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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Author
Accessing rock on private land

macey
23/07/2014
11:14:18 AM
Hi all. I've been meaning to ask this for some time now (a similar thread may already exist but I can't seem to find it), and the question is "Does a personal waiver form currently exist which releases land owners from any liability regarding rock climbing on their land?"

Its just that, in my travels, I've discovered some absolutely amazing outcrops situated on land owned by farmers. The two times which I've approached the land owners I've been told a very firm NO, and their number one reason has been a fear of being sued if I hurt myself.

If there was some kind of legally binding waiver we could both sign, releasing them from all liability, I have no doubt that the chances of accessing these amazing outcrops would greatly increase.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
23/07/2014
11:46:25 AM
I don't have a specific answer for you; however you might find something of relevance in the following threads?

CliffCare website - Access info for all Vic cliffs
http://www.chockstone.org/Forum/Forum.asp?Action=DisplayTopic&ForumID=15&MessageID=18169&Replies=4&PagePos=0&Sort=#NewPost


Accessing public places through private land
http://www.chockstone.org/Forum/Forum.asp?Action=DisplayTopic&ForumID=1&MessageID=116458&Replies=0&PagePos=0&Sort=#NewPost

I did a search on 'waiver' on the CliffCare site, and it turned up nothing, but when I searched 'liability' got a few bits that were not so helpful;
Examples...

Ron (landowner) is checking into the liability issue with his insurance company so hopefully they donít spoil the party.

The previous owner allowed access across the land but the new owner does
not have public liability insurance for that land and has requested people
not cross the paddocks to get to the cliffs.



peteclimbs
23/07/2014
12:02:24 PM
Not sure how much this has been looked at in Australia but it's pretty common in the US. Much of Red River Gorge for example is on private land and climbers need to sign a waiver and leave it in a box at the car park prior to climbing in some areas. Makes sense and is easy to do. You'd think if the litigation obsessed Yanks can find a way to make it work then it should be straight forward enough here.

If you're interested here's what the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition get you to sign

https://www.smartwaiver.com/w/51c2134a209ee/web
chunderfuzz
23/07/2014
1:12:41 PM
On 23/07/2014 peteclimbs wrote:
>Not sure how much this has been looked at in Australia but it's pretty
>common in the US. Much of Red River Gorge for example is on private land
>and climbers need to sign a waiver and leave it in a box at the car park
>prior to climbing in some areas. Makes sense and is easy to do. You'd think
>if the litigation obsessed Yanks can find a way to make it work then it
>should be straight forward enough here.
>
>If you're interested here's what the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition
>get you to sign
>
>https://www.smartwaiver.com/w/51c2134a209ee/web

I'm fairly sure that in spite of a waiver, landholders in Australia still have a duty of care to anyone using their land.

The land owner would also need to be covered by public liability insurance (somewhat included in house insurance but the amount and what is covered varies) and having people do sports such as climbing on their land may raise the premium or be specifically excluded as part of their cover.

**just found a link, it varies from state to state...this is for NSW.

No liability for harm suffered from obvious risks of dangerous recreational activities

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/cla2002161/s5l.html


Eduardo Slabofvic
23/07/2014
1:35:01 PM
Try searching title information, and you might find that some form of access easement may already exist, as many times the crag itself could be crown land, and be surrounded by farm land, as such there some form of historic access arrangement.

I know of an excellent climbing area in SE QLD that has had access denied but actually has legal access for all, but no one (apart from 2 or 3 people) know it exists.

This does not absolve you from negotiating with the owner, as they may be unaware of any historic access. Establishing good relations is paramount.

Alternatively, if it were a really important climbing area, then an access arrangement could be negotiated, and formalised on title, and any works undertaken. Access easements are very common.

I recommend sending in Drain Drunk and ODH to negotiate on your behalf. What could possibly go wrogn?
kieranl
23/07/2014
2:03:15 PM
Liability is also an issue for landholders even if you are just crossing their land. So the farmer who owns the land at Red Rock in the Grampians doesn't allow people to walk across his land to access the cliffs - you have to go the long way around.

I am sure there are ways to negotiate a suitable access agreement but first the landowner has to be willing.
If climbers just walk across the land regardless of the owner's wishes then there's not a lot of chance that they will come to the negotiating table.

