Children on a klettersteig (via ferrata)

The apparent comfort of protected routes leads many parents to undertake this “safe” activity with their children. Now first of all, completely small children who must still be carried in a car seat have absolutely no business on a protected route. Nor is it suitable to bring children younger than 12 years who have not had long-term regular climbing training. But even so it is critical for the parents or guardian accompanying the children to take into consideration a number of details. On one hand, the fact that children are smaller in size and therefore will have problems with the reach of their arms and legs when climbing along artificial steps that have been placed to correspond to the dimensions of an adult. What causes problems for children most of all, however, is the operation of carabiners, which are too big for their hands. For this reason it is good for children to be present at the time of purchasing the carabiner in the shop in order to choose one that they can handle well. Children also get exhausted more quickly, or become tired or cold. Adults should take a piece of mountaineering rope at least 20-30 metres long with them in reserve for dealing with crisis situations, where they can in case of emergency assist a child with a supplemental belay. This assumes that the adult knows how to handle a mountaineering rope.

We must strongly recommend that at least one of the adults accompanying the child be familiar with the given route from a previous climb and have a specific idea about what to expect, which way to follow the correct route, and what time they need to be where so they don’t fall behind.

In the year 2011 the German Alpine Club (DAV) Safety Committee carried out a test of how well the level of energy absorption of klettersteig kits worked for smaller persons. The information they discovered was alarming. This fall absorber, as specified by the conditions of the EN 958 norm, does not provided sufficient absorption to very light persons. A light person (child) is not heavy enough to set the runner of the klettersteig kit into motion in the absorber. The impact can be very forceful. Small, light children therefore must not fall on a klettersteig. An adult guide must offer them an adequate top belay using a rope.

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Title Part 4Mountaineering Methodology – Part 4 – The Mountains

ISBN 978-80-87715-10-9

MMPublishing, 2013

Available for download from Apple iTunes (in the Books section).

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Title Part 4 GPMountaineering Methodology – Part 4 – The Mountains

ISBN 978-80-87715-15-4

MMPublishing, 2014

Available for download from Google Play.