close at midnight on Monday 1st February 2016.

Once again, all CAWA members are invited to submit their inspiring, awesome, action-packed climbing photos from this year’s climbing adventures. Rules of engagement are:

  1. You can only submit photos you’ve taken yourself;
  2. You agree to allow CAWA to publish a small image of it on the CAWA website, Facebook page and the Western Climber (especially if you win!);
  3. You must be a current CAWA member; and 4. The photo must have be taken between 1st February 2014 and 31st January 2015 (so you can submit photos taken from your Christmas/New Years’ adventures).

There will once again be two categories:

  1. Climbing in WA (exposing the fun and diverse climbing we have in this State); and
  2. Climbing Everywhere Else (the adventures we have when we’re not climbing in WA).

Additional prizes this time round will also be given for such obviously under-appreciated talent as:

  • Best bum shot;
  • Best action shot; and
  • Best climbing outfit.

The winners will be decided on the night of the AGM by voting.

The CAWA photo comp has been a resounding success in the last few years, and we will once again be creating a CAWA calendar for 2016.

Useful information to include with your submitted photo:

  1. Your name;
  2. The name of the climb, climber and location, and grade if you wish.

Please email your photos and queries to: kates@climberswa.asn.au

Happy snapping!

Gym Crash! Thursday 14th January @ The Boulder Hub

Posted on December 28, 2015 by to Social | No Comments


Our January gym crash will be held at The Boulder Hub for the first time – 2/1 Venture Loop, Wangara.

Come along and have a boulder in Perth’s only dedicated bouldering gym. Gym crashes are a great way to meet new climbing partners and other CAWA members.

Starts around 6:30 pm on Thursday 14th January.

Special CAWA member entry price will be $10 for this gym crash. After wearing yourself out bouldering, there’ll be tasty pizza to feast on, for $5 each (CAWA members).

The Perth Rock Climbing Guide and our new CAWA t-shirts will be available for purchase ($25). It would be appreciated if you could bring the exact amount.

Gym crashes are a member benefit. Joining online is easy via the CAWA website homepage.

Looking forward to seeing you all there. Look out for the committee members wearing the blue CAWA t-shirts!

Megan Smith
CAWA Committee Member

Vertical Rescue Course for CAWA Members

Posted on December 23, 2015 by to Events, News | No Comments

Cliff Rescue Training - 14.06.2014 087

This one day course will be conducted by Adventure Out for CAWA members. It has been specifically designed to address the situations we commonly find ourselves in so that the skills you take away will be directly applicable and utilise the gear usually carried on single and multi-pitch climbs.

The rescue outline below has an individual focus for a climbing pair. It will not include a team rescue approach employing complicated equipment and complex rigging systems, although all of the skills taught do align with the large scale rescue techniques.


  • Introduction elements for both self and partner rescue session.
  • The methods outlined will be taught with minimal equipment (improvisation), with a focus on developing knowledge that provides the safest solution/s.

Self-Rescue Skills: Developing personal knowledge and skills.

  • Ascend a rope (prusiking)
  • Changing from a rope system to another independent rope system
  • How to rig a Belay Anchoring system that is quick, efficient and ready for any potential rescue (less than 30 second change process).
  • Escaping a jammed (compromised) belay anchoring system (poor and or incorrect rigging set up). A poor belay set up creates a secondary challenge that consumes time and requires self-escape before conducting a rescue for your partner.

Partner Rescue Skills:

  • Assessing the situation and developing a plan! Scenarios that lead into a practical response
  • Conscious partner rescue, who can or can’t assist
  • Unconscious partner rescue
  • Anchor point set up for mechanical advantage (MA) lift
  • MA systems  (2:1, 3:1 and 6:1 MA systems) to lift or access an injured climber
  • Lowering: single and double rope methods

Date: Sunday 10 January 2016

Time: All day. 

Cost: $95 per member (Normally this would cost $375 per person).

The low cost reflects AO kindly providing a special rate along with a further subsidy by CAWA.

