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Guide to Visitor Agreements

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The document that is the subject of this Guide will be referred to as “the Agreement” or “the Visitor Agreement.” Its purpose is to protect the business owner, property owner, staff and others from claims of climbers, observers and other visitors to a climbing facility. It is an agreement between the facility and adult visitors, or if the visitor is a minor, and the applicable state’s laws allow, between the facility and adults who are authorized by law to enter into such agreements.

Agreements such as these are sometimes referred to as “releases” or “waivers.” Such references are not sufficient to describe the agreement discussed in this Guide and in fact might be misleading. Options for titles will be described below, but it is important to understand that, for purposes of this Guide, a release (or waiver) is the forgiveness in advance of a claim which might arise out of a future incident. A climber, for example, on joining or visiting a facility, may be asked, among other things, to release her right to sue the facility if she, or her property, suffers some loss during the visit, and, if the agreement so provides, subsequent visits.

If properly drawn, the Agreement which is the subject of this Guide is significantly more than a mere release of claims. It will include at least the following:

1. information about the facility’s climbing activities and their risks;
2. an expressed assumption of the inherent and other risks of the visit;
3. a release of claims; and
4. an agreement to indemnify (protect) the facility against claims arising from losses suffered by the visitor or caused by the visitor.

These additional levels of protection will be explained as we discuss the elements of the Agreement, below.

Some facilities offer activities and services in addition to climbing and bouldering. The title chosen for this Guide contemplates an agreement that will be signed by all visitors to the facility, and is broad enough to cover participation in a variety of activities, observing and simply moving about the facility.

A Guide to Visitor Agreements

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Why is this Document Important?
Chapter 3: Contracts Generally
Chapter 4: The Elements of the Agreement

  1. Title
  2. Introduction
  3. Consideration
  4. Description of the Activities
  5. Description of Risks
  6. Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risks
  7. The release of claims
  8. Indemnification
  9. Other Provisions
  10. Signatures

Chapter 5: Issues Regarding the Form of the Agreement
Chapter 6: Conclusion

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