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  • #7655 Reply

    Sucked in by Ed Nepia.

    Visibility of rings I think depends on the size of the crag. I believe Eaglestone rock bears a comical resemblance to a hedgehog. Anyway the point was don’t bolt at the Gap. Climbers can squabble amongst themselves elsewhere out of sight of DEC. Regarding legal liability it’s clear that in case of catastrophic failure the cawa bolting guidelines will give no protection. They aren’t construction standards. In court the best undocumented bolting would fare no better than plastic gardening fittings. The protection that the bolting guidelines give is to greatly reduce the probability of failure. On bolt strength , outside of granite areas the weakest link is often the rock. So hangers are not good as they are continually under stress. Glue in U-bolts are best or Ps if you must. (but where the clip I comfortable, of course nothing beats a GIMB:). Anyway Ed, thanks for playing the ball and not the man. Makes a change on this site.

    #7656 Reply
    ed nepia

    Bolt visibility is a non issue for land managers

    its raised and discussed by climbers

    as Emil states DEC are way more concerned about shit, erosion and i might add fire, dogs and all the usual stuff

    if CAWA is serious about promoting the best bolting practice then as you say Rings are the bomb (U bolts are pesky to place)

    Im interested in why hangers are under continuous stress? is that because of the force exerted on them by the nut?

    I have never ever heard of a commercial fixed hanger failing under any circumstances (except if the nut wasnt tightened and the hanger fell off!)

    Ross all I’m trying to say is that the perceived issues around bolt visibility which have led you to advocate GIMBs arent significant. Most climbers dont like them,

    hard climbers dont use them and they are (as Emil pointed out) less safe because of the need for removable hangers.

    Climbing is a legitimate use of public estate and i dont understand why we try hard to make our anchors invisible, at the cost of a loss of safety, so as not to offend other users. Weathered hangers, rings, u bolts are all virtually invisible especially on granite (less so on limestone though)

    GIMB are, however, a thousand times better then carrots!

    #7657 Reply
    Mark Weatherill

    Most DEC placed bolts are P’s correct?

    #7658 Reply
    ed nepia

    yep complete with shiny tags … and that kind of adds to the argument against GIMBs

    the only bolts that are obvious to non climbers that I know of are the swag of shiny rings at the top of Willyabrup (DEC?) and on the boulders in the middle of mountain quarry

    they dont seem fussed at all about using non intrusive anchors so why should we?

    #7659 Reply
    Brett D.

    It is refreshing to see some considered debate over the climbing ethics of arguably one of Australia’s most underrated climbing regions – the Western Australian South Coast. Indeed, some would argue, it is the scarcity of ‘consumer friendly’ climbing along the coast & it’s hinterland that has kept it this way, this point may have some validity.

    But within this climbers perspective debate, I feel some important points around conservation & natural values are being missed.

    * As already eluded to, the South Coast is neither Europe, the east coast, nor Wilyabrup or Mountain Quarry, & hopefully will never see the volumes of traffic or dubious practices which occasionally raise their unsightly heads at these last two locations. The South Coast Region as a whole, represents extremely high conservation values of international significance, as well as being a wild & atmospheric area to climb with many large & varied cliffs often in superbly beautiful locations.

    * The actual physical act of bolting has little substantial environmental impact, as previously noted, it is the other associated activities of human visitation that impact more significantly affect the environmental integrity of an area. Bolting style is probably less relevant to these impacts, although potentially making climbs more user friendly could be perceived to encourage more climber visitation.

    * This argument could then be distilled down to centering around the impacts on less tangible, but also important values such as visual & spiritual amenity, local climbing styles & ethics. The values, as mentioned, are not so readily assessable & will frequently be not considered or discredited in discussions like this, but are very much a part of contemporary land management.

    * The South Coast is an extraordinary place to climb, where for many like myself, the importance of the natural environment should always precede the actual climbing. It is also blessed with a huge amount of beautiful rock, many superb faces curiously or frustratingly devoid of natural protection features & this along with the size, remoteness, wild ocean & weather create climbing much more serious than many other areas.

