Equipment and logistics
Also refer to Part I – Core Standard
Abseil & Climb equipment requirements
Procedures shall be in place to ensure appropriate clothing for the expected and foreseeable weather conditions is available.
Procedures shall be in place to ensure appropriate footwear for the expected and foreseeable terrain is available.
Footwear shall be fit for purpose.
Equipment listed below shall be manufactured for use in the context of the activity to a recognised standard as listed in appendix 2:
- Accessory cord
- Artificial removable anchors including but not limited to chocks, cams, nuts, hexes, bolts
- Artificial fixed anchors used in artificial climbing or abseiling structures
- Ascending devices
- Belay devices
- Carabiners or other connectors
- Descending devices
- Dynamic rope
- Static rope
The use of twin or half ropes may depend on the individual provider’s policy and procedures.
Appropriate vertical rescue equipment shall be readily accessible.
Vertical rescue equipment may include but is not limited to:
- ascending devices
- belay device
- prusik loops
- rope long enough for the longest pitch
Where practicable, an additional rope long enough for the longest pitch should be considered for rescue purposes.
Procedures shall be in place to ensure a drinking water supply is available.
Example equipment lists can be found in appendix 1.
Abseil & Climb use of equipment
All equipment shall be used with reference to the manufacturers’ instructions.
Training in the use of equipment used shall be provided to activity leaders and participants.
The functional compatibility between all equipment used shall be confirmed before being used.
An appropriate helmet shall be worn for all climbing on natural surfaces and all abseiling.
An appropriate helmet should be worn when climbing on artificial surfaces.
Consideration shall be given to if a helmet needs to be worn when non-actively participating.
An appropriate harness shall be used.
Equipment will have a Stated Strength that may or may not include a safety factor. The type of Stated Strength rating needs to be known before use to ensure equipment is safely loaded. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings for more details).
Equipment with the Stated Strength providing the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) shall have a suitable Safety Factor applied and a Safe Working Load (SWL) calculated.
Equipment with the Stated Strength providing the Safe Working Load (SWL) shall be loaded only to a maximum of the Safe Working Load (SWL).
Unintentional disconnections have been a major cause of fatalities and injuries in rope protected activities.
Connection methods, equipment and systems used shall be periodically reviewed.
Considerations when determining connect methods, equipment and systems include but are not limited to:
- the type of anchor or anchors being used
- the redundancy available should an anchor fail
- what needs to be attached to the harness g. direct connection to rope or a descender device
- the experience and context of who is completing the connection of the rope to the harness or descender device
- the availability of a competent person to supervise or check the connection that is completed by a participant.
Connectors – practices relating to use
Accepted practices in the use of connectors are provided in this section.
Use of connectors with loads applied at three or more points shall have an increased Safety Factor applied. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings).
Carabiners shall be used so that no load is intentionally across the gate.
Systems that have cyclical loads constantly applied should be inspected periodically.
Accepted practices when connecting to anchors are provided in this section.
Connection to a fixed anchor:
- if no sharp edges use of rope, tape or cord tied directly to anchor
- torqued screwlink, or triple action auto locking carabiner, or screw gate carabiner
- non-locking carabiners for short term connection where there are redundant anchors
- wire gate carabiners shall not be used on keyhole plates bolt hangers.
Connection to a placed protection:
- non-locking carabiners are suitable when multiple pieces of placed protection are used in a lead climbing belay system.
Connection to a master anchor point:
- triple action auto locking carabiner or screwgate carabiner.
Carabiners for use at lead climbing protection points (i.e. with quickdraws or slings) may be non-locking.
Accepted practices when connecting people to safety systems are provided in this section.
Connection to an activity leader’s harness working on or near an edge:
- rope directly tied to harness or triple action auto locking carabiner
- screw gate carabiner with secondary redundant connection.
Belay rope connection to harness of a participant/a climber or abseiler competent in tying a suitable knot:
- rope directly tied into harness and where practicable the knot to be checked by second person.
Belay rope connection to harness:
- redundant connections shall be used using a combination of the listed options:
- captive eye triple action auto locking carabiner or triple action auto locking carabiner or screw gate carabiner used to connect rope to harness or
- rope directly tied into harness with knot checked by competent person.
Connection to an abseiler’s harness via a top belay:
- rope directly tied into harness or captive eye triple action auto locking carabiner or screw gate carabiner.
Connection between a belayers or abseiler’s harness and descender:
- triple action auto locking carabiner or screw gate carabiner.
Methods more secure than those listed in above sections are acceptable.
Chest harnesses are only used in combination with a sit harness.
Consideration of the use of a combination chest and climbing sit harness or a full body harness should occur:
- for forward facing abseils
- when inversion is intended or likely
- when the security of a sit harness cannot be relied upon due to body shape
- when the security of a sit harness cannot be relied upon if the person were to experience a pre-existing health, medical or personal condition episode (g. epilepsy)
- very young participants.
Other equipment – use considerations
Dynamic rope shall be used for the belay rope:
- when lead climbing
- when a fall factor greater than 0.3 is possible
- when “cows-tails” and lanyards are used at or above anchor height.
A procedure regarding participant supplied equipment should be developed.
Where a participant supplies any personal climbing or abseiling equipment, this shall comply with the above equipment requirements and equipment use sections and be serviceable.
Wearing gloves should be considered when abseiling.
Anchor systems and belay systems shall be rigged for a timely and effective rescue.
Considerations in rigging systems for rescue include but are not limited to:
- load direction
- load magnitude
- ability to raise the person
- ability to lower the person
- ability to conduct sideways hauls
- ability to enable an activity leader to complete a contact rescue.
Abseil & Climb maintenance of equipment
All equipment shall be checked that it is serviceable before each activity or before being used.
All equipment should be inspected periodically that it is serviceable.
Appropriate procedures shall be in place for inspections and determining the time periods between inspections.
All anchors on artificial surfaces used should be periodically inspected as per any relevant ‘artificial surfaces’ construction standard by an appropriately competent person.
Artificial anchors periodic inspection time frame should be not greater than every 3 months.
Considerations for how regular the assessment of all anchors occurs may include but are not limited to:
- the characteristics of the site
- how many people use the site and how regularly
- any manufacturers’ recommendations where relevant
- the equipment being used.
Equipment and inspection records shall conform with any legislative or regulatory requirements.
A record of inspection of anchors on artificial surfaces shall be maintained.
An equipment record should be maintained.
Where used, an equipment record should record but is not limited to the:
- item individual identifier
- date of purchase
- date of inspections
- recommended or maximum lifespan.
A retirement of equipment policy should be developed.
Considerations for a retirement of equipment policy may include but is not limited to:
- type of use
- frequency of use
- prevailing conditions when used
- actual deterioration, wear and tear
- extreme usage events or patterns (g. impacts, ‘catches’)
- years in service
- manufactures recommendations.
Abseil & Climb storage of equipment
Activity equipment shall be stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations or instructions.
Where no manufacturer’s recommendations exist, considerations for storage of equipment may include but is not limited to:
- equipment is clean and dry
- the storage is free from chemicals
- the storage is free from damp conditions
- the storage is free from environmental exposure including Ultra Violet (UV) light and avoids extremes of temperature
- the storage is free from interference of fauna or vermin.