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  • Writer's pictureRich

Supervision at the project climbing centre

Supervising guests is a fantastic way for registered adult climbers to introduce their friends, family and littles ones (4yrs and up) to the world of climbing. You get to show them the fun of climbing with a little bit less of the formality of an instructed session. This does mean it is the supervising adults responsibility to not only keep the climber safe during that session but also to create good habits to keep them safe as they start their climbing career.

Keeping your climber safe in the centre is a two way street; you have to be watching their back but they need to know the rules and general good practice. So before you get to the serious stuff, take some time to show them the basics;

  • Before you climb

    • To prevent injury and just generally have a more fun climbing session you need to make sure that both you and the novice climber are warmed up properly. Check out our blog post on our favourite warm up exercises!

  • How to start a problem

    • A simple but useful skill!

  • How to downclimb

    • Often overlooked by competent climbers is how to climb down from problems. This is a habit we want new climbers to have drilled into them as it massively reduces the risk of both short and long term injuries.

  • How to land

    • Another overlooked skill is falling from problems. New climbers can find this daunting and as they are more likely to be tired by the time they get to the top they need to know. So show them a safe way to land!

  • Where to wait

    • When waiting for a climb we expect climbers to be stood well away from the wall so a climber can land safely without hitting anything or anyone.

  • How to move

    • Always be on the lookout for climbers and keep a safe distance both on and off the wall.

So what do we expect from a supervisor;

  • Active supervision

    • As a supervisor you need to be able to react quickly if the climber puts themselves or others in harm's way; keep them within line of sight and somewhere you can verbally communicate with them should they need assistance.

  • Spotting

    • Spotting isn’t required quite as much indoors as it is outdoors. But as a general rule; you should probably think about spotting a climber on a roof or if there is a higher chance of the climber landing on their neck or head. Avoid it on overhangs as they are more likely to swing. With youngsters you may want to spot them more often but this should not be relied on; instead get them familiar with climbing down themselves (this will massively improve their confidence) and don’t put pressure on getting to the top, it might not seem that high to you but it can seem a lot taller to them!

  • Interfering whilst the climber is still on the wall

    • It’s easy to get caught up with helping your mate by pointing out a foothold but we should never be putting ourselves at risk so do so by talking to the climber, not by going underneath them as they may fall at any point.

  • Encouragement

    • We all want our friends and family to succeed but encouraging a nervous / tired climber can sometimes put them in an dangerous position. Sometimes, it’s better to come down and have a rest or move on to a different climb if that particular route is beyond that climber’s capabilities or outside of their comfort zone.

Helping your friends and family develop as climbers can truly be a rewarding experience and is a fantastic form of exercise; if you are ever unsure about what you should or shouldn’t be doing to assist them feel free to speak to a member of staff, we will be happy to help you out.

See you on the wall!

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