Refer to Part I – Core Standard for additional introductory information.

The following key words occur frequently throughout the standards:

  • Shall: used where a provision is mandatory, if the provider is operating fully in accordance with the standards.
  • Should: used where a provision is recommended, not mandatory. It indicates that the provider needs to consider their specific situation and decide for themselves whether it applies or is relevant.
  • Can/cannot: indicates a possibility and capability.
  • May/need not: indicates a permission or existence of an option.
  • But are not limited to: used to indicate that a list is not definitive and additional items may need to be considered depending on the context.


This document is to be used together with Part I – Core Standard.


Abseiling is descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces using ropes and descending friction devices to manage the decent. It is also known as rappelling. Abseiling can occur on a single-pitch or multi-pitch. In most situations, abseiling involves descending a rope by walking backwards down a near vertical surface. Forward abseiling descents are also possible.


Climbing is ascending, traversing or descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces. The term rock climbing is also used for climbing on natural surfaces and at times used to describe climbing on artificial surfaces. For the purposes of this standard climbing may include ascending a fixed rope and climbing in climbing gyms.

The risk associated with dependent participants, climbing or abseiling without a means of a belay system is considered unacceptable, except for where a climber is bouldering within a reasonable fall height.

There are three types of climbing covered in this standard: top-rope climbing, lead climbing and bouldering.

Top rope climbing is conducted on a single pitch.

Lead climbing is further separated into traditional climbing and sports climbing. It can be conducted on a single pitch or multi-pitch.

Bouldering is a form of climbing activity, limited in height and for which fall safety can be achieved by the provision of an impact absorbing system, by a spotter providing control of a fall or by a combination of these measures.



Activities that are not covered by this AAS are:

  • Challenge Ropes course activities
  • Climbing involving mountaineering and ice climbing
  • Improvised roping activities during bushwalking on difficult or trackless terrain
  • Activities associated with Camping while on overnight or extended activities.


Related activities

Abseiling and climbing is also engaged in as a component of associated activities including canyoning or caving. In these cases, the relevant associated AAS shall be used in conjunction with this AAS.

Challenge course activities – refer to Challenge Course activity standard.

Where bushwalking occurs to access climbing and abseiling sites, then the Bushwalking activity standard shall be complied with.

Where camping occurs associated with abseiling, the Camping activity standard shall be complied with.


Abseiling and Climbing Appendixes

Appendix 1 – Common equipment

Appendix 2 – Equipment standards

Appendix 3 – Equipment load ratings


Copyright 2017 Outdoors Victoria Ltd.

Outdoors Victoria Ltd currently acts as the copyright holder as Secretariat for the Australian AAS project and its project partners. Please refer to the website for details of the project partners

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