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General Climbing Discussion

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Sydney National Parks - Climbing & POM Review
9:52:49 PM
On 8/12/2009 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>I posted a reply'agreement to a wendysarah post on a thread at that Parks
>Vic site. When I went back to re-read the thread I couldn't find it.
>~> Don't know where it ended up!
>Definitely a convoluted process!!

I found it!

Only by accident though ...

11:35:14 PM
I still can't use that Parks Victoria website. It has to be the least user friendly site I have ever visited. The webmaster should be shot.

9:30:30 AM
Hi all (yeah, yeah, long time no post).

I'm working on a submission by the CCA to argue that climbing should be an allowed activity in Sydney Harbour National Park. This is a subject close to my heart as it is where I grew up and part of my old (and current) stomping ground. Following is part of my argument:

The 1998 plan of management states:

The following objectives apply in the management of Sydney Harbour National Park:

· interpretation of a range of historic places which illustrate important aspects of Australia’s history, including the history of public recreation on the harbour and its foreshores.
· provision of outdoor recreation opportunities which are compatible with the protection of the natural and cultural values of the park and complement those available elsewhere in the centre of Sydney; and
· promotion of the park as an important, readily accessible recreational and educational resource for metropolitan Sydney (p.8.para.2).

So part of my argument is that climbing is part of the 'history of public recreation', is 'compatible with the protection of the natural and cultural values' and climbing should be part of the 'accessible recreational... resource'.

There's also a stupid wally statement in the plan of management that states:

“rock climbing [has] never been permitted in Sydney Harbour National Park due to the small size of the park and the incompatibility of these activities with other park uses” (p.37 para.3).

which is a very strange justification. I'm trying to hunt down a NationalParks reference that says climbing was banned prior to the 1998 plan of management.

I've emailed Mikl about this and he's given me a bit of history, but he has suggested I put a call out on Chocky for any of the old crew who could fill in with a bit of the history of early climbing within the area of what is now SHNP. Also, if anyone can point me in the direction of where I'd find a rule/law whatever that specificially states that climbing was not permitted prior to 1998.

So, history anyone? Stories, anecdotes, preferably specific and quotable references!!!

9:50:17 AM
Welcome back! I think that you are on to something there - having grown up around public servants all my life (but not actually being one) I would strongly suggest that each submission addresses, in turn, each of the purposes and goals of management which have been drawn up by NPWS. Otherwise you will have to convince them to change the goals which will be significantly harder.

10:18:36 AM
I started climbing in Sydney in early 1996, and I can remember clearly "knowing" that climbing was not allowed anywhere within SHNP or KCNP (with the exception of Barrenjoey). I didn't verify this myself (that came later when I started work on SSS), and I have no recollection of how I came to know this, so probably best to put this in the "anecdote" bucket...

10:21:56 AM
Yep, I spotted the flaw in their management plan as soon as I read it. They have banned climbing, whereas their stated goals actually point to the fact that they should be supporting it. I still need a definite reference that shows that climbing was not an approved activity prior to 1998 - I get the feeling that this is a complete furfy. There was plenty of (documented!) climbing carried out prior to 1998 - Mikl says I heard that the antagonism toward climbers came from the head of the parks service in the mid 80s and it remains enshrined. so it sounds like it's an 'I reckon you shouldn't do that' law rather than something that is legislated, or whatever it is you have to do for a NP rule.

11:54:47 AM
Hey Mulchy

You might want to email Kevin Westren ( kuu). He's been around for ever (sorry Kevin) and may know a bit more about the history of climbing in the what is now Sydney Harbour NP. His email address is on his profile.

Been climbing much?

12:07:30 PM
Yep, I was going to email Kevin - I'll get onto it (unless you're reading this Kevin!!). Been climbing a bit - Booroomba a few weeks ago. Been trying to get fit again after a slothful winter.
12:25:00 PM
A few open questions that may or may not be relevant:

What is the distinction between rockclimbing and the stuff the fishermen do? apart from the fishers being more reckless?

North of Rosea Gully just before the scarey traverse/swim are the remnants of what looks like gang plank fortification access. Anyone know what this is? Does it have historical significance? Is it in SHNP?

I had a friend who jumped off the Gap. I can confidently say the location of the leap was based on it being a "suicide spot" rather than being lured dangerously to the edge by climbers. I think SHNP thinks climber voyerism (ie non climbers watching climbers) is a problem. I don't.

12:43:51 PM
Mikl suggested that maybe the NPWS distain for climbers was the fact that they may have had to help rescue some climbers in the past (just take prussics with you). Yep, you'd think that they would ban the rock fisherpeople first (hey, and aren't fish native species?? would they like us catching possums in national parks???). Plenty of those dudes have been washed of rocks and had to be rescued / recovered. Maybe it's just that rock climbers have complete distain for anyone in a uniform, and half the reason people become rangers (well, the ones I've known anyway) do it because you get to wear a uniform. Ooops, sounding bitter now - better get back to this submission.

Come on people - give me some juicy history to put in here!!!

1:17:50 PM
Come on Mulchy. That young ranger we met at Honeysuckle, that gave us the run down on the snake seminar he had just been to, was a really good bloke. If they were all like him we wouldn't have a problem.

On the subject of rock fishermen. I reckon if the NPWS decided to ban rock fishing, they would be demonstrating on the steps of parliment house and there would be 200 responses on the web site rather than the paltry amount that has come from the climbing community.

And good on the CCA for drafting a response.

2:17:01 PM
Correct me if Im wrong but when Barrenjoey first came out in the draft POM that it was going to be banned one of the reasons given was all the tracks made by climbers...when in fact most tracks on that headland are due to fishermen...and when pointed out to NPWS they decied tracks wasnt a good reason fro a ban???

