Carrot Controversy

Steve Morris from Rock Hardware on karabiners and removable bolt hangers

I am confident that most climbers know not to use wire gate kara-biners on removable bolt hangers. There is not enough mass in the wire gate to keep the bolt plate captive on the bolt head. These stainless steel bolts in the rock are often referred to as “carrot” bolts. 3/8” use to be common; however, 10mm appears to have taken its place. Solid gate karabiners are the preferred option when you find carrot bolts and have to use removable bolt plates for protection.

In the last few years it has come to my attention that some straight gate karabiners can come off removable bolt hangers. Particularly, karabiners with a key lock nose. The reason for this is because the nose of the key lock karabiner can be quite thin. In the same way a wire gate karabiner can come off with the removable bolt plate, so can a straight gate karabiner with a thin nose profile. I recently tried a dozen or more different straight gate karabiners on a carrot bolt and most hangers came off. Scary stuff!

One option is to clip your straight gate from the front of the hanger, instead of from below. You then rotate the body of the karabiner until the bottom basket of the karabiner is sitting in the bolt plate, keeping it captive on the bolt head. In other words, the nose of the karabiner is well away from the carrot bolt and hanger.

Another option is to use traditional straight gate karabiners with a solid hook type nose that has a solid mass and is not tapered.

This controversy only applies to carrot type bolts and removable bolt hangers. You can use wire gate karabiners in fixed hangers and this practice is common in Europe. Think about how you can safely protect a climb at all times.

I trust this information may assist in keeping you safer while climbing.

Eaglestone Rock

By Francis Butler

Sometime back in July Ashley List, the esteemed trip organiser, placed a comment on the CAWA forum trying to arouse interest between the usual long weekend adventures for a short trip to Eaglestone Rock. Many showed little interest given the short notice, but of those who did most said, “Eagle what?” Well fortunately in the week preceding the trip a bit of hype brought many out of the woodwork eager to scale this mysterious rock out in the middle of the WA Wheatbelt.

Those that found themselves at Eaglestone did not form the usual CAWA crew. Excepting Kylie, Ang and Mario, it was made up of an unlikely bunch including many newbies. There was Mark the young geologist, who chauffeured Manuel the Spanish gourmet chef, and his humun-gous esky, in which we all suspected either carried an awful lot of beer or perhaps a body on ice! Then there was Ash and Tamsin who arrived nice and early to take in the scenes, fol-lowed a little later by Pete the Kiwi, and finally came Ben the true Aussie larrikin. The re-cently formed French foreign legion (Remi, Delphine, Loic, Melody, Kevin and others whose names escape me — formed during the Kalbarri adventures) were noticeably absent on this trip, however Kevin crawled in late Saturday morning in his slow and steady chariot, carrying the foreign legions strongest supporters, Eleanor and Emma. Coincidently, the crew was joined by Logan, Scott and company who had ventured out on a separate expedition yet ar-rived at the same place. The suspicion was that Logan had turned up with the primary goal of making his first free ascent of Jason’s recently completed project Buried Alive (31).

Although some climbing had been achieved by the few who trekked out early on Friday, most did not start anything serious till Saturday morning. Ang started out on the recently bolted chimney just to the right of Levitation. With a bit of shuffling and a determination Ang made it look quite easy. Inspired by something fresh and the fact that it had looked easy I attempted to lead the same climb shortly after, only to find that it wasn’t so easy after all and swore I would never do another off width climb again!!

As all this was going on, the Emu wall had become littered with ropes as many scaled the great face climbs there. Around the corner in the Bitter area Mario was intently trying to scale the hardest climbs he could muster and having a good day of it as he later recalled with Kylie patiently belaying. On the far right of the Emu wall and into the Fidget Gene area Logan and Scott were setting the standard on some tricky moves up Emu Walking and Full Throttle, edging their way closer to the difficult problems around the corner.

Later on in the day Angela’s introduction to classic trad on Jaundice left me a bashed up and bleeding mess, though I was ultimately pleased with the experience. While all this was going on Mark and Manuel were taking a beating on Ithica, both bowing out defeated. Once again Logan and Scott were just around the corner working another terrifically difficult problem Whiplash. Of the many who had finally scaled every inch of the Emu wall, there was Bitter in the Bitter area and Wishbone on the Wishbone wall to be completed.

