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started this discussion 10 months ago

Climbing band

I've heard there are now new "no climbing allowed" signs in place at Balls Head. Maybe the council is a bit more serious about the ban than people have thought? Anyone encountered a ranger? (not Dave)

Ben Jenga replied 10 months ago

Interesting, is there anybody on the inside who can give us the full details?

Tim Clarkson replied 10 months ago

Don't have any details but was there a week or so ago and there were ropes up and signs saying very specifically that climbing and bouldering both banned, video surveilance, prosecution etc etc. Shame cause I had an awesome new bouldering matt on my back at the time... don't know what we can do to negotiate any access with north sydney council.

replied 10 months ago

What do you mean by ropes up? Like roping off areas?

replied 10 months ago

I'm one of the main developers for the crag When Crags Collide. I was informed about the four signs by a bouldering buddy approx 3 weeks back. I made my way over to the crag the following day and met my mate there to see what it was he was talking about. Sure enough there's a 'roped off area' stating that bush regeneration is in progress and that bouldering and climbing is banned at Balls Head Reserve. The 'roped off area' does display an evident bush regen in progress but certainly NOT as a result of the respectful development that took place there. Ranger Dave and I ALWAYS take Mother Natures best interest into consideration when developing on what Mother Nature has provided us. There are warnings, or as I see them, threats, posted on the star pickets informing any potential rock enthusiast that they're being filmed, monitored etc etc etc. There is a North Sydney Coincil logo on the four perfectly laminated A4 'warning' signs. The only areas of the crag that are 'roped off' are The Bar Tenders Round and Radkas Boulder. These areas contain problems that offer amazing top outs. Funnily enough four more perfectly laminated signs, signed off by a Concerned Boulderer have appeared on every star picket next to the 'warning signs'. The concerned boulderer is asking where the cameras are located, what times are the cameras recording, does the council have permission to film children, where the council has gained its legal authority to 'rope off' this area and threaten legal action, why there are no contact details advertised on the 'warning signs'. The Concerned Boulderer has also included four laminated copies of the cover sheet for the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) informing the council of certain obligations they have failed to address. It appears to me that this Concerned Boulderer evidently works in a law enforcement role and is VERY familiar with Acts and Regulations of this nature, I'd even say he has his head 'screwed' on tight. I've been back there several times (I may or may not have bouldered while I was there) to see if the ever vigilant council had addressed their evident lack of duties but nothing has changed and I doubt it will. While I will not boulder in a bush regen area I will continue to boulderer on other parts of this crag not affected by my bouldering. As a 'considerate boulderer' I always show all due respect to the surrounding nature and what it provides ALL people who enjoy it in their own levels.

Ranger Dave replied 10 months ago

Gday lads. Ive been in the states for a month getting married (yeeha) and it seems like ive missed a lot! This ban makes my stomach sink BUT i dont see it lasting. However with the Great Bouldering Boom underway i wonder if this might be the tip of the ice berge.

So what do we do?

"heely" i think your correct that we have rights, but i wonder if we push thar avenue, will the fat men in suits try and push back? But you know better, you've walked this path before.

I wonder if what we are dealing with is the actions of the ill informed - in which the council afraid of injured climbers sueing have adopted a blanket ban rather than a climb at your own risk.

Hmmm... do we go down the rabbit hole and see where this goes?

Till then there is plenty of open climbing in the area, such as Blues Point or Harbour Side Slabs!

Oh and could someone go try "Pockets Of Power" at BP!

Love it! RD

replied 10 months ago

Hey RD I went down to BP for the first time the other day after work for a quick look. I tried pockets of power and it seems mega...the other problems on that wall are also great! I was matless spotterless and chalkless so didnt get to fully give them a good spanking

Ingo replied 10 months ago

Hope you guys get the permissions at Balls Point sorted out. Was very miffed turning up there after half an hour hike with mat on my back to find superb boulders I was not allowed to get on ...... Would love to give them a go next time I'm down under, especially now I finished my two main projects at BP ... Good luck to you all and thanks for your work at both places providing me with ample bouldering fun during my visits!

Matt Minus replied 9 months ago

Hey all, I have sent a very politely worded email to the council requesting information about the ban, and whether we can have some kind of consultation regarding the issues behind the ban and hopefully identify the problems which we can communicate to the wider climbing community with the hope of finding some compromise.

replied 9 months ago

You're welcome Ingo and I'm looking forward to catching up next time!

Matt, when did you send council the email? Just wondering how long we can expect a reply.

Matt Minus replied 9 months ago

Here is the response I received on Monday:

"Dear Mr Minus, thank you for your recent email regarding rock climbing in Balls Head Reserve. As you may be aware, rock climbing has been prohibited by resolution of North Sydney Council for more than 10 years and remains an issue of continual concern in (successive) Bushland Plans of Management.

Over the past 6-12 months the Bushland Management Team have observed an increased frequency of unauthorised rock climbing (including boldering) activity in the reserve - hence the erection of warning signs and temporary fencing that you may have seen.

There are a number of reasons why rock climbing is inappropriate in a small, fragile bushland remnant such as Balls Head Reserve. Erosion is primary among these (we are still dealing with erosion damage caused by rock climbers over a decade ago) however other impacts such as the loss of rare/niche plant species that grow along the base of sandstone cliffs is equally important. There is also a need to protect sites of aboriginal cultural heritage of which there are many on Balls Head that are not known to the public.

Whilst I appreciate that there are rock climbers who are environmentally responsible and would take care to minimise their impact, many are not so mindful and unfortunately the damage they cause is extremely difficult to repair especially in highly erodible foreshore bushland like Balls Head.

The Balls Head Volunteer Bushcare Group has been working to rehabilitate bushland in the reserve since the mid 1990's. The group meets twice a month on a Thursday morning and new volunteers are always welcome. Further information on becoming involved in Bushcare volunteering is available here: www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/bushcare.

If you would like to discuss this matter further please don't hesitate to contact me on the number below."

Sounds like a few bad eggs ruined it for everybody else?

replied 9 months ago

One thing we need to remember with Balls Head is that climbers still climb clocks to this day. They just keep a low profile and leave no trace behind (except for the chalk on the ceiling).

People will continue to climb and boulder at Balls Head, that will never change. Just be smart about the way you go about it.

The council have no concerns about the numerous fishermen hits built all the foreshores of Balls Head. Why do they not have any concerns? Because they don't know about their existence. I've counted 3 permanently erected huts so far.

If they don't know of our existence they'll leave the lovers of rock alone as well.



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