Home Forums Climbing Talk Climbing in the Wheat Belt

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  • #7478 Reply

    Earlier in the year a well known climbing celebrity and myself visited the wheat belt region and identified two potential places to climb, namely Gundaring Rock and Mount Stirling (all in the vicinity of Kokerbin Rock). Having assessed that these first two places had potential I made enquiries with DEC and after consideration received the following reply:

    ‘The DEC Avon Mortock District cannot support your proposal to make use of the DEC-managed Mt Stirling NR for rock climbing and abseiling for the following reasons:

    1. Mount Stirling Nature Reserve has significant known Aboriginal cultural values centred around and on the granite outcrop. Indigneous consultation has not been undertaken for this activity and is unlikely to be supported (based on the outcomes of other proposed recreation activities on these outcrops);

    2. We currently do not have the capacity (skills, experience etc) to identify and designate appropriate areas in our District`s conservation estate for rock climbing and abseiling. This would require taking into account a range of factors that may enhance safety for all user groups, enjoyment and avoid/minimise environmental and cultural impacts; and

    3. As a consequence of point 2, the risks to climbers / abseilers and other users of our nature reserves cannot be specifically identified and mitigated. ‘

    Further enquiry made it clear that DEC also does not support climbing at Gundaring Rock, Kokerbin Rock or Eaglestone Rock nature reserves.

    Remember ‘Don’t shoot the messenger!’

    I will pass on further details to a CAWA committee member if they want to contact me via the website.

    #7479 Reply

    DEC said what DEC would be expected to say. Some person they do not know says “I want to do something that may cause you a problem” and DEC says “No thank you”. Anyone surprised?

    #7480 Reply

    Shoot this foolish messenger now.

    By asking you succeeded in having us banned.

    #7481 Reply

    Well done RockMoron!

    Over the last year or two, I’ve been going out to these spots (and others) and have climbed a number of routes and have put in quite a few bolts, with no problems whatsoever! And then you go and do a really, really dumb thing. Why not just tell DEC that you want to chainsaw all the vegetation, shoot all the rock-wallabies, and quarry the rock?

    You’re a total fuckwit.

    #7482 Reply
    Ed Nepia

    So much for reasoned debate

    a guy trys to do the right thing and gets shot on line

    far out if that’s what happens whenu do the right thing what happens if you don’t?

    #7483 Reply

    A few years ago, some DEC Esperance Discussion papers had a paragraph which stated (approximately), that as there was no climbing in the designated area, it would be therefore banned.

    We, (I), wrote to DEC and pointed out that there had been climbing in the area, there are significant areas of granite and the mere fact that much of it hadn’t been explored didn’t mean that there was no decent climbing to be had.

    Secondly we pointed out that climbing was(and is) considered a legitimate activity on public land, except where there were genuine reasons for it to be prohibited.

    We also pointed out, it wasn’t much different to bushwalking, (just a little more vertical), and that bushwalking wasn’t generally banned.

    Unfortunately there are people in the department who’s knee jerk response to any enquiry is an automatic “no”, whether from simple laziness or simple simplemindedness or just plain simple fear of starting something they can’t stop.

    It would be helpful if you could send CAWA a copy of the correspondence you received or the name of the person you communicated with, or both.

    On a further note, most of the negative response climbers get from DEC or other land managers is due to fear of liability issues. Presently preparations are being made to introduce a no-fault personal accident insurance scheme similar to that which exists in New Zealand, into the Federal Parliament. I believe this is something overdue in Australia, and worth supporting.

    It would certainly go a long way to enabling climbers to get access more easily even to some private areas now presently closed to us.



    #7484 Reply

    Yeah, well….for future reference, may I suggest the following: (1) Contact CAWA (2) Wait. The Comm will make discrete (or open but generic) inquiries and seek feedback from people who know something about the area. Then we will formulate a plan of action. It may be that best action is no action. If it does come to officially talking to land managers, we will be able to point to numerous precedences of climbing being allowed in Nat Parks. Face to face contact is the only way to do these things, emails and letters are waste of time. It’s about relationships. I’ve been through this in Avon Valley and Wallcliffe myself. However, we will only take action if it is worth our while…we have other fish to fry and not enough people to fry it….and to use another simile, pulling someone’s small iron out of self-made fire may not be one of them….it could be that people get their small obscure crag banned: bad luck. Confidence can be assured though, whatever the outcome. At the very least we can talk about it.

    #7485 Reply

    All the hotheads, calm down.

    Numbat and Richard, are you psychotic? Your foul language and threats are way out of line and reflect very badly on you. You have made fools of yourselves.