Once the evening crept in, closing out with a beautiful sun set, everyone headed down to the camp to think about food. Many were content with a little pre-made food even pre-packaged in some cases but certainly not Manuel our gourmet chef as he brought out all the cooking gear and opened up the esky to reveal what was inside. The esky was loaded with vegetables and seafood ready to be prepared on his huge gas heated outdoor cooking pan into a delicious traditional Spanish Paella ready to feed all fiftenn people present (perhaps more I started drinking early and can’t remember!!).

With everyone eating better than ever before, the evening started off well with Logan and Scott involving everyone in brain teasers. Before long everyone was content, though a little confused by a few of the brain teasers as the alcohol began to sink in. This was about the point that we all saw the funny side of Emma, Eleanor and Kylie (to mention just a few) in-dulging in peculiar accents and role playing as they poured port and brandy into each others mouths rather than wasting the energy to first pour it into a glass then again into their mouths. Logical, surely! Even young Pete the Kiwi initially feigning ignorance, somehow ended up taking part in such antics that carried on well into the night.

Eventually the numbers dwindled as all the alcohol wore off and everyone crashed, or so we thought. It turned out that all the sugar in the drinks had gone to Emma’s head so she appar-ently went for a run in the pitch black night to burn off some energy! She arrived casually at breakfast so thankfully she must have found her way.
Sunday was expected to be another big day like Saturday arvo, however reality sank in as many battled sore heads.

Francis and Mario hopped on Nudie then spent nearly an hour on Juice It Up, a slippery slab with me whining “these shoes just can’t cut it” when really I just couldn’t make it! Manuel and Mark decided to do something easier and fly up Bitter, while Ben was taking his turn on the Emu wall with Tamsin. Ash seemed content to take photos, mainly because his camera provided better vision than his eyes as a result of his epic Saturday night. In his travels he captured a few shots of Scott having a go at Fidget Gene, the best crack climb in the area.

Later on Pete had a go at his first trad climb on Mini Me. He looked quite perplexed as Ash and Tamsin spun ropes around him like a web in an effort to set up a top belay for his fol-lower. While this was happening Mario and Francis were dismally failing to ascend 21 Jump Street nearby. Defeated, they decided to convince Ang to join them on an epic struggle up Cold Nights, which was an inspiration to Francis after his introduction to trad the previous day.

The morning quickly turned into afternoon and people started thinking about having to head off. It was about this time that Logan got serious and ripped his shirt off to have a go at this new problem announced by Jason. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and it would seem that Logan had finally found a problem that he had to concede defeat on, at least for the time being. So around that time people started to wrap things up and all headed off after a satisfy-ing weekend, vowing to do it again soon.

Karabiner Care

Steve Morris from Rock Hardware talks about looking after your screw gates.

I am often asked if you can clean karabiners and if so, is there a safe method? My standard reply is rather conservative. Clean as little as possible and only when absolutely necessary. This basic principle applies to any climbing gear, including ropes and harnesses.

It is easy to use too much lubrication, which attracts dirt and may contaminate nylon slings. Petroleum based lubricants are to be avoided at all costs. Lubricants of choice are WD40, which is fish oil based, or Inox. Remember to use them sparingly, only the smallest amount is required.

Squirting toothpaste into the hinge of a sticking gate aluminium karabiner and working it back and forth can help remove corrosion products and also lubricate the hinge area. Ensure that all the toothpaste is washed out with water.

Simply lubricating aluminium karabiners will not repair mechanical damage; however, it can help with corrosion. Aluminium corrosion products tend to be very bulky (chlorides, carbonates, oxides etc) and so all lubrication with an oil does is make the bulky corrosion product sticky. It needs to be removed as suggested above.

Steel karabiners are a totally different matter and a light lubrication is often all that is required. Always thoroughly air dry your karabiners after washing or the spring will corrode. The less that is done the better.

Regards Steve.

(NB. Thank you to Philip Toomer for teaching me this method)

Ultimate Climbing Comp 2

by Ross Weiter

Yet another great climbing comp from the Rockface stable! Liana Morgan scooped the chix, Jay Girdlestone the men and Pete the masters. For three hours the main competition was on, including bouldering, leading and speed climbing, with top roping an option for the newer climbers. Then it was time for the pizza and dyno
competition, followed by the bouldering finals. The effort of the day was Logan’s lowball traverse, followed by a drop into a corner body stem, followed by a dyno to the
finishing jug. Remi sprinted up the speed climb in 6 seconds flat – an incredible effort!

