Inherent Risks in Climbing
Climbing is a thrilling and rewarding sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and experience levels, but it is important to realize that climbing involves inherent risks. Personal accountability is integral to the sport, and it is mandatory that each individual accept responsibility for their actions and their choice to climb. We feel strongly that one of the keys to climbing safety is high quality instruction, and we recommend participation in an Earth Treks course.
Earth Treks offers a wide range of climbing courses and services, and the level of risk accepted by participants may vary greatly. Bouldering, lead climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and to a lesser extent outdoor climbing in general, all demand that participants accept elevated risks.
- All climbers and observers must check in at the front desk before proceeding to the padded climbing areas or fitness room.
- Climbing is inherently dangerous. Participants must assume the risks of climbing. All climbers, course participants, and individuals operating a safety system at ETCC must sign (or their parent/guardian must sign) ETCC’s Waiver And Release Of Liability And Assumption Of Risks form.
- Double check your partner’s safety system (Knots / Harness / Carabiners / Belay Device) before every climb! ETCC staff reserve the right to check safety systems at any time.
- Individuals desiring to top rope belay, lead belay, or lead climb at ETCC must take and pass the corresponding Belay Safety Check. Those individuals who do not pass or choose to not take the Belay Safety Check may not belay or tie knots, and must wait a minimum of 24 hours before taking or re-taking the Belay Safety Check. Individuals who have passed the Lead Climb Check may borrow a lead rope at the front desk. Only ETCC ropes may be used for leading. ETCC staff reserve the right to revoke belay privileges at any time.
- Climbing ropes must be tied directly to the climber’s harness. Clipping the rope to the harness is prohibited.
- Weight differences between the climber and the belayer can greatly impact the safety of both individuals and all belayers must take responsibility for anchoring in from their harness to the appropriate floor anchor as needed.
- All persons using ETCC are expected to respect other individuals at ETCC and conduct themselves in good order. Persons deemed by ETCC staff to be behaving in an unsafe or disorderly fashion will be asked to leave the facility.
- Youth: Youth climbers under the age of 13 must be supervised by an adult (18 years or older) or by an ETCC staff member. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in climbing areas unless engaged in a climbing activity. Youth under the age of 14 are not permitted in fitness areas.
- Bouldering (un-roped climbing) is permitted at ETCC in designated bouldering areas, or no higher than 10 feet (head height) in areas designated for roped climbing.
- Bouldering involves increased inherent risks because YOU WILL FALL, and all falls are ground falls which could result in injury or death. Padded floors and crash pads (where present) mitigate risks, but do not and cannot guarantee prevention of injury or death. Improper pad placement can also cause injury or death.
- Many injuries occur when you fall near or at the top of the wall and / or when you miss the crash pad or hit an edge of a crash pad. To reduce your risk of injury:
- Down climb when possible instead of jumping off.
- Before each climb, ensure crash pads (where present) are positioned properly so that you land in the middle of the pad.
- Use a spotter to help position crash pads (where present) and ensure a clear landing zone.
- Keep Landing Zones Clear: Do not lounge on pads or walk under climbers. Remove all personal items (like water bottles) from landing zones. Be aware at all times because you could land on or be landed on by other participants.
- Proper Falling Technique Can Reduce Injuries:
- Stay relaxed – Keep your legs and arms slightly bent and ready to absorb impact. A tense body will result in more impact force throughout your body.
- Do not try to stay standing up – Trying to stay upright at all times will cause injuries. Absorb force by collapsing / rolling to the ground. Do not try to stop your fall with your hands.
- Ratings: Earth Treks rates the difficulty of boulder problems with the V-Scale (V-Intro, V1, V2, V3, etc) with V-Intro being the easiest.
- Top-Out Bouldering: Top out bouldering is permitted in designated areas only. Use designated descent paths / ladders only and descend slowly.
- New Climbers: Those who are new to bouldering should start with easier problems (V-Intro to V2) and avoid climbing the full height of the wall until they are more comfortable with the proper falling technique and how to utilize crash pads (where present).
All climbers, course participants, and individuals operating a safety system, must sign Earth Treks’ Release of Liability and Assumption of Risks Form. This document includes an important facility and bouldering safety orientation. Climbers under 18 years of age must have the waiver form and facility / bouldering orientation signed by their parent or court appointed guardian. Climbers under the age of 13 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult (18 years or older) at all times while in the climbing areas. Climbing helmets are available free of charge to all clients desiring one.
Prefer good old pen and paper? Please fill out the printable version of our waiver with orientations and bring both pages with you on your next visit to the gym.
Release of Liability and Assumption of Risks Form and Orientations
Release of Liability and Assumption of Risks Form with Medical Form
Department of Natural Resources Addendum
Birthday Invitations and Waiver:
Columbia Birthday Invitation and Waiver
Timonium Birthday Invitation and Waiver
Rockville Birthday Invitation and Waiver