Thurston Outdoor Education Centre: Climbing, abseiling - Thurston Trees policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Venue
  3. Staffing
  4. Equipment
  5. Operating considerations
  6. Abseiling

Revised: January 2022


Rock Climbing and Abseiling on climbing wall type holds on two large trees. It is a good stand alone session but also gives a good progression after an indoor climbing wall session.


Rigged Trees in Thurston Grounds.


  • RCI or above, or CWA / RCI training and site specific approval from head of centre.
  • Ratio - The normal staff: student ratio


  • Instructor should visually inspect all equipment before use, including a ground-based visual check of the trees and rigging.
  • Climbing harnesses and helmets should be worn by staff and pupils.
  • Full weight ropes should be used. (Specific feeder line friendly ropes are provided). Visual checks made each session.
  • Any safe belay system is appropriate. Indirect belay ground anchors are provided.
  • Ropes and equipment are replaced as per manufacturers recommendations or as wear dictates.

Operating considerations

  • The activity should be run in accordance with the "Technical Outdoor Solutions Operating Procedures - Tree Climbs at Thurston OEC" documentation (this is available in the office or electronically).
  • Belay and attachment methods should be safe and appropriate to the session. Screwgate karabiners may be used to attach climbers to ropes.
  • Rope buckets are provided and should be used to keep ropes clean.
  • Due precautions should be taken with jewellery and hair to ensure they are not a safety risk.
  • Briefing must include instruction not to hold onto the straps around the trees due to entrapment and finger damage hazard.
  • Not to be used in high winds (Force 4 and above).
  • Harnesses should be worn on the outside of all clothing so that they are clearly visible.
  • Harnesses should be checked when first put on and students told that if the buckle is adjusted in any way it must be checked again by an instructor.
  • If an instructor is required to supervise more than one rope then the instructor should not be tied into the belay system, so they are free to deal with any problems that may occur.
  • Ensure helmets are fitted correctly to avoid hangup potential on larger holds.
  • Ladder rungs must be removed at end of session to deter unsupervised use.


  • Abseil device should be attached to student at bottom of tree and pulled up alongside student on abseil rope.
  • When abseiling a releasable system must be used for the abseil rope.