Rockclimbing Code of Conduct

Rockclimbing Code of Conduct

Expresses the value climbers place upon crags, and is intended to guide climber behaviour, increasing the opportunities for crags to remain open and accessible while protecting their environmental value.

The Rockclimbing Code of Conduct is intended to demonstrate to both landowners and the wider community the commitment of climbers to caring for crags. It was developed by climbers involved in the SEQ Rockclimbing and Abseiling Site Management Forum in consultation with landowners and the broader climbing community.

The following Code is in two parts. First, the six main points for protecting our crags, access, impact, waste, fire, traditions and safety, are outlined. Each of these is then expanded to give a clear guide and strong understanding of the measures climbers will take to care for their crags.


  • Be aware of and observe access requirements and agreements. Avoid disturbing wildlife, crops and livestock. Leave gates as you find them and report any problems or potential problems to the landowner or manager.
  • Try to familiarise yourself with and observe any site-specific cultural or environmental conditions affected by your climbing.
  • Carefully consider the consequences of your actions on the environment and the enjoyment of future visitors to the site.
  • Endeavour to learn about and protect native plants, animals, geology and the cultural riches of the site.
  • Be aware of livestock and/or crops on private or public land where you climb. Take care not to disturb livestock through either physical contact or noise level. Avoid damage to crops by selecting access routes to climbing sites that do not directly cross crops or ploughed paddocks.
  • Help reduce impact and preserve a safe climbing environment; please try to keep groups to eight or fewer climbers. Respect other site users, both climbers and non-climbers. Rowdy behaviour is disruptive and inconsiderate. Please behave responsibly and keep noise to a minimum, including the use of electronic equipment and radios.


  • Respect sites of geological, cultural or other scientific interest. Please avoid any actions that cause unnecessary erosion. Use existing access tracks and do not leave unnecessary way marks. Help protect all wildlife. Do not disturb nesting birds.
  • Climbers can help secure continued access by supporting the existing environmental values of climbing sites.
  • ‘Gardening’, or the removal of existing vegetation from a cliff, permanently alters the natural environment. Use established tracks and avoid shortcuts or blazing new trails. Don’t manufacture holds or chip rock. On existing climbs avoid the installation of extra bolts; on new climbs avoid providing unnecessary protection.
  • Limiting the interaction between climbers and native fauna reduces the chance of any impact. Pay particular attention to seasonal bans on cliffs during bird breeding seasons. Please avoid sites inhabited by endangered species: this includes many species of wallaby, bat and spider.


  • To ensure our climbing sites stay beautiful please do not leave any rubbish. Keep campsites clean. Dispose of human waste in a hygienic and environmentally responsible manner. Do not pollute fresh water supplies.
  • Take out what you take in and if you see rubbish left by other users please take it out too. Pay particular attention to the small things (cigarette butts, fruit labels and silver foil are quite often left behind). They are unsightly and also degrade the climbing site.
  • Use toilets where provided. If they are not available, bury human waste at least 15 cm underground and at least 50 m from any water source or access track. In sensitive areas, please consider carrying out human waste. Please properly bury toilet paper or, even better, pack out your toilet paper as it takes a long time to decompose.
  • Waste water, particularly soapy water from washing humans or dishes, should also be disposed of at least 50 m from any water source or access track.


  • Fire is a serious threat to both safety and ecology. Avoid all risk of fire.
  • Only light fires in designated fireplaces in well-cleared areas. Think about where you are using your fuel stove and be responsible with its use.
  • Observe all fire restrictions. Remember restrictions apply to fuel stoves and smokers.


  • Consider ethical issues, such as the use of chalk, bolting and pitons, as well as appropriate climbing styles. Remember that placement of fixed equipment alters the climb and is not permitted at many sites.
  • Avoiding climber conflicts ensures better climbing. Respect established climbing traditions related to specific site.
  • Recognise and follow climbing traditions on existing sites. Some sites are appropriate for top roping; others for lead climbing. Please do not endanger the lives of other users by using a site inappropriately.
  • Bolts are inappropriate on climbs that can be protected by natural means. Bolts should only be used as a last resort to enable a climb to be led without fatal consequences, not just to reduce the size of a fall. Bolts/chains/fixed hangers should be kept to a minimum and should be placed in such a manner that they have minimal visual and environmental impact.
  • Avoid indiscriminate and excessive use of fixed equipment.
  • Please do not modify existing climbs. This includes retro bolting, chipping holds and adding holds. Preserve climbs in the spirit of the first ascent.


  • Alert uninformed visitors to potential dangers, where necessary, and resolve any emerging disputes in a civilised manner.
  • Keeping noise levels to a minimum ensures that all climbers can communicate with each other. Proper climbing checks and calls ensure that climbers at a cliff base are less likely to be in danger from falling rocks and climbing equipment, particularly ropes.
  • Remember that climbing is a high-risk activity in which climbers are responsible for their own safety. Paying attention to your equipment means that you can protect yourself.
  • It is the responsibility of the climber to exercise his or her own judgement and discretion at all times when climbing. The climber assumes total responsibility for climbing safety. The landowner accepts no responsibility for any event arising out of this activity.
  • People entering a climbing area acknowledge that it may be hazardous and do so at their own risk. Rock may be weathered or fractured and therefore unstable.
  • Respect and Protect Our Climbing Future!


Photo Credit: Green Room by Ben Blanche

Become a member

We welcome applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten