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General Climbing Discussion

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Grampians Access 2019
9:25:27 AM
On 14-Feb-2019 gordoste wrote:
>Let's be clear - this is a test to see if climbers can be trusted to police
>ourselves. If we do not obey the ban, the areas will never be re-opened.
>If we prove we can respect others, we will get respect in return and can
>start a conversation about whether some of the areas can be partially reopened.
>If you see or hear of people putting our access at risk, call them out.

Well Said!!
9:51:53 AM
On 14-Feb-2019 JamesMc wrote:
>Kieran, agree up to the point that they're valid, but there's no particular
>reason to expect that to be the case. Remember that Parks Vic (I think
>they had a different name at the time) maintained a seasonal prohibition
>on climbing at Werribee Gorge to protect peregrine falcons for years after
>they stopped nesting there.

Along the same lines I was told during the week by someone 'in the know' that a lot of the Special Protection Zone in the Vic Range was established to include the Rock Wallaby, which, as you ought to know, are now only to be found at a controlled site in the central Grampians.
However the SPZ was never updated to reflect this.
10:33:27 AM
29 new SPZ's to be allocated, on top of the 8 undisclosed Western areas marked for closure. Refer to Vic Parks website.
10:49:39 AM

Parks Victoria takes steps to protect environmental and cultural heritage from climbing impacts
Friday 15 February, 2019

In the coming months, Parks Victoria will be focussed on ensuring eight key locations in the western part of the Grampians National Park are protected and will be asking all climbing activity to cease in these areas indefinitely.

Parks Victoria is committed to conserving Victoria’s natural and cultural assets. In recent years, rock climbing in the Grampians has significantly increased and contemporary rock climbing activities, such as bolting, have emerged creating significant risk to Aboriginal cultural heritage, rock faces and vegetation and visitor safety.

In the first instance from March, signage will be installed and compliance activity will take place in eight key locations. There are still hundreds of known climbing areas still available for international climbers and other visitors to enjoy and only a small percentage are affected. Detailed maps and information sheets are being prepared to assist and inform climbers. There are no changes to all main visitor sites and they will continue to remain open.

Parks Victoria are working with partners, stakeholders, local businesses, Licenced Tour Operators and park users to implement a compliance strategy for certain locations within the current Special Protection Areas.

Under the existing Grampians National Park Management Plan, rock climbing in Special Protection Areas is a prohibited activity however we recognise this plan is 10 years old and we need to review these areas in partnership with key stakeholders which may result in changes to boundaries. Further to the Special Protection Areas identified in the current management plan, 29 additional areas have also been set aside as Special Protection Areas, in which climbing is prohibited to protect their cultural and natural values. The materials being prepared will also have details of these places.

Nationally listed for its biodiversity and cultural heritage, the Grampians National Park was established in 1984 to protect environmental and cultural values of national significance.

The park is the most important area for floristic richness and endemism in eastern inland Australia, with more than 800 indigenous plant species; it is home to one third of the Victoria’s flora. It also supports a wide range of wildlife with more than 40 mammals and an abundance of bird species.

Known by Traditional Owners as Gariwerd, the Grampians National Park and other protected areas such as Black Range, Mount Arapiles-Tooan, Red Rock and Mount Talbot, contain the majority of surviving Aboriginal rock art sites in south-east Australia.

Parks Victoria has legislative requirements to protect these natural and cultural values and we’re committed to acting on our obligations.

Quotes, attributed to Simon Talbot, Chief Operating Officer, Parks Victoria

“Our main priority is protecting the natural and cultural values of this precious landscape that is the Grampians National Park. We are working to support climbers and other park users to find alternate locations in the Grampians to climb. We’ll also work with local businesses and Licenced Tour Operators over the coming months to clearly identify where climbing can continue.”

