Safety Articles

Most of these articles were written for Summit Magazine during my time as the BMC Technical & Safety Officer. Others were written since for various webites or magazines. Please click on the link for a pdf download. You will need a pdf reader such as Acrobat.

Rock Climbing

Climbing Outside

New to climbing outdoors on trad gear? This excellent publication is full of useful information and top tips on getting started and keeping yourself safe as you start your climbing career. Not written by me but by one of my colleagues, Jon Garside BMC Training Officer.

Climbing Hazards

Are you new to outdoor climbing? Do you mainly climb indoors? This article helps point out some of the hazards of climbing on real rock that you may not have thought about. Originally published in BMC summit magazine


Modern karabiners are incredibly strong. However the BMC gets sent a number of snapped or failed karabiners most years. This article highlights some of the most common ways that karabiners can be misused and abused. In some circumstances they can fail with loads little more than body weight. Originally published in BMC summit magazine

Snapped Micro-wire

What sort of forces are generated in a typical lead fall? How does this compare to the rated strength of various protection devices? This article uses some fairly simple principles to show that that it is quite possible for a fall to exceed the rating of modern micro-wires and result in catastrophic failure. Originally published in BMC summit magazine


Hill & Mountain

Beginner's Navigation: Tips Tricks & Excercices

Starting from first principles we look at the basic building blocks that help to make a competent mountain navigator. Clear step by step instruction along with a number of top tips and useful exercises to help you develop your skills developed from a life time spent in the hills and mountains. This article first appeared on UKHillwalking website.

Expert Q & A - maps

Top tips and more useful information on maps and mapping this time from the 'Ask the Expert' section of the regular Hill Skills article in BMC Summit magazine.



  • Ian, many thanks for an outstanding weekend - you judged our ability perfectly and tailored the programme accordingly. We will be talking out that final pitch for a few years to come..... ~ Chas. Guided Scrambling
  • Hi Ian ! Thanks for making a great weekend for us we had a superb time in your company, really enjoyed ourselves. thanks for making up the CD for us, that's great. Looking forward to those action shots !! Would definitely be good to catch up with you again Ian .. we'll get on the case building anchors in the lounge and hopefully be up to scratch for the next time ! Karan just called me and we discussing stiff arms and shoulders but said she's dying to get up there again :-) !! ~ Rob and Karan. Intro Rock Course