Each of the following elements plays an important role in the overall Climb On Safely.
Fun and safe climbing/rappelling activities require close compliance of Climb On Safely by
the adult supervisor and instructor.
- Qualified Supervision
All Climbing and rappelling must be supervised by a mature, conscientious adult at
least 21 years of age who understand the risks inherent to these activities. This person
knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the youth in his or her
care., This adult supervisor is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight
points of the BSAs Climb On Safely procedure. One additional adult who is at least
18 years of age must also accompany unit. units with more than 10 youths in the same
climbing/rappelling session must have an additional adult leader at least 18 years of age
for each 10 additional youth participants, In other words, a group of 11 to 20 youths
requires at least three adult leaders: a group of 21-30 youths would require four adult
leaders, and so on.
The adult supervisor is responsible for ensuring that someone in the group is currently
certified in American Red Cross Standard First Aid and CPR (a 6 ½ hour course.). In
addition, the two-hour module "First AidWhen Help is Delayed" is required.
A course of equivalent length and content from another nationally recognized organization
can be substituted. A higher level of certification such as emergency medical technician
(EMT) licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and licensed health-care
practitioner is also acceptable. The ARCs Emergency Response, a 43 ½ hour course
that includes CPR, is highly recommended.
Each participant knows, understands, and respect the rules and procedures for safely
climbing and repelling and has been oriented in Climb On Safely, All BSA members should
respect and follow all instructions and rules of the climbing instructor. The applicable
rules should be presented and learned prior to the outing and should be reviewed for all
participants before climbing or rappelling begins. When participants know the reasons for
rules and procedures, they are more likely to follow them The climbing instructor must be
strict and fair, showing no favoritism. The BSA limits unit climbing to top roping. A
separate belay safety rope with a separate anchor system is used for all BSA units
rappelling activities. A UIAA- and/or ASTM-approved climbing helmet must be worn during
all BSA climbing/rappelling activities.
- Physical Fitness
Require evidence of fitness for the climbing/rappelling activity with at least a
current BSA Personal Health and medical Record, class 1--a complete health history from a
parent of legal guardian. The adult supervisor should adapt all supervision, discipline,
and precautions to anticipate any potential risks associated with individual health
conditions. If a significant health condition is present, an examination by as licensed
health-care practitioner should be required by the adult supervisor before permitting
participation in climbing or rappelling. The adult supervisor should inform the
climbing/rappelling instructor about each participants medical conditions.
- Safe Area
All BSA climbing/rappelling activities must be conducted using an established or
developed climbing/rappelling site or facility. A qualified climbing/rappelling instructor
should survey the site in advance of the activity to identify and evaluate possible
hazards and to determine whether the site is suitable for the age, maturity, and skill
level of the participants.
The instructor should also verify that the site is sufficient to safely and comfortably
accommodate the number of participants in the activity within the available time, An
emergency evacuation route must be identified in advance.
The climbing/rappelling instructor should verify that the proper equipment is available
for the size and ability level of participants. Helmets, rope, and climbing hardware must
be approved by the UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d Alpinisme) and/or
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). All equipment must be acquired new or
furnished by the instructor Records must be kept on the use and stresses (the number of
hard falls) on each item of equipment, which must be specifically designed for
climbing/rappelling, Outside providers should be asked if they are aware of any stresses
that he been put on their equipment,. Any rope or webbing that has been subjected to more
than three hard falls or that is four years old (whatever its use) must not be used. Refer
to the Project COPE manual, No. 34371, concerning records that must be kept and be made
available even by outside providers.
- Planning When planning, remember the following:
Obtain written parental consent to participate in climbing/rappelling activities for
each participant. In the event of severe weather or other problem, share the
climbing/rappelling plan and an alternate with parents and the unit committee. Secure the
necessary permits or written permission for using private or public land. Enlist the help
of a qualified climbing/rappelling instructor. Be sure the instructor has a topographic
map of the area being used and obtains a current weather report for the area before the
groups departure. It is suggested that at least one of the adult leaders has an
electronic means of communication in case of an emergency.
- Environmental Conditions
The instructor assumes responsibility for monitoring potentially dangerous
environmental conditions that may include loose, crumbly rock: poisonous plants: wildlife;
and inclement weather. Use the buddy system to monitor concerns such as dehydration,
hypothermia, and an unusually high degree for fear or apprehension. The adult supervisor
is responsible for ensuring that the group leaves no trace of its presence at the site.
- Qualified Instructors
A qualified rock climbing/rappelling instructor who is at least 21 years of age must
supervise all BSA climbing/rappelling activities. The climbing/rappelling instructor has
successfully completed a minimum of 10 hours of climbing/rappelling instructor training
from a nationally or regionally recognized organization, a climbing school, a
college-level climbing/rappelling course, or is a qualified BSA climbing/rappelling
In the future, the BSA plans to offer a section of National Camping School for
climbing/rappelling supervisors who in turn can provide two-day training in
climbing/rappelling activities. A Project COPE director or instructor currently fulfills
this requirement. Every instructor must have prior experiences in teaching
climbing/rappelling to youth and must agree to adhere to Climb On Safely and the
guidelines in the OSI - Climbing/Rappelling manual.