This is a public discussion in Grampians.
Access Climbing restrictions may apply
ACAV Note: Parks Victoria has advised that rock climbing restrictions may apply at certain locations. Formal advice has changed several times during 2019.
Please refer to the following link for PV's current advice:
For a list of crags in SPA areas see:
No worries is thwre any way to delete old undone projects then? It's very frustrating to not be able to do this
If they are already listed do they need to be deleted? isn't just adding anything new??
Yere - I'm confused why old projects would be removed if they already exist?
This thread was just a cut and paste from from the access field into our new warning system which makes things more prominent and harder to miss, there is nothing new here. I wasn't the original author of those words.
I don't see a reason to remove anything. I actually think there is a decent argument to keep fleshing out the missing history of old climbs, even if some end up closed forever the history is important.
Adam and I were replying to Kents comment
This new warning seems very watered down considering this is the most significant climbing access issue in Australia. Should be some reference to how bad it is and how it would be very easy to screw it for everyone if new routes were established in the wrong place (e.g. what happened in the Black Range)
I've updated the warning to reflect the info in the access and re-activated it
This line is now tucked away in access issues (which requires clicking on to open on a phone) "Access issues - Please do not add any routes (old or new) to this database for the time being." Its also a bit odd without any context on why you shouldnt be adding new routes. It made sense when it talked about a new route moeitorium because of harsh climbibg bans being put in place. All that info has now been removed. Try and imagine your are an interstate or international climber visiting the Grampians and know nothing about the current issues.
Does it really need to be an ‘ACAV Note’ ???
Surely it’s just a ‘Note:’...,
So there is a new official ACAV account that Mike has made and he is starting to take over managing this stuff and figuring out how theCrag works. I think the words 'ACAV note' makes sense as it lends a little bit of credence to the warning. I would also like to see a second url in the warning text to the ACAV's position on the Grampians, if and when such a page exists, rather than just the PV's position.
Also this new warning system is still something we are ironing out, we still haven't got the help docs sorted for it yet and there is a few bugs to squash. eg in this thread it's hard to see that the original warning I made has since been edited by the ACAV account, and also things like the history of it being 'resolved' and then 'unresolved' etc.
As for the 'don't add routes to the db' text, I'd prefer the ACAV to manage this. My personal take is that updating old routes should be fine either way. If adding new routes to the DB is an issue, then surely it's not the DB itself which is an issue but actually adding the routes in real life which is the more important thing to manage and the message should reflect that instead. theCrag should mirror reality either way, we shouldn't be shooting the messenger.
It could certainly be worded better ... to say that climbing ‘may’ be banned at certain locations seems disingenuous, at best, and potentially misleading and confusing for some ... the PV page it links to states that climbing is restricted and PV are strictly enforcing existing restrictions ...
Hoping that any edits made are moderated in some way by theCrag team
> Hoping that any edits made are moderated in some way by theCrag team
No, generally I really want to avoid this. The admin team typically have no special knowledge or insider info for any particular crag, this really should be locals and ideally an access org. In this case the ACAV are stepping into this role and I'm hoping they take on board your feedback and run with it...
Macca, I've messaged ACAV about the same concerns as you have. It's actually been a long running difference of opinion between me and them. I've wanted to publish a solid list of crag names for people to stay away from (the SPA areas) but I seem to have lost the battle on this site. They have removed many of the warnings and background info I had entered as well. I just hope that some poor random international climber doesn't become the fall guy because of ignorance. Ignorance got us into this mess...
ACAV has taken legal advice and this legal advice is represented in the messaging regarding access advice on The Crag. Climbing is currently prohibited at 8 focus sites under proper legal process and by the installation of regulatory signage. Hence these cliffs are marked "closed". Regarding the SPAs, Parks Victoria has made a 1700 word FAQ statement in an effort to exclude rock climbers from 500 sq km of National Park. Please read it carefully so that you are fully briefed on the latest status of the Special Protection Areas. You will need to check back regularly as Parks Victoria has changed the wording on several occasions between March 2019 and September 2019. Generally the messaging has softened over this time as Parks Victoria has released the legal and practical difficulties in seeking to exclude climbers in this way. Please tread lightly, always cooperate with Rangers and be respectful if approached.
