Climbing Safety

Lead climber fallingA WORD ON SAFETY
Climbing is dangerous and there are inherent risks. The need for safety systems beyond reproach is obvious. The equipment developed by the climbing industry doesn’t fail when used properly. But the system is passive—participants must engage. This dictates the need for personal responsibility to allow the sport we love to exist indoors at all. The primary purpose of our liability release is to establish an agreement on this principle. Without this agreement, we cannot allow the use of our facilities.

Planet Granite has developed guidelines of review, and rules during climbing, that we feel minimize the chance of injury to a participant. Our tests are not certifications or training. We have found the primary cause of a mistake on the part of a climber to be inattentiveness. Our philosophy regarding the safety protocol for climbing and belaying is to focus on principle, and not specific method—the brake hand must not leave the rope, for instance, but how you do that is somewhat up to you.

Regarding lead climbing—if climbing is risky, lead climbing is simply dangerous. While Planet Granite supports this form of climbing by placing draws on most walls, lead climbing in our gyms should not be practiced by anyone but experts.

GENERAL RULES

  • All climbing areas are fall zones. Watch for falling or swinging climbers.
  • During busy times, limit climbs to 20 minutes per party per rope.
  • No running.
  • No walking or climbing under other climbers (top-rope, bouldering, or leading).
  • Be aware of falling climbers when walking through an archway or when entering a climbing/bouldering area.
  • Pick up trash and personal belongings.
  • Use chalk balls only, no loose chalk.
  • Parents, keep your children with you at all times. There are designated areas where kids under 14 are not allowed.
  • Zero tolerance policy towards drugs or alcohol.  If you are under the influence, you will be asked to leave our facility.
  • All participants are required to watch the Bouldering Orientation Video.
  • Pay attention to posted signs in the gym.
  • Be courteous, friendly and have fun!

ROPED CLIMBING
Below is a summary of the criteria that we use to assess an individual’s ability to climb and belay. All participants must be able to satisfy these requirements to climb in our gyms. We are happy to remind those who need a refresher and allow them to climb for the day, and reinforce good practice. Please do not be disappointed if we require you to test multiple times before we issue a permanent card; belaying is an extremely important part of climbing and requires attentiveness and comfort with the skill.

Personal Responsibility. Top rope climbing involves risk—lead climbing even more. All climbers and belayers must be willing to take personal responsibility for their own safety to climb in our gyms. All participants must sign a waiver releasing Planet Granite from liability and acknowledging their own personal responsibility for assuming the risk involved with climbing.

Minimum Requirements for Top Rope Climbing
Planet Granite will issue a belay card and allow climbers to retain the belaying privileges only if the individual demonstrates the following safety items at all times and agrees to follow the posted Planet Granite rules.  If individuals do not visit a Planet Granite facility for more than a year, Planet Granite requires they re-test for their top rope belay certification.

Belay Rules

  • All Climbers must pass the Planet Granite belay test before belaying.
  • Climbers must use a UIAA approved harness.
  • Climbers must use gym provided belay devices (Petzl GriGri) and carabiners for top ropes.
  • Climbers must tie in using a figure 8 follow-through knot threaded through waist belt and leg loops, except on rental harnesses, where it is tied through the attachment point.  A double fisherman’s knot tied after the figure 8 follow-through is also required. 
  • Belayers and Climbers are both required to perform all safety checks before climbing.  Harnesses must be snug with the belt above the hips and tied-in securely with the buckle doubled-back.  Belay device must be set properly and belay carabiner must be locked. Knots should be tied correctly and double checked during the safety check.
  • Belayers/Climbers must ensure the rope in use is not crossed before climbing.
  • Belayers/Climbers must use the rope specified on the route’s start box.
  • Belayers must remain attentive and stand while belaying.
  • Belayers must never drop or let go of the rope and keep your brake hand on the rope while belaying.  Belayer must switch between belaying and lowering without compromising the brake hand.
  • When lowering a Climber, the Belayer’s brake hand must be below the waist or behind the back.
  • Climbers must be lowered in a slow, controlled manner.
  • Belayers must be at least 14 years of age.

Minimum Requirements for Lead Climbing
All lead climbers and lead belayers must pass a Planet Granite lead climb and belay test and agree to follow the posted Planet Granite Rules. The leader will be required to take a fall as part of the test for both the leader and the belayer. Don’t lead climb if you don’t expect to fall. 

LEAD RULES

  • Lead Climbers and Belayers must pass Planet Granite’s lead test before either lead climbing or lead belaying.
  • All regular Belay Rules above must be followed.
  • Lead Climbers must provide their own UIAA single certified rope.
  • Belayers must use a UIAA approved belay device. NO figure-eight devices!
  • Belayers must remain attentive to lead climbers at all times and stand while belaying.
  • Belayers must be confident and appear confident while belaying.
  • Belayers must keep minimal slack—rope must not touch ground.
  • Belayers must spot Climbers up to the first clipped quickdraw.
  • While belaying, Belayers should be positioned within the lead lines marked on the floor.
  • Belayer must catch the leader fall without losing control and with minimal rope play.
  • Lead climbers must appear in control and confident while leading and must follow all posted Planet Granite rules.
  • Leader must be willing to take a reasonable fall.
  • Leader must use provided quickdraws.
  • Leader must clip quickdraws when clips are between waist and shoulders.
  • Leader must properly clip every quickdraw; no skipping clips, no back clipping & no z-clips.
  • No intentional falls or “Mental Practice” falling sessions.
  • No lead climbing under or over other roped climbers.
  • If the Belayer is lighter than the Leader, the Belayer should use a belay melon.
  • Following or seconding is only allowed in some PG facilities and with appropriate follow certification. 

