Unit of competency details

SISOCLA304A - Guide top rope climbing activities on artificial surfaces (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) Replaced07/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISOCLA311 - Guide top rope climbing activities on artificial surfacesReplaces but not equivalent to SISOCLA304A Guide top rope climbing activities on artificial surfaces Updated Elements and Performance Criteria to better articulate content. Prerequisite unit removed. 13/Dec/2013
Supersedes and is equivalent to SROCLA008A - Guide climbing activities on artificial surfacesE Updated and equivalent to SROCLA008A Guide climbing activities on artificial surfaces 06/Jun/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to guide participants in a top rope single pitch climbing activity on an artificial surface. This unit focuses on the application of planning skills to make suitable arrangements to guide a group through a climbing activity.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to those working as climbing guides or assistant guides for private outdoor adventure companies in permanent or mobile facilities, or group leaders in school outdoor education programs in a range of controlled artificial conditions that have easy access to the top and bottom of the pitch. The climbing site should be free from hazards and complex set-up, and anchors should be fixed, obvious and easily accessible.

This unit may also apply to outdoor recreation leaders working for outdoor education or adventure providers; volunteer groups; not-for-profit organisations or government agencies.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


SISOVTR301A Perform vertical rescues

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Plan climbing activity.

1.1. Conduct relevant assessments to determine the condition of participants .

1.2. Develop an activity plan , according to relevant legislation  and organisational policies and procedures , to meet participant's needs.

1.3. Select an appropriate activity site or location according to activity objectives , relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

1.4. Identify hazards  associated with climbing on artificial surfaces  and minimise risks  to ensure personal safety of participants.

1.5. Access relevant sources  to interpret detailed weather and environmental information  to determine activity plan, where applicable.

1.6. Inform appropriate authorities  before commencing the climbing activity.

2. Select equipment for the group.

2.1. Select equipment  according to contextual issues and organisational policies and procedures and check serviceability.

2.2. Assess equipment for safety and suitability, and adjust and fit to ensure personal comfort.

2.3. Establish anchors and belay system , ensuring it is in the correct position for the activity.

2.4. Check safety and rescue equipment to ensure suitability to the group and the abseil.

3. Brief participants.

3.1. Communicate instructions and relevant information  about the climbing activity in a manner suitable to the participants.

3.2. Demonstrate correct climbing, belaying and back-up belaying techniques.

3.3. Establish a suitable communication system  for participants to use while climbing and belaying.

3.4. Outline safety procedures  and safe areas and or boundaries for the activity.

3.5. Check and confirm participants are properly equipped for the climb.

4. Supervise climbing activity.

4.1. Monitor climbing, belaying and back-up belaying techniques to ensure safety of participants.

4.2. Identify potential hazards and decide how they can be overcome or avoided.

4.3. Monitor individual participant's performance  and provide appropriate feedback.

4.4. Implement appropriate modifications to activity in regard to all variable factors  that are monitored.

5. Complete post-activity responsibilities.

5.1. Retrieve, inspect and store equipment according to organisational policies and procedures.

5.2. Evaluate relevant aspects  of climbing activity.

5.3. Identify potential areas of improvement for future climbing activities.

5.4. Review own performance and identify potential improvements.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • consult with participants to plan a climbing activity that meets their needs
  • convey information about the safety aspects of the activity
  • interact with participants to create a safe and positive climbing environment
  • problem-solving skills to:
  • plan a suitable climbing activity
  • make decisions affecting activity including responding appropriately to non routine situations
  • planning and organising skills to:
  • source, allocate and coordinate resources, equipment and artificial pitch
  • organise participants into manageable groups for climbing and belaying
  • language and literacy skills to:
  • produce an activity plan
  • complete post activity participant and self evaluations
  • personal climbing skills to a high level of technical correctness to demonstrate and explain climbing and belaying techniques to participants
  • first aid and emergency response skills appropriate to the location to enable initial response to emergencies and personal health care.

