So... Your troop wants to go Rock Climbing?!?!?!
Four Levels of Troop Rock Climbing Activities:
We've found that Boy Scout Troops progress through four levels of rockclimbing activities,
each building on previous experiences:
- Basic Introductory Rock Climbing Trip(s)
- Climbing Merit Badge
- Advanced Climbing Trips
- Advanced Climbing Topics
Basic Introductory Trip:
The first activity for any troop should be an introductory rock climb to any of the local gyms.
There are a certain set of activities that should occur before for this trip is undertaken:
arrange a date to climb at a local gym (get price & copy of gym's permission slip)
secure competant teaching for the boys BEFORE the trip
secure Leader (who's had BS "Climb On Safely" training)
Once these activities have been accomplished, there is a set number
of activities that have to occur prior to the trip:
- T-3 weeks prior to the trip:
T-2 weeks prior to the trip:
- Write and pass out permission slip(s) to the boys.
There is a sample permission slip at the bottom of this presentation.
- Insure all boys have up-to-date medical forms
T-1 weeks prior to the trip:
- Collect permission slips, arrange drivers, and file Tour Permit
- Demonstrate equipment (shoes, harness, belay device, rope)
- Teach the figure-eight follow-thru
- Teach belaying, have each boy try it at least twice
At the gym:
- Teach the calls
- Have each boy belay at least twice more
- Have each boy demonstrate figure-eight follow-thru
- Have each boy belay a dead weight, until comfortable
- Have each boy belay a person, until comfortable
- Have each boy pass the belay test
- We generally run three (3) of these trips per year.
- All boys are required to pass/re-pass the belay test the first two (2) times they visit the gym.
Climbing Merit Badge:
The following are the Climbing Merit Badge requirements taken from:
The topics have been rearranged for optimal teaching over two meetings prior to a rock climbing trip,
where the belaying/climbing/rappelling may be demonstrated by the boys. Like the "Basic Introductory Trip",
The troop should:
- secure competent teacher(s)
- arrange a trip (NOTE: This may coincide with a "Basic Trip").
- schedule two (2) meetings prior to the trip to cover the requirements.
- a spreadsheet is VERY USEFUL showing:
- participants in the first column
- requirements in the first row
- date completed in the intersecting cells
- write & copy handouts for the boys. Our three(3) double-sided pages include:
- Merit Badge requirements
- Diagrams of required knots
- Belaying & belay devices
- Grading systems
- Rope coiling/care/storage
The following requirements are completed in the prerequisite First Aid Merit Badge:
- 1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that may occur during climbing
activities, including hypothermia, blisters, sprains, snakebite, abrasions, fractures, and
insect bites or stings.
- 2. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Demonstrate
proper technique in performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
Teach the following knots on the first night and have the boys demonstrate the knots on the second night:
- 7. Knots. Demonstrate the ability to tie each of the following knots. Give
at least one example of how each knot is used in belaying, climbing, or rappelling.
- 7a. Figure eight on a bight
- 7b. Figure eight follow-through
- 7c. Water knot
- 7d. Double fishermanıs knot (Grapevine knot)
The following topics get taught over the two nights prior to the rock climbing trip:
- 4. Location. Do the following:
- 4a. Explain how the difficulty of climbs is classified, and apply classifications to the
rock faces or walls where you will demonstrate your climbing skills.
- 4b. Explain the following: top-rope climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering.
- 4c. Evaluate the safety of a particular climbing area. Consider weather, visibility, the
condition of the climbing surface, and any other environmental hazards.
- 4d. Determine how to summon aid to the climbing area in case of an emergency.
- 5. Verbal signals. Explain the importance of using verbal signals during
every climb and rappel, and while bouldering. With the help of the merit badge counselor
or another Scout, demonstrate the verbal signals used by each of the following:
- 5a. Climbers
- 5b. Rappellers
- 5c. Belayers
- 5d. Boulderers and their spotters
- 6. Rope. Do the following:
- 6a. Describe the kind of rope acceptable for use in climbing and rappelling.
- 6b. Show how to examine a rope for signs of wear or damage.
- 6c. Discuss ways to prevent a rope from being damaged.
- 6d. Explain when and how a rope should be retired.
- 6e. Properly coil a rope.