CAWA members have already received notification about this course by email but there are still a few spots left.

If you are keen but not yet a CAWA member, you can join online quickly and easily here: Become a CAWA member today.

Please contact me to register and for further information: denar@climberswa.asn.au

Dena Rao

CAWA President

Update on Kalbarri Climbing and Camping

Posted on December 18, 2015 by to News | No Comments

CAWA has received a letter from DPaW’s Midwest Regional Manager (link below), concerning the rediscovered rock wallabies and how this affects management of the area.

This letter and the Kalbarri gorge camping question were discussed at length at the committee meeting on 9 December 2015. Prior to this discussion the committee has seen, heard and obtained the views of a good number of climbers about camping at The Promenade. The committee notes that climbing access to The Promenade has been preserved and that DPaW will provide an alternative campground near the Z-Bend car park. The committee also notes that DPaW is committed to full consultation with CAWA in the development of the conservation plan over the next 6 months. Given these important points and the conservation significance of the rediscovery of the rock wallabies, the committee has unanimously agreed to accept the management provisions outlined in this letter.

The committee will ensure full consultation between CAWA and DPaW does occur, with ample opportunity for member comment being provided along the way.

While the committee’s primary concern is maintaining climbing access, we also appreciate the need for a reasonable camping alternative and are committed to ensuring that the alternative campsite near the Z-Bend carpark is operational prior to the start of the 2016 climbing season. We have been assured by DPaW that it will be.

Any significant developments will be posted on this site.

DPaW letter to CAWA re rock wallaby population


CAWA Committee

Logan Barber: A Local Climber’s Progression

Posted on December 16, 2015 by to Events, News, Social | No Comments


Come and join a well-known local climbing icon, Logan Barber, as he shares climbing stories with his hometown. Focusing on his progression as a climber from Perth and his inspirations, the talk will cover his travels as well as his achievements stretching over a 19 year career that has taken him all over the world.

Yangshou | Kalymnos | Squamish | Yosemite | Red River Gorge | Patagonia | Zhangshiyan | Mijang | Heuco Tanks

Where: City Summit Climbing Centre

When: 30th January 2016 @ 7pm

Tickets: Presentation only: $10 Presentation and pre-climb $20

Food and beverages included

Contact information: Please phone City Summit on 9248 7035 with any queries

Remote Area First Aid Course January 2016

Posted on December 10, 2015 by to Events, News | No Comments

Climbers often find themselves in remote areas (a remote area being defined as more than one hour from definitive care, with definitive care being a permanent medical facility). Though remote first aid does not replace definitive medical care, the ability to provide immediate appropriate care to an injured or suddenly ill person could be life saving.

There is an increasing reliance on mobile phones to solve all problems, with the assumption that you can just call for help and someone will come. Help is more readily available in some places than others, but it still takes time for emergency services to respond. In some areas, rescue will depend on volunteer groups such as SES, who must be assembled and then deployed. The reality is that you could be waiting hours or even days for help to arrive.

In recognition of the importance of this type of training, we have organised for Survive First Aid to provide a remote area first aid course for CAWA members. In addition to a specially discounted rate, CAWA will further subsidise the training to encourage participation.

This nationally accredited training is recommended for anyone who spends time in the outdoors and though this course is being specifically run for CAWA members (and so tailored accordingly for climbing), it will equip you with the skills to handle remote area situations generally.

I can personally vouch for how good the training is and how life-like the scenarios are. Whilst at times confronting (fake wounds, fake blood etc), it highlights the importance of applying the skill and not just learning the theory. It’s challenging but fun and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

How Can Training Benefit You?

  • Nationally Recognised Units of Competency upon successful completion of the course
  • Develop your existing skills further and learn new skills
  • Opportunity to have your existing skills recognised with a nationally recognised qualification
  • This unit of competency can be used as part credit towards the nationally certified course Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation.

