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Climbing FAQs

Climbing

We want to install a climbing wall at our Scout Hut/Scout Centre. What do we need to do?
Climbing walls must be designed and built to the European Standard BS EN 12572 (part 1 and 2). Amongst other things, these standards define the safety requirements and test methods for artificial climbing structures.

An operating manual will also need to be produced if you are installing the wall yourself. If you get a company to install it for you, you should be provided with an Operating Manual for the wall.

Operating Manuals should include:

Can we build climbing and abseiling towers from scaffolding?
Yes. Scaffold climbing and abseiling structures must be built in accordance with European Standard BS EN 1004 (Mobile access and working towers made of prefabricated elements. Materials, dimensions, design loads, safety and performance requirements) and European Standard BS EN 2482 (Specification for timber scaffold boards).

It is recommended that if at all possible, a wall should be secured to an immovable object such as a building, subject to its design, and braced. Freestanding towers pose the greatest potential risk from overturning.

If you are worried or concerned about erecting and operating a climbing wall; talk to local climbers and other experts, such as scaffolders, who will often be willing to offer assistance.

How often should we check our climbing equipment?

You must always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for how regularly the wall and equipment should be checked/inspected, replaced and also how to store it correctly. A log of equipment and inspections should be kept.

We’ve inherited a mobile climbing wall. Are we allowed to use it?
Yes, but before you first use it, you will need to make sure it is fit for purpose and safe to use. There is more guidance on equipment, management of the activity, inspection and maintenance in factsheet FS120427 Climbing – Auto Belays and Mobile Walls.

What climbing permit do I need for crate stacking and Jacob’s ladder?

Crate stacking, Jacob’s ladder and a number of other activities which involve climbing type equipment (such as ropes, harnesses and helmets) and techniques are classed as high rope activities. For more information on what activities come under our high ropes rules and for guidance on how to run these activities, please visit the high ropes page of scouts.org.uk/a-z and factsheet FS120423 High Ropes.


Bouldering

Do members taking part in bouldering need to wear helmets?
No, helmets are not worn as impact protection and so are not compulsory. If bouldering on natural rock then the risk assessment should identify if a helmet is required.

If we go to a climbing centre to do bouldering, but they don’t provide us with any instructors, does this become a Scout-led activity?
Yes, as no instructor is provided this would be deemed a Scout-led activity.

We want to install a bouldering wall at our Scout Hut/Scout Centre. What do we need to do?
Bouldering walls must be designed and built to the European Standard BS EN 12572 (part 2). Amongst other things, this standard defines the maximum height of bouldering walls, dimensions of the impact zone beneath, and testing their structural integrity.

An operating manual will also need to be produced if you are installing the wall yourself. If you get a company to install it for you, you should be provided with an Operating Manual for the wall.

What is the difference between bouldering and free solo climbing?
Free soloing is climbing without a rope on a route that would normally be climbed with a rope.
It is strongly advised that you do not take part in this activity within Scouting as there is a very high risk of injury. There are plenty of safer places to go bouldering. Find a wall near you at thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-finder.

I’ve heard of an activity called Buildering. What is it and are we allowed to do it?
Buildering is bouldering/climbing on buildings or on any architecture that is not specifically designed for climbing.
If this activity takes place without the permission of the landowner and/or building owner, it will be treated as trespassing. There is also generally much more risk of injury with this activity as the building/architecture will very likely never have been checked to make sure it is safe to climb.
It is strongly advised that you do not take part in this activity within Scouting. There are plenty of safer places to go bouldering. Find a wall near you at thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-finder.

 

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