Perth has a wide range of indoor and outdoor climbing activities suitable for enthusiasts of all ages. In this short guide, we’ll explain the different climbing activities in Perth as well as other types of climbing you might find elsewhere in Western Australia and beyond.
What are climbing activities?
In its purest form, climbing is using any of your body parts, chiefly your hands and feet, to ascend an object. It can be done with or without assistive tools, in artificial and natural spaces. It can also be done as a sport. The main types of competition climbing include lead climbing, speed, and bouldering.
When is the best time to go for climbing activities?
Perth is by far, the sunniest city in Australia, receiving more hours of sunlight than any other major Australian metropolitan area. Outdoor climbing activities in natural features around the city can be done all year round. However, there are some major considerations to take into account when climbing during different seasons. The direct and harsh sunlight during summer can be extremely intense and dangerous to unprepared climbers. Excessive UV exposure and dehydration are very real dangers for anyone choosing to climb through the season, which lasts from December to February in Western Australia.
Climbing is fairly more comfortable during autumn, winter, and spring. Snow does happen during the winter, though this is extremely rare. This can pose some challenges to inexperienced outdoor climbers as hypothermia can become a danger and surfaces can become slippery. Even in winter though, Perth still experiences hot and sunny days, and UV protection is advised at any time of the year.
May through September is also known for being a wet time of the year in Perth and surrounding areas. These seasons, while relatively comfortable for climbers, poses challenges as surfaces may be slick from rainwater or condensation.
On the other hand, there are also plenty of man-made indoor and outdoor climbing activities in Perth that offer varying levels of challenge for all types of climbers. These are accessible throughout the year and are excellent places to train off-season, or if one is still considering whether or not climbing activities are for them. Indoor and outdoor climbing activity equipment include those that incorporate inflatable rock climbing walls, rope courses, bungee trampolines, and free fall stunt jump features.
What are the types of climbing activities?
Given that the definition of climbing is quite open, there have been a wide range of climbing activities that now have their own formalised terms. Some of these climbing activities include:
This is the oldest type of climbing activity, and the pursuit is recorded as far back as the Roman Era, though it’s likely this has been done much earlier. This activity requires survival skills and the ability to climb and navigate all types of surfaces including rock, ice, mud, and more. It may also require a degree of cultural knowledge to help with navigation and survival.
As the name suggests, this involves ascending boulders and similar rocky outcrops. This is usually done with the assistance of specialised shoes and chalk. Safety equipment can be a simple pad below the climber or a safety rope.
Buildering is similar to bouldering, with the exception that participants attempt to scale man-made structures without the assistance of features meant to facilitate ascents, such as stairs, elevators, ladders, and escalators.
While not a sport available in the environs around Perth, may Australians nonetheless enjoy this sport in other countries. It involves using specialised tools to scale surfaces primarily consisting of vertical or semi-vertical ice sheets. This discipline also requires knowledge of rock climbing and bouldering as well.
Chalk climbing is very similar to ice climbing, and while you won’t be needing cold weather gear most of the time, the same techniques are often used.
Western Australia has many spectacular canyons that both casual and serious climbing enthusiasts frequent. Depending on the specific spot, some climbs are more serious while others are seen as more recreational.
Competition/Indoor rock climbing
Indoor climbing activities in Perth can be enjoyed all-year-round. These activities are performed on walls with fixtures meant to simulate natural rock outcrops.
Top rope climbing
As the name suggests, this type of climbing involves a safety rope, which is anchored at several points along the vertical route. This allows climbers to safely conserve their stamina on challenging climbs.
Free solo climbing
This type of climbing has been the subject of pop culture and news reports for years due to its incredibly dangerous nature. Minimal or no safety gear is used, and the climbers climb rock, ice, or any other surface—natural or man-made—without external assistance, using only their individual strength and willpower. We cannot recommend this in most circumstances.
That covers the different indoor and outdoor climbing activities available in Perth and Western Australia, as well as a few that you may have to travel outside the city and state to experience. Be sure to keep safety in mind, and exercise good judgment when attempting any climb. Good luck!