    * Bolting styles are contentious, especially when concerning a special region like this, but GIMB’s should not be ruled out just because things are done differently elsewhere, we should not blindly seek a homogenous, sterilized climbing experience. From what I’ve seen the recent bolting efforts have attempted to respect this while still using P-bolts. Many of the South Coast cliffs attracting attention are slightly off vertical, with thin balancy climbing the norm, GIMB’s are suitable for this type of climbing. The structural integrity of well placed GIMB’s also shouldn’t be questioned in the intrusive igneous geology of the coastal cliffs. The points mentioned previously about the ‘dangers’ of GIMB’s also seem to relate to human error rather than the actual bolts, given the serious, committing nature of many off these cliffs, is this relevant.

    * Various misguided points have been made about visual impacts. Firstly climbers & non-climbers alike do spot bolts, it is faciscious to consider that ‘lowly’ non’climbers will not spot bolts. Many won’t, but also a large number of hawk eyed naturalists will. Many potentially bolted climbs will certainly be in locations only safely accessible by those with strong roping skills, but again here I raise the intangible natural values flag. Secondly, like Wilyabrup & MQ, one cannot compare the Promenade with the South Coast. Off course a majorly overhanging cliff in a sheltered gorge with low rainfall will see white chalk marks against oxide stained sandstone on heavily ‘worked’ climbs.

    In summary, I seek not to antagonize people but simply raise valid points from a perspective well outside the ‘mainstream’ climbing community that may not have been considered. Personally, I see a place for some limited bolting on some of the bigger cliffs of the South Coast, but it must done with strong consideration for the integrity of the area. Maybe we’ll see GIMB’s with ring bolt belays, maybe some widely spaced P’s mixed with natural pro, but I pray we don’t see ‘consumer friendly’ classics peppering these wild places & keep the unique ‘out there’ climbing atmosphere of our special South Coast.

    When I’m not in the dust, water or snow I might see you down there some time.

    #7660 Reply

    spoken well guru. i seek not to antagonise either. you wanna get high?

    #7661 Reply
    ed nepia

    some good points for sure, the natural values flag that your advocating must be heard

    i completely accept that some areas will have such outstanding ecological or spiritual values that climbing will not be a viable pursuit

    however there will be other areas where such conflicts do not exist and climbing should be considered as a viable, legitimate recreational use in these places

    why shoudnt there be consumer friendly crags? Couldnt school groups for instance get value from a well equipped ‘sector initiation’? It dosnt have to be on the biggest baddest cliff, maybe a 15m outcrop convenient to a road end?

    Its hard not to conclude that much of the objection to bolting stems from a fear that the area might turn into a grid bolted crowded shit pile

    but I just done believe that will ever be the case, wild weather, long drives, difficult access, high seas, spray, wind and the generally epic nature of the area will act as natural deterrents for the masses

    sensitively bolted routes , as in the case of the recent additions, have created stunning, adventurous lines which will become classics, not easy … hard… and a tad scary

    the developers have used the best possible gear (p bolts) augmented by trad gear where it exists and their routes may well be among the best the region has to offer

    as discussed the ACZ is a historical relic which deserves (in my view) scrapping

    at persent climbers are forced to sneak around opening new lines, and wont publicise their efforts because of the fear of censure or fines

    as a result it may well be that the natural values you seek to preserve are inadvertently trampled

    far better to have an open discussion about which areas are suitable for development and which are not

    climbing is not the threat to conservation or wilderness values that it may seem

    i and almost every single climber i have met rate conservation, wilderness, natural scenery and associated values as critical

    climbers can be a force for good in wild areas

    and by recreating in such places they can benefit wider society as well

    #7662 Reply
    Jim Nevin

    Thanks Ed for renewing this discussion . I was a bit surprised as I thought it was resolved by Ross and the cawa comittee. I am a local climber in Albany and would just like to add a few personal observations. I agree with the general view that the ACZ is redundant and should be dropped, with a new set of guide lines similar to Ross’s suggestions.

