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Terms and Conditions

The Lock Climbing Wall is run by Essex Outdoors, the Outdoor Education Service for Essex County Council


“The British Mountaineering Council recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”

Although the climbing centre is an artificial environment the risks involved are no less serious than when climbing outside on a crag or mountain. There is an additional risk that bolt-on holds can spin or break. The soft flooring under the bouldering walls is designed to provide a more comfortable landing for climbers falling or jumping from the bouldering wall. The soft flooring does not make climbing any safer and broken and sprained limbs are common on this type of climbing wall despite the soft landing. Uncontrolled falls are likely to result in injuries to yourself or others. Climbing beyond your capabilities on any wall is likely to result in a fall and any fall may result in an injury despite the safety systems in place to avoid it. 
You must make your own assessment of the risks whenever you climb. 

The rules of the climbing centre set out below are not intended to limit your enjoyment of the facilities. They are part of the duty of care that we, as operators, owe to you, the customer, by law. As such they are not negotiable and if you are not prepared to abide by them then the staff must politely ask you to leave. 

You also have a duty of care to act responsibly towards the other users of the centre, following 'Good Practice' signs which are posted around the centre describing the accepted methods of use and behaviour.

Before you climb without supervision in this centre, you are expected to be competent in the activity in which you are wishing to take part. Roped climbers must be able to fit a safety harness, attach the rope to the harness using a suitable knot as well as securing and lowering a falling climber with a belay device. Boulderers must be aware of and accept the risks involved with using a bouldering facility. Autobelay users are expected to be able to fit a safety harness and clip into the auto belay via the correct attachment point on their harness as a minimum. Additionally, all users are to abide by the Rules outlined below. Anyone who has not registered as above is classed as a novice and must not climb without supervision. Unsupervised climbing is just that! Staff will provide whatever help and advice they can, but instruction in the use of equipment or climbing techniques will only be provided where it has been booked and paid for in advance. If you are not confident in the use of any climbing equipment or technique then do not attempt to use it without the supervision of someone who is competent to do so. 

Novices - A registered adult may supervise up to two novices as long as they are prepared to take full responsibility for the safety of those people. Groups of three or more novices must only be supervised by an instructor holding the relevant NGB qualifications. 
Children - All children in the centre must be supervised by an adult unless they have passed an Under 18's assessment and are registered to climb without supervision. 
• Report to reception on each visit before you climb.
• You must exercise care, common sense and self-preservation at all times.
• Report any problems with the walls, equipment or other climbers' behaviour to a member of staff immediately.
• Be aware of the other climbers around you and how your actions will affect them. • Do not distract people while they are climbing or belaying.
• Stand well back from the climbing walls unless you are belaying or spotting a climber.
• Solo climbing is not acceptable on these walls. 

• Always use a belay device attached to your safety harness with a locking karabiner. 'Traditional', or 'body' belaying is not acceptable.
• The attachment points on the floor are provided to give support to people belaying a climber who is much heavier than they are. Direct belays from the attachment points on the floor are not acceptable.
• Always pay attention to what the climber is doing.
• Always stand as close to the climbing wall as is practical unless you are using one of the attachment points on the floor. Sitting or lying down are not acceptable. 

• Always use a suitable climbing harness and tie the rope directly into this harness using a suitable climbing knot.
• Clipping in with a karabiner is not acceptable
• Many of the climbs in the centre have top ropes already in place. Do not take them down to use on other routes. 

• When using the lead walls you must supply your own appropriately rated dynamic rope.
• Do not use the centre's top ropes for lead climbing.
• Do not use your own quickdraws on our walls, only lead climb routes where in situ quickdraws are available.
• You must clip all quickdraws on the route you are climbing. 

• Always climb within your capabilities and descend by down climbing, jumping or, at the very least, a controlled fall.
• Never climb directly above or below another climber. 

