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Climbing Merit Badge Activity Planner

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While some camps limit the badge to older Scouts, there really is no reason the typical scout patrol can plan and do this as a very fun group activity.


'Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the Climbing Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring Climbing can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.

A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity GREAT Awesome MB to work as a patrol / Max Size 12 scouts
Virtual Field Trip POOR Requires physical presence on the rocks
Family Activity POOR n/a
Service Activity POOR n/a
S.T.E.M. Activity GREAT Outdoor STEM Activity
Field Trip GREAT Several cool field trip activities
Duty-to-God POOR N/A
MB Day POOR Usually a outdoor multi-day event
Overnighter GREAT Outdoor STEM Activity
Summer Camp GREAT Many scout camps have really cool venues - Call ahead.

Online Resources

B. Introduction Meeting

Most merit badge activities do best to have a "introduction" meeting where the patrol can discuss how to get started and to plan out their field trips. Send out the activity flyer in advance to use as an meeting agenda. Your scouts will then know what to expect.

Outdoor rock climbing combines many essential scouting skills and values into one incredible activity. Help your scouts develop technical skills and athletic ability while undertaking serious responsibility and teamwork roles to complete the Climbing Merit Badge.

News Flash

C. Homework / Prerequisites

Assign one or more requirements that the scout can do at home, perhaps as a family activity.

Practice Climbing Knots

  • Req #7: Demonstration - Climber Knots Test
    • Figure eight on a bight
    • Figure eight follow-through
    • Water knot
    • Double fisherman's knot (Grapevine knot)

D. Study Hall Patrol Night


While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.

Pre-Open Gathering Activity

A gathering activity before the official meeting start is a great way to set a fun theme for the meeting.

MBC Discussion Group

  • Req #1: Discussion - Climbing Safety
  • Req #2: Discussion - Leave No Trace and Outdoor Code
  • Req #4: Discussion - Location Rules
  • Req #5: Discussion - Verbal Signals

Discussion Resources:

Climbers Knot Exercises

See How to tie BSA Climbing Knots - (Troop 55 BSA)

  • Req #6: Demonstration - Rope Exercise
  • Req #7: Demonstration - Climber Knots Test
    • Figure eight on a bight
    • Figure eight follow-through
    • Water knot
    • Double fisherman's knot (Grapevine knot)
  • Req #12: Demonstration - Storing Rope and Gear

E. Field Trip

There are 13 climbing activities that are usually done in the field (6x belay, 3x climb, 3x rappel, 1x harnessing). Your MBC and/or local scout camp should have information on facilities and outdoor areas available for use. This is best done over several field trips.

Req #3: Present yourself properly dressed: for belaying, climbing, and rappelling

    • (i.e., appropriate clothing, footwear, and a helmet; rappellers and can also wear gloves).

Req #8: Harnesses.

    • Correctly put on a commercially made climbing harness.

Req #9: Belaying. Do the following:

    • Explain the importance of belaying climbers and rappellers and when it is necessary.
    • Belay three different climbers ascending a rock face or climbing wall.
    • Belay three different rappellers descending a rock face or climbing wall using a top rope.

Req #10: Climbing.

    • Show the correct way to tie into a belay rope.
    • Climb at least three different routes on a rock face or climbing wall, demonstrating good technique and using verbal signals with belayer.

Req #11: Rappelling.

    • Using a carabiner and a rappel device, secure your climbing harness to a rappel rope.
    • Tie in to a belay rope set up to protect rappellers.
    • 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.

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do a Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.
  • 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.

Climb On Safely

  • Climb On Safely - Climb On Safely is the Boy Scouts of America’s procedure for organizing BSA climbing/rappelling activities at a natural site or a specifically designed facility such as a climbing wall or tower. All unit-sponsored/planned climbing activities, regardless of where they are held, fall under Climb On Safely. This applies to a single unit or multiple units that may be participating in a joint unit climbing activity. Tour leaders are responsible for making sure all points of Climb On Safely are followed. Unit committee chairs and local councils must ensure that an adult on the tour has taken Climb On Safely training.

Profession Climbing Guides

There are many climbing clubs and facilities that love to teach Climbing Merit Badge to Scouts BSA.

  • Devils Climbing Guides -Our two-day curriculum gives Scouts with little to no climbing experience the opportunity to learn essential climbing skills and prove competency with the requirements of the Rock Climbing merit badge.
  • California Rock Guides - We have a long history with the Boy Scouts of America. Owner Tim Keating got his start in mountaineering through his Venture Crew in Southern California. Owner JB Brown got his start in climbing through Troop 599 where he earned his Eagle Scout in 1996. Because of these ties, SWS has been providing group trips for not just rock climbing but also mountaineering, backcountry skiing and more.
  • Rock City Climbing Gym - Outdoor Climbing Merit Badge starts with two indoor 2-hour sessions followed by a full day at a local SoCal outdoor rock venue.
  • Rock Climbing School for Scouts - Held all outdoors at Joshua Tree National Park.

Scout Council Climbing Resources

Climbing is a popular scouting activity - most local councils have a well-developed program and facilities to aid your patrol on this:

  • Chesebrough Climbing Tower- Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council
  • Rodney Scout Reservation - Includes Night Climbing (in the dark with headlamps & glow sticks)
  • Ben Delatour Scout Ranch - Pancake Base Camp utilizes the unique and dramatic rock formations of BDSR, instead of artificial climbing towers, to instruct participants in four different programs: scrambling, climbing merit badge, advanced climbing and adult climb.

Outlandish Scout Climbing Adventures

Over the years, various scout troops have discovered some incredible places for spectacular Climbing Merit Badge work

  • Alaska Scouting Adventures - Chilkoot High Adventure Base International Wilderness Leadership School with the Great Alaska Council Boy Scouts of America and the International Wilderness Leadership School
  • Joshua Tree National Park - (Top destination for California scouts) Hidden Valley is a self-guiding, one-mile loop trail that winds among massive boulders through what was believed to be a legendary cattle rustlers' hideout. It is one of the most popular and scenic hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park. The area is also a popular rock-climbing area. Many visitors enjoy just watching the climbers in action.
  • Lava Tubes Rock Climbing - (Spelunking) - A volcanic cave underground with short, highly featured overhung routes on very sharp rock. Be prepared to brush dust off your cloths, gear and holds (bring a brush). Crash pads would be ideal, though a top rope can be set where the hole in the ceiling is, in the center of the cave's largest room.
  • Boy Scout Cave - Craters of the Moon National Monument - The entrances to Boy Scout Cave is so small you have to crawl inside and barely have room to stand. The final tunnel on the trail, Beauty Cave, has a walk-in entrance leading to an intensely dark corridor.

Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity:

See Also

  • 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - - There are more than 135 merit badges. By earning them, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Here’s how to get the most out of your merit badge experience.