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 on trips and legally all participants must not only be CAWA members, but also need to be ‘independent participants’. This means that they need to be completely self sufficient and have appropriate experience for the type of climbing that is being done.
CAWA does not provide any climbing equipment – you must have your own gear or be coming with someone who is fully equipped for the climbing you plan to undertake.
Please note that basic risk management requires all participants on CAWA trips to wear helmets when climbing, belaying and at the base or top of cliffs.
CAWA loves kids! No, really. However, not all trips are suitable for children, especially the tiny tots. CAWA members under the age of 18 may 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! Please do check in with us to see whether particular trip locations are family friendly.
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 decision about whether you have the skills/experience (or interest) in that type of climbing and if you will attend. We also arrange accommodation, booking tent sites where appropriate.
We will do our best to facilitate members communicating with each other to organise car pooling and climbing partners. CAWA does not provide provide or arrange climbing partners or guarantee that there will be someone for you to climb with. The mix of members on trips varies and people’s availability can easily change at the last minute. Instead, when the trip registration information is circulated to participants, anyone looking for a partner can see who is available and contact them directly.
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.
Safety is our top priority. Some of the CAWA trip locations are not suitable for inexperienced climbers unless they are accompanied by an appropriately experienced climber who takes full responsibility for them. This may be due to the nature of the routes or the skills required to access them.
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. We can’t guarantee how much climbing an inexperienced person will get on any trip unless they come with an experienced buddy but it’s worth remembering that we were all in that position once and you have to start somewhere.
So please please do not be insulted or disappointed if, based on the opinion of other more experienced climbers, you are asked not to take part in particular climbs during a CAWA trip.
Many people commence their climbing careers indoors, 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 ideally, do a climbing course with a reputable company. There are a list of companies that run courses on this website under Climb/courses.
You can also come along to one of the CAWA gym crashes (see Events page for dates) where you’ll be able to talk to other members 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!