Students will need to complete these three areas of competency:

  • HLTAID003 Provide First Aid
  • SISOOPS305A Provide First Aid in a Remote Situation
  • SISXEMR201A Respond to an Emergency Situation

Topics covered will include:

DRSABCD Action Plan; CPR; unconscious patient; first aid principles and guidelines; shock; planning and preparation for a remote location; wounds; fractures; dislocations; sprains and strains; spine management; asthma; burns; anaphylaxis; hyperthermia; hyperthermia; bites and stings; abdominal and head injuries.

See here for more detailed information: Remote area first aid

Date and duration: Run over 2 ½ days, Friday 29 January – Sunday 31 January 2016

Normally 3 full days, we are running it over 2.5 days to try and fit in with work schedules.

Pre-course reading required (supplied once you register)

Friday 6-9 pm, Saturday 8-6 pm, Sunday 8-6 pm

Venue: Friday night and Sat will be at Department of Sport and Recreation offices in Leederville, Sunday at a quarry.

Cost: $ 300 per person (This includes CAWA subsidy. $350 paid direct to Survive and CAWA will reimburse you $50 once full payment has been made). Normally $450.

There are limited places so get in quick!

Please rsvp to me by Wednesday 16 December 2015 and I’ll provide you with further details about registration and payment: denar@climberswa.asn.au

If you would like to attend but are not already a CAWA member, you can join here: Become a CAWA member today

Dena Rao

CAWA President

Eaglestone Rock Access Formalised

Posted on November 13, 2015 by to News | 2 Comments


Recently, DPaW raised concerns about climbing taking place at Eaglestone Rock after a visitor complained about the presence of bolts. Though the bolts have been in place for the better part of ten years, DPaW seemed to be unaware of the climbing activities. The primary route developers, respecting the sensitivities that go with access, had initially sought permission from the local shire, believing this to be the responsible course of action. Permission to climb and bolt was granted but unfortunately by people not entitled to do so, as the area is managed by DPaW (not the local council). It is also part of a nature reserve, where any activity is prohibited without explicit permission from DPaW. DPaW is actually working to have this area reclassified as a conservation reserve, which is less restrictive. However, this is a long way off. There are also other issues here with relations between DPaW and the local council but these have nothing to do with us and are not expected to have any detrimental effect on climbing. It’s not an uncommon situation.

The outcome is that continued climbing access has been negotiated with DPaW and it’s business as usual. Just to be clear, this means that nothing will change for climbers. It’s important for climbers to understand and be aware of the sometimes less obvious but important work CAWA does in promoting the sport and protecting access and for our members to help spread the word. It’s not about aggressively demanding but building relationships and developing some mutual respect. Sometimes it’s relatively straightforward and sometimes it takes a bit longer to work out the kinks.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.

Dena Rao

CAWA President

Kalbarri National Park Developments and Rock Wallabies

Posted on November 08, 2015 by to News | 6 Comments

Black Flanked Rock Wallaby

Black Flanked Rock Wallaby

Wallabies at The Promenade

This little lady and her fur baby are extremely rare Black Flanked Rock Wallabies, thought to have died out in this area around twenty years ago. Seen recently in the Z-Bend gorge at Kalbarri National Park (KNP), they have made their home directly adjacent to The Promenade, on the ‘grassy’ slopes on the downstream side, which has been traditionally used by climbers for their ablutions. It is likely they have set up house there because it is one of the few spots in the gorge offering protection from the elements. At this point, no others have been found in the area and DNA testing indicates that they are quite distinct from similar wallabies seen in other parts of WA. Along with hubbie, they are likely to be the only three in existence.

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) in this area is supportive of our activties, for which we continue to be grateful, as Kalbarri is without doubt a very special place to climb. Whilst climbers have been mindful of the wallabies, discussion with DPaW suggests that our increased presence in that area generally is impacting negatively on these wallabies and possibly inhibiting natural behaviours, like foraging for food. This in turn poses a very real threat to the survival of this subspecies. In recent times there has been a significant increase in the number of climbers visiting the area and often camping. In order to protect these little guys while further research is being undertaken about the best way to ensure their preservation, the management of climbing activities needs to change and DPaW needs our support.