“A stakeholder reference group will be established to involve the community and rock climbers in next steps and the part we can all play in protecting our cultural heritage and environment and to identify where in the Grampians climbing can continue.”
10:53:27 AM
Still no indication of which 8 areas are to beclosed initially
1:02:32 PM
It's the 29 additional areas that bother me.
One Day Hero
2:30:43 PM
On 15-Feb-2019 gfdonc wrote:
>It's the 29 additional areas that bother me.
Yeah, that could really affect your guidebook sales, what a tragedy.
3:29:51 PM
"protected areas such as [...] Mount Arapiles-Tooan"

Access T CliffCare
3:42:58 PM
VCC CliffCare

Map available here:

Grampians Closed Climbing Sites Map
Posted on February 15, 2019

Parks Victoria have now supplied the map on the 8 key areas that they noted would be closed to climbing. There are 8 sites identified by blue squares that are the closed sites. At this stage we don’t have any information accompanying the map that notes that other areas in the area are out of bounds. We have interpreted this that climbing can occur in the other areas. We have asked for information to clarify this further but we are interpreting the map provided as:

The Gallery
Billywing Buttress
Billimina Area
Little Hands Cave
Cave of Man Hands
Manja Area

At this current time, climbing can continue at other sites as long as park rules are followed. FYI, please also note new Special Protection Zones. If this information changes, we will update immediately. We would like to stress that further climbing and recreation sites in the Grampians are undergoing assessment and review and care should be taken as always. Please respect all environmental and cultural values in the park. If you are not sure, don’t do it. Please respect all closures and any other park rules and regulations. Ignoring these could jeopardise access to other areas and affect access negotiations. VCC and CliffCare along with other representatives from the community will continue to work with land managers and other parties, to ensure that the best outcome for the parks values and climbers interests can be obtained.

Thank you

E. Wells
7:24:15 PM
Meh. The place is a chosspile anyhow. Its kinda weird but I wonder where soloing with no chalk sits and if its a nono then ....why? Im not about to do that , just curious.
5:55:53 AM
I've donated to Cliffcare to help them with their fight!

7:22:57 AM
On 14-Feb-2019 JamesMc wrote:
>My expectation is that we'll see something like "no climbing in Vic Range
>west of the watershed" which I would not regard as valid. If it was "no
>climbing at Camp of the Emu's Foot" then I could respect that.

I agree with you that bans should be minimised, however there hasn't been time to develop a nuanced approach. The imperative for Parks Vic right now is to do something about this that indicates they are treating the issue of cultural protection seriously. They've just hit it with a sledgehammer. Once this blows over and they're under less pressure, they'll be in a position to work with us to clarify and refine things to allow climbing where possible. We need to make sure that when that time comes, they feel they can trust the climbing community to stick to the negotiated outcome. Impatience will just make the situation worse.
There are enough climbers nowadays that they cannot pretend that indiscriminate bans have no victims, but if we're honest, we've been pretending that climbing has no impact (IMHO).
10:48:19 AM
Access T CliffCare
7:47:51 AM

Posted on February 20, 2019

Grampians access: What is happening?

Some climbers have expressed concern or confusion about who the people or organisations are that are representing climbers’ interests. As a user-group, we’ve flown under the radar for a long time, which has meant we’ve had a lot of freedom, equally it means that we’re not very well prepared for an event such as the banning of climbing in some areas in the Grampians. However, that situation is changing, and there are a lot of people very busily working to organise a response to Parks Victoria’s recent actions.

As part of that response, we realise it’s important for climbers to understand who is representing them and what is being done on their behalf.

Victorian Climbing Club (VCC)
Tracey Skinner, the VCC’s Access Officer in charge of running CliffCare, the body that works to manage access state-wide
Paula Toal, VCC President
Steve Monks, long-time member
Nina Scott-Bohanna, communications

Western Victorian Climbing Club (WVCC)
Adam Merrick, committee member and editor of The Bolder

Local Climbing Representatives
Adam Demmert, roped climbing representative
Simon Weill, bouldering representative

Legal Team
VCC is seeking legal assistance to better understand the regulatory landscape.

