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  • #83628 Reply

    I feel as if im opening a can of worms here, but for some time i have been thinking of trying my hand at some dry tooling, and im sure im not the only one interested. I was just about to drop some cash on a couple X monsters, when it suddenly dawned on me where will i do this, and then questions about ethics flooded my mind (personly i dont see a problem, with a couple of exceptions).

    So i did a search, and there was nothing, brrrr. Ok so i put it to the cawa community is dry tooling something that may be possible in perth/wa? and if so where?

    #84356 Reply

    do tools or crampons chip the rock at all?
    wouldn’t have thought they’d do much damage.
    feasible climbs would be limited. Anything needing friction wouldn’t go? Need something with lots of edges. Short Circuit direct in Stathams might be suitable. Overhanging with lots of features.   Hard climbs where there might  be damage to critical crimpers, maybe not.?

    #84399 Reply
    Numbat’s Mum

    Yes dry tooling does damage the rock. Evidence for this is clear at areas where it is done. Chamonix, around Canmore etc. It is not acceptable on Perth rock.

    Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on boots. crampons and axes all for a pointless dry tool top rope in Perth that won’t prepare you at all for the real thing half covered in ice….

    #84421 Reply

    awesome idea, most of the routes round Perth are chipped anyway

    #84569 Reply

    You’re right Chris, you have just opened a can of worms. But it’s great that you’ve put the question out there rather than just going out and doing it.

    Numbat’s Mum (seriously?) is right about one thing-ice axes and crampons most definitely do damage the rock. The only appropriate place to go dry tooling is an area that has been deemed unfit for normal rock climbing, that has not been and is not going to be developed and has no existing routes on the walls. And many of the areas unsuitable for climbing are deemed so because the rock is unstable. In the UK, quarries deemed too rank and nasty for normal rock climbing are used for dry tooling and there are now specific areas being developed as people get into it as a separate activity of its own. There are also sections at climbing walls dedicated to it.

    Numbat’s Mum (are you really that afraid to own your opinion?) is, however, incorrect about it not preparing you for winter climbing. It’s one of the main purposes of dry tooling, which is also used in it’s own right to climb rocky sections of mixed routes.

    Not only are there significant ethical issues in relation to Perth/WA but there is also the safety aspect to consider in terms of the equipment itself as well as all of the potential venues I can think of being choss piles and probably not that well suited to the style of climbing that dry tooling tends to lend itself to. This also then creates potential issues with the land managers who are already concerned about liability.

    Don’t get me wrong-I LOVE my crampons and axes. They are heaps of fun when used in the right environment and in the right way. But I love my rock climbing too and I honestly don’t think Perth is the right place for dry tooling.


    #84637 Reply

    Hi Chris,

    a good place for dry tooling is on the limestone block walls that are found in many suburbs around Perth.  Near Vlamingh Parade off Stirling Highway in North Freo/Mosman Park there’s some good stuff, and also up at Ocean Reef and Ashby and in lots of other suburbs.  I remember seeing some up in Edgewater too.

    Some are 4 – 5 m high, and the limestone doesn’t wear out your crampons and axes too fast.

    Off course, you’lee probably be reported by the locals and arrested or locked up in a looney bin.  Best to do it in the dark.


    And down the Kwinana Freeway – down towards Mandurah.    If you go around the back, no one will see you.   Or try it on a brick wall.


    If you try it on real rock, then you’re a tool.


    And hi mum!  I’ll be coming over for the weekend.  What’s for dinner?


    #84740 Reply

    I’m so very happy to have so many good responses to this, thanks.

    Dena: I like your thinking “an area that has been deemed unfit for normal rock climbing, that has not been and is not going to be developed and has no existing routes on the walls”

    I can think of a few places that may work e.g. limestone cut aways along the freeway, the pub down the road from blackies, even parts of stathams quarry, and this may even lead into specific dry tooling area’s (well I can dream). But then yer, there is the problem with land managers although I would say other forms of climbing are just as if not more dangerous than dry tooling.

    Numbat: I can just see the looks of horra on peoples faces if I where to bust out  ice axes at peppermint grove XD

    #85093 Reply
    Numbat’s Mum

    Numbat, are you still together with Nigel ?
    Your father doesn’t really approve of that relationship so I’d rather you didn’t come around for dinner.

    #85556 Reply

    I’ve seen a few people training  in the quarries, though not lately . Nothing bad has ever come of it. One thing’s certain, it’s not going to catch on. Even you won’t do it for long. Maybe there’s a small risk but we should  encourage development of mountaineering skills in Perth.

    #85937 Reply

    Dry tooling will wreck normal rock routes. If you want a good venue look for something overhanging with few features, thin cracks or pockets and then bolt it. M5/6 routes will only entertain you the first time you’re out.

    #86250 Reply

    Chris – I assume you mean the limestone walls in Peppy Grove, not the little crag there.


    And hi Mum,

    Nigel? Oh no, He’s in the backyard, under the big lemon-scented gum.   The grass has almost grown over and you’d never know he is there.


    #91435 Reply

    Sweet Pea’s a perfect candidate.  Hard to see how anyone could complain about a few scratches on a route that’s been chiseled beyond all recognition – go to town I reckon.  Or do what everyone else does and drill a jugtastic line up the Ersatz wall.

    #107455 Reply

    Surely if it is a new route you an choose your style? Dry tooling would only create the same amount of damage as using other forms of aid gear. In most other countries if a route is unclimbable by traditional rock climbing techniques it is open for dry tooling. Ie nothin to hold or put your foot on, only the tip of the axe and point of the crampon could get purchase.

    With the approval of the land owners I think dry tooling woul be great for Perth and would open up an area for mountaineers to hone their skills for te wider ranges. Maybe the next edition of the CAWA guide could even have some rules and guidelines on dry tooling. Eg can not be used on existing routes, the use of half or double ropes etc. if you have the right gear and skills it is as safe as any other form of climbing.

    #108069 Reply


    I am just arrived in Perth and English is my second language. So sorry if it is bad 🙂

    For some time I was involved in UIAA Ice-climbing competition in Europe and still member of that commission (http://www.theuiaa.org/ice_climbing_organisation.html). For shore dry-tooling can help lot in preparation for mix-climbing. On other side ice climbing will messing, but with modern technology it is not so difficult to make artificial ice. Just need stable max +7C (this one is hard in WA :)) or indoor ice skating arena.
    What is good to know, for people with competition ambition and dry-,mix-,ice-climbing experience, during Winter Olympic Games-2013 in Sochi, UIAA Ice climbing Championship will hold in same time and same place as WOG.

    In any way, what you can do also for practicing dry-tooling is: climbing abandoned buildings, metal stairs or even big machines. If you have backyard or garage you can make easy with few wooden beams and planks your one dry-tooling gym. 🙂

    So, if you need any extra information about any of previous written topics my e-mail is: sinisa.vujic@gmail.com

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