Sample FAQ from the Parks Victoria current link:
"Will I be penalised or fined for climbing in a Special Protection Area or no climb area?
Across the park, whether within or outside Special Protection Areas, action may be taken against any person breaking the National Park Regulations. This includes littering, destroying vegetation, driving off defined tracks, damaging park infrastructure including signs and barriers, damaging rock faces, illegally camping and lighting fires and disobeying or obstructing Authorised Officers."
Here, Parks Victoria does not answer its own FAQ. Please read the whole document and interpret it accordingly.
The PV website also says..
Where is rock climbing permitted?
No-impact rock climbing in the national park is permitted outside of the Special Protection Areas.
in February 2019 Parks Victoria announced it would be strictly enforcing the existing restrictions that were created to protect the park’s highly sensitive areas called Special Protection Areas. This decision meant that activities such as rock climbing could no longer take place in a Special Protection Area, with the exception of a current exemption for existing licensed tour operators that offer rock climbing and abseiling at Summerday Valley in the Grampians National Park (see below) until 31 March 2020.
Im very pragmatic about this situation. Although i understand that ACAVs has a pure legal interpration of the status of SPAs - its also very clear that PV dont want climbers in these areas at the moment. As someone who writes guidebooks, for me it is about providing the most clear and accurate information available in the easist way possible. A "closed" tag was super clear when looking at a list of crags. It was impossible to ignore.
Can we consider some sort of middle ground? Rather than marking crags "closed" perhaps they need a tag that just says Caution - Special Protection Area. Right now there is no easy way of knowing what is in or out of SPAs. I actually added that info to individual crag names several months ago but someone removed that and replaced them with the "closed" tag.
Some of the changes made in the last hour have added considerable confusion. For example the entire Hollow Mountain area now has an access note saying restrictions may apply. But half the crags (Cut Lunch to VD Land) are totally outside SPAs and totally ok to climb at. That's one of the reasons im not a fan of the recent changes.
The majority of climbers just want to do the right thing and not rock the boat. They certainly dont want to cause further access issues or be yelled at by a ranger and asked to leave crags (like what happened at Muline i'm led to believe).
I also think without explaining that new routes added at inappriatre places got us into this mess, the comment about not adding new routes to the database is meaningless.
Legal advice is nothing more than ‘advice’...not fact, not legal... I think theCrag should present facts ... or it should say quite clearly that possible access to certain areas is based upon ‘advice’ and that PV view the situation very differently...
I don’t think the FAQ is really what ‘excludes climbers’, that would be the management plan which created the SPA’s and the wording of that hasn’t changed, and won’t ... the web FAQ is largely irrelevant legally speaking..
Isn’t the ACA way to ‘walk lightly but carry a big stick’..? Why shouldn’t we simply say the ACAV said it was ‘ok, based on their legal advice’ ...
Re the FAQ example... although somewhat circumlocutious it does answer the question indirectly with ‘yes, you can get fined for breaking rules anywhere in the park’ ... though perhaps a ‘yes or no’ initial response would have been clearer... again, this a FAQ, not a legal document...
Neil’s comments about inaccuracies and errors in what has been edited are probably worth listening to as he seems to have a better grasp of the lay of the land in that regard...
And finally it seems the motivation behind the edits is ‘political’ in some way though I have no idea what the anticipated effect, or reasoning, may be... I don’t think that there are points to be scored here by claiming access rights and ignoring or publishing information contrary to PV position... that’s what climbers need to know first before worrying about anything else that may or may not be relevant..,
This is farcical and should be rolled back. The current situation is that climbing isn't permitted in SPAs regardless of what the ACAV legal avice is. ACAV has done a disservice to climbers by removing the clear information. What overreach.
It is the purpose of The Crag to reflect the true situation at the cliff environment. At the 8 focus site locations there is Regulatory signage installed and these cliffs are marked as ‘closed’. Parks Victoria has followed a determination process to introduce closures at these 8 sites. This process is currently under legal challenge.
Please note that the legal challenge is seeking to bring about alternative Regulations that ensure the proper protection of cultural heritage and delicate ecosystems within the National Park.
ACAV is working to protect Cultural Heritage.
We anticipate that, with some assistance from the climbing community, Parks Victoria will eventually put in place appropriate Regulations across the National Park, managing all recreational activities in harmony with cultural and environmental values.
