May8 ClimbForGrampians

Today is the day people! ClimbForGrampians. All the listed climbing businesses in Victoria and South Australia have come together to help raise funds and awareness around the access work happening for the Grampians. Get on down to one of the gyms or buy yourself something nice. Today is also the official launch date of the ACCESS IS NO ACCIDENT – CliffCare Education Project. This is not just about the Grampians. This is about what we need to do as a user group for sustainable climbing into the future in the Grampians or wherever else we may climb. CliffCare would like to extend a huge thanks to all who have been involved in organizing this and the accompanying education campaign launch of posters and workshops and to all the climbers taking part

ACCESS IS NO ACCIDENT. Developed by Tracey Skinner (@CliffCare), Simon Madden & Ross Taylor (@verticallifemag), Florence Seow & Indie Ladan (@northsideboulders), the campaign highlights actions that you can take to minimise your impact as a climber on the environment and help protect your access to crags. Along with the poster launch there will be workshop sessions at a number of gyms on crag etiquette. The workshops have been developed by Florence Seow, they are free and run by volunteers.

For every person who climbs at one of the participating gyms listed below, $5 will be donated to CliffCare.

Show up and show your support!

See below for a list of participating gyms and details. Each participating gym’s in-house event activities may vary. Contact the gym for further details.

Participating Venues:
Adelaide’s Bouldering Club

Bayside Rock

Bogong Equipment*

Cliffhanger Indoor Rock Climbing Gym

Climbing Anchors*

Gravity Worx

Hardrock Climbing

The Lactic Factory

Northside Boulders

North Walls Indoor Climbing

The Rock Adventure Centre

Urban Climb Collingwood

The Wilderness Shop*

9 Degrees Lane Cove
*Participating retailers donating %10 of retail sales revenue.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

CHECK IT OUT HERE: https://cliffcare.org.au/about/education/cliffcare-education-project/poster-campaign/

Poster campaign launch – CliffCare Education Project

In the early years of my role as VCC Access & Environment Officer, I started developing an idea for an education project for climbers and climbing. The CliffCare Education Project (CEP). For me, education was always the key for a sustainable climbing future. Being told that you can’t do something, that you can’t climb at a, b or c without having a real understanding of why this might be, seems to me like a lesson in failure. It was around the time of my discussions and negotiations for The Ravine – back in 2009 that the idea was put down on paper. You can see the project outline here – https://cliffcare.org.au/about/education/cliffcare-education-project/

After the 2014 fires in the Grampians, concerns about climbing and bouldering impacts moving into the future, were more present in discussions with land managers. Following a report I put out to the community on bouldering and the education project, Jimmy and Reuben from Lactic and Northside Boulders contacted me offering help with design work for the poster campaign.

And here we are. It’s been a long road (there were a number of stalls) and many thanks must go to those who have put volunteer time and ideas into it over the years. Reuben and Jimmy, Indie Laden(designer), Simon Madden, Ross Taylor, Brett Williams and more recently Florence Seow.

I hope that a stronger education campaign continues on from this. The operative word being continues. The poster campaign represents some key issues we face as a user group and the impacts we need to manage. These are our impacts that we need to educate ourselves on – it is our responsibility. The posters are a visual conversation starting point with the opportunity to provide further educational possibilities as we discuss them in more detail. You can download the posters, print them for display or maybe share with club members etc. With a new CliffCare website on the way, more information on the various issues will be available. In the meantime, posters will soon be up on the current website under the Education tab. www.cliffcare.org.au About > Education.

Now onto the handbook….

 

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

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All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

WANT TO PRINT THE POSTERS FOR DISPLAY?

DOWNLOAD HERE: AccessIsNoAccidentA2_FAtoPRINT

 

Grampians Update – PV meeting 1st May

Yesterday VCC/CliffCare representatives – Tracey Skinner (Access & Environment Officer), Philipp Hammes (VCC Vice President) and myself (Paula Toal, VCC President) – met with Simon Talbot and other Parks Victoria (PV) staff. The meeting was positive overall. PV outlined the consultative process for the development of the new Grampians National Park management plan which will have representation of the climbing community through a Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) to facilitate the needs and rights of climbers to be protected in the new management plan and secure the legitimacy of climbing in the Grampians.

PV and the Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG is a working group of VCC/CliffCare) have been analysing spatial data to provide clarity as to which crags currently sit within Special Protection Areas (SPA) so that the climbing community has accurate information. The updated map and list of crags will be available soon, as we are only awaiting the PV analyst’s final cross-referencing of the data.

The VCC has taken legal steps to clarify the reasons for the existing bans as a means to understand on what legitimate and ethical basis we could seek to renegotiate access. We are anticipating the formal response to that legal request from Parks Victoria by the end of this week and PV confirmed that response is on track to meet that deadline.

We communicated to PV that we believe the essential next steps include that we have the opportunity to engage with them and Traditional Owners to understand and discuss the reasons for the SPAs and negotiate changes to those boundaries that allow access to our important world-class climbing areas.
 
We also communicated the negative impact the SPA restrictions are having on visitation to the Grampians and crowding at open crags. We particularly highlighted that the loss of many more moderate grade climbing areas is particularly difficult. We spoke at some length about Summerday Valley and PV acknowledged the confusion about this area and asked for us to leave this issue with them for immediate internal consideration. We will follow up on next steps in this regard.

We agreed with PV to commence development of a joint communication strategy to ensure correct representation of the collaboration between the climbing community and PV and address the negative impressions that have been made by the reports in the mainstream media. Simon Talbot also advised that PV plans to disengage with the mainstream media to prevent further confusion and misrepresentation.

