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New Code for Climbers Proposed

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has drafted a new code of responsbility for climbers and is asking for comments. The document has been drafted in response to growing concerns over liability for accidents, particularly from land owners, including many local authorities and other public bodies.

The MCofS has always taken the view that climbers and walkers should understand that these activities can pose dangers which go hand in hand with personal responsibility. The general participation statement says, ““The MCofS recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement”.

The MCofS is now attempting to clarify what this actually means for climbers and landowners with a much longer draft statement. The statement attempts to allay landowner’s fears of liability by stressing what climbing actually involves and that climbers operate a code of self-reliance.

The statement outlines the full range of climbing activities (Traditional and Sport); the importance of the MCofS risk statement for putting up and documenting new climbs and liability for our own actions. It states that climbers must risk-assess everything from the quality of any fixed equipment (pegs, slings or bolts) to loose rock, to route descriptions and grades. Finally there are guidelines for the development of sport venues based upon previous consultations amongst climbers by the MCofS. You can read the full statement on the MCofS website where climbers are encouraged to pitch in with their own comments.

Although this code only relates to climbers, the MCofS recently launched a short video highlighting a number of accident black spots that primarily affect walkers. You can watch the video here.

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.