The other issue that has been a concern for DPaW for some time and now confirmed in the course of the wallaby investigations, is that the large numbers of climbers camping in such a small area is having a negative impact on the environment. I conveyed DPaW’s request to minimise camping previously on the CAWA website, in newsletters and on social media forums, as well as to groups of climbers, in an attempt to encourage self-regulation. Please see here my post from May 2014: Kalbarri Camping and Access. Unfortunately, this has been unsuccessful in moderating the number of climbers camping in the gorge and in spite of my pleas to prioritise our long term climbing access over short term convenience, numbers and frequency have increased.

We will still be able to climb in the gorge but DPaW requests that climbers limit the amount of traffic to The Promenade and adjacent areas. This means number of people, frequency and time spent there. Demonstrating our willingness to work with DPaW to care for the environment is key to continued access and safeguarding our positive working relationship. DPaW has put the following conditions in place until further notice:

  1. No camping in this section of the gorge. DPaW will not accept registrations for overnight stays in this area.
  2. Please contact the local DPaW office on (08) 9937 1140 prior to climbing. Registration has always been a requirement for any climbing activities but this may not be well known and has generally not been enforced with private climbers. This will enable the rangers to update you with any important information.

Realistically, camping at The Prom was never going to be a viable long term option. One of the reasons we love to go there is because it’s unspoiled and we want to keep it that way. Even with care being taken by most groups, the sheer numbers are a problem. DPaW’s intent in allowing overnight stays in the gorge is to provide an occasional ‘wild camping’ experience for small numbers of people. So bearing this in mind, we’ve had a pretty good run and they have been exceptionally accommodating.

In our submission to the draft KNP Management Plan last year, we suggested the development of vehicle-based camping near the Z-Bend car park. DPaW recognises the lack of accommodation in the park generally and is keen to work with us to provide alternate camping options for climbers and other groups. There has been a strong push for this and it is acknowledged in the recently published 2015 management plan. Luckily we are at the end of the Kalbarri climbing season and I have been assured that by the time it rolls around next year some sort of vehicle-based camping within the park will be made available to climbers.

Planned Developments at KNP

The government’s plan to boost tourism in WA’s mid west region will see some changes to the KNP over the next couple of years. There are two skywalks scheduled to be installed at the West Loop lookout by 2017. There are no climbing routes in this area. The remainder of the Z-Bend/Loop road will be sealed. The access to Placid Pool in the Z-Bend gorge (The Adventure Wall, The Pit and The Promenade climbing areas) is currently via a scramble (or a refreshing swim). An access upgrade has been considered, which would mean a ladder where we usually place a temporary rope. The purpose being to create more of an ‘adventure’ experience for hikers. This would increase tourist traffic, which is currently limited by the awkward access. It’s worth noting that relatively few visitors to the Z-Bend even make it that far, with most walkers stopping when they get to the bottom of the tourist track into the gorge and many not going beyond the lookout on top. If a ladder is installed, the most obvious climbing related issues are more general public traffic in the area and safety concerns for both climbers and walkers. Though DPaW understands that we don’t want to see a ladder there, discussion suggests that it is manageable using tools like appropriate signage. A similar situation is managed in The Aviary, where commercial abseiling and climbing take place regularly. However, I’m happy to report that partly due to the presence of the wallabies, it’s very unlikely that this enhanced access will occur, at least in the short to medium term. To ensure our concerns are factored into any longer term decisions, a formal submission will be made to DPaW along with a request to be included in any future discussions.

The road upgrade means more road closures in 2016. DPaW will no doubt post information on their website as they have done previously and climbers can always call the rangers for more information.

As mentioned above, part of the new management plan is developing nature-based and vehicle-based accommodation options within the park. DPaW is well aware of the need to provide an alternative to gorge camping that still provides convenient access for climbing. We will continue to liaise with DPaW on this and report on progress.

It would be appreciated if everyone can help to circulate this information to fellow climbers.

If you have any queries, please email me: denar@climberswa.asn.au.

Dena Rao

CAWA President