    While I don’t consider locals should have any greater say in these matters, experience from the original ACZ discussions show that their agreement to a proposal is vitally important.

    I think Brett has said it all regarding the conservation values along the South Coast. People do notice bolts and as much as the P bolts are generally superior they are probably better used where they can’t be seen by the casual tourist or walker such as on the South of Peak Head. It would be pragmatic to veto bolting in highly visited areas and also places of high conservation value.(The Gap etc.)

    Regarding the history of the ACZ; it was negotiated for good and valid reasons at the time. The intention was for the thing to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstance. For various reasons this didn’t occur and has hamstrung progress for all climbers including locals. What is important is getting some guidelines which work now. On the subject of ACZ’s , the one in the Stirlings is solely a CAWA and DEC agreement and Albany locals weren’t involved.

    One thing that is noticeable in these discussions about the ACZ is the lack of input by the locals it concerns. It would be helpful to have the views of those who are most affected by any changes to the ACZ, aired in a forum such as this so other climbers can get a feel for the local point of view!

    The ACZ concept as it stands has broken down , however adventure climbing has not. If you dig a bit deeper you will find the bolting and lines envisioned and those actually done are where there is no natural protection and seem to be fairly adventurous in their own right.

    I hope these opinions help further the discussion.

    #7663 Reply
    Ronald Master

    I am also a local climber. On a personal note I think we need to have a little balance in the debate. I see no problem in bolting in areas not subject to large tourist populations. My feeling is that the Gap area and probably Castle rock would be a bad idea. The concern is more the rangers and the possibility of crag closures which DEC is well within its powers to do (I have a had a couple of negative comments myself). The other consideration is areas of very high conservation value. I would suggest that Two peoples bay should be avoided due to the Noise Scrub bird the absence of dieback. This is an A class reserve and DEC is very touchy on this area.

    I was not in the Albany area when the zone was instigated however as Jim has said it was for valid reasons. Trad rules should where possible apply to maintain the wild feel of the area, bolts should be the last option not the first. It is the locals in the area that will be left to deal with any ramifications of any rash action. It is good however to have some discussion on the issue, we will discuss it at a local level for sure.


    #7664 Reply

    It does seem this topic pops up once a year or so.

    Ross and Jim’s comments with respect to the origin of the ACZ seem pretty much correct as far as I can recall.

    On two separate occasions I have been at the top of a cliff in the ACZ; with a pack full of bolts, glue and a drill. On both occasions I have wimped out at the last minute. Despite the routes (crags) being great and worthwhile additions, I just didn’t have the heart to do it.

    The ACZ represents something special and I have enjoyed every route I have done on these minimal or non bolted cliffs. Somehow I felt that more bolted routes would diminish the feeling of adventure on other nearby routes. I also felt that there was some value in leaving the lines to be discovered, explored, top roped and maybe led on natural gear by others in the future. Less is more, to a point. The adventure’s I had bush bashing, exploring, abseiling and leading up into the unknown were great fun. Maybe it’s a bit naff, but it is worth considering leaving some “adventure” out there.

    Rather than a blanket lifting or relaxing of the ACZ I would propose a lifting of the ACZ on certain crags only – new or existing. Aside from the rhetoric on types of bolts, consensus shouldn’t be that hard to obtain on which crags are suitable for bolted routes.

    There is no “rest of the world” as Ross pointed out. WA has something a bit special in the ACZ and we need to be very careful that it is not lost.

    #7665 Reply
    Dena, CAWA President

    Hi All

    It’s great to see some constructive discussion going on.

    Thanks to the local Albany climbers for their input. We will need to liase with you further about the ACZ.

