Basic Crag Safety

The idea behind this leaflet is to make new members of the MUMC aware of some of the basic risks of climbing outdoors.

Disclaimer: This is purely designed as a guide to introduce some of the safety concepts, and is in no way a substitute for proper training.


Basic Risk Awareness – Crag Based (With Peak Grit Stone in mind)

1) Gear, rope and small rock fall

When climbing on real rock it is possible for pebbles or small rocks to be knocked off the top, or some point mid-way up a route.  Even small stones hit with force if they have fallen a long way.  Some crags (especially old quarries) have more loose rocks and pebbles then others.

Sometimes a lead or second climber may drop gear from their rack.  All gear contains metal components, of which some are rather heavy, and sharp or pointed.  Again they will hit with a lot of force if dropped from a height.

Ropes are extremely heavy and can hit with a huge force if dropped or thrown even from a small height. Should you drop or knock anything when climbing, it is customary to yell “below” or “rope below” to ensure that the people around become aware of the hazard. Also it is common sense that you should not look upward upon hearing someone shout as such, to protect your face. 

It is recommended that you wear an approved climbing helmet, to offer protection of your head should one of these items hit you.  Also if you were to fall it will offer some protection to your head.


2) Grass and slippery rock when walking around or climbing the crag

Unfortunately, it is getting into winter and the weather is changing.  The rock face and surrounding area are increasingly becoming wet and green (all the weird stuff that grows on rock).  This green stuff is generally slippery when wet, and sometimes when dry.

Grass, bushes and mud are all slippery when you are wearing rock boots, dry or not.

Care should be taken when climbing on green rock, walking around the crag and surrounding area, so as to avoid standing on grass or in mud, to minimise the risk of slipping over and possibly injuring yourself or someone else.


3) Other climbers (leader and partner)

Many problems can occur between leader and partner in climbing due people’s lack of knowledge and/or experience, and unfortunately mistakes are made.  One such example is that a leader may have incorrectly placed the runners (gear) along a route causing rope drag.  This can be a complication when a belaying leader cannot see their partner on the route, as it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the rope drag and the climber when taking in the slack.


*****Remember: Safety at the crag is mostly just common sense*****


If you have any questions then feel free to ask your group leader, or any member of the club committee who I’m sure will be more than happy to help.