Climbing in Esperance

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  • #66062 Reply


    Hey, we’re contemplating making the extra-long trip to Esperance over Easter. I notice that in early 2012 there was a prohibition placed on climbing at Cape Le Grande. Does anyone know whether this is still in effect, and whether it’s otherwise worth heading down that way – bearing in mind I’ll only have sports climbing gear? Thanks

    #66488 Reply


    Hi guys, I’m really just answering my own question, for those who might want to know later. I spoke to the ranger Cameron Hennessy and, as it stands, climbing is indeed currently prohibited in Cape Le Grande National Park. The rangers are concerned particularly that this is a popular area that was bolted without consultation, and that it poses a potential safety and conservation risk. Bouldering is basically ok, but if you are heading into the park, I’d suggest letting them know you’re around so you can get the most up to date info on what is allowed. I understand that CAWA and the rangers are currently discussing access and safety issues, etc, so let’s hope they come to a workable solution!

    #66792 Reply


    Hi Shevaun. I am also considering Esperance as an option for Easter and my understanding from Kate, who is currently handling access issues, is that climbing is ok but definitely no bolting. It sounds like you may have both spoken to different people.  Rangers are also quite passionate about their patch of ground and often very protective. It would not be the first time we’ve had conflicting information because it depends on who you talk to on any given day and whether that person has authority and knows exactly what has been discussed with CAWA. The communication within the departments is not always good. I have sent Kate an email alerting her to the conflicting information.

    May I suggest that one way to avoid confusion in the future would be to email CAWA with any queries about access issues before contacting the ranger, so that you have a better chance of getting the most accurate info. A number of us have worked hard in recent years to build rapport with DEC and open up channels of communication and this has been very successful. But sometimes what is discussed and agreed on at one level with DEC does not always filter through and sometimes staff have very strong feelings about climbing or other activities, without having had the benefit themselves of being personally involved in any negotiations or having knowledge of the sport. CAWA has worked hard to try and impart a better understanding of the sport to the key DEC decision makers in any one area. But as I’ve said numerous times before, contrary to the view held by many climbers, DEC is not trying to stop us climbing and overall has been very supportive and keen to engage with us in recent years.

    #67006 Reply

    Kate S

    Dena is correct.  I am following this up and will post the developments as they occur.  My understanding is that climbing is allowed but no bolting.  This came from the South Coast Regional Manager, who has since left.  I have not managed to speak to Cameron, who is the local ranger.  I am attempting to arrange a phone conference between all levels of DEC for that region so we can gain a better understanding of the issues that each has, and come to a resolution.  I will keep you posted.

    #67067 Reply


    I really appreciate the work that CAWA puts into access issues, and I’m not at all under the impression that DEC is trying to stop us climbing. I followed up with the ranger because CAWA’s own website says that climbing is prohibited, and since it is the ranger who would stop us, it seemed sensible to talk to him about it. It’s a very long way to drive, only to be stopped climbing and – I don’t know what the laws are here – potentially fined? And had I emailed CAWA – and I will definitely do so next time – he could still have stopped us, since he doesn’t have the same information.

    I should say, Cameron seemed to really appreciate that I made the effort to get in contact and talk with him. As much as CAWA works to represent climbers to DEC and others, I think it’s also important that any contact we climbers have with rangers, DEC and the public, are as positive as possible. I don’t think any damage was done by making contact. Ultimately, it is his turf, so he needs to be kept in the loop. And the more positive contact he has with climbers, the less likely that he’s going to view us as a bunch of gungho thrillseekers who bolt everything in sight. His mobile # is 0427766067.

    I’ll stay out of it for now, though he asked that we get in touch when we arrive, and it would be great if you could let us know of any updates. Thanks for all your hard work on making these things happen for us!


    #67745 Reply


    The Esperance miniguide (Cape le Grand) is now back on the miniguides page.

    #70771 Reply

    Kate S

    Hi Shevaun,

    I still have not been able to speak to Cameron, though I have left several messages for him to call back to discuss this since 13th March.  I have emailed DEC again today and will hopefully have an answer for you before Easter.

