Continuing our series of articles about the work of volunteer-led BMC specialist committees, we highlight the work of the Technical Committee, which works with manufacturers and other partners to provide unbiased advice on safety equipment for climbing and mountaineering.
Made up of a team of engineers, gear experts and other boffins, the committee is ably led by the newly appointed volunteer Chair, Martin Nash, and supported by BMC technical officer Dan Middleton.
Equipment safety standards
A key part of the committee’s work is to provide input from the UK to the two standard writing bodies, which are: the UIAA Safety Commission; and the CEN Working Group for Mountaineering Equipment. Our distinctive climbing ethics and heritage make it vitally important that our voice is heard so that our particular needs for safe climbing equipment are met. Nick Galpin currently represents the UK on both these groups, maintaining the BMC’s history of providing strong and respected advisers in this field. These two bodies help ensure that climbing and mountaineering equipment is safer and better than ever before, enabling you to go out and push the envelope no matter which parts of the sport float your boat.
UIAA Standard 106 - Helmets.
The committee provides safety advice and guidance on all kinds of equipment used for climbing and mountaineering, for everyone ranging from novices to professional users. We do this using the entire gamut of BMC media channels, including films on our YouTube channel and technical advice booklets which can be printed or viewed electronically. In addition there are many useful short articles available on our website. We work with partner organisations such as Mountain Training to ensure any advice is consistent and meets the needs of all user groups.
Ropes advice booklet.
As equipment has got better and safer, the majority of issues end up being a result of a lack of knowledge regarding correct use, or not having been retired in good time. For this reason, much of the advice the Technical Committee provides focuses on these areas.
Reports and recalls
Another key part of our work is investigating reports of failed equipment, and publicising equipment recalls. Our technical reports on failures are published on our website and we also publish news items warning of recalls in conjunction with manufacturers.
Bolt failure technical report.
In addition to this, we provide technical support within the BMC and to our partner organisations, including the Association of British Climbing Walls and Mountain Training. Support to volunteer bolt funds is provided by offering free training when requested, and we also provide an equipment advice session as part of the annual BMC Student Safety Seminar.
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