Climb on Safely

BSA #3206


We recommend that you read the BSA Publication, Topping Out, BSA Supply No. 3207 before engaging in any climbing activities.

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.

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. 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 BSA’s 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 hour course.). In addition, the two-hour module "First Aid—When 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 ARC’s Emergency Response, a 43 hour course that includes CPR, is highly recommended.

  3. Discipline
  4. 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.

  5. Physical Fitness
  6. 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 participant’s medical conditions.

  7. Safe Area
  8. 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.

  9. Equipment
  10. 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.

  11. Planning When planning, remember the following:
  12. 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 group’s departure. It is suggested that at least one of the adult leaders has an electronic means of communication in case of an emergency.

  13. Environmental Conditions
  14. 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.

  15. Qualified Instructors
  16. 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 instructor.

    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.

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