Übergrippen Youth Top Rope Belay Certification Policy and Agreement
Your safety and/or your child's safety, is of the upmost important for us at ÜG. Although we do everything we can, we can't do it alone - we need your help. We need you make sure you are aware of all the potential dangers and participate in the constant rituals of checking and double-checking your own safety.
Top rope climbing is a form of climbing that has the climber tied into the end of a rope. The rope then passes through an anchor at the top of the climb and comes down to a second participant, the belayer. This climber/belayer partnership is a key aspect of climbing and relies on the "buddy system" to look after and double check each other. Climbers should only climb with partners whose skills and knowledge they are comfortable with.
The belayer's responsibility is to "belay" their climbing partner. The act of belaying includes taking up rope slack in order to maintain minimal slack throughout the climb (enough to allow freedom of movement of the climber while climbing), "catch" the climber by "braking" the rope in the event of the climber falling off the wall, reaching the top of the climb, or choosing to stop climbing and requesting a "take", and lowering the climber in a controlled fashion back to the ground. In addition to belaying, the belayer and climber must together perform a detailed buddy check of each other's equipment, knot for tying into the climbing rope, and belay device setup. BUDDY CHECKS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE STARTING EVERY CLIMB. Improper belaying and improper equipment setup increase the risk of top rope climbing. Accidents can occur that result in a climber falling from height which can lead to serious injury or death. Climbers falling onto belayers also risks severely injuring the belayer.
Assistive Belay Devices (ABD's), though REQUIRED for all youth under 18 years of age that are belaying, cannot guarantee a climber's safety. ABD's do provide an additional layer of protection, but are not immune to improper use. Proper use of any chosen belay device, proper belay technique, maintaining control of the brake strand of the rope at all times, proper tie in to the rope, and thorough buddy checks are necessary regardless of the chosen belay device to reduce the risk associated with all types of climbing. Belayer must have knowledge on how to set up and belay with their chosen belay device including proper technique for taking in slack and lowering the climber without removing their hand from the brake strand of the rope.
ABD's approved for youth belaying include the following:
- Edelrid: Jul2, MegaJul, GigaJul (only when used in assistive belay mode)
- Petzl: GriGri, GriGri 2, GriGri+
- Mammut: SMART
- Black Diamond: ATC Pilot
- Wild Country: Revo
- Trango: Cinch, Vergo
- Climbing Technology: Click Up, Click Up+
Youth are not permitted to use passive or traditional tube style belay devices including but not limited to the following:
- Black Diamond ATC, ATC-XP, ATC Guide
- Petzl Verso, Reverso
- Figure 8
- Sticht plate
- Munter Hitch
Padded flooring under the roped climbing area provides comfort and limited protection against falls very near to the ground. Padded flooring under roped climbing areas DOES NOT provide protection against all potential ground falls and is not intended to provide any guarantee of safety.
Youth 13 & Under are required to successfully complete 3 belay tests (taken on different days) prior to receiving their top rope certification. A top rope certification may be revoked at any time if an Übergrippen staff witnesses unsafe belay practices including but not limited to failure to perform a buddy check, letting go of the rope with your brake hand, uncontrolled or excessively fast lowering of a climber, improper equipment usage, or goofing around and/or inattentive belaying. Recertification requires (1) approval of Übergrippen Management and (2) successfully completing 3 belays tests (again taken on different days). Though Übergrippen staff does monitor the climbing floor, they CANNOT identify ALL possible errors made by climbers and their partners. Übergrippen's belay test attempts to qualify a belayer's skills, however it cannot guarantee everyone's ability and safety every time they belay. Always ensure your buddy uses good belay technique and practices including detailed buddy checks before each and every climb.
CLIMBING IS DANGEROUS. Improper belaying and/or improper setting up of your personal equipment (including knot to tie in) further increases the risk of climbing. Children taking part in climbing and belaying must take their responsibilities seriously as climbers and belayers. Children must be mature in their handling of the sport and recognize that mistakes can have very serious and lifelong consequences. Übergrippen's policies on youth belaying are extensive, however they cannot and do not eliminate of all potential hazards and risks associated with climbing and belaying and does not provide a guarantee to your child's safety.
By signing this agreement, you agree to the following:
You approve your child to receive their top rope climbing certification and agree that your child has your permission to belay other climbers (youth and/or adults) while at Übergrippen.
You acknowledge that you understand the requirements, expectations, and risks associated with top rope climbing and belaying.
You agree that your child is permitted to be belayed by other children that are belay certified at Übergrippen.
You agree that your child may only use approved Assistive Belay Devices and you will ensure your child is familiar with how to properly use their chosen device. If you and your child are unfamiliar with a belay device, you agree you will ask an Übergrippen staff member for assistance and training before your child uses the device.
You understand that your child may lose their certification for any reason as determined by an Übergrippen staff member and that complete recertification will be required before they will be certified to belay again.
For any child that is 10 & under, you understand that they are only permitted to belay someone when they have an active and ÜG approved "back up belayer" and you agree that you will not permit your child to belay a climber without this backup in place.
You agree that you have taken the time to familiarize yourself with climbing and understand the principals, importance, and criticality of belaying. You agree that if you yourself have not learned to belay, you have done so willingly and you have witnessed your child belaying and have watched climbers climbing and belaying each other and understand the focus and attention required of a belayer.
You agree your child is sufficiently mature and physically and mentally capable enough to handle the responsibility and perform the tasks of top rope belaying and will abide by all Übergrippen policies. You agree to support Übergrippen in ensuring your child abides by those policies.
You understand that if you are not comfortable with your child belaying or being belayed by other children then you should NOT sign this agreement. You understand that there are other opportunities for your child to experience climbing without your child needing to belay or be belayed by other children. Options include, but are not limited to, (1) you, the parent, gaining the skills and knowledge by taking an Übergrippen Belay Class and becoming belay certified so you yourself may belay your child while they climb, (2) signing your child up for private lessons with an instructor, or (3) attending a family climb time.
You understand that CHILDREN 13 & UNDER ARE NOT PERMITTED TO USE AUTO-BELAYS without receiving a complete and thorough "buddy check" by another Auto-Belay certified climber BEFORE STARTING EVERY CLIMB. You agree to support ÜG and ensure your child complies with this policy. You understand the risks associated with auto-belaying climbing and that failure of the climber to properly "clip in" to the auto-belay system is the number one cause of auto-belay related accidents. You agree to not permit your child to climb on an auto-belay without receiving the required buddy check.
You acknowledge you understand and accept the risks associated with top rope belaying and agree to these and all other policies for youth belaying while at Übergrippen and have discussed and reviewed these with your child. You have reviewed this policy in detail with your child, have discussed the importance of following all rules, performing buddy checks at all times on top rope AND auto-belay, staying focused on your climber, using proper belay practices, and refraining from inappropriate behavior while at ÜG. You agree that you will support ÜG in the enforcement of all written and unwritten policies.
You agree that this document does not supersede or invalidate any other releases you have with Übergrippen.