Safety on MKMC Activities

BMC LogoParticipation Statement: “Climbing, hill walking 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.”

MKMC ‘The Club’ endorses the BMC Participation Statement, above. It is impossible to remove all of the risk for the mountaineering and other activities that MKMC members enjoy, either with the Club or individually.

Members and guests each have a duty of care to themselves, climbing partners, other members of the Club and the general public to protect all those mentioned from reasonably foreseeable risks. Members and guests all need to understand these risks so they can all play their part in reducing them to a reasonable level. The exception is novices, as defined below, who may not have the knowledge to fully understand the risks involved. It falls on those looking after or with novices to appropriately manage the risks.

MKMC – Safety Vision

MKMC is basically a bunch of friends who enjoy all aspects of mountaineering with each other. The Club does not want, or intend, to say who can or cannot do various mountaineering activities. The Club wants its members to look out for each other and help anyone, who maybe doing something unsafe, to improve; thereby protecting themselves and others, while promoting Mountain Training good practice.

If you see a fellow member of our Club doing anything that you feel is unsafe, please raise it with them. If you do not feel comfortable raising the issue with the person concerned, please raise it with a committee member. If you feel the member concerned has not responded to your safety feedback please bring this to the attention of the committee.

If a fellow member of the Club approaches you and points out an unsafe act or questions you about any aspect of safety, please listen to them. Please do not get defensive, but explain why you are doing something. You may have a reason that is not obvious to them. Please be open to learning from each other.

If repeated unsafe practice is reported to the committee then the committee will speak to the Member concerned and ask them to improve their safety practices within a set time period. If no long-term improvement is made then the committee may begin a formal complaint, following our complaint procedure – section 7 of MKMC Constitution.

MKMC Log Book

The Club has a log book for use on Club trips. Its primary purpose is to record the group membership, contact details, route/climbing areas where members will be each day and intended return time. Should a group not return to the hut/campsite by dusk/dark, or their stated return time, this information will be passed to mountain rescue. Its secondary purpose is to provide information for the trip organiser to write up the trip report for the Club website!

It is for members to ensure that their name, contact details and route/climbing area and anticipated return time is entered into the log book. Members are responsible for their guests and should ensure that their guest details are also entered. It is not sufficient to tell the trip organiser.

A message on the trip WhatsApp group is ideal to inform all others on the trip about a groups status. This should be done:

  • When a group is off the hill/crag and is not immediately returning to the hut/campsite (i.e. impromptu meal in a pub).
  • If a group is delayed or moving slower than anticipated.
  • Something has gone wrong and the group is dealing with it themselves.

However, in the hills and mountains data signals can be patchy so, depending on data reception at the hut/campsite, an additional text message direct to the trip organiser and another committee member maybe a sensible precaution.

Coaching/Mentoring Novices

A novice is someone new to an activity or elements of an activity – where there are additional risks associated with those new elements. This includes experienced Club Members taking part in a new activity i.e. an experienced hill walker going on their first winter hill walk above the snowline using ice axe and crampons.

Not all Members will want to coach/mentor novices all the time; they will often want to do their own activity. There should be no expectation on anyone to coach/mentor unless they specifically want to; or have volunteered to organise, or assist on, a meet that is aimed at novices (e.g. introduction to outdoor rock).

Novices should want to learn and will benefit from more experienced Members’ knowledge and experience. However, Members must recognise the limits of their knowledge and experience and stay within them. Members must not coach or mentor novices unless they are 100% sure, and following good practice as shown in the official handbooks of Mountain Training.* If a Member is unsure, be honest and refer the novice onto someone else who may or to the appropriate Mountain Training handbook.

Developing Ourselves

There will be times when all of us want to develop and that will involve trying something for the first time. Walking further, going for that first trail run, first scramble, climb or lead climb (in or outdoors). Ease off on the distance, height or grade so you can concentrate on the new element of your activity.

If a Member or guest is going to lead a trad climb or scrambling route they must ensure that they know how to place protection and build belays, to the required standard, before they start climbing. For Sport climbing know how to strip a route before they start climbing. Lead climbing can be very dangerous. Learn from experienced members and/or take a course with a suitably qualified climbing or mountaineering instructor.

Adopted by the committee on 28 June 2023

* Hillwalking, Navigation in the Mountains, Rock Climbing and Winter Skills.