Indoor Rock Climbing


You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

A purpose built climbing wall consists of a framework of wood, steel or concrete which defines the shape of the wall, to which adjustable and interchangeable holds are attached. Secure anchor points for belayers at the base, and for the rigging of toplines are essential features in the design of a climbing wall. Commonly, students will be involved in top roped, bottom belay climbing.

Lead Climbing is not to be permitted.

Parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

Each student under the age of 11 years must be accompanied by an adult at all times, who will also belay or supervise a belay team.


The facility operations must conform to Outdoor Recreation Council of Australia standards and practices. Artificial climbing walls must meet or exceed, Central European (CE) standards.

Schools must use a climbing facility which employs a dual attachment system e.g. tie-in and clip-in or clipping into two (2) screwgate karabiners with gates opposed AND requires their qualified instructional staff to physically check each student's harness for correct fitting before allowing a student to climb.

Instructor Qualifications and Experience

Indoor climbing instructors responsible for top rope climbing or belay instruction must possess the units of competency outlined in the National Outdoor Recreation Activity Competencies Standards.


The supervising teacher to student ratio should not exceed 1:20.

The instructor to student ratio must not exceed 1:20. For each group of 20 participants, there would be a maximum of ten climbers, and ten belayers. Increased supervision should be arranged, in consultation with the climbing facility, for students with special needs.

Only students who have been taught and assessed as a competent belayer by a qualified belay instructor may belay. The instructor:student ratio for the initial training period should not exceed 1:10.

The facility staff, together with the teacher(s) must actively supervise climbing activities at all times. The teacher must have recognised current training in emergency care. At least one of the session instructors must have, as a minimum, a Senior First Aid certificate.


Comfortable clothing such as T-shirts, singlets, bicycle shorts and sports shoes should be worn. To avoid jamming in equipment (e.g. karabiners), clothing must not be excessively loose fitting.

All equipment used must conform to recognised standards e.g. UIAA/CE standards. Facilities must have in place a regular inspection and maintenance program in accordance with manufacturers instructions. Records to this effect must be readily available.

A well-equipped medical kit must be readily available.


Supervising teachers and students must be briefed by the instructor on all safety issues including the use of equipment, the cooperative nature of the activity, basic climbing techniques, belaying, lowering off, communications and safe working practices.

It is essential that students are briefed on the need to be extremely attentive when spotting and belaying. Students who do not display an appropriate and responsible attitude to these tasks must be removed from the activity.

The instructors are responsible for physically checking each attachment point and harness before allowing a student to climb. The belaying equipment and technique must be monitored during the climb by the instructors and belaying partners using the "buddy system".

BELAYING: The belay system for climbing requires students to be well briefed and supervised in belaying techniques. Top roped, bottom belay will be standard using a dual attachment system. Students must be belayed while climbing on a wall above 2.4m in height.
Only students who have been taught and assessed as a competent belayer by a qualified belay instructor may belay. Instructing staff will issue a card certifying this competency. School supervising staff should record this assessment on the activity roll.

Top Rope Instruction: The student and the supervising staff must be proficient in the following competencies:

  • Correct fitting of an approved safety harness.
  • Correct attachment to the facility belay system.
  • Correct use and control of the belay system.
  • Awareness of safety rules established by the facility management.

Students must be instructed that the belayer and climber are to double check each other for proper harness, rope, karabiner and other equipment set-up before commencing a climb.

The belayer must be appropriately anchored in top rope activities. Lowering off must always be controlled and non dynamic.

All students will be taught to belay with a stitch-plate, or similar device. Where a running belay is exclusively used (e.g. in a number of Sport and Recreation camps), belay can be performed with a minimum of four (4) students without a belay device. Instructors may consider using two to three students where a friction device is utilised.

Students must remove jewellery and other ornaments likely to cause injury. Long hair should be tied back.


Bouldering is permitted in a designated area to a maximum height of 2.4 metres, indicated by a line at this height. Hands must stay below 2.4 metres unless the climber is belayed. No such unroped activity will be allowed unless the facility has this line in place.

Where the climber's feet will be positioned in excess of 1m, crash mats must be provided and positioned so that there is no possibility of contacting the floor surface if he/she falls.

Glossary of terms

Belay/belaying: To fasten the rope, it means to stop or to halt in ancient French.

Belay device: The device used to belay.

Bottom belay: To belay a climber from the bottom of a climb.

Lead climbing: A climber climbs up the wall attaching into anchor points as they go.

Top rope climbing: Is where a rope is running through an anchor point above the wall and protects the climber from falling.

Karabiner: A metal oval link used to attach the climber to the rope.

Bouldering/traversing: Unroped climbing. Used as a warm up exercise.