1.1.  Description

Grimpday is an international rope rescue challenge taken up by emergency services around the world (firefighters, civil protection, army, police). The teams face one another in workshops focusing on the specific features of the profession of rescue worker in dangerous situations.


1.2.  Objective

Grimpday is above all a friendly event where the main aim is to enable rescue workers to meet and exchange ideas on techniques, equipment, etc. Although a healthy emulation is welcome, the ultimate aim behind the philosophy of the challenge is also for participants to excel themselves.

2.1.  General rules

Each team must include the following:

  • 1 team leader
  • 4 team members
  • 1 victim
  • 1 observer

No role changes are authorised. If one of the team members is injured or ill, the organisation must be informed and a decision will be made if necessary.

In case of non-compliance, sanctions will be taken by the organization.

The team members must display the marking of the organisation so that they can be identified throughout the trials.

All the team members must be trained and physically capable of carrying out rescues in dangerous, confined and physically demanding environments.

2.2.  Team leaders

The team leader must be specifically trained to lead a rescue team or have similar experience. He directs and coordinates his team. He guarantees the safety of his entire team.

The team leader must understand and be able to express himself clearly in French or English.

2.3.  Victim

The victim must:

  • Be of age at the latest on the day of the event.
  • Weigh at least 60 kg.

The victim will be weighed at the PPE check. Victims who are not heavy enough will be weighted.

2.4.  Observer

The observer must have a high level of technical competence. He must be able to judge the overall safety of a rescue. He does not take part in the assessment of the team. However, he may be asked to give an opinion should a problem of communication/understanding arise between the trial director and the team leader.

The observer must have a good level of understanding and expression in French or English.

The observer must be open-minded and may not try to give his team an advantage in any way. Any observer who fails to meet these criteria will be automatically excluded. The observer judges the performance of the teams in the light of these regulations, which he understands and accepts unreservedly. Any behaviour incompatible with the principles of fair play on the part of the observer may lead to his exclusion.

The observer is asked to take pictures of any situation which may be deemed contrary to the safety rules laid down in these regulations.


3.1.  Individual equipment

All the rescuers must wear the following equipment during the trials:

  • A helmet with individual lighting
  • A safety harness
  • Long trousers
  • Closed shoes

Gloves must be worn wherever a loaded and moving rope is handled.

3.2.  Group equipment

Each team must bring its own equipment. There is no limit on the quantity of equipment, but this will be carried by the five team members only from the start to the finish of the trials, otherwise penalties will be imposed (no ‘sherpas’ authorised).

Minimum equipment:

  • A stretcher
  • Six 100-m semi-static ropes (diameter 10.5 mm or more)
  • 1 throw-bag with cord (minimum 60 m)
  • The equipment necessary to make an 80-m zip line on two load-bearing ropes and convey the stretcher horizontally and vertically via this zip line
  • A vehicle that can transport the team and the equipment for each trial

The use of a thermal, electric or hydraulic winch is prohibited, with the exception of the trials for which this will be provided by the organisation.

The use of an offset arm or a tripod is prohibited, with the exception of the trials for which this will be provided by the organisation.

The equipment must be used in accordance with its specification sheet and within the limits imposed by the manufacturer.

3.3.  Victim’s equipment

The victim must wear the following equipment during the trials:

  • A helmet
  • Eye protection
  • A safety harness
  • Long trousers
  • Closed shoes

The victim is not permitted to communicate with the other members by radio/telephone.

3.4.  Observer’s equipment

The observer must wear the following equipment during the trials:

  • A helmet
  • A safety harness with the equipment to secure himself and move along at heights
  • Long trousers
  • Closed shoes

3.5.  Equipment certification

The equipment admitted for GRIMPDAY must comply with the official standards in force in the team’s country of origin, such as:

  • CE marking
  • NFPA 1983 classification ‘G’ or ‘T’
  • UIAA certification

Certain types of equipment without any marking may be accepted after analysis. Otherwise, such equipment may not be used during the event. Teams planning to bring such equipment (including prototypes) must inform the organisers of this in advance and plan an alternative should the PPE inspectors refuse it.


3.6.  Equipment inspection

The equipment must be in good condition. A PPE check will be carried out on the first day, following a predetermined schedule. Equipment that has not been inspected may not be used during the trials under any circumstances.

The teams must fill in a table listing all their equipment (Annex 1). The teams will be offered time slots for the PPE check. The teams will have to indicate their date and time of arrival in order to plan the inspections as well as possible.

A copy of the equipment list will be filed at the Command Post. Each team will have its PPE list with it. This list may also be checked at each trial at the request of the post director.

Random checks will also be carried out during the trials. The organisers reserve the right to exclude any equipment that is non-compliant or in poor condition for the duration of the challenge.

In accordance with Belgian regulations, the Grimpday organising structure has taken out ‘organiser’s’ civil liability insurance. The organisation does not offer any individual insurance for physical accidents. The incriminated team will bear liability for any failure to abide by the Belgian regulations and/or the safety standards in force. Consequently, each team must be covered by the insurance of his own employer.

5.1.  General rules

The teams are free to use the techniques that they wish. Nevertheless, in accordance with the Belgian regulations on working at heights, all rescues must be carried out on a minimum of two ropes measuring at least 10.5 mm in diameter.

