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Some clubs keep a stock of equipment which they lend or hire out to members.

This can often include items such as ice axes and crampons, or rock and ice climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, helmets and protection.

It is important to remember there are responsibilities in lending equipment to members – even more so if hiring it.

Clubs should make it clear that users of pooled equipment do so at their own risk, and that the users are responsible for checking it before and after use and recording its condition in a club equipment logbook. This logbook should be maintained as a record of all club equipment, with details including manufacturer, date and source of purchase, use and misuse. A member of the club should be designated to take responsibility for the log book and equipment, to ensure the book is kept up to date and that action is taken to dispose of gear which is damaged or which has reached the end of its manufacturer-recommended lifespan.

Remember: a novice club member may not be able to judge whether equipment is safe and useable, and more importantly could inadvertently damage equipment when using it or ‘servicing’ it. Therefore, it would be prudent to lend equipment only to members who are experienced enough to use it correctly.

Clubs should note that, if equipment is hired out on a financial basis rather than loaned for free, there may be a more stringent responsibility to ensure that the equipment is fit for purpose and clubs should take this into account when putting procedures in place.

Advice on responsibilities is contained in paragraphs 34 and 35 of our Safety & Liability Guidance for Clubs and Meetup Groups document.

  • All equipment should be individually labelled using Tough Tags  or similar.
  • All equipment should be individually registered in a club equipment logbook.
  • Equipment should be inspected by the user before and after use, in accordance with the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer of each individual piece of equipment.
  • Results of each inspection should be noted in the logbook, whether damaged or in good condition.
  • A club member should be designated to have responsibility for ensuring the logbook is kept up to date and for ensuring out-of-date or damaged equipment is disposed of appropriately.

The British Mountaineering Council has produced well-researched and authoritative technical advice on care and maintenance of equipment which can be accessed free of charge from their website. 

Of particular interest to clubs holding equipment will be the 36-page Care and Maintenance booklet.

The BMC also has a document which deals specifically with guidelines for club equipment.