I agree with Kieran.
This is ridiculous political scoring pedantry on ACAV's behalf.
Will ACAV and ACANSW confirm when they will release their databases to land managers on where they are aware of known climbing-Aboriginal Site clashes?
It seems somewhat morally bankrupt if ACAV is prepared to do these edits, and not take a more proactive stance on the other...
Yeah this is a joke. And now the ACAV refuses to listen to people that think it should be rolled back. The information needs to be available in the clearest way possible. If someone reads the ACAV posts they may decide that they can climb in SPAs, just not in the original 8 areas. You guys are really putting your foot in it.
And I've previously spoken to ACAV members about there being a willingness to forcefully test these bans by copping a fine and having it challenged in court...
Is this edit intended to instead lure some unsuspecting victim into this situation?? Because that's a very foreseeable outcome from this pedantic edit.
So, as above, I agree with Neil, Maccas, Kieran...
TheCrag is a blunt instrument (somewhat conservative) tool for simple access advice to climbers. Keep it simple.
Leave it closed and then add whatever URL you wish to some long winded comment that explains the origins of common law & peacocking...
The only potential benefits to this edit is for someone wishing to climb with an LTO that happens to chance upon SDV on TheCrag, or a climber wanting to climb at SDV that is then willing to fork out $$ to be escorted by an LTO for the privilege.
I also agree with Monty Curtis and Kieran Loughran and dare I say it Macca.
Please roll back these changes asap
The ACAV changes are only going to lead to confusion and the potential for climbers to get into trouble (wether rightly or wrongly) which will lead to more potential access issues.
Brendan Heywood, these changes really need to be rolled back asap
"and dare I say it Macca." lol
Perhaps a fairly robust test for when you're wrong is when numerous people agree with Macca against your POV.
Let's call it the 'Macca-Test'.
Sorry Macca, just havinga bit of fun.
ACAV from comment above: "
We anticipate that, with some assistance from the climbing community, Parks Victoria will eventually put in place appropriate Regulations across the National Park, managing all recreational activities in harmony with cultural and environmental values."
This does not explain the edit one iota.
You 'ANTICIPATE' it will 'EVENTUALLY' be open?
So we're doing crystal ball edits of access situations now?
Or has ACAV become one with the Force?
"These are not the access statuses you are looking for. These crags are open..."
By the same token, I'm 'legally challenging' the access situation in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, but does that mean I should change the status of all such areas to reflect this tentative, anticipated, maybe, foreseeable situation?
So of those here, who is going to put their hand up as the crag police and how are they going to know what is accurate.
The the PV information and maps keep changing (I have seen one entire SPA moved over a km!) the best source of information is the latest PV FAQ. There are more SPAs on the way as assessments are continuing (as community members found out at the North Melbourne community consultation).
For me another important factor is that climbers need to take responsibility for their actions in the current, constantly moving access scenario in the Grampians. A more informed climbing population will improve our stewardship and help to foster the trust and connections we need to develop better management options. It has to start somewhere and dumbing down the climbing population with simple yes/no answers that may be incorrect will only be to our detriment.
Lastly, the ACAV are not the crag police and I do not believe that other organizations should be. If a climber gets fined for climbing where they should not, given the information that is available through a number of sources, the only person who could have stopped that is the climber themselves.
All good, guys, I know when I’m right even without agreement ...
ACAV, how do you expect that legal action arguing ‘climbing isn’t a sport’ or ‘that PV’s response was excessive’ to ‘bring about alternative regulations’?? I think you are suffering delusions of grandeur there...
“Macciza is working to protect Cultural Heritage too” .... in fact both kinds of CH ... although obviously this statement doesn’t mean much .... kinda like saying ‘ACAV is not rascist...’
Is that second post really meant to suggest the ACAV is working towards the ‘managing (of) all recreational activities’ ...
Finally, wouldn’t the VCC Access Officer be the best person to be overseeing this, rather the head of the newly formed ACAV?? Did Mike approach theCrag with this idea? Or was it an initiative of theCrag, in the hope of getting better, more accurate, finer grained access information?? Either way it seems a failure ....
As with the others I believe these edits should simply be rolled back, and if needed, a better job done second time around...
Parks Victoria’s current legal advice:
“it is only at these 8 sites, where the signage is in place, that PV is currently undertaking enforcement activities pursuant to the Regulations.”