PV also shared an update on its activities including the three compliance weekends in the Grampians where rangers were brought in from across the state to undertake compliance activities in the park. PV indicated it spoke with more than 700 individuals and identified 67 offences, only a handful of which were attributed to climbers. The offences attributed to climbers included driving around a locked management gate, driving off track, improper disposal of toilet paper, removing vegetation, climbing in a SPA and an instance where three individuals were found climbing in one of the eight key focus sites which can attract a fine. PV indicated that as yet they have not issued any fines however they are still considering how best to deal with the specific infringement related to the focus sites.

The VCC feels strongly that the best way forward is through a positive collaboration with Parks Victoria and the Traditional Owners. A respectful dialogue between all parties will have the best outlook regarding climbing access in Victoria.

The VCC/Cliffcare and GAWG will continue to update the climbing community about further progress and has commenced a process to engage with other clubs and representatives of the climbing community to develop an effective structure to support representation on the Grampians National Park management plan Stakeholder Reference Group. If you have ideas and suggestions, please let us know.

Paula Toal
VCC President

VCC – https://vicclimb.org.au/?p=1372

Grampians Easter Update

What do I need to know to climb in the Grampians this weekend?

Where can I climb?
All closures as noted previously are still in place.
Please respect all bans in place. Take a copy of the map that show the SPA’s.

Enforcement can occur at the following key focus sites
The Gallery
Gondwanaland
Millenium
Billywing Buttress
Billimina Area
Little Hands Cave
Cave of Man Hands
Manja area

There have been questions from the community regarding regarding signage around the key focus sites in locations that aren’t noted as key focus sites. Parks Victoria has provided the following information in response to my queries –

What is scope of the blue squares area? ie does it just apply to the actual cliff as noted The Gallery?
The blue dots indicate approximate locations where compliance activities will be occurring for rock climbing
What are the total number of signs pertaining to the 8 focus sites?
In total, there are 11 signs installed in the Victoria Range SPA to identify the eight key locations where enforcement activities are occurring.
Are there 2 signs in place at each sign installation site?
There is a minimum of one sign installed at each site. There are multiple entry points to some sites with some sites having lengthy approaches by walking. Where this is the case, additional signage has been installed. There are:

o Three signs at locations leading into Gondwanaland

o Three signs at locations leading into Manja Area

o Four signs at locations leading into The Gallery area

o One sign at Millennium

Does one of these signs at each installation site note the names of the key focus sites so that people are aware the fines only apply to those 8 focus sites?
The names of the key focus sites are detailed on the signs so that park users are aware where compliance activities are occurring.
What can I do to protect the environment and respect Aboriginal cultural heritage?

  • Stick to tracks. Don’t create new ones.
  • Be careful about vegetation on the way into or at the crag – be sure to place your gear and boulder mats on surfaces without plants. Don’t remove vegetation from climbs or boulders.
  • Pack everything out
  • This includes your toilet waste! Or bury it at least 15 cm deep and 60m away from water sources.
  • If you are bush camping, make sure you camp in allowed areas only.
  • Use chalk sparingly and brush off any chalk marks that you make
  • Avoid trying to remove built up chalk or bolts. Removal of both requires consultation and permits to ensure no damage occurs to possible environmental and cultural values.
  • Lighting fires outside of official metal fireplaces, littering, interfering with Aboriginal cultural heritage such as rock art or any damage to rock faces such as drilling holes, cutting or removing vegetation are all offences under the National Parks Act and you can be fined.

What should I do if I’m approached by a ranger?
Be an ambassador for climbing and stay friendly and curious about their concerns. Follow their directions.

What should I do if a ranger tells me to leave or asks my name and address?
Under law they are entitled to do both if they have reasonable grounds to do these things.
Ask for their reasons and comply with their requests
Ask for their name, repeatedly if necessary
Make a record of what happened and what was said. Get someone who was there to sign your it if possible
Let CliffCare know what happened and use Parks Victoria’s complaints process if you think you were wrongly told to move on or to identify yourself.

Parks Victoria Rock Climbing Update Grampians FAQs

Parks Victoria have issued a FAQ page which more clearly states the current status of climbing sites in the Grampians National Park.

 

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Grampians Access Working Group – New Map Statement

Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG)
New Map Statement

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 cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au
  • You can become a member of the VCC here: https://vicclimb.org.au/join/. The VCC is the organisation that supports CliffCare, or you can donate to CliffCare directly here: https://cliffcare.org.au/about/donate/

If you have other questions that you feel are not answered here, please feel free to email: cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au


Thank you
GRAMPIANS ACCESS WORKING GROUP

 

Grampians National Park rock climbing update February 2019-1

 

Grampians National Park rock climbing update February 2019-2

Grampians National Park rock climbing update February 2019-3

Grampians National Park rock climbing update February 2019-4

 

 

Grampians National Park rock climbing update February 2019

GRAMPIANS ACCESS: WHAT IS HAPPENING?

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.

WHO IS REPRESENTING CLIMBERS?
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

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES THAT WE THINK ARE IMPORTANT TO CLIMBERS?
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.

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO REPRESENT CLIMBERS?

  • 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.

HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING?

  • You can follow CliffCare, the VCC’s access arm on Facebook or check the website regularly updates: https://cliffcare.org.au/
  • More information can also be found by following Vertical Life on Facebook or again checking the website http://www.verticallifemag.com.au
  • 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.

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 cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au
  • You can become a member of the VCC here: https://vicclimb.org.au/join/. The VCC is the organisation that supports CliffCare, or you can donate to CliffCare directly here: https://cliffcare.org.au/about/donate/
  • If you have other questions that you feel are not answered here, please feel free to email: cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au