    Access and DEC: Those who have been observing our activities over the last couple of years will be aware that we (in particular me) have worked very hard to develop a relationship with DEC where there is consultation. I admit this did not happen with Castle Rock, we were not consulted and they have admitted in writing that they were wrong not to do so. However, increasingly CAWA is being recognised as the peak body representing climbers’ interests, which is exactly what we are trying to do. It takes a lot of time and hard work to develop a relationship and in the case of climbing, we have had to educate people who know nothing about the sport and therefore may be inclined to make decision based on fear. However, I can say that in neogiating access to Canning Dam Quarry and dealing with other issues, I have had a lot of assistance from DEC representatives. There are certainly people opposed to climbing, pasrtly because they don’t understand what it involves but you will find that many of these people are keen sporting people themselves and when approached in the right way and given the right information, are keen to help.

    DEC has shown a willingness to undertake joint projects with us. If there are any problems with DEC in the Albany region then I would suggest that we need to enagage with them to resolve and issues. Local climbers are welcome to contact me at any time to talk about concerns they may have or comments made by DEC staff.

    Ed:’CAWA seems to be unable to see the positive benefits in reviewing the no bolting status of the area for climbers’. I don’t believe that anyone actually made this statement nor had their been much opportunity for anyone to comment at the time of its writing. May I suggest that if you feel strongly about something, then send us an email. Or feel free to phone me. I certainly don’t check the forum regularly because my job as president is extremely demanding and I just don’t have the time. And I know that the other committee members do participate more than I do and will keep me informed. I have been watching this particular thread.

    Emil: I remember that you talked to me about this some months ago when we in Margs, I think. The ACZ was not something that had been discussed by CAWA in recent times and I had very little knowledge of what it actually was at that time. This may sound strange, but the VP and president’s job does not come with an instruction manual and there is no handover of ongoing concerns or issues from one committee to the next. I can understand that you may have felt that nobody was listening and I’m sorry for that.

    In addition to posting on the forum, I really would encourage anyone with something they want to discuss, to contact one of us directly. Please don’t expect to raise an issue here, rather than actually contacting us and get an automatic response. I see a lot of you around regularly-take the opportunity to talk to me if you want something addressed or you have a concern.

    The ACZ has been tabled for discussion at next week’s committee meeting. I will keep you posted.

    My personal opinion is that appropriate route development should be able to take place and that the ACZ is outdated. No climber owns any particular area unless it’s on their own private property and whilst we definitely need to respect the views of the local climbers in any area, development of the sport is also important and continuing to follow an outdated set of rules just because it’s there is not really appropriate. Respect for the wilderness should be observed wherever we go and I’m not even going to get into the GIMB thing. There is always going to be a difference of opinion and my primary concern is that bolting is conducted safely.

    Please also remember that the committee is composed of volunteers. We have been beavering away to try and improve things and I get really tired of seeing criticism for all of the things we haven’t done from those who are not willing to give up some of their time to help achieve change. We are certainly happy to have constructive feedback. That way we know what you want. But remember that some of us are spending many many hours of our not so spare time to improve the association and work on access issues. The changes that you see happening actually require a great deal of hard work behind the scenes. If you feel so strongly about climbing, then it would be great to see you nominate for a committee position at the next AGM. We need people on the committee who want to effect change and are willing to give up some their time to help make it happen.

    #7666 Reply

    On the subject of input: we would really like to hear from more of the local Albany climbers before the committee meeting next week. I know that Ross has emailed a couple of people but I am uncertain as to whether he has had any response yet, as he is currently away. Please help us to have a balanced discussion by sharing your views. If you don’t feel comfortable airing your thoughts publicly then feel free to email us instead.

    #7667 Reply

    2 cents worth:

    My personal opinion for what its worth, is that the ACZ is outdated and is in desperate need of revision. Emil and i have both had conversations with “the powers that be!!” and both around the time when the new bolting guidelines were revised and publicised.

    This conversation mainly prompted by the disbelief that it wasn’t tackled at the same time, while public input was being sort.

    The initial response was similar to that when i started seeking assistance for SCWA. The condescending line of “who are these supposed people you are talking about that are keen for revision and change……are they JUST your friends”.

    These were the initial responses, which after a bit more conversation and alot less elite posturing were on the same track.

