Canning Dam Quarry Access

Now that the details have been finalised for access to Canning Dam Quarry, I am able to post the exact details about access and bolting.

The document is comprehensive and answers most questions that have arisen surrounding access conditions. Those who have read previous posts would be aware that we have worked long and hard to negotiate access to this quarry. I would like to remind those questioning the access regulations that when individuals previously approached the land managers about access, they were told, unequivocally, ‘NO’.

Anyone with specific questions not answered here or in previous posts, is welcome to contact me at





Access and New Route Development Regulations



Canning Dam Quarry is located just off Lady McNess Drive off Canning Dam Road, and is about three hundred metres from the dam itself. While the quarry is on Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) managed land and is within the Canning National Park, it is also wholly within the Canning Dam Catchment Area which is under the control of the Water Corporation (WC) and the Department of Water (DoW). Lady McNess Drive is a ‘private’ road under the control of the Water Corp and access to the picnic area and dam car park is restricted to certain hours of the day.

A small amount of climbing was conducted in the quarry in the mid to late 1980’s. However, at this stage there was not a lot of interest in the area and the site was infrequently visited. Access to the quarry was later restricted by the WC due to concerns about water quality (even though the quarry is actually down-stream of the dam); proximity to the ranger’s house located at the top of the quarry (noise, privacy and security issues); and safety and security concerns about the disused equipment stored in the quarry and the possibility of rock-fall.

In June 2007, a report entitled ‘Canning River Catchment Area, Drinking Water Source Protection Plan, Integrated Water Supply System, REPORT NO. 77’ was published by the DoW which stated that:

‘The Canning Dam quarry has been identified as a potential recreational rock climbing site. The quarry is located outside the Reservoir Protection Zones. Under Statewide Policy No. 13 Policy and Guidelines for Recreation within Public Drinking Water Source Areas on Crown Land 2003 rock climbing is considered to be an activity that is ‘conditional’ in a Priority 1 source protection area. Access to the quarry and the undertaking of rock climbing activities at the quarry would have to be negotiated with the Department of Water, the Water Corporation and the Department of Environment and Conversation.’

In 2008, CAWA approached DEC initially, subsequently meeting with WC and DEC representatives several times over an extended period (2008-2009) to discuss access for climbers to Canning Dam Quarry.

DEC initially expressed some concerns about the stability of the quarry but was willing to allow access provided that a geotechnical report be completed that indicated that the quarry was stable and suitable for activities such as climbing. DEC subsequently commissioned and paid for a geotechnical report. The WC expressed a greater degree of concern regarding a number of issues, as stated above. However in the light of the DoW report and support for recreational activities in the quarry from DEC, the WC agreed to allow access to the Quarry for climbing, subject to a number of conditions.

WC and DEC conditions are summarised on the following page. It should be noted that DEC and WC have tasked the CAWA management committee with managing the access to the quarry and are expecting us to ensure that members using the quarry adhere to the conditions of use.

CAWA would prefer free and open access to the quarry for all responsible climbers. However, at this point in time, WC has made it a requirement that access will only be granted on certain dates and times and to CAWA members only. Currently, WC has indicated that access for climbing may be granted for six weekends in the first year. Furthermore, bolting and climbing must be in accordance with the published CAWA Bolting Guidelines and Code of Ethics and any other requirements that WC and DEC see fit to apply.

Failure to observe WC and DEC requirements may result in individual climbers being barred from the quarry and will definitely jeopardise access for other climbers. The access that has been negotiated is for a one year trial period and the success of this arrangement will be assessed at the end of that period. The manner in which climbers conduct themselves during this period will impact on future access to the quarry.


Any climber accessing the quarry shall fully comply with the CAWA Code of Conduct, available from:

Additional requirements relating to this site are as follows:

  1. Access is only allowed on the days published by the Climbers’ Association of WA (CAWA) on its web site. These dates will be, or have been, arranged in consultation with the quarry managers.
  2. The combination lock code will be available from the CAWA management committee two to three days prior to each access period. Contact will be provided.
  3. The climber shall be a current full financial member of CAWA. This is a requirement of the quarry managers and is partly due to public liability insurance requirements.
  4. The climber shall have their CAWA membership card and present it to any other climber or to the ranger when asked to do so. The ranger residence is located at the top of the quarry, and is equipped with a viewing platform overlooking the quarry.
  5. Vehicles can be parked on the inside of the quarry gates for security reasons. Any vehicles parked inside the quarry shall be located no more than 20 m from the entry gate.
  6. The gate shall be kept locked at all times. Quarry users are responsible for ensuring the gate is re-locked after entering or leaving the quarry.
  7. No music is allowed to be played inside the quarry.
  8. No access is allowed to the top of the quarry for any reason other than emergency or new route development. No top roping off anchors other than ring bolts is permitted.
  9. Hours of use are from 6am to 6pm.
  10. No camping is allowed.
  11. Capacity is limited to forty climbers at any one time.
  12. Anyone undertaking climbing or climbing related activities such as bolting in the quarry, is required to sign an indemnity form. This one form will cover all of the dates specified in the agreement and any amended dates.


The New Route Developer (NRD) shall fully comply with the CAWA Code of Bolting and New Route Development, available from

Additional requirements relating to the site Canning Dam Quarry are as follows:

  1. The NRD shall be a member of CAWA.
  2. All routes shall have lower-off anchors provided, at a height not exceeding 30m above the ground.
  3. Only commercial purpose-made rock climbing ring bolts shall be used for the lower-off anchors. This is to allow climbers to lower off from the route and minimize any need to access the highly eroded top of the quarry.
  4. The NRD shall use glued-in bolts, using an appropriate Hilti or Sika or other similarly rated two-part epoxy glue only, e.g. Hilti HIT RE-500, Sika AnchorFix 1, Ramset Chemset Maxima Spin Capsules etc.
  5. The NRD shall be experienced with bolt installation.
  6. In case of two persons applying to bolt the same line, preference will go to the NRD with the least number of routes at the quarry approved to date.
  7. The NRD shall submit an email proposal to access@climberswa.asn.aucontaining the following details:
    1. Name, home address, email and phone number of the NRD.
    2. A ‘bolting resume’ listing at least three routes which this person has bolted in the past, and their locations.
    3. Clear photograph of the section of the quarry containing the proposed route, with the proposed line drawn onto the photograph.
    4. Type, make and number of bolts proposed for runners and top anchors on each route.
    5. Glue to be used: brand name, type. If not a common bolting glue (i.e. glue other than Hilti, Sika or Ramset) then full glue specifications should be provided.

Incomplete applications will not be processed.

The Application Evaluation Process:

  1. The application will be processed by the Canning Dam Quarry New Routes Subcommittee (NRS). A time period of up to six weeks is the normal evaluation period expected. Applications should be emailed to CAWA. Applications may also be posted, but this may result in longer delays before approval.
  2. The NRS and/or DEC and/or the Water Corp may set various conditions and requirements as they see fit.
  3. NRS (see below) will advise the NRD of the outcome.
  4. Any unsuccessful applicants will be advised of the reasons as to that outcome.

The New Routes Subcommittee (NRS):
This subcommittee consists of three members, nominated by the CAWA Committee, none of whom are to be active Canning Dam Quarry route developers. The subcommittee was set up that way so as to avoid any potential clash of interest, e.g. route developers assessing other route developers. The NRS will seek technical opinion from experts as and when required to assess individual applications.

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