This topic contains 36 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Nathan 1 year, 7 months ago.
June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #13079
thanks to the CAWA folk for giving up their free time to help resolve access issues, its a seriously thankless task so
having said that it does seem that the limit is the issue, 40 is a random daft number plucked out of who knows where …
overcrowding at crags is an issue worldwide, I can recall lines of climbers sitting on their rope bags queuing at the bottom of classic routes at Buoux and Ceuse. Apart from the strangeness of the situation it dosn’t really cause problems.
Brett makes a very valid point when he notes that many climbers aren’t CAWA members, and maybe out of the current information loop.
Also consider that for visiting climbers the idea of ‘booking’ to rock climb and limits on numbers is a foreign concept.
Would CAWA consider advocating for greatly increasing the limit on numbers in the Quarry’s? Why not go for it and suggest 200 a day?
In general more climbers at the crags means a vibrant ‘scene’, discourages antisocial behaviour from non climbers, and helps reinforce the message to DEC that climbers are numerous, active and that climbing is a legitimate, healthy outdoor pursuit.June 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm #13080
What? My name taken in vain?
The DEC policies are available – you only have to look!
“But the policy is on display . . .”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a torch.”
“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the policy, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Numbat, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.”
POLICY STATEMENT No. 18
RECREATION, TOURISM AND VISITOR SERVICES
2.3 ROCK CLIMBING AND ABSEILING
There are many areas in Western Australia managed by DEC where rock climbing and abseiling occur.
Undoubtedly there are many other potential sites suitable for such activities, especially in the more remote
areas of the estate managed by DEC.
The Climbers’ Association of Western Australia (CAWA) was established in the late 1960s at which time
rock climbing was in its infancy in Western Australia. In 1989, following liaison with DEC’s South Coast
Region, the CAWA adopted a “code of ethics” which addresses safety, environmental and social impact
considerations associated with rock climbing. This code was subsequently expanded in 1993 to provide
more explicit advice on the issue of the placement of rock bolts for safety reasons. CAWA remains the
major State-based focal point for recreational rock climbing while smaller groups exist in other areas such as Albany. Other organisations that participate in rock climbing include the Fire and Emergency Services
Authority of WA (FESA), the S.A.S. and other defence forces groups, school and university outdoor
adventure groups and several commercial operators.
Abseiling is a skill learnt by rock climbers and involves safely sliding down a rope using some form of
friction device. It is used in order to safely retreat from rock faces or mountainous terrain due to inclement weather or impassable sections, or sometimes to safely access the base of cliffs typically in coastal or gorge situations where foot access is impractical. In the context of this policy such involvement in abseiling as a necessary part of a rock-climbing venture is regarded as ‘rock climbing’. The same principle applies to the necessary use of abseiling in caving activities.
In the early 1980s, abseiling began to develop as an activity in its own right in Western Australia. Naturally, many of the sites popular with rock climbers are also attractive to abseilers. However, abseiling can be undertaken, and is often learnt, in artificial situations such as disused quarries and buildings. Most abseiling in WA involves groups and may result in environmental impacts around the top and bottom of popular abseil routes. Under regulation 33 of the Conservation and Land Management Regulations 2002, a person must not, without lawful authority, abseil on DEC-managed lands except in an area designated for abseiling in accordance with regulation 6. Lawful authority must be obtained from the Regional or District Manager. In accordance with regulation 102A, fees may not be charged for abseiling unless the activity occurs in a designated abseiling area, and abseiling fees must be clearly signposted.
Under regulation 31 of the Conservation and Land Management Regulations 2002, a person may not,
without lawful authority, cause any significant damage or disturbance to a naturally occurring feature on
DEC-managed land; damage or disturb any naturally occurring feature on DEC-managed land in a way that
causes, or creates a potential for, adverse consequences to or in relation to DEC-managed land; or remove
any naturally occurring feature from DEC-managed land. Any bolting or other modification of natural rock
faces must only be carried out in accordance with the CAWA Climbing and Bolting Ethics with any
additional requirements specified by the Regional or District Manager. If problems arise with adherence to
these Ethics, enforcement provisions under regulation 31 of the regulations may be applied to limit damage
2.3.1 Rock climbing and abseiling are recognised as legitimate forms of public recreation on lands
managed by DEC and will be permitted subject to the recognition and adequate maintenance of
conservation values, safety standards and the rights and enjoyment of other visitors. Area
management plans or interim management guidelines will specify suitable areas/sites and may
indicate any restrictions on rock climbing or abseiling activities.
