Expert Rock Climbers Launch Climbing for Everyone Project

Climbing camps at Gariwerd/Grampians and Dyurrite/Mt Arapiles.
Nov 17, 2023
The excitement and achievement of climbing, safely.

Expert rock climbers Aaron Lowndes and Hamid Shafaghi, Partners in The Climbing Company, are on a mission. Through the Climbing for Everyone Project they want every student from Primary 5 to Year 12 to beat the challenge and experience the achievement that comes from reaching the top and looking down.

The Climbing Company, based in Western Victoria, was the first climbing school in Australia.

“Rock climbing unlocks a cascade of benefits for students, from honing problem-solving skills and fostering creativity to instilling resilience, determination and promoting teamwork,” Aaron Lowndes says.

“We are based in Mt Arapiles, which is ideally suited for school groups. The weather is stable and there are many easy-to-moderate multi-pitch climbs for Years 5-12. Plus there are many more challenging climbs in the Grampians.”

The climbs are organised at internationally-recognised sites at Gariwerd/Grampians and Dyurrite/Mt Arapiles for a long list of prominent schools where climbing is part of the curriculum, in Victoria, South Australia, and other states.

Hamid Shafaghi says: “Many of our schools return year after year and in 2024 we want to provide the same experience to many more schools. Mt Arapiles and The Grampians are under 4 hours from Melbourne by bus and 5 from Adelaide, so time on the road is not an issue.

“If you are a teacher looking to run a climbing camp, Mt Arapiles is superb. There’s excellent camping, self-contained 6-bed units at the local hotel, B&Bs, and lots of beds in Horsham less than 15 minutes away.”

The Climbing Company works with each school to design a tailored programme that is progressive, interesting and value for money. For schools with an outdoor education group, for example, a visual/talk presentation that addresses relevant course material can be included. And there are opportunities for community service activities like tree planting and watering, or track work. For extended camps, guided walks and rock journeys are a fun alternative to climbing.

“We work within Australian Climbing Instructors Association guidelines so students get plenty of individual attention as well as maximising safety,” Aaron Lowndes adds, “but we never lose sight of fun. We want the students to vote climbing with us “… the best school camp ever.” 

Aaron Lowndes m 0424 383 831 Hamid Shafaghi m 0406 750 087 [email protected] w