Vertical Life magazine
Simon Madden, Editor; Ross Taylor, Editor

In negotiations with Parks Victoria and other groups, we think that the following principles are important to recognise:

Cultural heritage sites are of the highest importance to all Australians, including climbers, and we’d ask that all climber respect the bans where they apply.

We love these natural environments and landscapes and the experiences they offer, and we care very much about the integrity of these amazing places.

It is important to continue to have a close working relationship with Parks Victoria, the local Indigenous community and Aboriginal Victoria to understand and protect sensitive areas. Just as it is important for them to listen to our concerns it’s important that we listen to theirs.

We believe that, as a community and armed with the right knowledge and positive working relationships, we can all share these spaces in a positive and harmonious manner,

We hope that where suitable, closed areas can be reopened to climbers.

We are working hard to ensure we put in place – and effectively communicate – further guidelines and processes to ensure that we protect and care for these sensitive sites and our beloved climbing areas. As part of that, we believe the following steps need to be taken to peacefully resolve this situation:

We need to take the time to understand the concerns of Parks Victoria, Aboriginal Victoria and local Indigenous groups.

We need to assess whether there are ways in which we can resolve these concerns so that climbers can again access these areas, or accept that climbing is incompatible for some highly sensitive sites.

We need to educate climbers about the places we climb, and we also need to ensure that best practice is used when we visit these areas.

We need to further understand our legal position as a community, understand what our rights and responsibilities are, and investigate the possibilities of ensuring our access to the climbing areas in the future.

We need to think about how to manage areas with increasing numbers of climbers visiting popular areas.

As part of a respectful process, we do not believe that these bans can be overturned quickly, climbers will need to be patient as we work through this process. But, if we want long-term access to these areas and to ensure we can maintain access to other areas, it is worth taking our time to understand the problems so that we can come to solutions that work for all parties.


We’ve sent a response to Parks Victoria from climbers. In that response we touched on some of the following points: we are disappointed that climbers were not consulted prior to the decision to implement a ban; some of the areas closed are of international significance to climbers; the vast majority of climbers are very respectful of Indigenous cultural heritage and their environmental impact, and we have a long track record of working with PV in the past; we’ve come up with solutions to past problems by working with Traditional Owners and we believe we can work with Parks Victoria, Aboriginal Victoria and Traditional Owners to try and come up with workable solutions to regain access to some of these crags.

We have initiated correspondence with local Traditional Owner groups with a view to establishing positive and collaborative relationships.

We’re seeking more detail from Parks Victoria about why each particular area has been included in the ban.

We’re seeking legal advice to understand the regulatory and legislative framework in which decisions about access are being made.

We’re forming several working groups, one to directly negotiate with Parks Victoria, and the other to provide advice and assistance to the negotiating team.

We’re putting together a plan to represent climber’s viewpoints to the general public.


You can follow CliffCare, the VCC’s access arm on Facebook or check the website regularly updates:

More information can also be found by following Vertical Life on Facebook or again checking the website

We will be hosting an event where we can come together to discuss these issues, and where you can meet your representatives in person and ask questions.


Most important: respect all bans that have been put in place by Parks Victoria. If you hear of anyone who is planning to climb in any of these areas, please inform them of the ban.

If you have skills that you think might be useful to the VCC, become a volunteer and assist our efforts. Contact

You can become a member of the VCC here: The VCC is the organisation that supports CliffCare, or you can donate to CliffCare directly here:

If you have other questions that you feel are not answered here, please feel free to email:

Access T CliffCare
1:20:57 PM
Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG)

Parks Victoria (PV) has now released a set of maps that show the extent of new Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in the Grampians National Park/Gariwerd. Alongside the already identified SPAs in the Western end (Victoria Range), these newly outlined areas cover a substantial amount of the climbing sites in the park.

There is still some confusion and a lack of clarity around some of the information presented to the climbing community and there are answers we don’t yet have to give you. We are, however, committed to continuing to work hard and thoughtfully to bring you further information.

