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Climbing and Abseiling

  1. Climbing helmets must always be worn by all those climbing or abseiling on natural features, except in the case of 9.34c.

  2. Climbing helmets need not be worn by those climbing or abseiling on artificial walls provided the activity leader is satisfied that the climber or abseiler has sufficient skill not to react unpredictably. Novices must always wear helmets, except in the case of 9.34c. The use of helmets for climbing using auto belay systems must be determined by the activity risk assessment.

  3. A Sikh wearing a Turban may choose to climb or abseil on natural features and artificial climbing walls without a helmet. This does not apply to a Sikh wearing a Top Knot.

  4. All climbing equipment should be used following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Where it is not possible to follow manufacturer’s guidelines a backup / redundancy must be built into this element of the setup.

  5. The storing, maintenance and replacement of all climbing equipment should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

  6. Automatic belay systems (systems that lower a climber down to the ground when they let go of the climbing wall without any human intervention) can be led by either:
    • A climbing permit holder (within the remit of their permit); or,
    • Following a written operating manual which must be agreed by a County Climbing Assessor.

      Further information about the automatic belay systems and mobile climbing walls can be found in FS120427 Climbing – auto belays and mobile walls.

  7. Abseiling and climbing activities can be run for non-members, when carried out following these rules, as long as the necessary extension of insurance cover is obtained.

    With effect from 1 January 2016, The Scout Association’s Public Liability Policy has been extended to automatically cover Scout Groups allowing non-members to take part in their abseiling and climbing activities. There is no longer the need to buy the additional cover (this refers to those who are running or owning climbing activities at a Group level only). Cover is still required to be purchased for Scout campsites and activity centres, District and County owned climbing and abseiling walls. This includes mobile climbing walls used at any Scout premises and/or public events. If you are uncertain of the requirements for additional insurance for climbing and abseiling activities please contact Unity (Scout Insurance Services) for more information.

  8. Other than (g) above, the only persons who may undertake abseiling and climbing activities using Scout equipment and/or under Scout supervision are Members of the Scout and Guide Movements.