Young Climbers

Climbing is part of our childhood: scaling trees, sneaking over walls, exploring rock pools, stepping-stone games - so you're already a natural! Having opportunities to develop your skills further is often the biggest obstacle.

Youth Participation Statement:

Parents and young participants should be aware that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Parents and participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own involvement.

Young Climbers

Young climbers can find it difficult to get involved in climbing, particularly if their parents, or persons with parental responsibility, are non-climbers. Some clubs do not want the responsibility of accepting people under 18 years old, as they are concerned about liability issues. It is therefore essential that written parental consent is given, and that both parent and child are fully aware of the activities to be undertaken and their associated risks. Advice on child protection issues, liability and event organisation is available from the BMC office. Check out the BMC website for clubs that welcome young members.

Young climbers must be fully aware of and accept the risks involved in climbing in the same way as adults. The more experienced and mature a child is, the more able they are to understand and manage risk.

Tuition and clubs

If tuition is being given to young novices then a greater burden of responsibility falls on the climber providing guidance, than if the novices were adults. This climber does not have to be qualified but must be competent in assisting the less experienced. If professional outdoor instruction is being given to minors then organisations delivering this must be registered with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA).

As well as BMC clubs, there are other organisations such as the youth service, schools and climbing walls where young people can participate on a regular basis. Once involved, the BMC can offer advice to adults and young participants through the BMC Area Youth Co-ordinator network on training, equipment and injury prevention.

The BMC has a Child Protection Policy and guidelines, which is designed to protect both young people and support those looking after them. The guidelines are followed whenever a BMC Youth Meet is run. The policy also helps those working with young people by specifying what constitutes good practice when working with this age group.

Young people and their parents should visit for more information.

Competition climbing

The BMC is involved in running indoor climbing competitions, which are open to everyone. Even if you feel that competition climbing is not for you, these events are a great opportunity to meet other young climbers living in your area.

The British Regional Youth Climbing Series (BRYCS) is for climbers aged 7 to 15 with regional events held throughout the country and a national final. Climbers aged 12 and upwards can also compete in the British Indoor Climbing Championships (BICC), and the British Bouldering Championships (BBC).

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