2.3.2 Lawful authority must be obtained from the Regional or District Manager to conduct abseiling
activities on DEC-managed lands, unless the activity occurs in a designated abseiling area.
Appropriate areas for abseiling activities will be designated, and abseiling fees will not be charged
except in designated areas. Abseiling fees must be clearly signposted.
2.3.3 Any bolting or other modification of natural rock faces, including the provision of fixed belay
points, must be carried out in accordance with the CAWA Climbing and Bolting Ethics and any
additional requirements specified by the Regional or District Manager. The CAWA Climbing
Ethics and CAWA Bolting Ethics are included with these policy guidelines. All climbers will be
required to observe these codes, as well as relevant DEC policy guidelines and requirements in the
Conservation and Land Management Regulations 2002, when climbing on lands managed by
DEC. If reliance on these codes and ethics is found to be unworkable, bolting associated with
climbing and abseiling may be regulated through enforcement provisions under regulation 31 of
2.3.4 The development by DEC of facilities at climbing or abseiling areas may be appropriate to enhance
safety, enjoyment and avoid/minimise environmental impacts (e.g. parking, trails, anchor points,
2.3.5 Restrictions may be introduced limiting the times, numbers and sites in which climbing and
abseiling can be undertaken, should such activities threaten or conflict with conservation of the
natural or cultural environment, e.g. breeding sites, significant flora or fauna, track erosion, edge or
cliff base erosion, Aboriginal rock paintings, special geological features. The danger of rocks
falling on walkers, other rock climbers below or spectators using paths or areas below climbing and
abseiling sites may also require restrictions to be imposed or paths to be realigned. Restrictions will
be appropriately publicised.
2.3.6 People conducting commercial rock climbing and abseiling on lands managed by DEC must obtain
a commercial activity licence.
2.3.7 All commercial operators referred to in 2.3.6 above as well as not-for-profit groups conducting
rock climbing and abseiling with dependent participants such as school groups, scout groups,
community groups, or youth groups will be required as part of the conditions applying to their
licence or other approval to be registered under the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme
(NOLRS) or hold current equivalent accreditation recognised by DEC’s CEO. The scheme
conducted by the Professional Association of Climbing Instructors (PACI) is currently regarded as
equivalent to NOLRS. (The term ‘dependents’ includes children, as well as adults who are
dependent on another person/s providing them with support, skills and assistance to undertake the
activity). Not-for-profit groups where participants are non-dependent (e.g. military and emergency
services training groups or specialist rock climbing and abseiling clubs/groups) generally operate
under their own training guidelines and competencies and do not require NOLRS or equivalent
level accreditation. However, DEC may check the leader qualifications of these groups if that
action is considered warranted.
2.3.8 Adequate safety precautions must be taken. At popular climbing destinations, on-site information
may be provided by DEC to encourage safe practice. Abseiling and rock climbing should only be
undertaken by people who are appropriately skilled, experienced and equipped.
2.3.9 The wearing of hard-shell, secured helmets at all times is recommended.
2.3.10 A maximum allowable number of people may be nominated for specific areas by the Regional or
District Manager for environmental, social or safety reasons.
2.3.11 A permit or bookings system may apply in some areas.
2.3.12 Single rope techniques will be practised in a responsible and safety conscious manner. Some single
rope technique (SRT) activities such as forward abseiling and angel jumping are high risk activities
inappropriate on lands managed by DEC and are prohibited. (Note: Outdoors WA, which
represents a wide range of industry sectors in outdoor adventure/education/recreation activities, is
currently conducting a review of forward abseiling/run down, star jumps, angel jumps and other
practices. DEC will take the Outdoors WA review and comments from other stakeholders into
account in any future review of section 2.3.12).
2.3.13 DEC endorses the Climbers’ Association of WA (CAWA) Climbing and Bolting Ethics in regard
to natural areas. Adherence to the CAWA Climbing and Bolting Ethics (see below) will be a
condition of any approval for access to natural areas for climbing and abseiling activities.
Climbers’ Association of WA (CAWA) – Climbing Ethics
CAWA encourages the following State-wide basic climbing ethics in all climbers:
• Do not damage the bush around crags or access paths.
