Vertical Skills Stage 5

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Vertical Skills - Stage 5 Competencies & Requirements

  1. I can tie these knots: water (tape), double fishermen’s, prussic, clove hitch and bowline.
    • Scouts can tie the knots to a mastery level with a firm feel to the knot, symmetry with no twists or cross-overs in the knot, with a 5–10 cm tail coming out of the knot.
  2. I can coil a climbing rope using a butterfly and a mountaineer method.
    • Scouts can tie the coil to a mastery level with consistent coil lengths and a proper whipping or finish.
    • The coil should be sufficient to be carried in a backpack, slung over one arm and shoulder and over the back and tied off around the body.
    • The coil must be able to uncoil freely without entanglements or knots and in short order.
    • The coils must be in order and of constant length and free of any twists.
  3. I can perform a safety inspection of a climbing helmet, harness, rope and carabiners.
    • Scouts know what to inspect on each of these items for wear, damage, improper working condition and missing components.
    • Helmet: all rivets and fasteners secure, all webbing in good condition, the shell is without cracks or defects, all buckles present and working, all size adjustment functions working.
    • Harness: all webbing in good condition with no cuts, defects or abrasions, all buckles present and in good condition with no cracks, defects or burs, all buckle adjustments working.
    • Rope: rope has no constrictions or blowouts; no core fibers showing through the sheathe; no abraded, cut or melted sheathe fibers; dynamic properties are intact; rope is the proper length (usually 60–70 metres); rope is not overly soiled by dirt or foreign contaminates such as oils or chemicals.
    • Carabiners: all working parts present, gate opens freely without sticking, on a locking gate the barrel works freely, no cracks of defects in the material, no metal burs or sharp edges.
  4. I can belay using a friction, (non-moving part) belay device such as a tube or auto-blocking device.
    • The Scout belayer can provide a continuous belay to a climber from the start to the finish of the climb when the climber unties from the rope.
    • The knowledge and skill of attaching and detaching the belay device to the rope is not required.
  5. I have attached a friction (non-moving part) rappel device to a rope and harness and used the device to rappel.
    • Scouts can properly feed the rope through the rappel device.
    • Correct attachment by carabiner from the device to the harness is made.
    • Proper hand and body position to operate the device is achieved and maintained during the rappel.
    • Tension by the belay safety rope is not required during the rappel, but a minimum of slack should be in the belay rope.
  6. I can lower a climber on a top rope down to the ground.
    • Scouts using a belay breaking device can lower a climber at a controlled rate and in a safe fashion.
    • Scouts can use proper verbal climbing commands and procedures before, during and at the end of the rappel.
  7. I have constructed and climbed in a “Swiss seat” improvised climbing harness made with tubular or tape webbing.
    • Scouts can correctly size and tie the knots to make a Swiss seat improvised climbing harness.
    • The harness is to be tied to the body with the correct leg loop and waist tightness.
    • A complete top rope climb and lower back down is to be made with the harness on.
    • The Scout climber is to experience full body weight suspended in the harness.
  8. I know the safety rules for bouldering.
    • Scouts can explain the rules for bouldering: wear a helmet, do not boulder alone or unsupervised, do not climb with feet over waist height, use a partner to spot climbers, and have a crash pad in place.
  9. I can set and use passive and natural climbing protection to build both top and bottom climbing pitch anchor point systems.
    • Scouts can use rocks, trees and man-made objects to as anchor points. Natural and man-made attachments must be inspected by Scouts for security.
    • Scouts must use properly mastered and tied knots (bowline, water knot, overhand, high-strength tie-off, etc.).
    • Scouts can demonstrate the use of manufactured passive climbing protection: nuts, hexes, stoppers, cams, etc.
    • Scouts can explain and correctly apply the principles of the anchor building acronym “SARENE-SA” (Solid Anchors, Redundant, Equalized, No Extension, Small Angles).
  10. I know the climbing-specific principles of Leave No Trace.
    • Scouts in their climbing practice demonstrate the climbing LNT principles.
    • Plan Ahead
      • Pick a climb that suits the skill level of your group to minimize the possibility of injury and need of rescue.
      • Use appropriate equipment thoroughly checked before the climb.
      • Find out about permits and practices; some locations do not allow drilling or anchors, or require permits.
      • Carpool to minimize overcrowding at the trailhead. Durable Surfaces
      • Ensure the staging area is large enough to accommodate your group; do not forget other groups or users may be also present.
      • Use quick draws to reduce wear on existing permanent anchors.
      • When bouldering, ensure the ground is durable so spotters or crash pads will not destroy vegetation.
      • Removal of rocks or landscaping to make a bouldering problem safe should be avoided.
      • Popular climbing routes have established descent trails—use them.
      • Do not wrap rope around trees where the friction can destroy the bark. Instead, tie a sling around the tree and run your rope through the sling with a rappel ring or carabiner.
    • Dispose of Waste Properly
      • Pack out worn out or discarded gear (such as old webbing or discarded tape).
      • Minimize chalk dust; keep chalk bags closed to prevent spills. Clean chalk spills.
      • Human waste is a problem around popular climbing areas. Go to the bathroom on the way to the climb to avoid the problem altogether.
      • Soil is often thin with little vegetative growth in rocky, arid or alpine climbing areas. Pack out all human waste. Create a human waste pack-out kit or use a commercial one; burying waste results in high concentrations of human waste catholes in a small, highly used area.
      • Urinate well away from the climbing site location; high concentrations of urine at the site make for an unpleasant environment for all.
    • Leave What You Find
      • Use removable climbing protection as much as possible.
      • Use fixed protection sparingly; for fixed protection, use earth-coloured webbing and coloured bolt hangers.
      • Before placing bolts, check with local land managers; it may not be legal or it may be required to use a hand drill rather than motorized drill.
      • If climbing a new route, avoid lichen-covered rock, vegetated cracks and areas that require cleaning.
      • Leave the rocks in place rather than force a route that will leave a noticeable path.
    • Respect Wildlife
      • Critical nesting sites are found in cliff faces for many birds; other animals use rock outcrops for shelter.
      • Be aware of seasonal rock site closures (mandatory and voluntary).
      • Keep alert for animals protecting their homes; change or abandon climbing routes to leave animals their space.
      • Be careful placing hands and feet; do not accidentally destroy a nest or get bitten by hidden wildlife and insects.
      • Considerate of Other Visitors
      • Consider climbing on weekdays or less-popular times.
      • Wear earth-tone clothes to minimize your visual impact while scurrying up a cliff face.
      • Minimize noise while waiting to climb or hanging out with your group.
      • Give other climbing parties plenty of room and time to climb at their pace, or politely ask if you can pass when it is convenient and safe.
  11. I have set up a 3:1 (or greater) rope pulley system.
    • Scouts can set up a pulley system that can raise the weight of an adult. The pulley system should be constructed out of equipment specifically engineered for climbing.
    • The system should not be tensioned on a climbing rope beyond the power of one person pulling.
  12. I understand the concepts, principles, physics and consequences of shock loading in climbing.
    • Scouts can explain shock loading: when an object in motion is suddenly met with an equal (or greater) and opposite force, the object (climber) in motion is halted very suddenly; the force of that sudden stop is shock loading.
    • Scouts can describe the effect shock loading has on climbing equipment and systems.
    • Scouts can describe the effect shock loading has on a belayer and climber.
    • Scouts can describe how to avoid or minimize shock loading from happening.