Risk awareness

Abseiling is a physically and mentally challenging activity and whilst The Outer Edge do all thats reasonable and practicable to remove and reduce risks some will always remain and in some cases add to the appeal and purpose of the challenge.   

  • Bumps, scrapes, knocks bruises and grazes could occur as the result of a slip.
  • Muscle and soft tissue sprains and strains can result from the physical nature of the activity.
  • Some metal equipment can get hot during descent and rope friction burns can happen.
  • Personal effects and body parts can get caught in the device used for descent.

The Outer Edge and The British Mountaineering Council recognises that climbing mountaineering and Hillwalking (including abseiling) are activities with a risk of personal injury or death.   Participants in these activities must be aware of and accept these risks before participating.

What to wear on the day

Whilst The Outer Edge will provide all technical equipment and expertise for your descent it may well be worth considering the following to make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable:

  • The starts of abseils are often exposed to the elements and although ground level conditions may seem calm they can be quite different at the top of a cliff, building or structure.  It’s therefore recommended that you bring warm and waterproof clothing just in case (unless your abseil is indoors of course!).
  • We would recommend that you wear comfortable, but not baggy, clothing.  If you plan to take part in fancy dress that may hinder the fitting of harnesses or get caught up in an abseil device we would advise that youcontact us before hand so we can ensure it is suitable.
  • Long hair should be tied back (we will bring spare hair bands should you forget).  You should remove any dangly earrings, necklaces etc.
  • It is essential that you wear appropriate footwear such as trainers or walking boots - avoid heels, slip on’s and flip flops!  The way to the start of abseils may involve climbing steps or ladders and clambering over rails or barriers.   The descent may be down rugged rock or smooth buildings and you may be required to walk back up to the start (in the case of bridges/viaducts).  
  • Secure all loose items that may fall out of pockets or, better still, leave these with someone else.
  • Glasses should be tied on if there is any chance of them falling off – worn at your own risk.  We will bring spare glasses retainers should you forget them.

Age restrictions

All participants must be aged 18 or over unless they are accompanied by a parent/legal guardian (a minimum age of 14 then applies).  The parent/legal guardian must complete the Parental Consent section of our Medical and Risk Declaration Form prior to the event and will need to remain within sight and earshot of the minor.  The Outer Edge do not recommend an upper age limit for participation however we would recommend that older individuals consult their doctor if they have any concerns about their health or ability.

Weight restrictions

We can accommodate people up to the weight of 18 stone due to the size of equipment and load exerted although they may need to be fitted with extra equipment for their comfort.  If you are heavier than 18 stone you can contact The Outer Edge to discuss your participation.  Similarly, any participants under 6 stone should get in touch.  The Outer Edge reserves the right to decline an individual’s participation should their build be deemed unsuitable for the activity.


The Outer Edge has Public Liability insurance to the value of £5 million.  Some participants may like to take out their own Personal Accident Insurance at a small cost. 

Disabilities and Pre existing physical, mental, learning and Medical conditions.

The Outer Edge sees no reason why the thrills of outdoor adventure sports should be enjoyed exclusively by the more able.  We provide individual support for participants with medical conditions, disabilities and learning difficulties to ensure their absolute comfort and confidence.   Should you have special requirements you should note these on your Medical & Risk Declaration Form and we will discuss these with you to ensure we can cater for your individual needs.  Should it be deemed that someone’s condition or ability put that person or others at risk then unfortunately they will not be allowed to participate.  


The Outer Edge will endeavour to go ahead with the event in poor conditions but the event will not be able to run in extreme conditions such as snow, lightning or gales as this may compromise safety.  

What happens if you get stuck or let go?

Our instructors have full control of each abseiler.  Each abseil consists of two ropes - one that you will control and the second is controlled by the instructor.   This means that should you let go of your rope they will hold you safely in position until you are ready to continue.  Our instructors will take control should you get an item of clothing jammed and if needed they can lower you to the ground.  

Equipment and training

The abseil uses a figure 8 descender and a sit harness.  Abseilers must also wear a helmet, a chest harness and a heavy duty glove.  Participants are not permitted to use their own technical equipment but participants gloves may be used but please check with our staff on the day to make sure they’re suitable.  Once kitted up you will be trained how to abseil safely and get the chance to practice on the ground first.

Important safety notes

The Outer Edge insists upon the very highest standards in safety for all of our clients and staff taking part in our activities.  

  • We reserve the right to prevent any person/s from participating in the event if they are found to be behaving inappropriately or in a manner that is detrimental to the safe provision of the event.  This includes those individuals that are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  
  • Viewing from the top of the abseil is only permitted with Senior Instructor authority.
  • Due to the low melting point of much of the equipment, smoking or lit materials are not permitted.
  • Participants will be required to listen carefully to, and follow, any directions given by the instructor.

Staff qualifications and experience

The Outer Edge’s activities are led by highly and appropriately experienced, qualified instructors (Single Pitch Award or Mountaineering Instructor Award for staff at the top of the abseil). As recommended in the British Mountaineering Council’s charity abseil guidelines, The Outer Edge recognise that different abseil situations require different levels of expertise.  Our staff have an extensive range of knowledge and experience together with a friendly and approachable disposition with the ability to provide individual support and encouragement.  We only recruit the most professional staff that are skilled in the delivery of abseil events and will help you understand what you need to do, alleviate any concerns and leave you free to enjoy the experience to the full.     

Nervous or anxious participants

We know how daunting it may be to step off the edge.  No one will ever be forced to participate but you will be actively encouraged and supported to complete your challenge – in some situations it may be possible to provide an instructor to accompany you during your descent if we have enough notice.

But above all, relax and enjoy!