Glasgow Gorillas Covid-19 Policy

Glasgow Gorillas

Covid 19 strategy – Return to club activity

Club group activity

The procedures below have been prepared by the The Glasgow Gorillas specifically for club activity.  They are based on solid research from the Association of British Climbing walls (ABC) and government guidelines and requirements.  They should be read in conjunction with ‘ABC Guidelines’ submitted to the government through UK Active. 

  1. Government Requirements – mandatory.  These are practices that have been imposed on the industry or have become commonly expected.  You must comply with guidance from the Scottish Government.
  2. Group adaptations – recommended.  These practices have been adapted to the specifics of the group environment and are practices that you should seriously consider.  If you decide not to comply, we recommend that you complete a full risk assessment.
  3. Other practices for consideration.  These are practices that have been identified through our work that may help with member perception or management but the evidence for them helping to stop virus transmission is weak or mixed.


Updating these Procedures


As government advice is either developed or changed, we will reflect these changes and update where needed.

1. Hygiene


a. Government requirements – mandatory

Hand sanitiser or soap wash
Hand Sanitiser (either from gels or water and soaps) will be requested and strongly advised to be brought by ALL members, and used regularly. As per Government and the Mountain safety Group guidance we will seek members to wash/ sanitise their hands before and after each session/ touching of shared equipment, and will remind everyone to avoid touching their face. Government Advice Scientific Article
Ropes, harnesses etc
We should ensure that hand sanitiser is requested for customers to use both before and after renting any equipment. Any equipment used will then be quarantined for 72 hours.

b. Group adaptation – recommended

Where the club has equipment, there may be sanitising spray and disposable cloths available for members to clean any hard surfaces if they wish.

c. Other practices for consideration

Liquid Chalk
There is a great deal of talk about the value of liquid chalk. We do not believe that there will be agreed proof that liquid chalk is an appropriate way to sanitise hands but we do believe that it will be a useful back up for members.    Various manufacturers have liquid chalk products with above 70% alcohol content. Due to the way chalk is applied by a climber (before not after a climb) it should not replace hand washing/sanitising. If a customer wishes to use liquid chalk the ABC can find no evidence that it will increase any risk of COVID 19 transmission. Whether it will reduce transmission is still unproven.   Gym Climber produced a good article on the efficacy of chalk.

2. Capacity Management

a. Government requirements – mandatory

1 person per 9 Sq m of a full publicly accessible indoor area
UK Active have been agreeing guidelines for the gym and fitness sector.  We will adhere to the requirements set by the indoor facility and government guidelines.  We may decide to enhance this requirement, but we cannot go above it in terms of customer density stated by the climbing facility.
Social distancing in a full publicly accessible outdoor area
We will adhere to the limits set by government guidelines for social distancing and group sizes as this progresses. We may decide to enhance our requirements however we cannot breach government guidelines.

b.  Group adaptation – recommended

Managing Capacity indoors
Once the allowed customer density has been set, we would encourage members to self-police social distancing rather than expect staff to force strict adherence or through, for example, closing off routes or blocs.
Managing Capacity outdoors
When at the crag there may be other climbers around, we would encourage members to self-police social distancing.   There may be different social distancing guidance for under 18s and over 18s, however we would expect all members to self-police their own social distancing.

3. Social Distancing


a. Government requirements – mandatory

Masks for staff or customers
We will adhere to the wearing of masks where required by government guidance or set by the climbing facility. We may choose to enhance our requirements, however we cannot refuse if those requirements are set externally.

b. Group adaptation – recommended

First Aid
We may need Full PPE to be available with each first aid kit.  This should include: Mask, gloves and protective glasses.  If the first aider is going to have to touch or get closer than 2m from the injured party, they should don the PPE.  If the first aider deems the situation too urgent they should continue with administering first aid and medical advice should be sought afterwards.   Used PPE should be disposed of in line with government guidelines.   First Responder Guidance Disposal guidelines Advice on CPR

4. Coaching and instructing – both youth and adults


The principle with coaching and instructing is that ‘group activity’ should only return when social distance and hygiene requirements can be reasonably assured.  Clearly, it is easier to adhere to these guidelines on some activities rather than others. When indoors, it will then be up to the climbing facility to decide when external groups can return and what form they will be allowing.

Below the ABC give some examples of typical coaching and instructing situations, highlighting how a risk assessment might lead to them returning.  

Examples of courses they might bring back early, though they may make changes for example to ratio:

  • Performance Squad – youngsters who are competent climbers, who understand the climbing wall environment and with whom your coaches have a good relationship.
  • Bouldering induction courses – small groups of adults where the coach and individuals can easily maintain social distance.
  • Level 4 and 5 NICAS and NIBAS courses – young independent climbers who are competent and well known to coaches.
  • Movement and technique – courses where a coach helps participants to improve their climbing efficiency.
  • 1 to 1 Coaching – where social distancing should be relatively easy to manage.

Examples of courses where social distancing may be more problematic so they may choose to wait until these requirements have been reduced:

  • Introduction to top roping – beginners who want to learn to climb with ropes where the instructor will have to be close to belayers.
  • NICAS level 1-3 – less experienced roped climbers where the instructor will/may have to step in closely to manage safety.
  • Straight to lead – courses where participants go from never climbed before to leading.

We are therefore waiting on guidance from the climbing facilities on when and how we can return to indoor climbing sessions.

Outdoor sessions will see similar challenges, however we will work within government guidelines to be able to appropriate sessions as things develop.

* We will update this guidance when necessary