Required knowledge 

  • relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of climbing activities
  • site specific information to assist in planning and enable management of potential climbing hazards, and any special restrictions applying to the site
  • equipment types, characteristics and technology used for climbing on artificial surfaces, the advantages and disadvantages of the range of equipment, and factors affecting appropriate selection of equipment
  • clothing and footwear requirements for climbing activities to ensure comfort and safety
  • care and maintenance of climbing equipment to ensure prolonged life span and safety requirements
  • climbing techniques and common communication methods and calls used between climbers and belayers to reduce risk during climbing on artificial surfaces
  • belay systems, devices and anchors appropriate for single pitch artificial surfaces
  • technical climbing knowledge, such as techniques and procedures to suit the features of the surface
  • weather and environmental information to ascertain possible conditions and their affect on the activity, if appropriate
  • hazards that may be experienced in an artificial climbing environment
  • emergency procedures, potential hazards and obstacles relevant to the location to ensure safety of self and others.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • plans within activity constraints and guides and leads and monitors the group in a safe and professional manner
  • applies effective contingency management techniques to deal with a range of problems and issues that may arise during the climbing activity
  • encourages and responds to participant feedback and evaluates and reflects on own guiding performance to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure top rope that climbing activities reflect the needs of a range of participants and are of sufficient duration to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • resources and information regarding participants and location to accurately plan, guide and document climbing activities for a variety of participants
  • an artificial climbing site suitable for the participants
  • a group of participants to take part in the climbing activity
  • equipment such as harnesses, helmets, belay devices, ropes, gloves and karabiners.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of interacting with a group of participants, including conveying information for safe participation
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of all climbing activities
  • observation of dealing with contingencies such as changing weather conditions and equipment failure
  • review of climbing activity plans
  • third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SISOCLA303A Establish belays for climbing on artificial surfaces.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Condition of participants  may include:

  • skill level
  • previous experience
  • physical capabilities
  • fitness level
  • age
  • injuries and illnesses.

Plan  may include:

  • activity aims and objectives
  • date, time and duration
  • location or site
  • guide and participant ratios
  • resources
  • equipment
  • food and water
  • weather details
  • participant information
  • safety requirements.

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • permits or permission for access
  • environmental regulations.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • time constraints
  • use and maintenance of equipment
  • communication protocols
  • confidentiality of participant information
  • guide and participant ratios
  • emergency and safety procedures
  • code of ethics.

Activity objectives  may include:

  • self improvement
  • meeting people
  • fitness targets
  • adventure and recreation.

Hazards  may include:

  • temperature extremes
  • slippery or unstable terrain
  • dangerous animals and insects
  • group management hazards.

Artificial surfaces  may include:

  • portable or fixed walls
  • fixed towers or bridges
  • indoor or outdoor.

Risks  may include:

  • hypothermia
  • heat exhaustion
  • injuries
  • exhaustion
  • equipment failure.

Relevant sources  may include:

  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • media
  • land managers or agencies
  • local knowledge.

Weather and environmental information  may include:

  • satellite images
  • daily and weekly forecasts
  • maximum and minimum temperatures
  • weather warnings
  • event warnings
  • river levels
  • synoptic charts.

Contextual issues  may include:

  • weather conditions, including times
  • season
  • transport
  • location
  • trip distance and duration
  • group objectives
  • group size.

Appropriate authorities  may include:

  • facility managers
  • supervisors.

Equipment  may include:

  • ropes
  • harnesses
  • belay devices
  • quick draws
  • karabiners
  • chalk and chalk bag
  • helmet
  • rope protectors
  • knife
  • rescue pulley
  • whistle.

Belay system  may include:

  • top belay
  • bottom belay
  • bottom anchor
  • redirects.

Relevant information  may include:

  • personal equipment requirements
  • safety procedures
  • route description
  • preventative measures for risks
  • possible hazards
  • climbing and belaying techniques
  • objectives
  • rules and codes.

Communication system  may include:

  • calls
  • radio
  • hand signals
  • whistles.

Safety procedures  may include:

  • A - anchors - secure and suitable to application
  • B - buckles - locked as per manufacturers recommendations
  • C - connector - locked, secured and orientated
  • D - devices - threaded correctly and secured
  • E - organisation specific procedures, including; end or rope knots, friction hitches, belayer ready, helmet chin strap, clothing, jewellery and hair secured.
  • F- friend - cross check.

Participant's performance  may include:

  • use of appropriate communication system
  • climbing technique
  • attitude
  • negotiation of hazards
  • use of equipment.

Variable factors  may include:

  • change of weather
  • equipment failure
  • participant's needs
  • climbing conditions.

Relevant aspects  may include:

  • objectives
  • planning process
  • activity site
  • weather
  • equipment selection
  • clothing selection
  • food selection
  • instructional content
  • instructional technique
  • group feedback
  • directing techniques
  • rescue techniques employed.

Unit Sector(s)

Outdoor Recreation

Competency Field

Climbing artificial surfaces

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