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Resources include the Climbing merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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This is the Climbing merit badge for Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts.
Venturers can complete the Mountaineering and Cave Exploration electives for the Ranger Award

Climbing merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1997
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 133
Requirements revision: 2007
Latest pamphlet revision: 2006


Climbing is not a sport that requires tremendous muscular strength; it demands mental toughness and the willingness to practice hard to master a set of skills. The adventure of climbing can also provide a new way to enjoy the outdoors.

Climbing merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur during climbing activities, including heat and cold reactions, dehydration, stopped breathing, sprains, abrasions, fractures, rope burns, blisters, snakebite, and insect bites or stings.
    b. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person.
  2. Learn the Leave No Trace principles and Outdoor Code, and explain what they mean.
  3. Present yourself properly dressed for belaying, climbing, and rappelling (i.e., appropriate clothing, footwear, and a helmet; rappellers and belayers must also wear gloves).
  4. Location. Do the following:
    a. Explain how the difficulty of climbs is classified, and apply classifications to the rock faces or walls where you will demonstrate your climbing skills.
    b. Explain the following: top-rope climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering.
    c. Evaluate the safety of a particular climbing area. Consider weather, visibility, the condition of the climbing surface, and any other environmental hazards.
    d. Determine how to summon aid to the climbing area in case of an emergency.
  5. Verbal signals. Explain the importance of using verbal signals during every climb and rappel, and while bouldering. With the help of the merit badge counselor or another Scout, demonstrate the verbal signals used by each of the following:
    a. Climbers
    b. Rappellers
    c. Belayers
    d. Boulderers and their spotters
  6. Rope. Do the following:
    a. Describe the kinds of rope acceptable for use in climbing and rappelling.
    b. Show how to examine a rope for signs of wear or damage.
    c. Discuss ways to prevent a rope from being damaged.
    d. Explain when and how a rope should be retired.
    e. Properly coil a rope.
  7. Knots. Demonstrate the ability to tie each of the following knots. Give at least one example of how each knot is used in belaying, climbing, or rappelling.
    a. Figure eight on a bight
    b. Figure eight follow-through
    c. Water knot
    d. Double fisherman's knot (grapevine knot)
    e. Safety knot
  8. Harnesses. Correctly put on a commercially made climbing harness
  9. Belaying. Do the following:
    a. Explain the importance of belaying climbers and rappellers and when it is necessary.
    b. Belay three different climbers ascending a rock face or climbing wall.
    c. Belay three different rappellers descending a rock face or climbing wall using a top rope.
  10. Climbing. Do the following:
    a. Show the correct way to tie into a belay rope.
    b. Climb at least three different routes on a rock face or climbing wall, demonstrating good technique and using verbal signals with a belayer.
  11. Rappelling. Do the following:
    a. Using a carabiner and a rappel device, secure your climbing harness to a rappel rope.
    b. Tie into a belay rope set up to protect rappellers.
    c. Rappel down three different rock faces or three rappel routes on a climbing wall. Use verbal signals to communicate with a belayer, and demonstrate good rappelling technique.
  12. Demonstrate ways to store rope, hardware, and other gear used for climbing, rappelling, and belaying.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Climbing is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Climbing requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

  1. See the Guide to Safe Scouting: Climbing and Rappelling
  2. Climb On Safely
  3. Scouting and Climbing
  4. Age-Appropriate Guidelines
  5. Venturers can earn the Mountaineering (Ranger Award elective)
  6. In 1963, Eagle Scout Jim Whittaker was the first American to summit Mt. Everest.
  7. Climbing is a popular merit badge.

Requirement resources

1: First Aid
1a. Heat Reactions - Cold Reactions - Dehydration - Stopped Breathing - Sprains - Abrasions - Fractures - Rope Burns - Blisters - Snakebite - Insect Bites - Stings
1b. CPR

2. Leave No Trace - Outdoor Code
4c. Safety: Climb On Safely - Guide to Safe Scouting: Climbing and Rappelling

Related awards

Sports-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

  1. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills Graydon and Hanson editors
  2. Topping Out: Boy Scouts of America

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