Guide top rope climbing activities on artificial surfaces

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to guide participants in a top rope single pitch climbing activity on an artificial surface. This unit focuses on the application of planning skills to make suitable arrangements to guide a group through a climbing activity.


This unit applies to those working as climbing guides or assistant guides for private outdoor adventure companies in permanent or mobile facilities, or group leaders in school outdoor education programs in a range of controlled artificial conditions that have easy access to the top and bottom of the pitch. The climbing site should be free from hazards and complex set-up, and anchors should be fixed, obvious and easily accessible.

This unit may also apply to outdoor recreation leaders working for outdoor education or adventure providers; volunteer groups; not-for-profit organisations or government agencies.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Plan climbing activity.

1.1. Conduct relevant assessments to determine the conditionofparticipants.

1.2. Develop an activity plan, according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures, to meet participant's needs.

1.3. Select an appropriate activity site or location according to activity objectives, relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

1.4. Identify hazards associated with climbing on artificial surfaces and minimise risks to ensure personal safety of participants.

1.5. Access relevantsources to interpret detailed weather and environmental information to determine activity plan, where applicable.

1.6. Inform appropriate authorities before commencing the climbing activity.

2. Select equipment for the group.

2.1. Select equipment according to contextual issues and organisational policies and procedures and check serviceability.

2.2. Assess equipment for safety and suitability, and adjust and fit to ensure personal comfort.

2.3. Establish anchors and belay system, ensuring it is in the correct position for the activity.

2.4. Check safety and rescue equipment to ensure suitability to the group and the abseil.

3. Brief participants.

3.1. Communicate instructions and relevant information about the climbing activity in a manner suitable to the participants.

3.2. Demonstrate correct climbing, belaying and back-up belaying techniques.

3.3. Establish a suitable communication system for participants to use while climbing and belaying.

3.4. Outline safety procedures and safe areas and or boundaries for the activity.

3.5. Check and confirm participants are properly equipped for the climb.

4. Supervise climbing activity.

4.1. Monitor climbing, belaying and back-up belaying techniques to ensure safety of participants.

4.2. Identify potential hazards and decide how they can be overcome or avoided.

4.3. Monitor individual participant's performance and provide appropriate feedback.

4.4. Implement appropriate modifications to activity in regard to all variable factors that are monitored.

5. Complete post-activity responsibilities.

5.1. Retrieve, inspect and store equipment according to organisational policies and procedures.

5.2. Evaluate relevant aspects of climbing activity.

5.3. Identify potential areas of improvement for future climbing activities.

5.4. Review own performance and identify potential improvements.

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

consult with participants to plan a climbing activity that meets their needs

convey information about the safety aspects of the activity

interact with participants to create a safe and positive climbing environment

problem-solving skills to:

plan a suitable climbing activity

make decisions affecting activity including responding appropriately to non routine situations

planning and organising skills to:

source, allocate and coordinate resources, equipment and artificial pitch

organise participants into manageable groups for climbing and belaying

language and literacy skills to:

produce an activity plan

complete post activity participant and self evaluations

personal climbing skills to a high level of technical correctness to demonstrate and explain climbing and belaying techniques to participants

first aid and emergency response skills appropriate to the location to enable initial response to emergencies and personal health care.

Required knowledge

relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of climbing activities

site specific information to assist in planning and enable management of potential climbing hazards, and any special restrictions applying to the site

equipment types, characteristics and technology used for climbing on artificial surfaces, the advantages and disadvantages of the range of equipment, and factors affecting appropriate selection of equipment

clothing and footwear requirements for climbing activities to ensure comfort and safety

care and maintenance of climbing equipment to ensure prolonged life span and safety requirements

climbing techniques and common communication methods and calls used between climbers and belayers to reduce risk during climbing on artificial surfaces

belay systems, devices and anchors appropriate for single pitch artificial surfaces

technical climbing knowledge, such as techniques and procedures to suit the features of the surface

weather and environmental information to ascertain possible conditions and their affect on the activity, if appropriate

hazards that may be experienced in an artificial climbing environment

emergency procedures, potential hazards and obstacles relevant to the location to ensure safety of self and others.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

plans within activity constraints and guides and leads and monitors the group in a safe and professional manner

applies effective contingency management techniques to deal with a range of problems and issues that may arise during the climbing activity

encourages and responds to participant feedback and evaluates and reflects on own guiding performance to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure top rope that climbing activities reflect the needs of a range of participants and are of sufficient duration to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

resources and information regarding participants and location to accurately plan, guide and document climbing activities for a variety of participants

an artificial climbing site suitable for the participants

a group of participants to take part in the climbing activity

equipment such as harnesses, helmets, belay devices, ropes, gloves and karabiners.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

observation of interacting with a group of participants, including conveying information for safe participation

oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of all climbing activities

observation of dealing with contingencies such as changing weather conditions and equipment failure

review of climbing activity plans

third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

SISOCLA303A Establish belays for climbing on artificial surfaces.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Condition of participants may include:

skill level

previous experience

physical capabilities

fitness level


injuries and illnesses.

Plan may include:

activity aims and objectives

date, time and duration

location or site

guide and participant ratios



food and water

weather details

participant information

safety requirements.

Relevant legislation may include:

occupational health and safety

permits or permission for access

environmental regulations.

Organisational policies and procedures may include:

occupational health and safety

time constraints

use and maintenance of equipment

communication protocols

confidentiality of participant information

guide and participant ratios

emergency and safety procedures

code of ethics.

Activity objectives may include:

self improvement

meeting people

fitness targets

adventure and recreation.

Hazards may include:

temperature extremes

slippery or unstable terrain

dangerous animals and insects

group management hazards.

Artificial surfaces may include:

portable or fixed walls

fixed towers or bridges

indoor or outdoor.

Risks may include:


heat exhaustion



equipment failure.

Relevant sources may include:

Bureau of Meteorology


land managers or agencies

local knowledge.

Weather and environmental information may include:

satellite images

daily and weekly forecasts

maximum and minimum temperatures

weather warnings

event warnings

river levels

synoptic charts.

Contextual issues may include:

weather conditions, including times




trip distance and duration

group objectives

group size.

Appropriate authorities may include:

facility managers


Equipment may include:



belay devices

quick draws


chalk and chalk bag


rope protectors


rescue pulley


Belay system may include:

top belay

bottom belay

bottom anchor


Relevant information may include:

personal equipment requirements

safety procedures

route description

preventative measures for risks

possible hazards

climbing and belaying techniques


rules and codes.

Communication system may include:



hand signals


Safety procedures may include:

A - anchors - secure and suitable to application

B - buckles - locked as per manufacturers recommendations

C - connector - locked, secured and orientated

D - devices - threaded correctly and secured

E - organisation specific procedures, including; end or rope knots, friction hitches, belayer ready, helmet chin strap, clothing, jewellery and hair secured.

F- friend - cross check.

Participant's performance may include:

use of appropriate communication system

climbing technique


negotiation of hazards

use of equipment.

Variable factors may include:

change of weather

equipment failure

participant's needs

climbing conditions.

Relevant aspects may include:


planning process

activity site


equipment selection

clothing selection

food selection

instructional content

instructional technique

group feedback

directing techniques

rescue techniques employed.


Outdoor Recreation

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.