....if thats the case me thinks NPWS are a bit scraed of MP's who are scared of pissing off alot of there voting fishing electorate....shame climbing dosnt have the same clout.

3:27:03 PM
On the subject of rangers, I was specifically thinking about the one I knew who used to live by himself in a rangers house in the middle of the national park near Wiseman's Ferry. He had newspaper clippings of all the most famous mass murderers stuck to his fridge door...

I've been getting a few leads on the history of the area (it's interesting that the Army put a few aid climbs up at North Head) but nothing really juicy yet. Does anyone have a copy of Mikl's guide to the sea cliffs? (Mikl??). I'd like some references to who put up what and when (i.e. I want to refer to it as documented evidence of when climbing was carried out).

3:34:19 PM
You'll probably get the same info from Peter Monks online guide

4:26:42 PM
There's some documentation there, but a lot of the climbs don't have names or dates associated with them (hmmmm, I wonder why... ). I'm onto the national parks people at the moment trying to discover when, where, and how the original decision to ban climbing was made. I know that Head Rangers have discretion over certain rules in the parks they particularly look after, but I'd like to know how it came about that climbing was banned in SHNP - the reasoning behind the banning may be flawed, or the circumstances may now have changed so that the original reasoning is no longer valid. Come to think of it, Greg Mortimer lives near North Head - anyone got his email address?

4:43:34 PM
Well, the fact that The Bolt Ladder at North Head was put up by the Australian Defence Forces in the 1970s kind of negates the NPWS saying that climbing has never been allowed there.

4:53:54 PM
Keep in mind much of the older FA information in the SSS guide comes from tidbits I managed to piece together from previous guides (including both editions of Mikl's Sea Cliffs guide - thanks again Mikl!) and are probably of dubious accuracy.

Unfortunately much of it seems to have been lost to time, as some of the leading stars from that period that I've managed to get in touch with have long since dropped out of climbing and don't have the time and/or inclination to set the record straight. It also doesn't help that Bleak House publishing in Victarctica scrubbed all of the FA information from Mikl's guides, presumably in order to reduce their length (and more importantly printing costs). The fact that they also don't seem to give a rat's clacker about any climbing history that didn't involve one Mr Baxter is mere coincidence...

7:47:00 AM
Welcome back mulchie, and thanks for following up this issue vide the CCA.

On 9/12/2009 pmonks wrote:
>Keep in mind much of the older FA information in the SSS guide comes from
>tidbits I managed to piece together from previous guides (including both
>editions of Mikl's Sea Cliffs guide
>It also doesn't help that Bleak House publishing
>in Victarctica scrubbed all of the FA information from Mikl's guides,

~> unfortunate coincidence (imo), indeed, and this is where history comes back to bite those that ignore it.

I wonder if the current peoples at Rock (or Chris?), still have that info on archive, ... if not available through mikl?

To put a time frame on some climbs (if no other info to hand), Rock Magazine 1983 on pages 8-15 inclusive, did an article on Sydney Seacliffs.
Amongst others (no doubt), the climbs documented include;
(Note ~> in muddled order, and with FA details probably misinterpreted by me, as I simply list them from the article and 'reading between the lines' without deeper investigation. Apologies to those concerned if I have stuffed up...)

Big Dipper (24) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Cruise or Bruise (21) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Snivelling Grooves (22) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Oblique Stress (23) Giles Bradbury/M Law(?) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Swing Time (21) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Jens Climb (23) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Poets Corner (20) Watsons Bay / The Gap
Lost in Space (17) Watsons Bay / The Gap

Grand Mal (24) on Red Wall (Bondi) M. Law G. Child July 1980.

Albatrocity (18) North Head.
Scrabble (15-19) Nth Head begins at the variant fishermans descent !
Drop Bears (19) Nth Head.
Nth Head Bolt Bolt Route (20) M. Law/army?/L. Closs.
Honour Thy Father (22 M1) M Law /Greg Child/Glenn (Child? Law??) Nth Head.
Destroy all Monsters (20) Nth Head.
The Fear (17) M. Law / ? Nth Head.
WW3 (15) Nth Head.
Cute Energy Nth Head.
Swing Time Nth Head.
Life Jacket Chimney (24) Warwick Baird Nth Head.
Housemaids Knee (24) Giles Bradbury / M. Law Nth Head.
Quentins climb (20/21) Nth Head.
Plunging Necklines (22) Nth Head.

Gayline (22) Camp Cove
Strange Bedfellows (23M1) Camp Cove

Bondi Mail Sorter (22) Waverly Cemetery (Bronte)
Poste Haste (20) Waverly
Flexitime (22) Waverly
Wrinkle City (20) Waverly

Surrogate Sycle (21) Diamond Bay
Chance and Necessity (23) Diamond Bay
Posturing (21) Diamond Bay
Obscurity (19) Diamond Bay
A Certain Flair (23) Diamond Bay
Karen (15) Diamond Bay

11:45:36 AM
I've found lots more relevant info (thanks Peter Monks) here:

What the National Parks and Wildlife Regulations 2002 say are the climbing without explicit permission from NPWS is not allowed in any National Park in NSW, unless the Park's Plan of Management makes an exception.

11:49:56 AM
On 10/12/2009 Capt_mulch wrote:
>I've found lots more relevant info (thanks Peter Monks) here:
>What the National Parks and Wildlife Regulations 2002 say are the climbing
>without explicit permission from NPWS is not allowed in any National Park
>in NSW, unless the Park's Plan of Management makes an exception.

~> and we have all noticed how well that policy is policed.

Didn't the POM for that specific area come out before that 'blanket rule' was introduced?

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