    I agree that it is best to follow up with the ranger on site as that is the area that they are responsible for, and that is exactly what I am trying to do.  I have spoken to the DEC district manager and I do not believe that climbing is prohibited at Lucky Bay, though there are some restrictions to be adhered to.  Please see the updated mini-guide on the website.  Basically there is to be no more bolting in the Cape le Grand NP, and no bolting or climbing at Frenchman’s Peak.

    Other than that, the normal Climbing Code of Conduct applies:

    Thanks very much for following up, please try to call Cameron again and see if he can give you a reason for why he has said no climbing, and if you can get him to call me to discuss.

    Thanks again!


    #111744 Reply


    What is the bouldering scene like in cape Le grand. Any graded lines. Hope to head down there in December.

    #111771 Reply


    Hey Eric, I’m not sure that there is anything official – but we found plenty to play on at Cape Le Grand, near the campsite. Wouldn’t say it’s worth the drive just for the bouldering I saw, though!

    #155959 Reply


    Hey guys,
    So due to the recent bush fires and questioning access in the area I called up Dpaw to see if we needed to register to climb in Cape Le Grand. I was called back by Megan who said the senior ranger Cameron had said that rock climbing is not permitted in the park. Looks like he’s still giving out the same info he was a few years ago. Does anyone have any further info pls, otherwise we might just head to peak Charles for some fun.
    Thanks, Anne

    #155971 Reply


    It’s just NIMBY red tape bullshit. There is no impact that rock climbing has that bush walking and camping does not have. Behold the hectares of park bulldozed for roads, campsites with sites for caravans (with recent extension), ranger house and 20km of walking trails. To claim that a few climbers have some sort of appreciable impact is just nonsense. Senior Ranger Cameron – get over it, live and let live.

    #155972 Reply

    John boy

    Hey ericdb .yes there is some kick ass bouldering down there we sail across from Albany to the recherche archipelago yearly best bits around the base of mississipy hill at the southern end of lucky bay in the channel.the first island that in the chain of small islands that extend from there has a 60m wall on it’s western side we did a few lines all on natural gear on rock more like peak Charles than the sharper granite on the northern end.we never take the bolt gun no need as we have found sweet finger to hands cracks around hammerhead and table island (you can wade out to it) also on the back on the formation called the three sisters at duke of orleans is a 20m hand crack.awesome.offshore middle and mandrake island have heaps on em as well. worth a trip.

    #155973 Reply


    Hi Anne, unless there are issues relating to the recent fires, then what you’ve been told is not correct. I am due to have some discussion with the district manager down there and will sort it out. I wouldn’t take your little car out to PC. Give me a buzz if you want to chat about it.

    #156013 Reply

    Hi Anne, I wanted to check that nothing had changed since my conference call with the district manager and 3 other staff a few months ago (including Cameron), before commenting further. Climbing is not prohibited but is subject to a few conditions as noted previously. There has and will be further discussion about these and the situation in general, as it’s unacceptable to have an arrangement in place approved by a district manager, to only then have the senior ranger contradicting that. I said as much to the district manager when we spoke this week and confirmed that the previous arrangement does indeed still stand. I have also advised them that the non-commerical activities application form is not applicable to private individuals and that we should not be having to complete these or request permission to climb. An email to the ranger’s office indicating dates should be sufficient, if we are to register at all. There is an increasing sensitivity to things like fires and wanting to know where park users are (duty of care) but other visitors such as bushwalkers aren’t required to register. Discrimmination against climbers won’t be tolerated and we will ensure that there is a clear and solid arrangement in place once and for all in the new year, so that we can all climb in Esperance freely. Just to be clear, the district manager has expressed no desire to prevent climbing. Like other activities, it simply needs to be managed. The current arrangement just needs to be formalised so that DPaW staff at all levels are on the same page. I expect this to occur in early January and updates will be posted on the website.

    I have pointed out that often people from out of town will only get the chance to climb at Esperance during longer breaks like xmas and Easter. As you have endeavoured to do the right thing and there is a current arrangement in place, then I would suggest that if you still want to climb at xmas, then send an email through stating your intention to climb and when, as per my conversation with the DM. I did mention to him that this may occur and that I trusted it would be fine and I have not heard anything to the contrary. Call me if you need to. 🙂

    #156367 Reply

    Hi All

    We now have a formal arrangement in place providing for ongoing access.

    Please see here for updated information: Climbing at Esperance

    Dena Rao
    CAWA President

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