Thurston Outdoor Education Centre: Climbing, abseiling - outdoors policy


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

Revised: January 2022


Rock climbing and abseiling can be offered to groups as a single activity or as a longer session.


Any suitable venue within the remit of the instructor.


  • Single-pitch: RCI or above, or site specific with RCI training and approval from head of centre.
  • Multi-pitch: MCI or above. MCI trainees can work under supervision.
  • Normal staff:student ratio on Single Pitch Climbs and 1:2 (maximum) on Multi Pitch Routes.


  • Instructor should visually inspect all equipment before use.
  • Climbing harnesses and helmets should be worn by staff and pupils.
  • Full weight ropes should be used. Visual checks made each session.
  • Any safe belay system is appropriate.
  • Ropes and equipment are replaced as per manufacturers recommendations or as wear dictates.

Operating considerations

  • Belay methods should be safe and appropriate to the session.
  • Due precautions should be taken with jewellery and hair to ensure they are not a safety risk.
  • With the exception of bouldering, no student should climb without being secured on a rope.
  • Bouldering should be supervised at all times and due consideration given to limits and boundaries.
  • 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 participants 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.


  • Participants should be positioned a safe distance from the edge or tied on while waiting at the top.
  • Participants should be made aware of site specific hazards.
  • At the bottom students should wait in a safe location.
  • When abseiling as an activity, rather than a multi-pitch day, a releasable system must be used.
  • When moving between bottom to top, students should be made familiar with the route, ideally in sight of a supervisor and in pairs.