Bouldering is a non-roped climbing activity and as such falling and jumping from problems/height, is an integral part of the activity. When falling or jumping from height risk of injury is always present. Serious injury when bouldering is rare. Injuries to lower limbs, and hands/arms however are more common. The risk of injuries can be greatly reduced with careful choice of problem, spotting, the placement of bouldering mats combined with advice and training on falling, jumping and descending from boulder problems.
All participants are made fully aware of the risks involved and consent confirmed during the booking process ánd before the activity commences.
Suitably experienced and trained instructors are used within the company to provide the activity of bouldering.
Statement on use of helmets
People have been engaging in the sport of bouldering for many decades and incidents of serious head injuries are virtually unheard of. For this reason, it is not commonplace to see boulderers wearing helmets. Where it might seem an easy decision to always wear a helmet while bouldering, there are problems that can be created when wearing a helmet as a matter of course when not engaged in a roped climbing activity. These problems can for instance be: damage to the neck or strangulation due to entrapment or catching the helmet on protruding objects such as trees when falling.
The activity of bouldering is one of judgement and acceptable risk. It is impossible to eliminate the risk of injury completely when taking part in an adventurous outdoor activity. Rock and Sun instructors are trained and experienced in assessing the risk of injury on any given boulder problem.
Where the risk of a blow to the head during a fall from a problem is identified as higher than normal and the usual measures contained in this risk assessment would not reduce the risk sufficiently, then the problem will be avoided. If the risk of head injury has been identified but the assessment is that it can be managed, then a helmet must be worn for the problem to be attempted.
Because the activity of bouldering requires judgement and acceptance of risk from all parties involved it is necessary for all under 18-year olds to wear a helmet while attempting boulder problems regardless of risk.
|Falling or jumping from height||High||Medium||Participants are trained to jump, land and fall in the correct way to reduce the risk of injury.
The landing from each boulder problem is assessed for potential hazards.
Where necessary the landing zones and any hazards will be padded.
On any boulder problem where the feet would be higher than 1.6 meters (i.e. shoulder/head height of the spotter), the landing will be padded regardless of the landing, and a spotter will always be present to safeguard / assist safe landings.
Clients can only be used as spotters if they have proven to be competent at spotting. An assessment needs to be made of the clients’ spotting ability. A spotter is not a guarantee of safety, nor is a pad, but they can help reduce the risk of injury.
No problems or boulders higher than 4.9 meters are attempted (this refers to the maximum height of the client’s feet), this height is inclusive of any necessary height gain in order to descend from a boulder even if use of the hands is not necessary. I.e. a client’s feet should not be above 4.9 meters regardless of ease of the problem.
|Impact with hard objects on landing||Low||High||Instructors / coaches routinely assess both the landing zone and the immediate area. Any hard objects that can be removed are or otherwise protected with pads. Other boulders and trees etc that are in or close to the potential landing zone will be protected with bouldering mats and or protected by spotting.
If it is not possible to reasonably protect the participant from injury on these hazards the boulder problem will not be attempted.
|Rock fall||Low||Low||The risk of serious injury from rock fall is low due to the relatively low height of the boulders and the distance rocks might fall from. The low height of the boulders allows for easy inspection for loose rock from the ground prior to attempting the problem. The regular use of the boulders makes loose rock unlikely. Participants are not allowed to loiter under boulder problems while they are being attempted.
Boulder problems are checked for loose rock by instructors prior to participants attempting them
|Falling hard objects||Low||Low||Climbing with hard objects such as phones or cameras is not permitted.|
|Hard objects||Low||Low||Bouldering with hard objects on the personal body is to be avoided. (such as karabiners attached to chalk bags)|
|Strong winds causing branches and or trees to fall||Low||High||In strong winds (force 7 30-40mph) careful consideration will be given to the safety of climbing in wooded areas.
Climbing in densely wooded areas will be halted when winds of force 9 or above 45mph are being experienced.
|Falling from difficult descent||Low||Medium||The descent from the boulder problems is inspected prior to the problem being attempted. The descent is given equal importance as the problem. If the descent cannot be easily descended or protected the boulder problem should not be attempted|
|Trapped or damaged fingers||Medium||Medium||Removal of rings is necessary prior to climbing. Tape over the ring to protect the finger as a last resort. Participants warned of the added risk and advised against climbing narrow finger cracks|
|Strangulation||Low||Medium||Loose fitting clothing or jewellery that could become caught on the rock during a fall and in turn around the head or neck break should be removed if not guaranteed to break.|