The council climbing committee is dedicated to providing quality training and activities above and beyond the basic camping experiences of the Boy Scouts of America. Climbing programs are operated within the BSA. 

climb on safelyClimb On Safey: A Guide to Unit Climbing and Repelling is the Boy Scouts of America’s procedure for organizing BSA climbing/rappelling activities at a natural site or a specifically designed facility, such as a climbing wall or tower.  All unit-sponsored/planned climbing activities, regardless of where they are held, falls under Climb On Safey: A Guide to Unit Climbing and Repelling. This applies to a single unit, or multiple units, that may be participating in a joint unit climbing activity.

Climbing Training

There is inherent risk in climbing and rappelling. With proper training and management, that risk can be minimized. 

                Register for Climbing Training

Course
Prerequisite(s)
Course Length
Certification Length
Allows
Description
Taught by

Introduction Course for Climbing and COPE

Climb On Safely

None

Online: 15 min

2 years

• Basic understanding of BSA Climbing Program Policies
Climb On Safely online training is an orientation only, and does not constitute training on how to climb or rappel. 

Climb On Safely covers eight key safety points about climbing and rappelling and is required training for at least one adult leader on any type of Scouting outing that involves climbing or rappelling. 

BSA Online Learning Center
my.scouting.org

Foundation Courses for COPE and Climbing

COPE and Climbing Foundation Level I

• Climb on Safely taken online
• age 18+
• climbing experience recommended

17 hrs

1  year

• staff a climbing or COPE event with direct Level 2 or climbing director supervision

The training will cover the skills and information needed to staff LOW COPE as well as Climbing and Rappelling activities on Artificial Surfaces (towers and walls).  
Covers: Leave No Trace, Challenge By Choice & Setting Goals, Age Appropriate Guidelines, Warm-ups and Initiative Games, Spotting, Dealing with Fear, Safety Measures & Accident Prevention, Life Safety Systems, Climbing and Rappelling (Tower/Wall), Equipment Control & Inventory, Pre-use Inspections and Reporting, Effective Teaching Using EDGE

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COPE and Climbing Foundation Level II • COPE and Climbing Foundation Level I
• age 21+
14 hrs 3 yrs

• supervise low COPE, bouldering, and climbing and rappelling activities on artificial surfaces (towers and walls) 
• teach Climbing Merit Badge

The training will test current COPE and Climbing knowledge and skills. Additionally, the course will cover the skills and information needed to supervise low COPE activities as well as Climbing and Rappelling activities on Artificial Surfaces (Towers and Walls) at permissible locations.  

  • Council COPE and Climbing Committee and Council COPE and Climbing Program Trainer
Youth Course:
Cope and Climbing Foundation Instructor in Training (IIT)

• Climb on Safely taken online
• age 16-17
• COPE experience recommended
• Earned the Climbing Merit Badge recommended

  1 year

• While COPE and climbing events NEED to be staffed by a qualified Level 2 and a qualified Level 1, IITs can provide ADDITIONAL support COPE and climbing events.

The training will cover the skills and information needed to staff LOW COPE as well as Climbing and Rappelling activities on Artificial Surfaces (Towers and Walls).  
Covers: Leave No Trace, Challenge By Choice & Setting Goals, Age Appropriate Guidelines, Warm-ups and Initiative Games, Spotting, Dealing with Fear, Safety Measures & Accident Prevention, Life Safety Systems, Climbing and Rappelling (Tower/Wall), Equipment Control & Inventory, Pre-use Inspections and Reporting, Effective Teaching Using EDGE
Qualified Instructor or Council COPE and Climbing Committee 

Climbing 

Youth Course:
Climbing Instructor in Training (IIT)

• Climb on Safely taken online
• age 16-17
• COPE experience recommended
• Earned the Climbing Merit Badge recommended
    While Climbing events NEED to be staffed by a qualified Level 2 and a qualified Level 1, Climbing IITs can provide ADDITIONAL support Climbing events. Learn to teach Scouts how to climb and rappel at the unit, district or council level.
Topics covered: Site Selection & Management, Environmental Conditions, Rock Climbing & Technique, Anchoring, Bouldering, Teaching Climb On Safely, Teaching Climbing Merit Badge
Qualified Instructor or Council COPE and Climbing Committee 

Climbing Level I

• Climb on Safely taken online
• age 18+
• climbing experience recommended

9.5 hrs

1 yr

• Staff real rock programs, council climbing towers, council climbing walls, and council bouldering walls with a Level 2 or climbing director present
• teach Climbing Merit Badge

Learn to teach Scouts how to climb and rappel at the unit, district or council level. The training covers the skills and information needed to staff any BSA Climbing Program
topics covered: Site Selection & Management, Environmental Conditions, Rock Climbing & Technique, Anchoring, Bouldering, Teaching Climb On Safely, Teaching Climbing Merit Badge

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Climbing Level II

• Climbing Level 1
• COPE Level 1
• COPE and Climbing Foundation Level 1 or COPE and Climbing Foundation Level 2 
• age 21+

 

21 hrs

3 yrs

• supervise BSA climbing and rappelling activities with at least one additional climbing instructor to assist the lead Instructor for unit-based climbing events to maintain a 6:1 youth to adult ratio.
• teach Climbing Merit Badge

• tests current climbing knowledge and skills.
• covers the skills and information needed to supervise BSA climbing activities at permissible locations.
• expands Level 1 knowledge using troop or personal equipment and gear brought by the participant. Training expands on existing knowledge and focuses on event and site management and incident resolution so that an Instructor may lead a Unit properly and with confidence in a natural area.
• topics covered: site selection and management, rock climbing and technique,  anchoring,  standards recap

