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Ideas and issues: Morialta, SA
Richard Delaney
4:59:35 PM
Ian Brown and I (through our business Epacris Environmental Consultants) have been
awarded a tender by the SA Dept of Environment and Heritage to:

"Evaluate the range of issues at the Rockclimbing Area in Morialta Conservation Park.
Prepare strategic directions, master plan and Concept plans which makes
recommendations for the future delivery of enjoyable, safe and sustainable visitor
experiences at the site."

We are planning on speaking with many people and are going to be on site for a week
(16-20 March 2009) to have a good look around.

As a part of the consultation for the project, I'm posting this topic to open one avenue for
discussion of ideas and issues at Morialta.

So, what do you think the issues are?
What creative ideas do you have in the way the area should be managed?
And, most importantly, what routes do you think Ian and I get on during our visit?

Feel free to either post replies here or directly to

3:01:41 PM
To start the ball rolling, the farmer's gates need attention!

As for the access tracks, the one down to Far Crag is excellent and you may want to look at that as a
template. All the other tracks will probably need some work. Don't try to blaze new tracks and
decommission old ones, we like the old tracks. The silly detour to Boulder Bridge put in several years
ago is now widely ignored. I don't think we need more signage: climbing evolved from a kind of secret
society and I think we should keep it that way.

The ring bollards at the top of the crags have been terrific and I think they're numbered now for
emergency services. The popularity of toproping means there's more and more erosion but short of
concreting the lips of the cliffs I don't know what can be done. You certainly have to be careful on the
dusty paths along the tops but that's always been the case. The path above the Billiard Table area is
infamous although it's been reasonable since a reno several years ago. The hillside could be gouged
away to make a wider path but, environmentally, it wouldn't be a good look.

Some of the descent paths are looking very eroded. I'm not sure I want to see more stairs put in a
conservation park but they might be considered for the eastern end of Far Crag and both ends of
Boulder Bridge. If made of wood, they may not last long anyway as Morialta is due for a major fire.
Please don't impose the "we have a duty-of-care so we'll shut down that path" mentality, work with and
improve what is there.

I think the big issue is the base of the crags. Erosion is out of control at Far Crag, Boulder Bridge, the
Billiard Table, The Buttress and The Outcrops. These areas need landscaping. Some serious track
work is required and the standing areas need to be demarcated with backing and filling-in. I've noticed
at Frog Buttress (Qld) that a little subtle landscaping at the base of a crag goes a long way but I doubt
if Frog gets as many punters as Morialta. If you fix up the bases at Morialta and have money left over,
feel free to attend to Top Cliff at Onkaparinga, it's even worse!

As for recommended routes....everyone climbs Muesli, some people will tell you Barad Dur is the best
route in the Hills, Geronimo's Cadillac and The Stench before the Storm might be the pick of the sport
routes and don't forget several interesting 19s, eg. Triad, Transmutation and Popular Misconception.

10:51:57 PM
Well said.

1:31:16 PM
maybe find the elusive "climb 19" that the stupid signs have misplaced?

1:33:54 PM
oh, and please dont pull off the loose stuff up the top, there is no end of it and you will just pull down the entire climb. and please get rid of the fixed cam on shedidit, the one with the cut wires. someones going to do an injury.
3:54:32 PM
I agree with what prb has shared above, nicely said. I especially agree with how excellent the bollard anchors are, and the recommendation of small revegetation projects in the areas of erosion is a very good one.
One thing I'll suggest is regarding the infamous section of track along the top of the Billiard Table area, that some kind of handrail/barrier could possibly be put there. This would take careful consideration though, because there's very little width to play with and it would want to be small yet solid, to make it worth being there at all. If a basic wire barrier was there, which you see as vegetation barriers at Boulder Bridge, it would of course be extremely dangerous if some not-quite-bright person leaned on it!
Thanks for the opportunity to give some feedback, and I wish you well with your project.
Kylie Jarrett
Richard Delaney
4:08:01 PM
Thanks for the comments so far. Keep 'em coming, we want to consider as many things
as possible.


8:33:39 PM
Is carparking beyond the scope of your consultancy? If not maybe you could add that to the list of things to have a bit of a look at.
Richard Delaney
9:43:45 AM
Car parking is certainly on the list.

6:48:09 PM
Does SA still have that law that says climbing is prohibited in any national park except for a few specific "climbing areas"?

You could get rid of that


2:10:51 PM
if there was a real car park, it would soon be used up by walkers avoiding the fees of the middle carpark area.

The walk down to the buttress is horrendous when wet.

And to ratify what is already said; some way to curb the erosion at the base of the cliffs, particularly at far crag.

And if you havnt already climbed them, Barad Dur, resignation, Golgotha and Asgard at far crag

everything on muesli wall, close your eyes, brainrack and plexus at boulder.

