Rock climbing is described here as the process of ascending natural cliffs. As an activity it can prove to be highly dangerous to participants if safety procedures are not followed. The purposes of this document are to assert the safety processes of the Mountaineering Club in conducting club climbing trips.
Site and Route selection are the most important considerations when planning a trip. Trip leaders should select sites and routes that are appropriate to the objectives of the trip, so the following be considered:
- Leader to Participant ratio
- Weather conditions
- Group size
- Group skill/experience, including fitness
- Cliff characteristics (gradient, difficulty, height)
- Access to cliff
- Equipment requirements
- Leaders must have the required competency to conduct the trip and effectively and be able to manage incidents
- Leaders should also be familiar with the specific cliff being visited, either through previous experience or guidebooks
- Leaders should ensure the group follows instructions/directions from relevant authorities e.g. Parks Victoria, Climbing Associations, etc on matters relating to the safety of an area.
- Participants should conduct themselves in a safe manner and follow directions of the trip leader whilst participating in the activity
- Participants should (also) notify Leaders of any pre-existing medical condition that may be of concern in participating in the activity, in order that it can be managed by the leader if the need arises
- Personal medications should be supplied by the participants
- Ultimately it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they have suitable equipment and clothing. Individuals must be prepared to hire additional equipment (at additional cost) at request from trip leader.
Leader to Participant Ratios
- Top rope single pitch bottom belay – 1:2 (1 leader for 2 ropes)
- Top rope single pitch top belay – As above
- Multi pitch and lead climbing – 1:3 (1 leader to 3 participants)
- Group sizes should not exceed 15, but this may be flexible with the nature of the site being visited, and number of leaders available
The following equipment must be carried by all club members on a trip and used correctly. Members must be instructed in use of equipment prior to being issued. It is the responsibility of participants that they follow the directions of leaders.
Participants must have:
- Rock climbing specific helmet
- Rock climbing specific harness (for roped climbing)
- Belay device
- Appropriate clothing suitable for changing weather conditions
- Personal medication
- Appropriate and sufficient food
- Appropriate footwear (for both climbing and approaching cliffs
The group should also have
- Ropes and protective equipment (karabiners, slings and other equipment necessary for safe ascension of the specific cliff)
- Additional length of rope for rescue if needed
- Appropriate communication
- First Aid Kit
If an incident were to occur, a leader should determine
- Condition and safety of all participants including those injured
- Whether appropriate equipment is available to ensure safe rescue
- If the injury is small and/or easily treatable the club first aid kits will provide all necessary items.
- If external assistance is deemed to be required-
o Ideally, at least one person should stay with the injured person whilst at least two other people go for help.
o Contact should be made with emergency services (first by mobile phone if available, as this provides more detail and prompter response, otherwise by EPIRB or dispatching a capable party to reach assistance.