COPE and Climbing Program Trainer

Council Climbing Committee and Council COPE and Climbing Program Trainer

Climbing Director

• At least COPE Level 1, Climbing Level 1, or COPE and Climbing Foundation Level 1
• Climb on Safely
• age 21+

2 weekends OR 1 week-long course

5 yrs

• staff climbing/rappelling bouldering, natural rock, indoor and tower activities
• function as Lead Instructor with at least one additional Climbing Instructor to assist the Lead Instructor for unit-based climbing events to maintain a 6:1 youth to adult ratio.
• teach Climbing Merit Badge

• lead climbing/rappelling bouldering, natural rock, indoor and tower activities
• function as Lead Instructor with at least one additional Climbing Instructor to assist the Lead Instructor for unit based climbing events to maintain a 6:1 youth to adult ratio.
• teach Climbing Merit Badge

• Supervise BSA Climbing and Rappelling activities

• tests current climbing knowledge and skills.
• covers skills and information needed to supervise BSA Climbing activities at permissible locations.
• expands Level 1 knowledge using troop or personal equipment and gear brought by the participant. Training expands on existing knowledge and focuses on event and site management and incident resolution so that an Instructor may lead a Unit properly and with confidence in a natural area.
• topics covered: site selection and management, rock climbing and technique,  anchoring,  standards recap

National Camping School

COPE

Youth Course:
COPE Instructor in Training (IIT)
• Climb on Safely
• age 16-17,
• COPE and climbing experience recommended
   

• while COPE events need to be staffed by a qualified Level 2 and a qualified Level 1, COPE IITs
can provide additional support COPE events. 

• provides an introduction to COPE, instilling the goals of COPE, NCAP Standards, how to sequence and process a group, trust activities, zip line, Low COPE and an introduction to High COPE. 
• Topics covered: Goals & Features of COPE, Sequencing & Processing, Stories & Tall Tales, Trust Activities, Low Course Activities, High Course Activities
Qualified Instructor or Council COPE Committee 

COPE Level I

• Climb on Safely
• COPE and climbing experience recommended
• age 18+

16.5 hrs

1 yr

• staff council COPE programs, council climbing towers, council climbing walls, and council bouldering walls with a level 2 or climbing director present

 

• covers the skills and information needed to staff any BSA climbing program
• provides an introduction to COPE, instilling the goals of COPE, NCAP Standards, how to sequence and process a group, trust activities, zip line, Low COPE and an introduction to High COPE. 
• topics covered: Goals & Features of COPE, Sequencing & Processing, Stories & Tall Tales, Trust Activities, Low Course Activities, High Course Activities

Qualified Instructor or Council COPE Committee

COPE Level II

• Climbing Level 1, COPE Level 1, COPE and Climbing Foundation Level 1, OR COPE and Climbing Foundation Level 2 
• age 21+

16 hrs

3 yrs

• lead low COPE and high COPE events

• function as Lead Instructor for COPE events with the assistance of at least one additional Level 1 or 2 COPE Instructor to maintain a 12:1 youth-to-instructor ratio for Low COPE and a 6:1 youth-to-instructor ratio for High COPE. 6:1 youth to adult ratio.

• Supervise BSA COPE activities
• teach the Climbing Merit Badge

• tests current COPE knowledge and skills 
• covers the skills and information needed to supervise BSA COPE activities at permissible locations.
• expand on the knowledge learned in COPE Instructor 1, focusing on sequencing, low and high COPE incident resolution, zip line emergency procedures, COPE course pre-use inspection, and set-up. 
• topics covered: Goals & Features of COPE, Group Development, Sequencing & Processing 2 hours Stories & Tall Tales, Trust Activities, Low Course Activities, High Course Activities,  Standards Recap

Council COPE Committee and Council COPE and Climbing Program Trainer

COPE Director

• COPE and Climbing Foundation Level II
• Climbing Level II
• age 21+

2 weekends or 1 week-long course

5 yrs

• lead low COPE and high COPE events
• function as Lead Instructor for COPE events with the assistance of at least one additional Level 1 or 2 COPE Instructor to maintain a 12:1 youth-to-instructor ratio for Low COPE and a 6:1 youth-to-instructor ratio for High COPE. 6:1 youth to adult ratio.

COPE and Climbing Foundations Level 2" and "Climbing Level 2" . ADD "At Least COPE Level 1, Climbing Level 1, or COPE AND Climbing Foundation Level 1", Climb on Safely

• tests current COPE knowledge and skills. Additionally, the course will cover the skills and information needed to supervise BSA COPE activities at permissible locations.
• expands on the knowledge learned in COPE Instructor 1, focusing on sequencing, low and high COPE incident resolution, zip line emergency procedures, COPE course pre-use inspection, and set-up. 
• Topics covered: Goals & Features of COPE, Group Development, Sequencing & Processing 2 hours Stories & Tall Tales, Trust Activities, Low Course Activities, High Course Activities,  Standards Recap

National Camping School

 

Resources

About the Climbing Committee

The climbing committee conducts climbing training and supports climbing activities at camporees, summer camp, Order of the Arrow events, and thousands of unit climbing events.

 

Contacts


Council Climbing Chair
Chris Hanson

 

Ted Hunn
Climbing Committee Staff Adviser
edward.hunn@scouting.org