The information we currently have:

PV will be implementing the Special Protection Areas at eight key focus sites. These sites are as follows: Gondwanaland, the Gallery, Millennium Caves, Billimina Area, Billywing Buttress, Cave of Man Hands, Little Hands Cave and Manja Area.
PV has informed us that these sites have been closed as rock climbing activity has resulted in impacts to environmental and cultural values and evidence of damage has been assessed and documented. Signage will be placed at these locations by mid-March that explain the reasons why and the law that pertains to it. Penalties will occur at these sites if closures are ignored.

PV has noted that, while immediate action is required to address current impacts, a review of the Grampians National Park Management Plan including SPAs is needed. They have noted their intention to work with the climbing community via a Stakeholder Reference group. Members of the the Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG) will be part of this. This group will provide insight and evidence, of the importance of a diverse range of climbing opportunities in the park and will seek to identify if there are any issues of environmental or cultural significance where climbing could impact. The work of the reference group will then help to guide how PV manages climbing access across the park including that in the current SPAs.

GAWG are committed and hopeful that this map release is the beginning of a collaborative process with land managers and the Traditional Owners of Gariwerd and that a nuanced approach will create an effective access framework that works for all.

As explained above, GAWG are working on many of the concerns that climbers have noted. We are very mindful of the sensitivities involved and wish to be as respectful as possible to all parties. We would also ask the climbing community to be patient while our team of dedicated volunteers work on immediate issues as well as long term sustainable climbing options. It deserves a well considered and thoughtful approach and we intend to continue on this path. We are committed to sharing information that is helpful to the community rather than unsubstantiated comment.

Climbers care deeply about Cultural Heritage and acknowledge the strong connection Traditional Owners have to Country. They are sensitive to environmental values in the park and we believe that with the right information provided to us, we can be a great ally. We would welcome the opportunity to work together through a consultative and collaborative approach to climbing access in the Grampians National Park/Gariwerd.

What can you do to help?

Most important: respect all bans that have been put in place by Parks Victoria. If you hear of anyone who is planning to climb in any of these areas, please inform them of the ban.

If you have skills that you think might be useful to the VCC, become a volunteer and assist our efforts. Contact

You can become a member of the VCC here: The VCC is the organisation that supports CliffCare, or you can donate to CliffCare directly here:

If you have other questions that you feel are not answered here, please feel free to email:

Thank you


The good Dr
2:48:51 PM
Thanks for the update.

Are the designated special protection areas those referenced in the 2003 management plan? Are there more detailed maps available showing these areas (e.g. 1:100,000 or 1:50,000) as interpretation of these on the ground by both climbers and those enforcing the current situation could be problematic.
7:55:29 PM
On 1-Mar-2019 The good Dr wrote:
>Thanks for the update.
>Are the designated special protection areas those referenced in the 2003
>management plan? Are there more detailed maps available showing these areas
>(e.g. 1:100,000 or 1:50,000) as interpretation of these on the ground by
>both climbers and those enforcing the current situation could be problematic.

If you have a look on the Melbourne Rock Climbing Facebook page, Jackson recently posted a link to VL and the maps. In the comments he and I have whipped up some more detailed versions that should not at all be taken as official.
5:53:16 PM
Been a while since I've been fluent in GIMP, but I threw this together quickly to try and cover it in one image.
Mapping attempt

Not sure if there's a way to get The Crag to show more nodes without zooming in. If anyone has ideas, let me know.

3:26:19 PM
Two friends turned away from Red Rocks this week by rangers. Not a named crag in the original list... so looks like they are going to enforce SPZ's regardless of the crag.

The Rock Robster
4:09:38 PM
On 4-Mar-2019 phil_nev wrote:
>Two friends turned away from Red Rocks this week by rangers. Not a named
>crag in the original list... so looks like they are going to enforce SPZ's
>regardless of the crag.

That's worrying. It'd be nice if Parks would provide a bit more clarification, since we already know from last year that some rangers will turn climbers away without it being endorsed by Parks.

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There are 205 messages in this topic.


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