Thanks to all the Rockface staff, in particular to Gareth and Gerard for putting in days of work on the problems. There were no nastymoves, no sharp edges and no greasy holds. Thanks to the sponsors, Rockface, MD’s,Paddy Pallin’s, Mainpeak and others, alost all competitors walked away with a bag of goodies or some kind of prize. Well done.

Kalbarri Trip Report

by Ashley List

Kalbarri is located 600km north of Perth and is quite the drive when you consider the usual climbing that can be found when heading south to Margaret River for a short weekend. The driving aside, the climbing is well worth the trip as long as you’re feeling strong as many of the routes are steep and demanding.

There is a good range of both trad and sports routes, up to 120m high, ranging from grade 14 to 26+, if you’re that skilled. The inclement weather nearly put an end to the trip, though a few dedicated souls did make the journey. The multicultural group consisted of members from Spain, France, England and good old Australia.

The Friday was a bit too wet to climb; nevertheless most people went to scout out the climbing areas in the hope that the weather would improve, and with luck running our way, we were climbing the next day.

The majority of the first day was spent in and around the Tourist Wall while we waited for the rock to fully dry out. Top route of the wall would have to be Keith Goes Blank a 3 star climb, though I would recommend it as a 16/17, not 15 as it is in the guide book, as a novice leader at that grade would quickly find them self out of their depth. On
the other hand Telegraph Line at the same area would be a good introduction to the wall for new

On the second day the morning was spent tuning up people’s trad leading skill on the partly developed wall to the right of Tourist Wall. Later in the afternoon we started to migrate towards Adventure Wall and the Promenade area. The routes found in this lower area are somewhat steeper and more committing, though twice the fun!

There are a number of good face climbing routes in the area, with Sports Climbing Ethics and Peanut Butter wall being recommend, though I did not have the chance to climb
them. As for warming up I would recommend

Due to all of the excitement at being in the Kalbarri Gorge for the first time, there was a minor miss read of the guide book, with various unnamed members starting what was initially thought to be a grade 15 route that turned out to be a 15m project! He he!

The Pros of the trip, Remi and Lecki, were making short work of the routes on the Promenade, with what seemed like most of the routes there being ticked.

On Monday morning we went scouting out Hawks Head. Though not as picturesque as the main gorge it’s well worth spending the morning there on the way home. Given its position, it would catch the sun and dry quickly when rain makes an unwelcome visit to the area. The crag can be easily seen from the lookout (look right when facing the river) and is only a short walk.

Give time was sort and we were tired we only managed to crack two 14’s, Molasses and Hornets Nest. Both good routes and tougher than they look. Think Stanage Edge in the Peak District, for those lucky enough to have climbed in the UK!

Would I recommend a trip to Kalbarri and Hawks Head? Hell yes! But I would recommend that you spend a good few months gaining strength and stamina as there is so much to do. If you can get the time spend a good week there.

Mt Frankland and March Flies

By Jolene Sheldon in consultation with Richard Haynes.

Only the most intrepid CAWA members braved the march flies and bull ants to
attend this year’s full frontal assault on the slabs of Mt Frankland. This year saw blue skies
and hot temperatures in contrast to last year’s rain and lightening. Here is the truth; dry slab
is oh so much easier to climb than wet slab. Along those lines, sensei Ross had his ego
pegged back a couple of grades as the two climbs he bolted last year, were so much easier
when not dripping wet. Most climbers however concede that the requirement to shed steel
during vicious lightening storms, significantly influenced the grading system in 2009. While
the two climbs from 2009 were very enjoyable, it was the latest one just finished on this trip
that really won my heart. Sure, I was already knackered. It felt like 32 degrees, but I can’t be
sure of the actual temperature. All I know is that I couldn’t keep the chalk on my hands for
the sweat, so I felt challenged to say the least. A mixed route, yet to be named or graded, I
was fortunate to be the first to sample the taunts and delights that awaited after Ross and
Dena had done the first climb. I felt honored…. dang, I gave it a solid 17 and in my heart
named it “Grow a Pair”, though I’m sure Ross will come up with a much more appropriate
and genteel name. The climb is 3 pitches. I have to admit I only had time to lead the first
pitch, but it is a ripper! Once I reached safety, I realised that I had thoroughly enjoyed the
climb, and am looking forward to the lead when I am fresh and less distressed by heat
stroke. I would give the first pitch 3 stars!