    Im not attacking CAWA or any one individual, but it seems that this whole process that all climbers (not just the native albanians)have a right to be a part of, is held up by misinformation and fear. There is no reason it cant be handled in a similar open forum to that of the bolting guidelines. But this time i strongly believe it should be something that is reviewed and agree upon by all WA climbing fraternitys. Meaning CAWA members, Non-members, Local albany/stirling ranges climbers, new routing individuals…….you get the picture. Not just the handful of CAWA members who turn up to annual meetings. that isnt a dig at CAWA, as i for one appreciate the efforts of the volunteers involved, but i thinnk is it easy to become strongly influenced by the opinions of individuals and not truely have a balanced view of the history and ethics being discussed.

    That aside, i believe that the ACZ does have some merit in sensitive areas like The Gap where the visual nature of certain routes MIGHT! have a negative impact on climbing. Also in areas were the environmental impact of such activities many simply not be worth it!(dieback, endangered flora and fauna). But these issues really need to be looked at realistically and not just taken on face value alone.

    I think it is sad that some people through fear and lack of experience, would rather lump “bolting” in one big basket and imagine the worst case grid bolted scenario, than too actually look at the creative way in which we as “Australians” have embraced the genre of mixed climbing and written it into our policies and guidelines.

    Brett D wrote:

    “maybe some widely spaced P’s mixed with natural pro, but I pray we don’t see ‘consumer friendly’ classics peppering these wild places & keep the unique ‘out there’experience alive”

    this pretty safely sums up the right way forward(IMHO)and i have no doubt that all these areas will be still just as “out there” with the careful addition of a few well thoughtout mixed/bolted routes.

    In terms of GIMBS, I dont really care to argue, as there really is only a few individuals that place them and that is a personal choice. My personal opinion is that it is kind of pointless putting them on harder routes as most people end up pre-placing hangers/draw anyway, which in the end vetos any hope of a real onsight.

    .In terms of rings/hangers sanitizing the experience, thats just crap!, get over it!, they may be the “neuvo carrot” and we should all see some historical significance in them. But the truth is it has still altered the rock and people will still bail if they really need too!(whether through being scared or necessity, it doesnt matter!).

    as many have said before, its all hot air and the people bolting will continue to do so with what ever is floating their boat at the time.

    I really hope this discussion is the last time we have to discuss the ACZ in its current form and look forward too being a part of process.

    #7668 Reply
    ed nepia

    its been great watching this discussion unfold, seems to be broad agreement that the ACZ needs review


    and thanks to CAWA for agreeing to table this issue at a meeting

    as for reaching a decision about the ACZ my view is that the discussion should include as many players as possible.. CAWA Albany climbers, perth climbers any climbers

    Dena my comment about CAWA being unwilling to discuss the ACZ was based on;

    the recently published CAWA bolting guidelines which ban bolting in the ACZ,

    the lack of CAWA response to my initial questions,

    comments from active new routers as being excluded from discussions about the ACZ/bolting guidelines

    I’m happy to put my views in email if you’d prefer but felt this issue is best discussed in public on this forum to engage as many folks as possible

    Once again thanks for the positive discussion and I look forward to hearing the results from the CAWA meeting

    #7669 Reply
    WA Climber

    What pisses me off in WA is people from elsewhere coming to WA and then criticising climbing and climbers in WA.

    If you went to the UK and started bitching about the lack of bolts in gritstone and started putting bolts in, the locals would just beat the crap out of you.

    If you went to Spain and bitched about the bolt every half a metre and told the locals they should be using cams and nuts and you started chopping bolts, they would more than just beat the crap out of you.

    So why do you tossers come here and bitch about things here? Why don’t you piss off back to New Zealand or Europe or wherever you come from if you don’t like it here and have no respect for the local customs and traditions?

    #7670 Reply

    Such anger can only come from a man with a very small penis.

    #7671 Reply

    If ethic’s didn’t change over the times we would still be aid climbing on wooden pegs warming up for the proper mountains. Perhaps I should go down and rip out all the carrots and install some old pitons.

