4. Can I teach climbing in my physical education classes?
Since Passe Montagne has resolved the question of teaching climbing in schools thanks to its artificial climbing walls, it has become possible to teach climbing in physical education classes.
Consequently, Passe Montagne has developed a complete range of accessories and tools specially adapted to the school environment, which makes teaching climbing in schools much easier. These products fully answer the needs of teachers, and they are safe and have a multitude of uses.
A climbing wall is a unique pedagogical tool, one that is stimulating and easy to use, and with which you can create a wide range of learning activities and pedagogical situations. A number of physical education teachers who have included climbing within their curriculums are in agreement about the activitys pedagogical benefits. Some have even gone to the extent of saying that it has clearly surpassed all their expectations, opening up possibilities which are practically unlimited.
In fact, any physical education teacher can teach climbing on a traverse wall without specific training. This type of climbing wall does not require any specific skill on the teachers part and managing safety on such a wall is simple and easy to do.
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5. What do I need to know before I go any further?
What elements should be considered when buying a climbing wall? Before anything else, it is important to know what type of wall is required. Essentially, there are three types to choose from: the traverse wall, the high wall and the mixed wall.
The traverse climbing wall
The traverse climbing wall is built on a low structure, 3 metres high or less. Climbing equipment is not needed and this also eliminates the need for special training. These walls allow a large number of students access at the same time, creating an environment for a wide range of pedagogical situations at both primary and secondary levels. The traverse wall has a number of other advantages: it is easy to use and perfect for beginners courses since there are no particular skills that have to be developed beforehand. Any student, regardless of skill level, can climb on this type of wall. The walls features are remarkable: very low cost; easy installation; takes very little room; may be installed in a corridor or a classroom; has room for a number of students at once; and is quite safe.
The high climbing wall
This structure has no upper limits except for the roof. Safety equipment is required (ropes, harness, carabiner) in order to learn the different climbing techniques. The high climbing wall is perfect for developing trust, self-confidence, a sense of responsibility and teamwork. It is well adapted for kids ten years old and up.
The mixed climbing wall
A mixed structure is both high and low at the same time. It allows for adaptation to and training in climbing techniques that are more complete and is intended for a wider clientele than the other two walls.
All the specialists agree that it is preferable to start with a smaller wall that is perfectly adapted to your needs. It is much easier and more pleasant to work on a small wall, and enlarge it afterwards, than to work with a bigger initial format that has been ill conceived, and which turns out not to be what you really need.
It seems to us that the traverse climbing wall is ideal for the 5 to 10-year-old age group. For older students, a mixed wall with a long traverse section offers a better combination of high and low. A well-designed climbing wall can be easily adapted to a range of users needs. It will allow a good number of students to work simultaneously, climbing and enjoying themselves in a safe fashion, while being looked after by only one teacher.
What options need to be considered when building a climbing wall?
The artificial climbing wall: a rock in the gym! Passe Montagnes climbing walls are nothing if not flexible. The options available allow you to foresee several different phases of development, which can be put in place successively in function of your current needs and budget. Passe Montagne offers two main types of wall: (1) the do-it-yourself wall and (2) the made-to-measure wall.
1.) The do-it-yourself wall: this is an interesting alternative that is relatively inexpensive for traverse walls that are less than 3 meters in height or a vertical high wall. The "ready-to-climb" kit has been designed by Passe Montagne to fit this category of wall and is a perfect example of both simplicity and originality, at a cost which remains affordable for schools. You might also want to look at the section How do I install a climbing wall at my school? - which will show you the procedure to be followed for building a do-it-yourself wall.
2.) The made-to-measure wall: in this case, Passe Montagne will take charge of all aspects of the construction, developing the entire wall from start to finish as a turnkey project.
Passe Montagne regularly designs artificial climbing walls adapted to the specific needs of its diverse clientele: vertical walls on cement blocks, vertical walls on plywood, complex walls with slopes, slabs, overhangs and corners.
The plywood panels used in the construction of Passe Montagne's walls are coated with Gym Tex, a specialized surface coating perfected by Passe Montagne for its climbing walls that gives them a very attractive finish. Every wall is unique and its success is always both immediate and guaranteed!
Construction costs vary between $15 and $30 the square foot (before taxes), depending on the height, complexity and scale of the project. These costs include a preliminary phase during which the client approves the plans. They also include all construction materials, qualified personnel, tools, holds, transport, accommodation for our team, the GymTex (adherent finish) applied in the form of a mural with a stylized mountain scene in 3 to 4 colors. For more information on the cost of made-to-measure walls, check the appropriate page in the products section.
Passe Montagnes specialists have already installed over a hundred climbing walls of all types. They have often encountered the most complex difficulties and overcome them. This degree of specialized experience often proves indispensable during both the manufacturing and installation phases of a climbing wall, and makes us the best consultants you could have for all aspects of climbing in the school environment. Our concrete approach to the subject, amplified by lots of GOCS (good old common sense) will allow you to develop a project that is perfectly adapted to your reality, at the best possible price.
Passe Montagne is a member of the FQME (Fédération québécoise de la montagne et de lescalade) as well as the CWIG (Climbing Wall Industry Group). Passe Montagnes climbing walls conform to CWIG norms, as well as those of the FQME.
For more information, we invite you to contact one of our representatives.
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6. How do you manage safety on a climbing wall?
Safety measures to take on a traverse climbing wall:
Although there are no actual safety standards set down for artificial climbing walls, safety on and around a traverse wall can be organized with relative ease if the following rules are respected:
1.) Proper mats must be laid at the bottom of the wall, so that a safe reception zone is always available. This point must be insisted upon: no mats, no climbing;
2.) The number of students using the wall at any one time must be controlled;
4.) Children should be taught how to fall correctly, by pushing themselves away from the wall; they must learn to anticipate the fall so that they come down to the bottom feet first;
5.) Students should be offered pedagogical situations that are stimulating yet without danger.
Safety on a mixed or high climbing wall
Safety on a mixed or high climbing wall requires a certain training for the teacher and the students. Since the use of climbing equipment is mandatory on these walls, it is important to know how to use it safely and adequately:
1.) a harness must be worn;
2.) use of a standard tie-in with a figure of eight knot (mandatory over 3 metres);
3.) proper handling of the rope is required;
4.) need to know belaying techniques using a belaying system (Gri-Gri, ATC, etc.)
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