Climbers’ Code

Learn the skills and etiquette before you venture outdoors

  • Outdoor climbing is awesome, however, you are at risk of serious injury or death if it isn’t done safely. 
  • It has always been an activity learnt over time under the guidance of more experienced climbers.  Books or online videos alone cannot impart the knowledge necessary for climbing safely and using safe, solid skills.  Seek qualified instruction or learn from experienced people with a good attitude to safety.
  • There are expectations set by the outdoor climbing community that you should understand before you head out.  This Code is a starting point to educate yourself.

Climbing can be dangerous; we’re human.  Don’t get complacent.  The danger level doesn’t change but our attitude can become more casual.

  • Cliffs present risks.  Those risks don’t change, but what can is our level of vigilance.  As we get more experienced we can become complacent about the risks.  Don’t do that.
  • Complacency remains a major source of injury and sometimes death in climbing.  Don’t be a victim of complacency.  Those safety practices you learnt when you first started climbing are relevant to every climb that you do.

Climbing can be dangerous; it’s smart to wear a helmet

  • Helmets are strongly recommended due to the risk of rockfall that is present at all of our cliffs and for protection against dangerous falls which could happen at any time.
  • Helmets save lives and injury – this has been proven many, many times which is why many climbers wear them. 
  • Wearing a helmet not only protects you, it also saves your climbing friends from having to deal with the very stressful situation of rescuing you after a serious head injury.

Be inclusive and look after fellow climbers

  • The South Australian climbing culture has enjoyed a long history of inclusiveness, friendliness and guardianship.  Keep that culture alive and look out for your fellow climbers. 
  • Nurture a safe, respectful, adventurous, fun climbing community.

Be a role model and respectfully address dangerous practices that you see

  • New climbers are watching what you do.  Role model best practice to them.  Be a mentor.
  • New climbers, or even climbers with some experience, may be ignorant of the mistake you see them making and may get hurt if no-one helps them out.
  • Our actions affect more than ourselves.  They affect our entire community.

Observe and respect access agreements and restrictions, including fire ban restrictions

  • Access is not our right, it has been granted to us.  It can be easily taken away.  Know what the access agreements and restrictions are and ensure you are respecting them.  Teach new climbers about access agreements and restrictions.
  • Never light a fire on someone else’s property.
  • If you notice behaviour that may jeopardise access, politely remind climbers of the correct behaviour and/or report the issue to the CCSA committee.

Minimise your impact: use existing tracks, use existing anchors when present and never chip the rock

  • Climbing areas can be impacted through erosion and disturbance to plants and animals.  Stick to existing tracks to cause minimal impact.
  • The National Parks service requires that where permanent anchors are installed, they are to be used and not trees.  If no anchors are provided, use broad slings or rope protectors to protect trees.

Don’t disturb nesting birds or other wildlife and protect all native vegetation

  • Know what the seasonal restrictions are for the protection of wildlife. 
  • Be mindful not to trample native vegetation when moving around cliffs.
  • Be a good environmental guardian.

Respect cultural heritage sites

  • Know what the cultural heritage restrictions are at climbing sites and respect them, both here and interstate.
  • Climbers visit remote places. If you find a site or artefact that may be of Aboriginal heritage, do not disturb it and report it as soon as possible to the CCSA committee and the local land manager.
  • When possible and appropriate, attend Welcome to Country ceremonies and foster positive relationships with local Indigenous people.

Respect the peace of the bush.  Don’t play your music out loud.

  • Most people visit natural areas, including climbing cliffs, for the peace and quiet and the sounds of nature.  They don’t visit these areas to hear your tunes.  Respect this perspective.  Use your headphones or leave the music at home.
  • Noise travels, particularly at night and through gullies.  Consider this when choosing the volume of your voice.

Minimise your use of chalk or try tinted chalk to decrease the visual impact

  • Chalk marks on climbing cliffs can be viewed as an eyesore by other site users.  Try to minimise the amount of chalk you use and try ball chalk instead of loose chalk.
  • Tinted chalk is now on the market, designed to blend in with the rock.  Give it a try.

Carry out all rubbish, including food scraps and cigarette butts

  • Our national parks and climbing sites should not be used as rubbish tips.  Please carry out all rubbish including food scraps.  Banana peels, orange peels and apple cores can take 3 months to 2 years to break down.  Unfortunately, the presence of rubbish gives other people permission to litter – don’t be the person responsible for that.
  • Create rubbish-free crags.

We need to talk about poo.  Carry it and your toilet paper out with you (yes, it’s possible!) or bury it properly and away from waterways.

  • Ever gone for a bush pee and been grossed out by the toilet paper lying around?  Don’t add to the problem!  Zip-lock bags are great for discreetly carrying out toilet paper or feminine hygiene products.  Plastic bags and Poo Pots (strong, sealable plastic containers) are great for transporting your poo.
  • If you need to bury your toilet waste, do so well away from waterways (at least 100m) and bury it at least 15cm deep.  Foxes will dig up shallow poo pits.
  • Of course, if you’re a day visitor, be organised and go before or after you’ve visited the crag.

If you have a large group, car pool to the carpark and offer to share ropes with others

  • Our crags are getting busy.  Recreational climbers, commercial operators, training organisations, universities and TAFE are all sharing the cliffs.  Be courteous, make sure your set-ups are safe, and offer to share ropes where possible.