    Good thing we live in a society with free speech and open opinions.

    #7672 Reply
    ed nepia

    Well so much for constructive discussion … I actually really like the climbing here, and all the locals Ive climbed with have been awesome

    So WA Climber do you have anything useful to add?

    Or would you rather just bitch from the safety of your pseudonym?

    #7673 Reply
    WA Climber

    Terribly sorry old chap. I seem to have made an error somewhere, although I not sure where. Maybe you can point it out to me?

    When I lived in Europe, I found many of their climbing practices rather strange, but I abided by their ethics and traditions. In Swiss Saxony, I used tape knot ‘nuts’, just like everyone else. In Spain I happily used the ringbolts that were every metre. In the UK I used nuts and cams like everyone else. And I happily discussed Australian, WA and local climbing ethics and methods with the local climbers.

    But I did not ridicule the local climbing ethics and methods or try to push my own climbing ethics and ideas on the locals, which is what you are doing and which appear to have come from elsewhere .

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in WA, climb like the locals do. If you want to bolt every national park in sight and have no respect for other people (including, heaven forbid, bumbly tourists, who also have rights. Well, maybe.), then do so back where you came from and let us climb how we want to here.

    #7674 Reply
    ed nepia

    If you feel so strongly about this why aren’t you big enough to use your real name?

    if you want to be taken seriously why not avoid insults?

    And if you are a WA Climber the you will know that many of the contributors to this thread have made huge contributions to WA Climbing, and as I said there seemed to be broad agreement amongst them that the ACZ deserved review

    If you can read carefully you’ll note that I have’nt ridiculed WA climbing or climbers, I have just asked some questions about the ACZ and bolting styles

    Unlike you i have great respect for others, nor do i have a desire to offend or bolt every national park in sight

    Perhaps you could tell me how a WA Climber climbs? What ethics a WA Climber abides by? Or even where I could see the mythical WA Climber in action?

    As far as i can see there is a fair bit of variety in the WA Climbers i have seen, and a fair bit of difference in their points of view, ethics etc

    So I’m struggling to understand how to ‘climb like one’

    #7675 Reply

    To WA climber…I dont think Ed is trying to push his ethics etc on to you or WA. What he is trying to do is bring WA into the 21st Century(I am from WA and lived here all my life). It seems to me that the WA climbing scene is dictated and refects the ethics and more importantly the (in)abilities of a chosen few. No one here is pushing the boundaries because the ‘powers that be’ who dictate are happy to climb only within their abilities and therefore happy to force upon the rest of us their mediocre standards. BOLT ON ED…

    #7676 Reply
    Ross W

    I think the above comment says more about the author than about anyone else; no further comment required, eh?

    The ACZ was discussed at the comm mtg, there have been emails, phone calls etc with the Albanites, and there will be a news item on the ACZ by end of this week so stand by.

    And finally, I do appreciate any comments, even anonymous ones. In fact I far more respect the ones that are anonymous and respectful than the ones that are signed and arrogant.

    #7677 Reply

    I would like to remind everyone that inappropriate comments about other people’s appendages are not appreciated. Likewise, any comments made that are considered offensive will be removed as per website conduct policy. And I would consider some the comments above to be coming pretty close.

    #7678 Reply
    ed nepia

    nice one, be good to keep the discussion constructive

    look forward to hearing the result of your deliberations


    #7679 Reply

    Hi Everyone

    Before posting the resolution passed at the recent committee meeting, we wanted to make sure that there was not going to be any conflict with existing management plans for the areas in question. And there isn’t, so here it is:


    The Albany Adventure Climbing Zone (AACZ) is henceforth redefined as including the following areas only: The Gap, Natural Bridge, Blow Holes and all areas within or between any of these locations; also Stony Hill boulders, and any location within the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. These areas are either highly environmentally sensitive areas or have high tourist traffic. No further fixed protection may be placed in the AACZ. The CAWA Code of Bolting and New Route Development and the CAWA Code of Conduct are to be applied to the South Coast, same as per the rest of the State.

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