• Use lower-offs where provided rather than walking down, which creates erosion.
• Carry out all rubbish.
• Take all body waste at least 50 metres from the crag.
• Do not retro-bolt climbs or interfere with existing routes without the permission of the first
• Do not place bolts in new areas unless aware of: (a) who owns or administers the crag, and (b) how
they are likely to respond.
• We encourage that aggressive dogs should be muzzled or leashed when at crags. (Note: – these are
CAWA’s Climbing Ethics. When climbers are on DEC-managed lands, they are required to follow
the guidelines for access for domestic pets – see section 1.13 of these guidelines.)
Climbers’ Association of WA – Bolting Ethics
CAWA asks that anyone wishing to place bolts in Western Australia respect the following ethics. These
ethics were developed and are maintained in conjunction with DEC and the WA climbing community.
• Bolting should never be carried out by persons who have insufficient experience in outdoor
climbing. Good judgement needs to be employed when placing bolts, and this can only be
developed from long climbing experience. Natural rock is not the place to practice bolting.
• Bolts should not be added to existing climbs or boulder problems. Existing routes should not be
interfered with in any way without the permission of the first ascentionist.
• Fixed protection may only be used on new routes where there is no possibility of arranging
protection by common traditional means. Common traditional means include nuts and cams of all
• New routes must not be bolted within reach of established routes.
• Bolts must be visually unobtrusive, especially in areas visited by the non-climbing public. The
installer must strive to use the least conspicuous method of bolting and installation and minimise
the number of bolts.
• Any bolt installer must be competent and employ only suitable fixtures and materials of sufficient
strength.June 22, 2012 at 9:46 am #13081
Maybe we should look at the purpose of a national park. As stated in the Land and Conservation Act 1984, which can be found here:
One of the purposes of a national park is to provide an area of recreational use (among others).
\\\”56. Objectives of plans
(1) In preparing a proposed management plan for any land, the
responsible body for the land shall have the objective of
achieving or promoting the purpose for which the land is
reserved and in particular the proposed plan shall be
(c) in the case of national parks and conservation parks, to
fulfil so much of the demand for recreation by members
of the public as is consistent with the proper
maintenance and restoration of the natural environment,
the protection of indigenous flora and fauna and the
preservation of any feature of archaeological, historic or
scientific interest; and…\\\”
Perhaps the restriction on climber numbers goes against one of the main objectives of a national park. I also agree with the points of Ed and Brett here, but I can also understand DEC safety concerns. And I can understand the \\\’political shitstorm\\\’ that DEC goes through every time there is a death on their areas, BUT, that is their job. Just because some people do not want to fill out paperwork does not mean that restricting climbing access is a solution. This clearly goes against the objective of a national park as stated above. Further, I think climber\\\’s have a great safety record in DEC managed lands (I could be wrong), so I am unsure how limiting our access is going to change the safety record.
Maybe MQ should have climbing dedicated areas (with no climbing limits), and areas designated for other uses only, such as abseiling and other activities. That way we are not interacting, and climbers are left to manage their safety, and the abseiling groups can continue without posing a safety risk to climbers and visa versa.
ChrisJune 22, 2012 at 9:48 am #13082
woops sorry bout that crap post, i think I stuffed up inserting the link to the Conservation act. It can be found here:June 22, 2012 at 10:51 am #13083
Quoting Chris “Maybe MQ should have climbing dedicated areas (with no climbing limits), and areas designated for other uses only, such as abseiling and other activities. That way we are not interacting, and climbers are left to manage their safety, and the abseiling groups can continue without posing a safety risk to climbers and visa versa.”
Dunno about that – the problem is that the abseilers often abseil on some of the good climbing areas (eg Sex, Cigs and Chardonnay, Urban Ethics etc at MQ; near the Penguin and Ant climbs at Stathams etc), and also the commercial groups and Scouts etc aren’t only limited to abseiling but they also do climbing sometimes. I don’t think having ‘recreational climbing’ and ‘commercial abseiling/climbing’ designated areas wuill work in places like the quarries.
