Climbing in the natural environment

Includes: Rock Climbing, Outdoor Climbing, Mountaineering, Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Nature and the great outdoors, At height

Age:
7+
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Ready to rock?

Sometimes, when you see a rock you just want to climb it! Teach girls how to do this safely so they can explore and climb in the great outdoors.

Overview

Climbing in the natural environment involves climbing up or across natural rock formations.

For more information, visit the Girlguiding climbing blog.

To take girls climbing in the natural environment, you will need to find a qualified instructor.

Climbing in the natural environment is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

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.

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. 

The climbing instructor must hold the appropriate level of qualification for the terrain from one of the following:

Mountain Training UK (MTUK) Climbing Qualification (SPA or higher):

  • Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI)
  • Mountain Instructor Award (MIA)
  • Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC)

or

This may be used at  specific sites only. Please see the Girlguiding climbing website for more details.

If you are unfamiliar with climbing qualifications, or if any alternative qualifications are held by instructors, please contact [email protected] to check whether these are suitable.

The instructor must ensure:

  • On multi-pitch climbs there are no more than two participants per leader
  • Helmets are worn
  • You have access permissions where appropriate and any seasonal restrictions are followed
  • You avoid any rock formations with recognised archaeological, geological or wildlife interests

If any participants are under the age of 18, the provider must be licenced by the Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure.AALA and LotC are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Adventuremark is a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for Northern Ireland. Or you can ask your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

All equipment used must be of a standard considered suitable for climbing.

The British Mountaineering Council  environmental guidelines must be followed.

Activity ratios

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

Leadership team ratio 

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: Not a Rainbow activity 
  • Brownies: 1:8 
  • Guides: 1:12 
  • Rangers: 1 Girlguiding leader 

Qualified adult to participant ratio

The qualified adult should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.

This will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification or permit, or by the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. It should taken into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. This risk assessment should be assessed by the leader and any concerns raised to the qualified adult.

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities

Girlguiding activity centres for climbing in the natural environment

Photo of Glenbrook

Glenbrook

Сontact information