John Stevens, Manager Legal Services, Parks Victoria
Individual climbers may wish to exclude themselves from climbing in other areas at their own discretion after reviewing the Parks Victoria factsheet.
The nature and extent of any other restrictions are not entirely clear. The Crag website cannot take responsibility for giving access advice that may be incorrect.
Note that the Parks Victoria FAQ page was last updated on 30th Aug 2019 6.58 pm.
Regardless of where you climb, please tread lightly, always cooperate with Rangers and be respectful if approached.
Well obviously theCrag can’t take responsibility for giving incorrect information when that incorrect information has been put there by you ...
If approached I’d just be saying that you said it was ok ...
Oh and is that statement by John Stevens publicly available, or referenced anywhere?? I didn’t see it on the linked PV page ...?
Is that statement from PV publicly available or referenced anywhere? I did not see it on the linked PV page...
Of course theCrag should not be held responsible for incorrect access advice if that incorrect information has been placed there by you ...
Has ACAV actually initiated legal action, apart from just the threat of action contained in a recent letter to PV? Please answer ‘yes or no’ ...
It is on the ACAV website and has has been posted to the ACAV facebook page for a few weeks. It is a 5 page letter. The statements are on pages 4 and 5. The course of legal action was also outlined on these pages. This is an ongoing process which we will be reported as substantive information comes to hand.
yes or no
Which group of corporate puppets over-ruled the actual indigenous communities wish to protect sacred trees from bulldozers down there in Mexico where everyone gets a mugshot? The halucination of legitamacy this thug dot has cast over the throng is powerful.
It took me a while to find it, was not obvious at all. This is the acav post:
and this is the letter it refers to:
(the pdf is a bit annoying as you can't search or highlight text it in)
I’ll take that as a ‘No’, to both points then .... they’re pretty simple questions...
that statement isn’t directly accessible by anyone sussing out the crag...
And obviously no legal action either...they gave them 7 days before unleashing the lawyers and that time has long passed... no announcement has been made to say that legal action has actually been taken....
Would like to hear Mikes response to my question... or for any real evidence that a legal challenge has actually been initiated as claimed above ... sending a letter threatening action is not actually a legal challenge..
Lets try and focus on the actual issue here people (accurate information in the guidebook). Does anyone have any issues with crags located in SPAs being marked as such? Brendon - is it possible to get another option in the list of open/closed etc. I've never understood what "tolerated" means. Maybe an option of "threatened" would be a good halfway point between peoples differing opinions?
The point of Closed is that it shepherds people to approved Open areas. If keen beans are intent on climbing in a 'threatened' area because it offers something that they cant do without then they'd have to read the fine print to determine what to do... and inevitably they'd have to ask someone if they're not confident in their own assessment.
So that's effectively the same as closed but with a comment that reflects the context and fine print.
Otherwise you could just mark 90% of australian climbing as threatened in the current climate.
I totally agree the important thing is to just clearly show what is going on, even if what is going on is unclear or conflicted. Peter Monks has also suggested a new tag:
Right now we don't have this. The Tolerated tag is not appropriate here. The 'Closed' tag is special and is shown on the maps in red and clearly marked in the menu's everywhere. We only recently added this feature working with the VCC. If we went down this same path again I'd do something similar like red = 'closed', orange = 'threatened'.
But we don't want to make more work for ourselves if we can avoid it as we have a lot on our plate. Even if we committed to this it would be a while before it went live. If there is a clear consensus here that a new tag is the best way forward then we'll take that on board. Either way I won't be doing any more data edits, this should to be discussed and actioned by locals.
I still think it would be very useful for the warning to also link to a dedicated Grampians page on the ACAV website which is the latest source of truth of public info around what ACAV is doing and how people can help, rather than only linking to PV's vague faq.
Happy to link to the News section of our Website:
We will work on a specific page for Grampians Access Latest.
Crags are either closed or open. A closed crag must have a physical sign at the crag location stating the "Regulations" that enforce the closure.
ACAV while that may be true narrowly in the Grampians, it’s certainly not true elsewhere. An expansion and/or rethink of the access tags to cater for the more complex access situations that exist elsewhere is overdue imo.
Agreed Peter - for instance we will be needing seasonal closure tags soon, as part of our climbing management plan initiatives.