Personally I have no objection to the 40 limit as such – rather my objections are that (1) some groups regularly overbook which then limits the number of other people that can go there; (2) DEC seems to either be unaware or don’t care about this; and (3) that DEC is totally inflexible on the 40 (booked) limit – so what if there is a total of 42 or even 45 booked?June 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm #13084
“Personally I have no objection to the 40 limit as such – rather my objections are that (1) some groups regularly overbook which then limits the number of other people that can go there; (2) DEC seems to either be unaware or don’t care about this; and (3) that DEC is totally inflexible on the 40 (booked) limit – so what if there is a total of 42 or even 45 booked?”
I agree 100%June 25, 2012 at 8:57 am #13086
DEC are aware of the overbooking situation, and this seems to be the problem, not the limit. 80 bodies out and about on the walls at both quarries is a LOT of climbers/abseilers. If everyone uses the booking system appropriately, I think we’ll find there is lots of room in the quarries for everyone, and everyone should be able to go when they want to.
If it’s found that everyone is using the booking system appropriately, and the limit starts to become a problem, then the number of 40 can and will be looked at.June 25, 2012 at 10:22 am #13087
To add in to the conversation anonymously. I have tried booking either quarry over the last four weekends. Only being granted access on but one of those weekends (when it pissed with rain). Yesterday after the fourth rejection, I naughtied up and went to the quarry just to see the crowded walls. With 15 – 20 (Max) people in the quarry and only about 3 or 4 actually on the walls I felt a little naughty but uncoiled my rope anyway. Within half an hour of being there most people had left and there remained just six of us climbing quietly and happily (In this fully booked out and obviously crowded quarry). The system is a joke and failing all except the abusers of it. Lets work on access issues to allow access not control it in an unfair and illogical way. I didn\’t trespass, the gate was open!June 25, 2012 at 10:24 am #13088
Interestingly we turned up at MQ at 1:30pm yesterday, after dilligently booking the whole party of 2 us and forearmed with a new code, found the gate not only unlocked but wide open.
Lots of people in the quarry, a large AO group spread all over, groups of climbers, abseliers and many walkers, cyclists, families, dogs and even a runner….
This should be a place for general recreation and the DEC should be supportive if its facilities, and be an ally with users. We all understand the litgious nature of todays world, but just a large notice at the gate warning ….”all ye who enter herein….” and a feast of lawyer-speak disclaimers (if you step over the quarry line), and waivers (to ensure that no-one can get sued) would still be acceptable rather than …. “no more room in the inn..!
With all the people there yesterday and the excitable recent correspondance, we didnt see any Rangers patrolling the grounds, or inspecting names vs registration / waiver forms….. In fact it was a very pleasant afternoon and enjoyed by all.June 25, 2012 at 10:35 am #13089
Naughty Boy’s Friend
I actually snuck in illegally to Stathams yesterday as well. After being told that 39 people were already booked in, and that my girlfriend and I (who only wanted to climb after 3:30pm) where not allowed in because that would bring the booking total to 41, I was kinda annoyed. So we drove to Stathams, the gate was unlocked, I worked out the code, and in we drove. There was a group (large group) of abseilers, who were leaving, and only one person climbing! At 4 o’clock, there was a grand total of 6 climbers. This booking system DOES NOT WORK! I really thing that the abseiling group need to tell DEC their time of departure, instead of booking the entire day and preventing people from coming after themJune 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm #13093
Kate> DEC are aware of the overbooking situation, and this seems to be the problem, not the limit
Concur on overbooking Kate, but agree with Ed (hi Ed!), the 40 max is far too low, there’s room for more climbing in both. As the last posts show, Adventure Out was in MQ y’day (Sunday), their sign was out the front in Coulston Road, but there were not 40 people climbing nor abseiling, & yet the quarry was booked out? I assume AO is booking more people than they actually have as standard?
Anytime I’ve walked in to MQ in the arvo, there’s always pelnty of room – but if I had booked, I’d be denied access, so it makes no sense? DEC need to be more flexible.
On your point “Naughty Boy”, I booked Statham’s last Saturaday arvo on Thursday, and there was plenty of space, only 20 or so climbing, including my 4 – did DEC say it was full? Interesting too, I was told dogs were banned by the Hills staff when I checked the code on Sat am, yet there were 3 there … again no ranger in sight? So I’m not the only one breaking these rather vague rules …
Brett @ BoyaNovember 22, 2016 at 10:53 am #157716
Thanks to those who keep the quarries open for us to use! new number to call is 9290 6100. Let’s make bookings and keep the gate locked so we can keep using the quarries.