The ClimbSmart!™ program was created by ORCA in 1993 and the term and logo first appeared in print in Climbing magazine and then Rock & Ice magazine in July and August of that year. The CWA now maintains the ClimbSmart!™ program, a national public awareness campaign addressing the elements of risk in climbing sports, climbers’ safety, and personal responsibility.
The CWA has developed a four point universal warning for climbing sports:
Climbing is Inherently Dangerous
In a growing world of adventure sports, people are entering the sport of climbing without fully comprehending its true dangers. Climbing offers many positive benefits and rewards such as adventure, enjoyment, fitness, and success. Climbing also offers risks, including the risk of injury or death, which cannot be entirely eliminated from the sport. You must be willing to accept both the risks and the rewards of climbing.
Qualified Instruction Is Required
In the past, climbers developed their knowledge, skills, and judgment through years of mentoring, training, and exposure to a variety of environments and experiences. The proliferation of advanced equipment, improved techniques, and access to climbing venues, has made climbing available to many more people. New climbers, for example, are now able to develop the ability to ascend difficult climbs rapidly through intensive indoor training. However, these new climbers may lack the knowledge, breadth of experience, and good judgment that builds a solid foundation to be a successful climber or mountaineer in unpredictable outdoor environments. If you are unfamiliar with any aspect of climbing, seek qualified instruction.
Use Equipment in Accordance With the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Manufacturers and distributors of gear find that climbing equipment is sometimes used incorrectly. Please use climbing equipment for its intended purpose and according to the manufacturer’s instructions for use, care, inspection, and retirement.
Your Safety is Your Responsibility
If you climb, you must assume personal responsibility for your own safety. You must acquire knowledge about climbing, develop climbing skills, and exercise good judgment to be a safe and responsible climber. Climb for a lifetime, ClimbSmart!™
The ClimbSmart!™ campaign summarizes the universal warning into four simple points for individual climbers to remember. Materials are distributed to retailers, climbing gyms, outdoor education programs, and individuals in the form of posters, stickers, and brochures.
The ClimbSmart!™ program has grown into an educational forum for climbing sports. Dedicated individuals have volunteered time and resources to organize local events. Manufacturers, retailers, gyms, and nonprofit organizations such as the American Mountain Guides Association, the Access Fund, and USA Climbing have sponsored or played an active role in these events. The events have included new product demonstrations, clinics on gear and systems, slide shows, and other educational seminars.
The ClimbSmart!™ program is a public information program of the Climbing Wall Association, Inc. (CWA). The ClimbSmart!™ program information does not describe all of the risks associated with climbing. For more information about the CWA, our standards for the operation of climbing walls, or the ClimbSmart!™ program, contact Bill Zimmermann at the CWA office.