• Always keep the area below the autobelay clear
• Always clip in safely before each climb.
• Ensure that the autobelay is retracting correctly.
• Do not climb with slack in the system.
• Never climb alongside or above the autobelay.
• Ensure you meet the manufacturer's requirement
 â€œAgreement” means this Agreement between Essex Outdoors and the Customer for the Services;
 â€œA Booking” means the booking for the Services by the Customer, and confirmation from Essex Outdoors to the Customer of the Services booked;
 â€œActivities” means that part of the Services consisting of any of the following activity sessions delivered by Essex Outdoors (list not exhaustive): adventure course, climbing, sailing, mountain bikes, etc;
 â€œAuthorised Officer” means the person appointed by Essex Outdoors to act on its behalf under this Agreement as notified to the Customer;
 â€œCourse/Courses” means specific pre-arranged Activities or combinations of Activities to be provided to individual Users;
 â€œ Consent Form” means express written parental consent for children and young people under the age of 18 that do not have pastoral support by another adult, to be provided the Services;
 â€œData Controller” means a person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be processed;
 â€œEssex Outdoors” “EO” /”We”/”Us” ”Our”; means Essex County Council's outdoor education service operating as a trading division of ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL (“ECC”) of County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QU; 
 â€œEssex Outdoor Centres” means the four Essex County Council outdoor centres where the Services are to be provided; 
 â€œThe Providing Centre” means any one of the four Essex Outdoors Centres;
 â€œFee(s)” means the payment by the Customer to Essex Outdoors for the provision of the Services, or cancellation charges as provided in clause 3;
 â€œGroup Information” means information with respect to persons to be provided the Services, including any special needs, and outcomes required pursuant to the Services;
 â€œInstructors” means staff employed by Essex Outdoors;
 â€œThe Customer”/ “You”/“Your”, means the person or organisation making a Booking”
 â€œUsers” means users of the Services as set out in a booking form, which shall if applicable, include the Customer and User means any one of them;
 â€œUsers Leader(s) means the Customer or any other person notified to Essex Outdoors during the booking process;
 â€œOther Users” means other users of the Services; 
 â€œServices” means the Activities; Courses; conferencing; accommodation; facilities; and catering to be provided by Essex Outdoors pursuant to this Agreement in accordance with a Booking.
 1 Fees and Booking Process 
 1.1 All published Fees are exempt from VAT unless otherwise stated.
 1.2 Written Quotations for a booking are valid for 14 days from the date of issue and do not constitute a commitment by Essex Outdoors to provide the quoted Service.
 1.3 A Booking can only be confirmed by the Customer submitting a fully completed booking form AND a minimum non-refundable deposit of 10% of the overall booking Fee.
 By submitting the fully completed booking form WITH an Essex County Council Full Expenditure Code or a valid purchase order. Journal payments via ECC Expenditure code cannot be processed unless the expenditure code is accompanied by the requisite Budget Holders signature.
 For certain pre-arranged Courses only, by submitting a booking via the Essex Outdoors online booking portal, accompanied by full payment of the Fee at the point of booking.
 1.4 The final balance of the Fee must be settled no later than 8 weeks prior to the Services commencement date.
 1.5 If a booking form is submitted within the eight-week period prior to the Services commencement date, the whole booking Fee must be submitted with the booking form.
 2 Amendments by the Customer
 2.1 Any proposed alterations to a Booking should be made in writing and agreed by the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre. 
 2.2 Any changes to a Booking may be subject to an administration charge for any Fees incurred.
 2.3 Accommodation and facilities shall only be used by those Users who are named in the booking form unless two weeks written notice of any changes is given as outlined below.
 2.4 Substitution of the original Customer and/or Users for another can be made providing two weeks' notice is given by the substituted Customer to the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre and the Services is appropriate for the substituting Customer and/or Users.
 2.5 All substitutions must be made with the consent of the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre with both the substituted and the substituting Customer being jointly and severally liable for the total Fee and any administration cost incurred. 
 2.6 A Customer may apply, in writing, to amend the Services start date if the new dates are within the same financial year and the new date has been agreed and documented with the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre.
 3 Cancellation by the Customer
 3.1 All cancellations must be made in writing and acknowledged by the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre.
 3.2 All cancellations and part-cancellations are subject to the appropriate cancellation Fees detailed below.
 3.3 The financial cost of cancellation of a course is as follows:
 3.3.1 All deposits are non-refundable. 
 3.3.2 50% of the total booking fee or any costs incurred, whichever is greater, where cancellation takes place between 8 and 12 weeks before the commencement date of the Services.
 3.3.3 100% of the total booking fee where cancellation takes place less than 8 weeks before the commencement of the Services.
 3.3.4 For a Booking onto pre-arranged Courses, where full payment is required at the time of booking, the whole Fee is non-refundable unless the Course is cancelled by Essex Outdoors as set out below.
