Members update, November 2020

The Committee acknowledges the need to improve communication with members and provides the following update regarding work done since the AGM in September.

Member Survey

Thank you to those members and former members who participated in the recent member survey. The survey has provided valuable feedback to the Committee, and the results will be soon published on the web. The Committee will address key items in the months ahead, including:

  • better communication
  • more workshops including first aid, rescue, trad, …
  • outdoor crashes plus the different format of the gym ones
  • crag care

Climbing instruction

In a significant development for CAWA, the Committee has decided that it is in the interests of members for CAWA to provide ‘in-house’ climbing instruction using qualified climbing guides. This will facilitate greater participation in outdoor climbing and skills improvement. A number of Committee members (Elinor Fleming, Jiri Stastny, David Haywood and Matt Gray ) are in the process of obtaining their Single Pitch Guide qualifications for this purpose. On top of that, Anthony Brandis is already a qualified Multi-Pitch Guide.

However, before providing such instruction, due to the risk of potential legal liability, it is necessary for CAWA to have public liability insurance. This will protect CAWA, its Committee members and others who run climbing events. Accordingly, the next Transition to Outdoor and Intro to Trad workshops have been postponed until public liability insurance has been obtained. When insurance is in place (hopefully within the next 4 weeks), CAWA will announce dates for the next Transition to Outdoor and Intro to Trad workshops, in addition to an Intro to Outdoor Bouldering Workshop.

Other climbing events

  • The next gym crash will be on Wed 2nd December at Adrenaline Vault. This time we’ll run it slightly different to maximize socialising, fun and possibly learned new skills.
  • Crag clean-up at Statham’s Quarry on Sun 6th December. It was quite hard work at the last cleanup as just very few showed up. We all enjoy the sport and clean environment. Please come down to help and bring your friends; more the merrier, and if we finish earlier, there will be time for climbing. Refreshments provided.
  • A CAWA Film Night is being organised for 10th December – details to be announced soon.
  • The Committee is organising a free First Aid demonstration on 19th December which will cover some common climbing injuries. The demonstration will be run by St John, available to members only and will require RSVP. The event will be hosted at Urban Jungle IRC where attendees will have an option to stay for a climb after at discounted price ($15).

Finally, CAWA is in the process of organising a special climbing presentation by Mike Adams, CAWA’s first President, and founding member, most likely in February 2021.

Climbing trips

The Albany Xmas/ New Year trip will not be held this year as it was not possible to book a large enough campsite, due to more Western Australians travelling locally because of COVID. However, if any members know of a suitable place (e.g. a farm), please let a Committee member know.

A site at Gracetown has been booked for an Australia Day trip to Wilyabrup.


As members may know through the CAWA Facebook post, a large amount of anchor re-bolting was done at Mountain Quarry in October by CAWA. Since then lower-offs have been added at Churchman’s Brook to the anchor on ‘Snatches and Lays’ and rap rings for the anchor on ‘Minds to Blow’. The next planned upgrades are at Statham’s Quarry and Bob’s Hollow.
It all takes lots of time and effort. Please contact Jonas if you want to help and learn new skills.

If members have any suggestions regarding upgrades to specific routes, please, once again, contact Jonas. He is in charge of re-bolting activities.

Code of Practice regarding Aboriginal Cultural Heritage

Members may have seen the recent biased television piece against climbing on NITV and SBS (see “Rock Climbing on Sacred Land”), which has resulted in a large petition against climbing at Nowra in NSW. CAWA subsequently co-signed a complaint to the SBS Ombudsman authored by the Australian Climbing Association of NSW. This adverse publicity follows the banning of climbing in large parts of the Grampians, and parts of Mt Arapiles. In WA climbing was banned at Walcliffe in 2019 due to the concerns of local traditional owners.

Whilst acknowledging and respecting Traditional Owners and Aboriginal cultural heritage, the Committee expects that this trend will continue, and that access to some of WA’s climbing areas will be unfairly/ unnecessarily restricted or banned over time, particularly if climbers do nothing. Accordingly, the Committee has established a Code of Practice regarding Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, which is the first step in addressing this sensitive issue. Feedback on the Code of Practice is welcome.

The Committee notes that WA’s Aboriginal cultural heritage laws are in the process of being revised, and that it appears recreational climbing will be allowed unless a crag is declared a “protected area” (this is a protracted process involving public consultation and requires that the area contain Aboriginal cultural heritage of ‘outstanding significance’, which requires a higher level of protection). Further steps will be taken, and updates provided, when the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 becomes law.

MOU with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (WA)

A draft Memorandum of Understanding is in the process of being negotiated with DBCA. The purpose of the MOU is to provide a framework for establishing and maintaining rock climbing site access and use throughout Western Australia, including education, environmental care, clean-up and rehabilitation.

Risk Management Plan

The Committee is in the process of developing a CAWA Risk Management Plan, to manage and mitigate the risk associated with CAWA climbing trips and events. The Risk Management Plan is also necessary to obtain public liability insurance.

The Committee welcomes any feedback on this Update.

Stay safe
Your committee

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