Yes I do agree that thecrag could be used as an effective part of communicating and giving demonstratable effect to climbing management plans! Seems like a no brainer.
Though, ACA are aware of many crags where cultural heritage items are at crags or have even been damaged by climbers. The last time I queried this ACA peeps were adamant that 'climbing' should not admit to it's own mistakes or unnecessarily make things public. A questionable stance.
So, this creates a branding, moral and perhaps even legal predicament for ACA as to what they are taking responsibility for and how they are actually going to follow through.
Is ACA going to support secrecy of such things in one area, but paint a picture of openness in another? Tricky...
In the interim, leave the thing as closed from a climbing (conservative) self-management point of view?
I can't think of a single crag in the Grampians where Cultural heritage items have been directly damaged by climbers. It's certainly not "many". There are quarry sites at almost every cliff - all along most PV managed tourist tracks for example. It would be easier to list places that don't have quarries. One thing to remember with this database is that a neutral position regarding access does not mean a crag is "open". It just means the status is not recorded or not clear legally. Of the thousands and thousands of crags recorded no one has gone through and checked the access position of each. As any guidebook author knows - "this is a guide only, and may not reflect the current situation"
Crags don't have just the two states of "open" and "closed" as defined by acav. They can also be in an SPA, where climbing is not permitted. It is important that we acknowledge this for two reasons : 1. So climbers are aware of that status. 2. So Traditional Owners are ware that we recognise this.
Also, be wary of making statements like "I can't think of a single crag in the Grampians where Cultural heritage items have been directly damaged by climbers." . Indigenous people are very sensitive to statements that downplay the impact on cultural heritage. Their history of the past 200 years is of their very presence being downplayed and marginalised.
ACAV does not have any inside information on cultural heritage locations in the Grampians. There are publicly available maps showing Areas of Cultural Heritage Sensitivity (Public). Every rocky area is shown as being culturally sensitive.
This is all the information that we have.
Kieran, I was trying to counter a claim made by Leith above that "ACA are aware of many crags where cultural heritage items are at crags or have even been damaged by climbers". I don't believe that is correct and is not helpful at all. Perhaps he was speaking about broader areas outside of Victoria - which is entirety outside this discussion. Revealing the location of these sites in the Grampians is apparently against the law anyway. PV is certainly unwilling to reveal any of them to the climbing community. Catch 22. No climbers want to damage these sites. Honestly I'm getting tired of having to say that. I've just finished listening to an ABC podcast about Christian missionaries deliberating burning and destroying Aboriginal objects and sites in the Northern Territory this year to get rid of Aboriginal culture. Sometimes a bit of perspective is needed on what climbers have and haven't done. I'm ending my contribution to this discussion unless it goes back to talking about the actual edits to thecrag and options/solutions.
On the main topic, the changes made by ACAV should be rolled back while this discussion is continued. It's ludicrous that areas popular with overseas visitors such as Muline and Eureka don't have clear information about their access status.
Tried to counter a claim, but failed...
If ACA wants to act as a transparent pre-eminent body for climbers in access negotiations across Australia then it has to remain consistently transparent across its sibling organisations, particularly with its stance on information relating to cultural heritage sites.
And this is even moreso the case if ACA organisations are going to be taking responsibility for providing nuanced access commentary to individual crags.
"Sometimes a bit of perspective is needed on what climbers have and haven't done." Yes, perspective is good. But that sentiment also reads;
'We rationalise our damage when it suits us.'
And the argument above about Christian missionaries is in this vain...
'What's happened elsewhere is so much worse, therefore, our minimal damage is acceptable.'
It's just not the kind of thinking that gels with a more scrutinised approach to formally approving access for climbers.
And +1 to Kieran's more succinct comments re: access status.
Apologies for the essay.
From a purely language point of view, SPAs are not 'closed' in the finite sense that the word suggests. I appreciate and respect the current sentiment around climbing in SPAs. At the same time I'm frustrated by the lack of clarity and timeline to resolve, nothing new for anyone here.
I'm thankful that ACAV has put something forward legally... I think we need to help shape all the organisations that represent us, and in this discussion there has been multiple mentions of taking on feedback. Keen to see that materialise.
