This safety policy is applicable to all activities run by Womenclimb at outdoor climbing venues, indoor walls and mobile climbing walls. Different environments pose different types of risk, some of which can have serious consequences. In taking part in a Womenclimb activity participants and members are accepting that risk is a part of this activity. Womenclimb will actively seek to mitigate risks, through ongoing active risk assessment and management. As a participant you are also responsible for maintaining your own and others’ safety. The purpose of this policy is to outline our approach and expectations of you as a Womenclimb member or participant on Womenclimb training.
“The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”
Our Duty of Care
Womenclimb takes its responsibilities seriously. We work to reduce risk through a range of mechanisms. For these to work effectively, members and participants must abide by the rules and guidelines, to reduce risk.
Climbing meetups are for climbers who are competent to belay and tie themselves in, unless otherwise specified. Attendees will need to satisfy the climbing centre requirements to climb independently in order to attend a Womenclimb Meetup at an indoor climbing wall. Climbers take responsibility for their actions as independent climbers.
The purpose of a meetup is to enable participants to meet other people to climb with, to improve technique through shared knowledge and to build confidence through seeing role models. Womenclimb Meetups are not formal training opportunities and at all times attendees are responsible for their actions. Womenclimb will not bear responsibility for the actions of members or participants on indoor and outdoor climbing meetups. If members or participants are not happy to complete an activity, they should not do it.
Meetups are staffed by volunteer Local Ambassadors whose role is to oversee the smooth running of the meetup. All climbers have a responsibility for climbing safety. Volunteers may request that attendees stop their current activity, in order that the volunteer can ensure safety. The aim of any intervention is to maintain safety of attendees and volunteers as well as other users of the climbing venue. By asking each other ‘are we really doing this safely’, we can help to reduce risks of accidents. Thankfully climbing accidents are rare, and to help maintain this record, your Local Ambassador may ask you to explain what you’re doing at any given time. Local Ambassadors are not qualified staff and cannot give definitive answers. They may give you their opinion, for discussion, but for a more definitive answer, you should speak to a climbing professional.
At indoor and outdoor meetups, as a minimum, you should:
For beginner and taster sessions all climbers will be classed as novice and will be supervised by an instructor appointed by Womenclimb to lead the session. An instructor will usually supervise up to 8 novice climbers in one session, however the ratio may change according to the needs of group members and the scenario. An instructor may allow participants to belay independently, but still under supervision, if s/he deems the person to be competent having assessed their ability, skills and knowledge.
For technique and coaching sessions, climbers may be classed as novice and may be supervised to ensure a consistent level of belaying practice. Do not be offended; this is a standard practice.
In some instances, where safety could be affected, session plans may change. This may include:
Bouldering is un-roped. While there is matting beneath boulder problems at indoor climbing venues, (a bouldering route is called a ‘problem’) this does not prevent injury. You can seriously injure yourself, for example with broken or sprained limbs, during this type of climbing. Holds can break or spin, which can cause injury. You must exercise your own judgment about the risks before you climb. Only socks, bare feet and climbing shoes are permitted in most bouldering areas in indoor walls.
To reduce risks when bouldering you should:
To reduce risks when roped climbing:
Participants will be notified in advance of the course/ session venue. This is subject to change at any time up to the course start and is subject to cancellation at any time, if safety issues arise.
Indoor climbing walls across the UK and abroad may be used for courses.
Participant’s Duty of Care
Participants attending a Womenclimb session must exercise care, common sense and self preservation at all times including when not climbing. All climbers have a duty of care to act responsibly to other climbers, wherever they are climbing. If you are not confident in the use of any climbing equipment, then do not use it without supervision or without the presence of someone who is competent to do so.
Any participant deemed to be taking unnecessary risks or going against safety advice given by volunteers, staff or contractors before or during a session can be asked to leave the session and any session payment will be forfeited.
Womenclimb accepts no responsibility for loss, damage or theft of personal property. Some centres provide lockers or storage, but participants accept the risk associated with leaving valuables unattended or unsecured.
Health & Safety, Accidents and First Aid
Womenclimb instructors are qualified first aiders. Climbing walls also have their own dedicated first aiders. If an accident or injury occurs, speak to a member of staff. Participants are subject to the Womenclimb and the individual climbing centres’ guidelines, requirements and rules.
Participants are defined as any person under the instruction of a Womenclimb instructor as part of a formal or informal climbing session, whether paid for or free of charge.
Climbing wall is defined as any indoor or outdoor wall, with roped, lead climbing or bouldering uses.
Climbers are defined as any person attending a climbing centre, session or event with the aim of climbing, learning to climb, trying out climbing or watching climbing.
Members are defined as any person who is a current registered member on the Womenclimb members’ register.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org