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BMC - British Mountaineering Council's opinion on organising an abseil event

This article is not intended to instruct, but to draw attention to some of
the precautions legally required or advised when considering a charity
abseil event.

Setup and staff
Be aware that different abseil situations require different levels of
expertise in operation, i.e. a 10m abseil from a single pitch crag is
very different to a 100m free abseil. In all circumstances both
operators (those who set it up) and staff (those who run it on the day)
should be suitably competent.

Although an SPA (lowest level nationally recognised climbing
qualification) holder may be competent to actually run the event, they
are not always sufficiently experienced to evaluate the suitablility and
needs of the site. It may be best to use a recognised technical expert
for this, a holder of the MIA (Mountain Instructors Award), MIC
(Mountain Instructors Certificate) or BMG (British Mountain Guide).

As well as the technical aspects do not overlook group management
aspects. Consider the possible impact on members of the public not
actually involved in the event (e.g. walkers, climbers, residents) as
well as participants when not actually abseiling. A falling karabiner
landing on a passerby is a far more likely scenario than the abseil rope

Both operators and staff should be covered by adequate personal accident
and public liability insurance. When using man made sites it may be
necessary to check the buildings insurance.

Building Inspectors
In normal circumstances a technical expert (MIA, MIC, BMG) should be
sufficient to assess the strength and suitability of building elements
for the abseil setup. Occasionally a building inspector is required to
examine the suitability of the building from an engineering point of
view, and the buildings owner will provide this contact. If a building
has been utilised in the past there is normally no problem.

Charitable abseils, where all the money paid by the participant goes to a
charity are normally exempt from licensing. However when the staff are
earning profit from the event it is viewed as a commercial activity and a
licence may be required if the participants are under 18 years of age
and the abseil is outdoors. If unsure contact the Adventurous Activity
Licensing Authority.


Click here for information regarding the BMC's - (British Mountaineering Council's) opinion on organising an abseil event.

  • We provide an MIA or MIC to assess the suitibility of buildings.
  • Rock and Ice are full AMI members.
  • Rock and Ice provide insurance to cover the event, including insurance to cover the building.
  • Rock and Ice are also AALA licenced.

With 17 years of experience and 100's of sucessful events you can feel assured your event management is safe in our hands.

Call Richard Hogan on 07740 302131 now to discuss your requirements.

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