- 12. Demonstrate ways to store rope, hardware, and other gear used for climbing, rappelling,
Do the following requirements at the gym:
- 3. Present yourself properly dressed for belaying, climbing, and rappelling (i.e.,
appropriate clothing, footwear, and a helmet; rapellers must wear gloves).
- 8. Harnesses. Correctly put on at least ONE of the following:
- 8a. Commercially made climbing harness
- 8b. Tied harness
- 9. Belaying. Do the following:
- 9a. Explain the importance of belaying every climber and rappeller.
- 9b. Belay three different climbers ascending a rock face or climbing wall.
- 9c. Belay three different rappellers descending a rock face or climbing wall.
- 10. Climbing. Do the following:
- 10a. Show the correct way to tie into a belay rope.
- 10b. Climb at least three different routes on a rock face or climbing wall, demonstrating
good technique and using verbal signals with a belayer.
- 11. Rappelling. Do the following:
- 11a. Using carabiners and a rappel device, secure your climbing harness or tied harness to a
- 11b. Tie into a belay rope set up to protect rappellers.
- 11c. Rappel down three different rock faces or three rappel routes on a climbing wall. Use
verbal signals to communicate with a belayer, and demonstrate good rappelling technique.
The "Climbing Merit Badge" is a pre-requisite for any boy interested
in attending these trips:
Ice Climbing, Cathedral Ledge, NConway NH
Ice Climbing, Rumney Cliffs, Rumney NH
Ice Climbing, Newfound Lake, Hebron NH
Advanced Rock Climbing, Rumney Cliffs, Rumney NH
Advanced Rock Climbing, Jockey's Cap, Freyburg ME
Advanced Rock Climbing, College Rocks, Hopkington MA
Advanced Rock Climbing, Hammond Pond, Newton MA
These topics are meant as "general interest". Most are in the category of "Show-n-Tell".
Top Rope anchor set-up
Sport Climbing procedures
Trad Climbing protection
Mill City Rock Gym, Dracut MA, (978)957-1030, http://www.climbmillcity.com
Verticle Dreams, Manchester NH, (603)625-6919, http://www.verticaldreams.com/
Boulder Mortys, Nashua NH, (603) 886-6789, http://www.bouldermortys.com
Boston Rock Gym, Woburn MA, (617) 935-PEAK, http://www.bostonrockgym.com
MetroRock, Everett MA, (617)387-ROCK(7625), http://www.metrorock.com
Rock Barn, Plymouth NH, (603)536-2717, http://www.rhinocerosmountainguides.com/
Jim Shimberg, Plymouth NH, http://www.rhinocerosmountainguides.com/
International Mountain Climbing School, NConway NH, http://www.ime-usa.com/
Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), various locations, http://www.ems.com/
Other web sites:
http://www.climbing.com/ -Climbing Magazine's web-site
Nearby outdoor climbing areas:
all of the MA areas can be found in the book: Boston Rocks (available at most climbing stores),
the other non-MA areas listed have dedicated climbing guides published about them.
College Rocks, Hopkington MA
Den Rocks, NAndover MA
Hammond Pond, Newton MA
Quincy Quarry, Quincy MA
Crow Hill, Leominster State Park
Pawtuckaway State Park, Raymond NH
Lincoln Woods, Lincoln RI
Rumney, Rumney NH
Gift Giving Ideas:
Below is an excerpt of a "Christmas" handout to parents showing some gift ideas for their boys.
Rock Climbing gift ideas:
- Rock climbing shoes ($80-$150, less if you buy used at IME)
- NOTE: the next three items are now sold as a packed set at various stores:
- Harness ($30-$120)
- chalk bag ($12-$25) with chalk
- locking carabiner ($6-$18) & belay device ($15-$70)
- Boston Rocks climbing guidebook
Where can I get this stuff?
Stores with good deals and/or great equipment selection:
- International Mountain Equipment (N. Conway NH) http://www.ime-usa.com
- great mountaineering store with 2nd-hand consignment shop (low prices)
- Ragged Mountain (Jackson NH) http://www.raggedmt.com
- a lot of supplies for sew-it-yourself clothing (fleece)
- Boston Rock Gym (Woburn MA) http://www.bostonrockgym.com
- may be pricey, but great selection of rock climbing stuff.
Stores you should shop at ONLY if they have a sale:
- EMS (everywhere)
- REI (Reading MA & Seattle WA)
- Boulder Morty's (Nashua NH)
- All Outdoors (Manchester NH)