Ashley List, one of the newest committee members was in attendance. Recently transplanted
from the U.K., he was heard to say, he is ‘more of a crack whore than a slab master’.
It was refreshing to get into some multi-pitch routes after all the local crags around
Perth, which are sadly lacking in height.

Amenities were in Fernhook Falls campground. A lovely place which provided a pool for
cooling down and cleaning up after a hard day of slab mastering. The intrepid group gathered
for dinner Saturday evening to enjoy the camaraderie and healthy appetite that only a great
day of climbing seems to inspire. The rum and coke/beer/wine, added to the comfortable
happy-tired feeling and joviality at the tables.

As the sun rose the last day, members of the group were off to pursue other areas, and activities.
We are indeed blessed to be living in this amazing area of Western Australia where
we are constantly awed by the beauty of the surroundings we climb in.

Living and Climbing in Oman

By Ross Weiter

In the three years from 2004 to 2007 I was lucky enough to work, live and climb in the Sultanate of Oman. I must say that I headed over there with a bit of trepidation, expecting something of a hazardous backward outpost of civilisation at best. Let’s face it; Hollywood does not portray Arabs as kind hearted people with an aptitude for fun! Instead of the cliché terrorist I found a warm welcoming people, and an open wild country where camping was permitted anywhere, and acres of unclimbed rock abound.

At first I was on my own climbing-wise, there was no climbing organisation or web site, and the guidebook was woefully out of date. Then I found Kim and Bill the two itinerant English teachers at the local Sultan Qaboos University, then Patrick and Natalie the two French guides who resided in Oman in winter and in France in summer, then Soren the Danish geo-engineer building a new runway at the local airport, and Vincent the Dutch oil reservoir engineer. They all climbed! I was saved!! We started a small circle of climbers, centred around the ridiculously tiny bouldering gym at the Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre (MDAC), where we had to move crates of stuff out of the way every Wednesday just to get access to the 8m of bouldering walls. We would then boulder our asses off on problems set by ourselves, much to the amusement of the head-to-toe black clad Omani chicks at the reception, who were not sure what to make of our cries of wanton triumph and swears of pointless desperation.

There was also the sea side bouldering, where we would hire a fisherman, and every day could do new highball problems above the almost warm sea. Often it would be so stinking hot that falling into water was more a welcome
relief than an admission of failure. There were the wadi beds with their water-washed, smooth walls, covered with small pockets. And in Sharaf El Alameyn, I found the only place in Arabia where one could actually climb at the
height of summer, due to its northern aspect and 2000m altitude. I put up the first 3 multi-pitch trad routes there.

Between Kim, Bill, Natalie, Patrick and I, we bolted some 100 new climbs in those 3 years in three major areas, and really opened Oman to sport climbing. My PDF guidebooks to Sharaf El Alameyn, Wadi Daykah, and Hadash can still be found on . Of course life goes on and there are many new areas, guidebooks and climbs now.

Clearly, there is a lot more to Oman than climbing: namely religion, desert, camels, goats, castles, festivals, warm sea, great beaches, halwa, dates, markets, crowded roads, excellent super cheap restaurants and the friendly Omanis…….. I will be giving a slide night upstairs at Rosy O’Grady’s pub in Northbridge from 7:30 to 9pm on Wednesday 26th May, so if these stories sound interesting and you want to see some pics that are not on the internet as yet, come along!

Salaam aleykum (peace upon you).

100 Climbs in 100 days

By Remi

100 Climbs in 100 days, a fundraising event for Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) has added another dimension to climbing for a dozen of (mad) West Australian rock-climbers since the 1st of January 2010. The challenge
aims to raise funds to support FARA in its quest to achieve World Heritage Listing of the Dampier Archipelago (including the Burrup Peninsula) in Western Australia.

Most climbers who signed up in December 2009 started their challenge on the 1st of January at West Cape Howe during the annual CAWA Trip to Albany. Since then the climbers have been outdoors most weekends attempting to tick as many climbs as possible in a day. At the time of writing this article, it appeared clear that only a minority of the participants would complete their 100 climbs.

Dedication and time commitment was needed. We had to wake up at stupid hours and/or climb in extremely hot weather. While some forced themselves to climb despite sickness, others finished climbing at night with head torches! Along the way, we got bitten by ticks and mossies, attacked by bees, ants and kangaroos, and were even threatened by tiger snakes! One climber freaked out after his only protection fell off, at least two others took some serious falls, a few scared themselves on precarious run-outs while too many injured themselves (a knee, an ankle, a wrist and lots of finger tips). Toward the end of the challenge easy to moderate routes become difficult to find in the vicinity and we had to either climb harder routes locally or explore new crags.

