/ High Ropes Course - SPA suitable?

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Parrys_apprentice - on 18 Jun 2012
A centre near us only uses SPA holders to work on it's high ropes course.

I would think that CWA would be an equally suitable award in terms of technical rope skills and general at-height safety. I also realise that many places do perfectly adequate in-house training.

When I asked why they only use SPA holders, the reason was that SPA is the only award that will hold up in a court, should there be an incident.

Aside from the fact that the award is fairly irrelevant if you drop someone, what on earth do they mean?

The guy at the top is fairly well connected so perhaps he knows more than I do about incidents that have happened or something, but this doesn't make much sense to me.

Anyone got experience of technical advice in this area? What do you say?
jezb1 - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice: A much more relevant award would be an ERCA one.
Scarab9 - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

I've not done either though I've looked into them, and from what I gather the CWA is very basic when it comes to ropework. I don't think it's the same level as an SPA. There's generally just more to an SPA too. Also he might be right that if there was a claim that an SPA is taken better than the CWA though that may be outdated.
tipsy - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

I personally think neither really offer the appropriate level of technical ropework expertise, and all high ropes courses should really be staffed by fully qualified IFMGA members with at least 10 years of experience in the greater ranges...
tipsy - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to tipsy: Also AMI members should probably be allowed to at least work in the kit room and the kitchens.
oggi on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice: As always there is no simple answer but an SPA is not the sole answer to this. The "guy at the top" in incorrect about the court bit. They should have an appropriate technical advisor (probably an MIA or ERCA trainer with other expertise to back up their qualification) and they will be advising on suitable competence for instructors. It is not about any particular qualification it is about competence.

Doug
jfmchivall - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to oggi:

Definitely. A qualification is only one way to show competency. Other routes to competence are recognised, and will "stand up in court". If the boss wants bits of paper, then given that there is nothing in the SPA syllabus that covers high ropes courses, I would have thought a ERCA ticket would be far more relevant.
Parrys_apprentice - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to oggi:

The guy at the top who hasnt even an spa is to my knowledge ignoring a member of staff (not technical advisor) who holds Mia and Erca trainer. Either the chap at the top is a fool or he knows something at his lofty level that others don't.

muppetfilter - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice: The problem with the MIA and infact all climbing/ mountaineering awards is that they have little relevance to cables, swages, wedge sockets, tirfors, bolts and all the other industrial rigging gear used in the setup of professional high ropes courses. The LOLER (lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations) section 5 specifically covers man riding (a generic term) and is more applicable to the subject.
Parrys_apprentice - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:

So spa would seem ridiculous with that in mind. Not suited at all
GrahamD - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

The main thing a high ropes supervisor does is instruct people how to put on a harness properly. For that, a SPA should be perfect.
Neil Williams - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

"When I asked why they only use SPA holders, the reason was that SPA is the only award that will hold up in a court, should there be an incident."

Plenty of places use a local qualification...

Neil
Parrys_apprentice - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

more info; apparently their reasoning is that if they are seen to "lower their standards"* and then something goes wrong, then that decision will be questioned and those responsible for that decision in the dock.

*using CWA or site-specific as lowering standards is obviously a debatable point anyway, but this is how they see it.

Talk about fear making the decisions. I wouldn't see it as a lowering of standards but a more rounded approach taking account of new(ish) awards and industry best practice.
Neil Williams - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

CWA isn't really lowering standards. In some ways CWA goes into more detail regarding indoor stuff than SPA does.

But I see what they mean. If you've set something, it's very hard to climb down (ahem) from it without being questioned, as you *would*, like it or not, be questioned if something did happen, usually by people who know less about the issue than you.

Neil
muppetfilter - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:

As I mentioned before the use of some common gear is the only similarity, ropes courses are more akin to industrial fall arrest than climbing. The aspect I am curious about is the provision of rescue to clients.
Wide_Mouth_Frog - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:
What rope work do you learn on a CWA? How to belay, tie in, clip draws and.....errrr.....now I'm struggling
Baron Weasel - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice: As said above, ERCA (European Ropes Course Association) offerthe most appropriate training and qualifications for high ropes courses www.erca.cc/cms.php?id=1

I work on a high ropes course and SPA doesn't count for toffee in my employers eyes and quite rightly as it has absolutely no relevance to the job I do. IRATA hassome relevance to the rescue side of things - but is not the same.

ERCA level 1 = basic course instructor
ERCA level 2 = rescue/assistance

The Baron
Moggsy on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: LOLER won't help when a 12 year old is dangling in his harness though? It's just about equipment maintenance ans inspection.
Moggsy on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to Parrys_apprentice)
>
> fully qualified IFMGA members with at least 10 years of experience in the greater ranges...

and entry would be 100 instead of 10.
muppetfilter - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to craig.morris22: I referenced loler regs in relation to the construction and rigging of high ropes courses pointing out it is much closer to industrial fall arrest than any facet of climbing other than Via Ferrata. Loler regulations do actually relate to harnesses and any other equipment that is used to suspend a load (the 12 year old child) if you didn't notice I actually posted a question about the rescue provision on such sites. Obviously the safety has to come under scrutiny with it being a new industry and the fatality last year, not to forget the "quality" safety standards shown on the centre parcs TV advert.
Personally I know a little bit about rescue and what is available on the market in the uk and overseas and wondered which products/kits or techniques they use.
Baron Weasel - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: At my place we normally refer to assistance or lowering instead of rescue, and have a range of options available. 999 out of 1000 we would normally get the participant back to the start of the course or to the end (continous belay system btw). Failing this we have strategic points where we have ladder access and can belay a customer down using an ID. Failing this we can directly lower with an ID from a platform. If a customer is stuck between platforms we can use a chain lever hoist to transfer the customer from the wire and then belay them down with the ID. Final resort (think Epileptic seizure/heart attack on awkward point to lower from)then we can lower ourselves with customer on the ID, but have a seperate rope connected to an ASAP with an Absorbica as back up. We do practice all of these to make sure we are slick, but would be very suprised if we ever do more than lower somebody from a platform with the ID.

I understand some courses still cut lanyards instead of using a lever hoist.

Hope that answers your question Muppetfilter!

The Baron Weasel
The_Boy_ODwyer - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Parrys_apprentice:
I hold an SPA and work at a climbing wall. The ability to place a nut and rig a decent bottom rope is of no relevance to high ropes centres surely?
I've known climbing walls that will only hire SPA holders and not CWA's, but their justification has always been that an SPA holder is assumed to be a more rounded and experienced climber. Can't say I agree...
FB - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to The_Boy_ODwyer: I'mCWA assessed and spa trained and as far as I can tell the awards are differant with overlap IMO I think they should make SPA outside cragg climbing and CWA walls etc. They also need to start to offer more NGB style awards to cover the newer activities available like High ropes, Crate stacking etc but this won't change the need for site spacific training/inductions for staff.
jezb1 - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to FB:
> They also need to start to offer more NGB style awards to cover the newer activities available like High ropes, Crate stacking etc but this won't change the need for site spacific training/inductions for staff.

ERCA....

FB - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to jezb1: fair enough
FB - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to jezb1: Its not a well advertised quali! Would it not be better for MLT to offer one so all our training is together?
highclimber - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to FB: Yeah that's exactly what the outdoor industry needs - More hoops for people to jump through to line the NGB's pockets! why do people think more qualifications means less incidents?
ads.ukclimbing.com
muppetfilter - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to highclimber: There is nothing hoop-like about standardising the delivery and assessment of the skills needed to keep paying clients safe.... I think you will struggle to find a job that doesnt require some form of training or assessment.

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