    Numbat-your argument seems to be to envisage an obviously ridiculous situation ‘shoot the rock wallabies ’and by inferring its relation to the actual situation you seek to justify your vitriol- an empty argument.

    Ross- asking ‘would this cause a problem?’ is very different from your circular statement. The conditions to their response existed prior to me asking. Asking is not the problem. Not asking is the problem- Mt Chudalup.

    You seem to infer you have a special relationship with DEC. Do you know the director at DEC Avon Mortock District? I did actually point them in the direction of CAWA and they had never heard of it.

    Your metaphors are confusing.

    I checked out 2 places and asked the land managers i.e. DEC if it was ok to climb there. They said no. That’s all that happened. I did the right thing – Ed thanks for your reasoned voice. I don’t make DEC policy, bringing it into the public domain doesn’t deserve the treatment it has been getting.

    I assumed that it was ok to climb at Eaglestone Rock- there is a guide published on-line. Isn’t it dumb to develop a crag, publicise it and not check out it was ok? Putting it in the public domain implies to anyone who reads it that it is ok to climb there.

    I am sure that CAWA/Toc will argue well for the case of climbing in these areas. I don’t think climbers will hurt the environment at all, however if an area has special value to the traditional owners and they don’t want you climbing all over it then there nothing you can do about that.

    Off course you could chose to ignore other peoples sensibilities and get your own jollies.

    #7486 Reply
    ed nepia

    its worth noting that point 1 of the cawa code of bolting and new route development and the cawa code of conduct asks that land owners/managers be contacted for approval when considering developing new areas

    it seems that rockstar did just that and got caned

    are we now supposed to contact cawa first before the land owners?

    #7487 Reply

    A general appeal . Regarding our lesser known climbing areas on public land, please do not go to DEC and ask about them. You will get us shut out of half of them. The position has been that where the public has access we have as much right to be there as anyone else, walkers etc. And we don’t benefit by attracting attention to ourselves. If necessary once we are established and noticed we can negotiate restrictions.

    #7488 Reply

    Yo Rockstar, I love your last post, Numbat was so up himself and you tell him how it is. I was angered and posted (3 times actually) using the same tones and language back at Numbat. The Mods of this “FORUM” removed them all one after the other and yet left Numbats dribble standing over the 3 days I tried posting. Thank goodness you weren’t angry enough to explode in foul dribble as I was and set these self appointed heroes straight. Onya bud.

    #7489 Reply
    Mark Weatherill

    Silenced, the reason your posts were deleted is they were mindless abuse that added nothing to the discussion. No one cares about the insults that you want to hurl at Numbat.

    The intent of our moderation is to prevent threads from becoming slagging matches which go nowhere towards resolving tough issues which affect the future of our sport. I don’t agree with Numbat’s choice of words, but I support hearing his input as someone involved in the area.

    Finally, I post on here with my full name as I’m not embarrassed by my actions. Please think about that the next time you get fired up.

    #7490 Reply


    Based on your logic of removing Silenced’s posts you should remove Nymbat’s also. Could be wrong but is not calling a person a Fukwit not an insult…or is this precious little Numbat better than the rest of us?

    RockStar did nothing wrong and CAWA is a nothing body in enforcing behaviour. Good onya Rockstar~!

    #7491 Reply
    Mark Weatherill

    I kept Numbat’s post due to his involvement in route development in the area. I don’t know his real life identity but recognize him as a regular on the forum. Hence he builds a reputation based on how he behaves.

    #7492 Reply
    ed nepia

    whew interesting logic … i didnt read anything in numbats rant that ‘helped resolve tough issues’

    the thing about moderation is that it has to be fair, and be seen to be fair

    if its ok for one person to call a person xxxx whatever then its ok for all

    be consistent eh

    anyhow it would seem that CAWA as the ‘peak body representing climbers’ needs to sort its house out a bit

    a climber (rockstar) followed your codes of conduct to the letter and got reamed for it

    climbers are then advised to contact CAWA before the land owners but that they will only attend to the issue if its deemed important enough (meanwhile numbat continues to bolt and climb wherever he likes)

    which leaves the rockstars and others wondering ‘why bother’

    merry christmas everyone

    #7493 Reply

    Hi ‘Rockstar’,

    Firstly an apology for calling you a ‘fuckwit’. I seem to have overstepped the mark there, so sorry about that.

    However, by calling yourself ‘Rockstar’, you imply that you are somehow ‘better’ than the rest of us mere mortals and thus show yourself to be arrogant and egotistical. Maybe you’re not, but that’s how it comes across.