The following exceptions apply to the use of two ropes:

  • Stretchering a standard load on a slight incline;
  • Work among trees;
  • When a secured rescuer has both feet on the ground (example: observation of the manoeuvre by the team leader equipped only with a retention device).

The three exceptions given above may be carried out on a single rope, on the basis of a risk analysis undertaken by the team leader and in accordance with the information provided by the post director.

In addition, the teams must pay particular attention to the following rules, otherwise penalties may be imposed:

  • The equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • The fall factor must always be as close to zero as possible and may not under any circumstances be higher than 1;
  • No unsecured rescuer may be in a zone designated as dangerous;
  • The work axis must be free of threatening environmental factors;
  • The ropes must not be trampled on;
  • The rope friction zones must be protected or eliminated;
  • Offset arms/tripods must be used with a belay system that minimises the fall factor should the device fail;
  • Rope tension for zip line:
    • The ropes must be blocked on a load brake that can be used to release the tension (never on barbed appliances);
    • If a single hoist is used, it may only be manoeuvred by a maximum of two people;
    • If a double hoist is used, it may only be manoeuvred by a maximum of one person;
    • It is forbidden to tension a zip-line with a victim or a rescuer hanging from the ropes.
    • It is forbidden to tension a zip-line on a toothed device.
  • The victim must be properly secured on the stretcher (if appropriate);
  • The victim must always be handled with caution. Shocks must be kept to a minimum when moving the stretcher. Particular attention must be paid to the position of the stretcher (the head must not be down, the victim must not be compressed, etc.);
  • Penalties will be applied for non-textile equipment forgotten, lost or dropped onto a hard surface. Equipment that has suffered a serious fall must be withdrawn from the equipment that may be used for the challenge;
  • Smoking is strictly forbidden on the trial site and/or in the presence of ropes and harnesses.

5.2.  Redundancy

The following equipment does not have to be systematically duplicated if it is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions:

  • Pulleys (rated and certified for rescue loads);
  • Rigging plates (rated and certified for rescue loads);
  • Harness;
  • Reliable anchors.

A reliable anchor does not have to be systematically duplicated. For example, a sturdy tree can be used to lash the main rope and the safety rope. However, artificial attachments (piton pads, etc.) may not be considered reliable and must be systematically duplicated, with the load distributed over all the points.

Rope mooring systems: accepted examples (non-exhaustive list)

Rope mooring systems: refused examples (non-exhaustive list)

5.3.  Whistle test

All the installations, abseiling included, must auto-arrest a fall. The officials in charge of the trials may ask participants “hands-off" at any time and the systems constructed must block without compromising the safety, preferably thanks to mechanical means, or otherwise due to self-blocking knots.

Each trial is marked on the basis of an assessment grid (Annex 2) including the following criteria:

  • General safety (victim, team, site, etc.)
  • The comfort given to the victim
  • The quality of the manoeuvre and the means deployed
  • Management of the team
  • Communication
  • The general behaviour of the team, that is:

Respect for the organisation and the volunteers;

Respect for the other teams;

Compliance with the instructions;

  • Fair play
  • Timing

The assessment grid is attached to these regulations.

The final classification is established by adding up the points obtained for each trial.

The trial timing starts when the trial director gives the signal and stops on his order. The rescue time ends when the victim has reached a zone established for this purpose. The team then has a limited time to repack their equipment and make way for the next team.

For each manoeuvre, a time will be determined and the team leader will be informed, with the stipulation that if the victim has not been ‘conveyed’ after the device has been tensioned, the manoeuvre is quite simply stopped.

If the manoeuvre is ‘stopped’ or is not completed within the set time, the team does not receive any points for the manoeuvre in question.

When the ropes bearing the stretcher are tensioned and before they are released, a ‘SAFETY CHECK’ is carried out by:

  • The post director (or his representative);
  • The observer;
  • The team leader.

The stopwatch is stopped during the ‘SAFETY CHECK’. The safety and compliance of the assemblies are checked (that is: hooks closed, no rope friction, etc.). When the ‘SAFETY CHECK’ is complete, the stopwatch is started again and if appropriate, the team leader has to make the necessary adjustments.

If any dispute arises and in general, the final decision is taken by the post director and/or a member of the organiser’s technical staff.

If a team member is injured during a manoeuvre, the team will be given a penalty.

Any disputed situation will be settled by the organisers. Disputed situations must be photographed during the trial. The pictures will then be analysed by the organising jury at the end of the day. Their decision is not open to appeal.

All the participants undertake to know these regulations and to comply with them unreservedly. Any behaviour that is contrary to this will be penalised (penalty, downgrading, exclusion). The organisers alone are competent to apply these regulations. Failure to comply with orders given by the organisers along the route and during the trials will result in the downgrading of the team concerned.

Moreover, the following are considered unfair:

  • Sending the observer(s) to anticipate the next manoeuvre;
  • Disclosing advice or photos intended to give a team an advantage.

Such conduct will be penalised.

See Annex 4.

To protect the environment, all participants are asked to manage waste appropriately. With this in mind, the use of water flasks is recommended.

Worksite toilets are installed near the trials wherever possible. Participants are requested to use them.

Each GRIMPDAY participant accepts by default that in the context of GRIMPDAY, the organisation uses photos, videos and testimonies which may be collected during the event and in which the participant may appear or be quoted. Should a competitor not agree to this, he must inform the organisation of this by recorded delivery at least 20 days before the event date.

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