The following is some general information for members attending CAWA climbing trips, particularly members who are new and relatively inexperienced at climbing outdoors.
Unfortunately, due to legal and liability issues, CAWA cannot provide training to anyone and legally all participants on trips must not only be CAWA members, but also need to be ‘independent participants’. This means that they need to be able to take care of themselves and have appropriate experience for the type of climbing that is being done.
CAWA loves kids! No, really. CAWA members under the age of 18 are more than welcome to attend trips but they must be supervised by a competent parent or legal guardian. Again for liability and legal reasons, we do not, and cannot, provide supervision to children – whether they are climbing or not!
When a CAWA trip is organised, members are informed of the location and given a description of the type of climbing in the area. Based on this, you can then make your own call on whether you have the skills/experience (or interest) in that type of climbing and ultimately decide if you will attend.
Each trip has a CAWA trip coordinator appointed, and this person’s contact details will be circulated to members when the trip is announced. You can contact this person for more information about the area and the type of climbing to help with your decision-making.
Some of the locations of CAWA trips may not suitable for inexperienced and/or ‘dependent’ climbers and it could be quite dangerous for them to attempt to climb there – both for themselves and their climbing partners. Of course, many of the trips are suitable for relatively inexperienced climbers – places such as Willyabrup, Kalbarri, Eaglestone Rock and some places at Albany, for example.
New/inexperienced climbers will be made very welcome on CAWA trips and are encouraged to attend as it’s the best way to firstly, meet new climbers and second, to actually start to gain experience. However, it will be the call of the more experienced climbers as to whether they are prepared to climb with someone new on climbs that may be considered beyond that person’s ability/experience. This is naturally how most climbers will operate regardless of whether they are on a CAWA trip or just climbing on a weekend. It is a matter of trust and this comes by showing people that you have the skills/experience necessary for the type of climbing.
So please please do not be insulted or disappointed if, in the opinion of other more experienced climbers, you are asked not to take part in particular climbs during a CAWA trip. It is nothing personal, they only have in mind yours, as well as their own, safety!
Many people commence their climbing careers in-doors, where it is difficult, if not impossible, to learn the skills and techniques required for some types of climbing on rock, such as placing and removing cams and nuts, setting up anchors and belays, and multi-pitch climbing.
The best ways to gain experience in the many facets of outdoor climbing is to do local climbing with other experienced climbers and/or to do a climbing course with a reputable company. There are a list of companies that run courses on this website under Climb/courses.
Alternatively, come along to one of the monthly gym crashes (see Events page for dates) where you’ll be able to talk to a CAWA member and get some idea of where people may be climbing locally on the weekends. Other people often post on the Forum page under “partners wanted/lift shares” that they are looking to try outdoor climbing and need a partner. By participating in these informal groups, people will get to know, and trust you.
Outdoor climbing is whole different experience to indoor climbing and is well worth getting into if you’ve been bitten by the climbing bug. We look forward to seeing you out there!