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Scout Program: Climbing and Rappelling


When you’re rappelling or rock climbing as part of a BSA program, you aren’t going at it alone.

Your right-hand man is called a belayer, and his job is critical. He also has a backup belayer, so you have a team on your side.

While you’re having all the fun up on the rocks, your belay team is managing your rope through a system called top roping. That means you can’t fall even if you try to; the belay team has you covered.

Through a system of harnesses, ropes and anchors, the belay team can catch a climber’s fall, help pull a climber up through tricky sections or lower a climber slowly to the ground.


It’s accomplished by running a rope from the belay team through an anchor system above the climber and then down to the climber, where it’s attached to a harness.

Remember: All climbers and belayers must be supervised by qualified climbing instructors who are trained in the Boy Scouts of America’s safety procedures.


Rock climbing is a thrilling sport. The higher you go, the more exciting it gets. Know that you’ve got a backup at the other end of the rope … just in case.

Find complete program details in Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews: A Guide to Program Planning – Volume 1. Scouts whose troops choose next month’s suggested program theme, Climbing and Rappelling, can learn more in the merit badge pamphlets Climbing, First Aid and Personal Fitness.

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