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When can we climb again?

Monday 11th May 2020, 12:25pm

The honest answer to “When can I can climb again?”

Thank you for following the current advice and adhering to the restrictions we have been living with in recent weeks. It has been extremely hard for us to ask people to stay at home and not venture out to the crags or mountains, and to see our climbing walls close their doors, but from all of us here at ClimbScotland, we would like to say thank you to you all for being safe, staying at home and looking after our community.

How long till I can climb again?

The short and honest answer is, we don’t know yet. We don’t know when the restrictions will be lifted as this continues to change, but it is likely that any lifting of restrictions will be phased.  

However, everyone in our industry is working hard to prepare for our return to climbing, outdoors and in. The Association of British Climbing walls (ABC) is leading an initiative to look at Government advice as it evolves and create a set of guidelines for their climbing walls that will allow them to reopen when the time comes. The ABC has created five working groups to look at each area of the industry: Financial, Safe Operations, Groups and Competitions, Research and Communication.

These working groups are working with Mountaineering Scotland, The BMC, ABCTT, Mountain Training, UK Active and the Outdoor Industry Association within the UK.

Led by ABC Chairman, Rich Emerson, they released this statement: “We will ultimately provide guidelines for safe opening and operational procedures to our members and other climbing walls. Our guidelines will be based on those that are imposed on the fitness sector and have been agreed with Public Health and the Governments across the UK.

“With government support we’ve worked hard to stabilise the situation and, over the past few weeks have started to look at how we can reopen in a way that is safe for our customers and staff. We know that our customers want us back as much as we want to be back.

In Scotland some of our walls are ABC members, but some are not. However, we are working with the Scottish Climbing Wall Network to engage with all Scottish climbing walls and support them as they prepare to reopen their doors.

What about outdoor climbing?

As stated above, the return to climbing will likely be phased. While we work together to push for a reopening to climbing and hillwalking as soon as possible, it is important that our community remains seen as responsible and considerate by adhering to the current lockdown guidance. Mountaineering Scotland is working with other outdoor sports and Scottish Mountain Rescue to establish a joined-up approach to how we manage the transition out of lockdown safely.

In a statement from Mountaineering Scotland, CEO Stuart Younie said: “Any move to ease restrictions will need to provide guidance on how we can keep safe to avoid the potential transmission of the virus and also to behave responsibly and help avoid the need to call out mountain rescue volunteers and emergency services.

“Looking at what has been happening in other countries in Europe and across the world, there is a strong possibility that any easing of restrictions will be phased and, for outdoor sports, this may mean advice on what activities are more appropriate in the early stages, based on an assessment of risk.”

Where do climbing clubs fit in?

We will be contacting all our clubs with a short questionnaire to establish the impact of the current situation on their organisations and what support they may need. We can then begin to work with our clubs on ways they can begin to operate safely within the guidelines.

All our climbing clubs rely on support from volunteers, parents and generous climbers from the community. If you would like to help support a local club, please contact us and we can put you in touch with your local club.

What can I do for now?

At the moment we can all do our bit to fight this virus, by staying at home, following physical distancing measures and protecting the NHS and our rescue services.

Keep informed by staying up to date with the evolving guidelines and keep an eye on the Mountaineering Scotland website which we will be reviewing and updating as we received more information about how the easing of restrictions will be managed. Remember that advice in England may be different to that in Scotland, so please look to follow advice from the Scottish Government and Mountaineering Scotland first.

Keep in touch with us. ClimbScotland enjoys engaging with our members and the wider Scottish climbing community through our social media channels and e-news so please support us by contributing and sharing.

Again, from all of us here at ClimbScotland, thank you for staying at home and staying safe and putting your activities temporarily on hold whilst we all get through the current crisis.