    Apart from that, it has been my past experience that when dealing with government bureaucracies, one needs to know WHO ask and WHAT to ask. Asking some district pen-pushing desk-pilot, or even worse, a shovel-pushing, rubbish-bin emptying ranger whos only exposure to rock-climbers has been a 30 minute doco on the ‘Adventure Channel’ of Danny Osmond doing speed-soloing and 1000 m bungy-jumps off El Cap, then you will get the usual knee-jerk response of ‘NO!’ as they are too scared to do anything without head-office approval. But the district office won’t ask head office as they want to show head office that they are independent and don’t need head office advice.

    Maybe the above example of Danny O is a bit of an exaggeration, but the fact is that for most DEC staff, their only exposure to climbers and abseilers (they don’t know the difference) has been when 40 school kids turn up with an ‘accredited’ instructor and stomp all over rare species of wallabies. Many of the DEC people are also shit-scared of liability issues and will use the usual excuse of (1) Aboriginal issues; (2) safety; and (3) risk, to say ‘No’.

    But if you have already asked some jerk in the district office, it is then too late and the damage has been done as head office will be forced to agree, or rather back-up the decision made by the district office as they don’t want to look like idiots.

    However if you had initially approached head office directly and spoken to the right people (who know about climbers) and are usually be open to discussion, then you would have probably obtained a more reasonable response.

    What you need to do is find out the correct channels and the right people to ask and not going off doing stupid things that jeopardises climbing for everyone else. Contacting the CAWA exec or some of the old timers that have had to deal with DEC/CALM/Forestry/Water Corp etc etc in the past is a good place to start. Either that, or just go out and climb in a responsible manner and keep quiet about it.

    #7494 Reply

    if the consensus is to be “do what you want just keep quiet about it”, why does cawa bother in mandating bolting restrictions?

    several cawa luminaries have posted here and, in agreeance with ed, their stance is confused.

    cawa constructs something like the AACZ (even if it less than it used to be) then vilifies Rockstar for doing the righty.

    effectively cawa is putting a front to DEC where it wants and being surreptitious where it does not.

    does this sound like a representative that “Provides a central body that represents climbers when dealing with land managers, sporting bodies and government departments” (www.climberswa.asn.au/cawa/what-we-do/)?

    #7495 Reply
    Mark Weatherill

    I can assure you that no one is advocating the view of “do what you want just keep quiet about it”. You cannot compare the ACZ, which has hundreds of routes, including some of the best climbing in the state, with a few wheatbelt crags which would be lucky to see a dozen visitors in a year. Each area needs to be treated differently.

    What I hope is clear is that it is very easy to get bad exposure which can have lasting consequences. CAWA has experience with these issues so let’s work together to prevent this from happening again.

    #7496 Reply


    If “Rocstar” makes him sound better than us i would suggest that “numbat” makes you just that….a Numbat!

    Your ranting and poor effort at apology confirm you are a Numbat. Slagging off Government workers only furthers your reputation as a Numbat. There are many DEC officers who started in the Adventure industry doing climbing / caving / abseiling and are probably more “hardcore” than you pretend to be.

    Grow up and disappear, like your namesake does when in the spotlight

    #7497 Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I work for a government agency and spend most of my time dealing with morons in the parent department who are the regulators. Many of the regulations are based on outdated data and knowledge, personal biases, a lack of understanding of the topics and issues, general laziness and the fear of sticking one’s neck out and actually doing something. One person that I deal with regularly seems to still think it is 1975 in New Zealand and acts accordingly.

    The reply that ‘rockstar’ got from the District Office is a typical stock-standard knee-jerk reply from someone who appears to have no has no understanding of the issues and is unwilling to find out what they are. If they had a bit more of an open mind and did their job properly, rather than copying and pasting out of some out-dated document, they may have found that one of DEC’s roles is to promote, when possible, recreational activities in DEC-managed land. I remember being told once (in a Federal Government Agency where I use to work) that “The way to get ahead here is to do nothing. If you do nothing, then nothing can ever go wrong and you won’t be blamed for anything, and you will slowly but surely go up the ladder.”

    There are many fine people in the various government departments and agencies, including DEC, who do do things and I have a great deal of time and respect for these people. But not for the knee-jerkers.

    #7498 Reply
    Jeff M

    Nor for people that are trying to do the right thing eh? You say you are part of the big Govt hamster wheel and have respect for people in it but you also go against CAWA and DEC policy and go out and develop crags in secret. Doesn’t really sound like you have the respect you claim to. Then you call rockstar names for doing exactly what the cawa code says to do also, do you expect us to take you seriously or what?

    Should we all go out and secretly develop crags in the hope they are not discovered by DEC? When they find out the rules have been flouted and climbing has been done in sensitive area (aborigional/environmental) it will be people like you who do their own thing that get us banned, not guys like ‘rockstar’ who try to do the right thing.

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