Popular miss conception, gang of four, fascination, at billiard table

Gorrilla my dreams and the buttress at the buttress

Triad at the Outcrops

Gladiator, Sardine, Terrathea, and The Stench Before the Storm at thorn
1:52:39 PM
Hmmm good point regarding walkers and carparking.
12:15:08 AM
Toilet and drinking water at the top? Morialta is pretty heavy use and the amount of excrement must be huge. There'd have to be mains water up there so the loo could even be flushing!

More car parking would be great. The point about bushwalkers using it is a non-issue, bushwalkers park on the side of the road like climbers do at the moment - it doesn't really matter if the parking is full of climbers or full of bushwalkers, it's still dangerous parking and something safer/larger is needed for use by anyone who wishes to visit that area of Morialta.

With the big money tree in the sky, how about buying part of that farm and turning it into carpark/toilets?
miss crag
9:06:37 PM
I'd have to agree the parking/traffic management is a bit interesting and should be addressed. I'm sure this is on your list already but you may also want to speak to the property owners/residents who have driveways along the area where people park.

I'm always concerned finding a park that a cyclist/motorcyclist/car (okay, any road user!) is going to come flying around the corner and get cleaned up while people turn around etc.

Not that this is an issue but is it me or are the koalas getting more and more fearless/friendly? I know the drought and crazy > 40 degree record heatwave contribute because the poor buggers are so thirsty but I've been going to the hills for years now and I've never seen so many up so close as the past two months.

Will flick further thoughts re erosion, access etc. to your email - it'll pretty much reiterate what's been raised in the first response to this post.
miss crag
9:07:39 PM
PS going to the hills for years = walking, still pretty fresh to climbing in them! :)
Richard Delaney
11:12:41 PM
Have spoken to quite a few people already. Thanks all for your input so far - keep it

The parking/road seems to be a major issue. I've spoken with the landholder and he's
got no problems at all with maintaining access but he too is concerned about parking.
He, quite reasonably, doesn't want to sell off any of his land and doesn't think it would
be appropriate for a car park anyway. One idea to explore is parking back down the
road a little bit under the power lines on their easement (this will have to be formally
negotiated if appropriate) and then cross under the road in an old stock underpass.
Means about 50m extra walk but I'd be interested in other ideas on this one.

We have quite a few meetings lined up next week - including an open meeting for
climbers at:
7pm, Monday 16th March
High St Bar, Edinburgh Hotel, 7 High Street Mitcham

PM or email (rdelaney "at" me if you're thinking of coming.
Thanks, Richard

6:16:26 PM
How about some lower speed limits and pedestrian signs on the road before the actual parking area. From memory the speed limit there is either 80 or 100. Being windy some use it as a race track... or just don't slow down and there is no path to step far out of the way.

I agree with the toilet issue. So many use the area but there is nowhere to go - white flags everywhere around the busiest 3 crags. If a flush is out of the question, long drops would be ok.

Access area above Muesli/Extra G etc is getting more and more eroded and is easy to slip on. The fenced area above Armageddon is steep with many loose rocks and is a popular TR climb. Perhaps a more appropriately placed bollard for this climb so the reveg area isn't used for TR set ups in this area.

Bridge over boulder bridge is just sitting there on the eastern end.

12:14:45 PM
I hope to get to the meeting tonight so I need to think about the issues raised above...

I always thought the parking was pretty good but I accept people have other opinions. Things can get
busy on the occasional Saturday or Sunday afternoon but apart from that it's OK. Not hearing cyclists
coming down the hill is probably the major hazard! And it's interesting going through the farmer's
property when he has a bull in there.

My philosophy would be use engineering to protect the landscape from erosion rather than use
engineering to protect us (like fencing the top of crags) because we're climbers not tourists and we
accept the risk. Using rock steps, backing and landfill where possible would be preferable to wooden or
metal steps, platforms etc. I wouldn't take someone on their first day along the Billiard Table track
unroped, but it can shock beginners into thinking, hey, this is a bit serious - maybe I need to be careful
out here at the crags. The best idea I can think of would be to run a chain along the side of the hill that
you can clip periodically if you wanted to rope up between Popular Miss Conception and Fascination.

I agree the walk down to The Buttress is a challenge, but you're unlikely to die. You do it once in the
wet then you don't do it again in the wet.

Resignation at Far Crag? Resurrection!

There was a distressed koala on the ground at Boulder Bridge the other week. He/she drank about
750ml of water out of my bottle. Another in a tree was watching and came down and finished it off!
They would have welcomed the weekend rain.
Richard Delaney
9:02:26 PM
Further to my previous post on Morialta we have now completed a Draft concept plan. If
you are interested in reading this, we would appreciate any feedback you may wish to
The document can be found at:

If you do wish to make any comments, our preference is for email submissions however
please feel free call on the phone if that is more convenient.

Thanks for your time and involvement,

Richard Delaney
6:52:09 PM
We have now completed a set of DRAFT drawings for the detailed design for works proposed in the concept plan.

For those who made the effort to read the concept plan - thanks!
If you do wish to look at the set of drawings (the pdf is unfortunately 6Mb) they can be found at:

If you wish to comment, please do so by email to: before Monday 26th April 2010.


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