 3.4 The date of effective cancellation is calculated on the day of receipt of written notice.
 4 Cancellation by Essex Outdoors
 4.1 Whilst every effort is made to ensure that Services run according to the published programme, Essex Outdoors reserves the right to amend or cancel any of the Services where it believes on reasonable grounds that cancellation is necessary due to dangerous or unsuitable conditions or if the numbers of Users or Other Users booked for the Services to be provided have failed to reach a workable minimum.
 4.2 Essex Outdoors also reserves the right to amend or cancel a Booking if accommodation or other arrangements fail to conform to any applicable safety or statutory requirements.
 4.3 Any cancellations and changes will be notified to the Customer not less than two weeks prior to the commencement of the Services if booked numbers of Users and Other Users fail to reach a workable minimum or as soon as is reasonably practicable if environmental conditions or other factors affect the Services programme.
 4.4 In the event of a cancellation by Essex Outdoors, the Customer will be offered a suitable alternative Services if available, or a refund of the full Fee paid.
 5 Health and Safety
 5.1 Visits to Essex Outdoors engage Users in adventurous Activities. All adventurous Activities by nature carry an element of risk. All Users participating in Activities provided by ECC at Essex Outdoors Centres do so in acceptance of that risk.
 5.2 The Customer should ensure the number of accompanying staff is sufficient to comply with their Educational Visits guidelines/Codes of Practice and ensure that one member of staff or responsible person is available to accompany Users in each activity group whilst at any of at Essex Outdoors Centres.
 5.3 Essex Outdoors' normal recommended ratio for accompanying members of staff is 1 per 10 Users however; groups of Users participating in adventurous and field work Activities should contact the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre to discuss appropriate staff ratios for the work being undertaken.
 5.4 The Users Leader must be available on site at the Providing Centre all times during the Users' visit. 
 5.5 Group Information and Consent Forms (if applicable to the Services and not part of the booking form) should be completed in full and returned to the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre not less than one week before the Services start date.
 5.6 Certain Activities will have restrictions on who can participate (e.g. minimum height requirements) that will be discussed at the time of booking.
 5.7 Essex Outdoors centres are covered under the Essex County Council Public Liability insurance policy but it is recommended that the Customer and/or Users of the Services take out appropriate insurance to cover the possibility of cancellation, personal accident and loss.
 5.8 The Customer shall ensure that Users abide by the health and safety guidelines and considerations as set out locally by the Providing Centre.
 6 Customers Responsibility
 6.1 The Customer shall ensure that Users of the Services understand and accept the risks involved and that, in the case of Users of the Services under 18, that express parental permission has been obtained for each User.
 6.2 Users Leader(s) are responsible for fully advising the Providing Centre in writing of any illness, disability, social or behavioural problems that User currently has that may affect them during the provision of the Services.
 6.3 Where a User's Leader has concerns over a User's medical conditions and ability to participate in Activities, the User Leader should contact the Authorised Officer at the Providing Centre for advice prior to commencement of the Services.
 6.4 Instructors will be responsible for the safety of any Users whilst taking part in Activities provided by Essex Outdoors Centres. The safety of Users whilst not taking part in Activities provided by Essex Outdoors is the responsibility of the Users' Leader and any other accompanying staff. 
 6.5 Essex Outdoors reserves the right to request written confirmation from a GP/teacher confirming the suitability of any part of the Services for any of the Users with reference to considerations such as social compatibility, physical access, successful participation and health and safety. Any information will be treated sensitively and confidentially in accordance with ECC privacy and data Protection policies.
 6.6 If Essex Outdoors cannot provide any part of the Services for the reasons outlined above any related fees paid will be refunded.
 6.7 Essex Outdoors reserves the right to exclude any person before or after commencement of the Services should important personal details have not been fully declared, or a User deemed inappropriate and/or incompatible with the health, safety, well-being or enjoyment others Users.
 6.8 Behaviour deemed inappropriate includes, but is not limited to: Damage to the property; Under-age buying and consumption of alcoholic drinks; Suspected or substantiated involvement with illegal drugs; Leaving the site (i.e. the Providing Centre) unless accompanied by a responsible adult; Smoking outside of designated areas and smoking by under 18's; Entering accommodation used by the opposite gender or another party/ group without permission; Theft or illegal activities;, Threatening or anti-social behaviour; bullying; offensive or insulting language to other guests, staff ,persons resident in the Providing Centre, or members of the public.
 6.9 Collection of any person whose behaviour has been deemed inappropriate would be the responsibility and at the expense of the Customer to whom the whole cost for damage and other expenses incurred would also be charged.
 6.10 Personal property including baggage remains the responsibility of the Customer and Users at all times. Essex Outdoors cannot be held liable for the loss of or