Accusations of ACAV editing the crag to lul a climber into opening passage for a civil legal challenge is a massive stretch. And if its not, im genuinely concerned for how this situation will progress from here. Regardless, the mud slinging has to stop. Please, as a relatively new climber, it's doesn't reflect the values I Identify with an appreciation of climbing and makes me think the community is headed in a supertopo US direction...
Accessing the Grampians page throws up a warning about closures and points you to further reading. So far so good.
I do agree that once in a crag, or when searching for a specific climb in google, there needs to be some language letting people know climbing is under review/disallowed for all climbs and crags within an SPA. 'Threatened' doesn't clearly tell an international not to climb there. If the yellow warning message box on the Grampians page can appear on every route and crag within an SPA I think that's the best way forward. Of course, this may be impossible logistically and from the crags man power point of view idk
I do not want to see these listed as 'closed' however, until everyone has come to the table, by the various means, including legal.
I want this handled respectfully, particularly regarding understanding and reflecting the will of traditional owners, which includes being prepared to apoligise and happily concede crags of the past. So long as research and conversations have been communicated with transparency. And maybe the hypocrisy of the f***ing walking trail gets acknowledged by PV... I wont hold my breath.
At the same time... if we just call these crags closed and wait out indefinitely thinking that PV will somehow see we've not been climbing in SPAs, tell AV, "nah they're actually alright but" then drip feed us a couple world-class crags back for old times sake... I think that's delusional. They'll be happy we've removed our selves from the equation by our own doing, which is easiest administrative path PV can take with less heads on chopping blocks. Silent roll over...
If nothing else, ACAV's actions here have opened a dialogue that is important to have right now.
Can we get the yellow warning thing on every crag and route instead of 'closed'?
> If the yellow warning message box on the Grampians page can appear on every route and crag within an SPA
Nikita Miltiadou we are considering changing the platform so these warnings inherit down to all sub cliffs and routes. If we do that, there is a single warning at the Grampians level which would be the same everywhere under it, it won't know what the SPA's are.
Right now individual warnings could be set up for each cliff in an SPA.
As the ACAV will be managing this ongoing I'd prefer them to give feedback on what feature's they'd like improved and how so we don't waste time writing code that might not get used.
That's not slander Nikita.
Neil himself told me that ACAV members were considering going into Summer Day Valley and copping a fine to see the thing brought to a swift legal conclusion...
So, it's not that much of a stretch.
But yes, convo is good...
I think it would be good to consider what thecrag can offer to Australian climbing access management as it is the closest thing we have to a convenient GIS system.
If thecrag could support updated cultural heritage information and environmental data, that's something thatd motivate me to donate money towards.
Brendan ... “as the ACAV will managing this ongoing” .. does not seem up recognise the substantive complaints about how the have mismanaged it so far .... and so far there has been little, and selective, response from ACAV to those concerns raised and seemingly no real discussion or compromise re rolling back or changing anything whatsoever... so is that it...?
I'll repeat: this needs to be local access people at the coal face. I don't want edit wars. The ACAV have stepped up so I'll let them handle it. I think a little patience is due as they get up to speed here, they have enough on their plate.
The ACAV represents a hell of a lot of climbers now, and the committee making these decisions involves a number of
climbers at the coalface, including those with a legal background. PV's own advice is carefully worded, as even they are unsure of the legality of closing the SPA areas; otherwise the language would be different. Also the ACAV represents climbers with many takes on the issue; and if they were to say "SPA's closed" and somebody DID read PV's advice and decide something different, then as a usergroup, we'd have nowhere to go to defend that person, and so you may as well say goodbye to climbing in SPA's forever. That's how I read it anyway.
Thanks Brendan. As noted locals are currently researching details at each crag, as we get time, to provide a much more nuanced understanding of the situation on the ground.
That sounds like a reasonable interpretation Goshen.
And if that's the case then perhaps 'Alert' is a better word for consideration as the 3rd access option...
'Threatened' could be too narrow/specific/stern?, and as you say, could similarly give the wrong impression. In my mind, a genuinely threatened crag should probably be 'closed', if that makes sense?
There may not actually be any crag based threat (enviro/cultural) and is instead just a bureaucratic threat...
So Alert might better imply further reading required.
We did a new release today. Now the yellow warning boxes inherit down to all cliffs and routes within them. eg
Well done Brendan
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