BOULDERING
The popularity of bouldering has grown rapidly in recent years. With that growth has also come the increased awareness of and emphasis upon bouldering techniques for both the climber and the spotter(s). Even though you may only be a few feet off the ground while bouldering, climbers and spotters must still take precautions to ensure their own safety and the safety of other people in the bouldering area. If you have questions about etiquette or safe practices, do not hesitate to ask!

Personal Responsibility. Bouldering is dangerous. All falls are ground falls. All boulderers must be willing to take personal responsibility for their own safety.  All participants are required to watch our Bouldering Orientation Video

BOULDERING RULES

  • Don’t boulder unless you know how to and are comfortable falling from height.
  • Don’t break falls with your hands or arms.
  • Use a ‘spotter’ for difficult or risky moves.
  • Know how to ‘spot.’ Be active and poised to orient falling climber correctly onto padding.
  • No bouldering under or over other climbers.
  • Familiarize yourself with the landing surface.  Be aware of uneven landing zone surfaces while you are climbing and spotting.
  • Be aware of foreign objects within potential landing zones.  Clear water bottles, chalk bags and other personal gear away from landing zones.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, including other climbers, protruding holds and wall angle changes.
  • Do not boulder on the roped climbing walls above the 1st draw or equivalent height (hands) or in areas of heavy top rope or and lead climbing. Roped climbing has priority over bouldering on roped climbing walls.
  • Climbers must have a spotter at all times.
  • Never sit in fall zones.  Only stand in fall zones while spotting.
  • Only top out in specified top out areas.
  • Children must be supervised in the bouldering area.
  • If you are unfamiliar with bouldering, ask the front desk for help before you climb.
  • Very Important: Please be sure that all minors have a waiver fully completed and signed by their parents or legal guardian.  If the parent or guardian will not be present, please bring a photocopy of their government issued photo identification (for signature verification).  Please note: legal guardians must present proof of guardianship to sign a child’s waiver. 

    TRAINING SAFETY & GUIDELINES
    Climbing and climbing training, such as the exercises in the WOW (Workout of the Week), are dangerous activities and involve inherent risks. Participation in these exercises is done at your own risk. If you have any injuries, we recommend you do not attempt a WOW. If you have any concerns about your abilities or the exercises, consult a qualified medical practitioner or athletic trainer.

    READ THE FOLLOWING FIRST:
    Ensure your muscles are properly warmed up. Before training fingers, it is very important to warm up your fingers and tendons slowly and thoroughly. If you don’t know how to warm up, consult a fitness trainer.
    Proper execution of form is a crucial element to performing any exercise. Please read the instructions carefully and make sure you thoroughly understand the movement being described being before attempting the workout. If you don’t understand the exercise be sure to ask a certified personal trainer.
    Like many good things, exercise can be dangerous - especially if it’s been a while since you’ve worked up a sweat, or if you have any health conditions that could increase your risk of injury. It is your responsibility to seek professional instruction and/or medical advice before performing exercises and/or fitness routines. The following information is one way to help avoid potential problems.

    BEFORE YOU START: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
    If you are planning to increase your physical activity or start an exercise program, begin with answering a few short questions. The PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) is a quick questionnaire that can help rule out any underlying health concerns that could worsen with exercise. Answer yes or no to the following questions:

    • Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
    • Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
    • In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
    • Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?
    • Do you have a bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?
    • Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example, water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition?
    • Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?

    If you answer YES to any of the questions on this list, you must check in with your doctor and get cleared for exercise before you start. You can download or print a copy of the official PAR-Q form for your records, courtesy of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP).
    Likewise, if you have any chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or arthritis) or risk factors (such as smoking or being more than 20 pounds overweight), and have not discussed exercising with your doctor, you should do so before beginning. Exercise is often an important part of the treatment for such conditions, but you may have some limitations or special needs that your doctor can tell you about.

    FITNESS SAFETY
    Our equipment spans a wide range. There's enough in our clubs to satisfy everyone from Olympians to someone rehabilitating themselves. Please observe these basic rules:

    1. Please hold handrails when stepping on or off treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, arc trainers, and other equipment.
    2. Do not get on or off equipment when it's moving.
    3. Don't hesitate to use the emergency stop buttons or lanyards when using treadmills.
    4. Always look forward when using equipment that moves. Looking back or to the side throws off your balance.
    5. Grab the handrails and press the stop button if you feel weak or lose your balance when using treadmills.
    6. Try to stay centered on all equipment.
    7. Change the speed of your workout program gradually.
    8. Always ask a fellow member or one of our fitness trainers to spot you when lifting weights.
    9. Don't push beyond your abilities.
    10. Please know that you're always welcome to ask a personal trainer to show you how to use any piece of equipment.
    11. If you notice that something is out of place, please bring it to our attention and we'll be happy to correct it.
    12. For the safety of other members, please turn off all machines when you are done using them.

     

     

    Website designed and implemented by Stephanie Ko Pound. Photos by Ted Cheeseman, Colin Little or Ivan Cua.