Nerm
23/07/2014
4:59:01 PM
There is a very specific example of one in use, in the attachments at the bottom of this page:
http://www.thesarvo.com/confluence/display/thesarvo/Lowdina
skegly
24/07/2014
8:17:49 AM
Good your asking. One land owner said to me 'break a leg, I have insurance:)'
But others have said a straight no due to others trespassing without having the dignity to ask.
oh one of my spots the owner is a under taker. He doesn't care what I do.
martym
24/07/2014
9:32:19 PM
On 23/07/2014 macey wrote:

>Its just that, in my travels, I've discovered some absolutely amazing
>outcrops situated on land owned by farmers. The two times which I've approached
>the land owners I've been told a very firm NO, and their number one reason
>has been a fear of being sued if I hurt myself.

Did you try starting the conversation by offering a case of beer?

macey
25/07/2014
9:31:23 AM
Thanks everybody for your replies. I'm considering finding out exactly who this land belongs to and simply trying the original method of asking politely. Think I might also take along some photos of myself and friends bouldering so they can actually get a clear picture of what I'm planning to do on their land (making sure the pics show plenty of mats and good spotting on some tame & safe problems, making sure at least one of us is wearing a jumper supporting their preferred footy team. ). One older farmer in the past knew nothing about rock climbing and treated me very suspiciously, saying it sounded "weird" to him. He kept asking why people would want to climb up rocks!!
martym
25/07/2014
9:46:18 AM
On 25/07/2014 macey wrote:
>Thanks everybody for your replies. I'm considering finding out exactly
>who this land belongs to and simply trying the original method of asking
>politely. Think I might also take along some photos of myself and friends
>bouldering so they can actually get a clear picture of what I'm planning
>to do on their land (making sure the pics show plenty of mats and good
>spotting on some tame & safe problems, making sure at least one of us is
>wearing a jumper supporting their preferred footy team. ). One older farmer
>in the past knew nothing about rock climbing and treated me very suspiciously,
>saying it sounded "weird" to him. He kept asking why people would want
>to climb up rocks!!

Tell him you're looking for treasure - and you'll go 50/50 if you find any.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/07/2014
9:54:25 AM
On 25/07/2014 macey wrote:
>One older farmer in the past knew nothing about rock climbing and treated me very suspiciously,
>saying it sounded "weird" to him. He kept asking why people would want to climb up rocks!!

He wasn't an older aid climber answering your questions about a north wall Buffalo Gorge sojourn was he?
;-)

macey
25/07/2014
12:52:16 PM
Haha! Nope. He was actually the fellow who owns the farm about 10kms out past yack with the huge granite boulders on it. An older man who wouldn't have a bar of anyone being on his land let alone a couple of weirdos wanting to climb up rocks!

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/07/2014
1:07:26 PM
On 25/07/2014 macey wrote:
>Haha! Nope. He was actually the fellow who owns the farm about 10kms
>out past yack with the huge granite boulders on it. An older man who wouldn't
>have a bar of anyone being on his land let alone a couple of weirdos wanting
>to climb up rocks!

If we are talking the isolated hilltop trio (known locally as 'the three sisters'), then I look out at those rocks almost daily, and they often call me!

I have been up there once*.

The surrounding land is privately owned but the top of the hill where those bouders are, is govt land as far as I can tell from the homework I have done.

If I was a philanthropic $quillionaire I would buy the property adjacent the main road below it (that also bounds the govt land), that is still for sale as far as I know, and allow access...

(*Just after the Mudgegonga fire, and I asked one of the local land-owners doing re-fencing at the time for permission (given), to access it. It was only a quick recce due daylight fading fast, and was opportunistic due catching an 'owner' about is not always easy; but I would like to go back and give the lines I found a go...
As an aside, one of the properties on the other (east) side, actually has a farm track going almost all the way up there, but I have not enquired about access from those on that side, ... yet...).
kieranl
25/07/2014
2:13:11 PM
Eduardo's point about existing access routes is worth a close look.
Most farming areas were much more closely settled in the past and there are lots of old access tracks that have been absorbed into consolidated farms.
Our farm in the mallee had a section we called "The Lane" and it was a road open to the public but no-one would ever know unless they looked at the shire maps. We used to travel between two blocks through another farmer's paddock where there was another old road.

There are 15 messages in this topic.

 

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