The intensity of climbing over the last 3 months has resulted in several climbers achieving their personal best grade. We’ve all got to know each other better and helped each other to achieve their goals. Climbing is fun and it is even more fun when it’s done for a great cause! As of day 90, climbers have raised a total of $2278. Donations are still open online until the 30th April 2010 and a presentation on the Burrup Peninsula will be given at Rockface on
Sunday 2nd May 2010 from 6pm to 8pm. Participants will be rewarded with special prizes!

Come and congratulate the participants, get a better understanding of the rock art of the Burrup Peninsula and check out the best pictures from many crags visited during the 100 days!

Thank you to all who offered belays to the participants, sponsored them and understood their anti-social behaviours during the last 90 days!

Register your interest for 2011 by sending your contact details to:

How Hard is Your Head?

By Dena Rao

How many of you have one? How many of you wear them even if you do have one? I have a helmet. A pretty blue Black Diamond one. And I really dislike wearing it while I’m climbing because I seem to bump my head on things a lot more often. Most of the climbers that I see in the great outdoors don’t seem to wear this basic piece of safety equipment.

But you know what? After having an extremely close call with a moderate sized rock at Churchman’s just a couple of days ago, I will be making sure to wear my helmet which is really what everyone should be doing. In this case, I was belaying a leader who found herself hanging on by one hand when the rock she was holding onto parted company with its buddies. I didn’t even have time to move and my shoulder took the full force of the rock. So, it missed my head by only a few inches. And yes, it hurt. A lot. Granted I didn’t have my helmet on because I was trying out a new neck brace. However, this would not have helped me if the rock had struck my head rather than my shoulder. It really scared me, gave me the kind of warm tingly feeling in my arm best reserved for other parts of my body and could have put an end to my Arapiles trip before it even got started.

I will certainly be a lot more diligent about wearing my helmet from now on, even though I do hate how it feels. If that rock had knocked me out, I would have let go of the rope with disastrous consequences for the climber. Think it won’t happen to you? Think you are too cool for a helmet? If fashion is really that important to you, there are some really sleek funky designs around. Consider that your decision not to wear a helmet will potentially impact (no pun intended) not just on you, but also on your climbing partner. And let’s face it, it won’t be much fun if one of you ends up unconscious or worse. Climbing partners are hard to come by, so make sure you look after yours.

WA Bouldering Competition 2009

By Gareth Wall

It was hot, the problems were hard and a bit under graded. All competitors had to push themselves during the pumpfest to a level they hadn’t pushed to before. The moans from sore competitors during the following few days brought a sadistic smile to my face. I had achieved where I felt I may have failed. Indeed the problems were hard, maybe too hard but judging the abilities of the top boulderers in the state or even in the country, is challenging.

I watched the pumpfest with apprehension as defeat was seen more frequently than success. By the time the finals began some competitors were so spent, they were trying to talk the amount of finals problems down from five to four, or even three. However, the more seasoned of the wall warriors wanted to be hurt and so the slaughter began: five problems. The finals were all or nothing to get your share of the cash and although more didn’t complete problems than did, there were some strong and oh so close efforts. In the end, all finalists got a taste of the cash with Marc, Jason and Sam cleaning up the most.

Marc and Jay were so close that literally only one pumpfest problem, a difference of four points, ended up separating them in a count back after tying two a piece in the finals. Sam cleaned up nicely in the women’s but I know our girls are closing the gap and hunting her down. She had better watch out.

After the finals all places remained the same as throughout the pumpfest, excluding Liana coming home strong and pushing Jing out of second spot by one problem.

A special mention goes to Claire and Naomi, so young, so talented and thrown into the spotlight on such a hard day for their first time. Well done girls, what a great effort to get into the finals. Your futures are calling and I can see you both in many more finals and even winning them in the future.

Well done to ALL competitors it was hot and hard but that’s what competition is about, pushing yourself to achieve your greatest. All results will be available on the Rockface website shortly.

The top five in each category are as follows:


Name Pumpfest Score Finals Problems Completed Place Prize Money
Sam Berry





Liana Morgan





Jing Yun Wong





Claire Newbury




$40 (+prize)

Naomi Stockley




$40 (+prize)

Marc Edwards





Jason Girdlestone





Chris Loane





Francois Jourjon





Anthony Goyder