Auto belay climbing

Includes: Auto belay Indoors, Outdoors, Adventurous activities

Age:
4+
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Reach new heights

Wanting to take younger girls climbing? Find your nearest climbing wall with an auto-belay system and watch them go!

Overview

Rainbows can go climbing on a purpose-built structure if using an auto belay. An auto belay is a device that means climbers can be automatically lowered and raised on the climbing wall without human intervention. 

You can also take older girls to use an auto belay climbing system, or you can go climbing on a purpose built structure.

Auto belay is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 30 March 2022
Version: 1.1 
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

You don’t need a qualified instructor to take girls climbing using an auto belay system. You do need to make sure staff or the instructor at the centre give a full briefing to your group before starting the activity and on how to use auto belays.

You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: AALAAdventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. AALA and LotC are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Sport Northern Ireland confirm the implementation of Adventuremark as a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for activity providers in Northern Ireland. Otherwise, you can contact your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

Make sure helmets (if used by the centre) and harnesses used are fitted properly to each participant. 

Auto belays also have a maximum and minimum weight threshold for use, so check with your venue what this is before you go.

If you are planning to use a venue with mobile climbing walls, the venue will need to have certification under ADIPS (Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme). Ask your venue for a copy of their ADIPS certification before booking.

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, or other factors.

Leadership team: girl ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the Leadership team adult: girl ratio is mandatory.

Rainbows 1:5 (minimum of two adults)

Brownies 1:8

Guides 1:12

Rangers: N/A

Girlguiding activity centres for Auto belay climbing