Ropes - Crate Stacking

Crate Stacking

'Crate Stacking' is an activity which is becoming ever more popular and consists of an individual, the 'stacker', placing crates one on top of the other while being suspended from an overhead beam.


The following rules for the construction and operation of a Crate Stacking Activity must be adhered to. These are current as at January 2012.


  • To provide a challenge requiring planning, trust, communication, strengthening self-confidence and belief
  • Can also provide a belay training, practice and assessment opportunity
  • The planning of a Crate Stacking activity must involve the adoption of methods and the use of materials that will minimise the risks inherent in its use
  • Strict attention to all safety factors and compliance with these rules is of paramount importance
  • The protection of Leaders by the Association’s Public Liability Insurance Policies may well be compromised in the event of failure to comply with all or any of these rules
  • Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturer Scouts, Rovers and Leaders only are eligible to perform this activity. JOEY SCOUTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ACTIVITY
  • Crates could mean the use of phone books, bread crates and/or milk crates. The type of crates used must match the age and ability of the participants

 Leader Qualification:

  • The Leader-in-Charge of a Crate Stacking activity must hold a Certificate of Adult Leadership
  • Leaders responsible for the construction and operation of a Crate Stacking activity should preferably have attained a  Certificate of Advanced Leadership and must have satisfactorily completed formal training in belaying as a minimum, as provided by one of the specialist Rope Activity Teams, i.e. Abseiling, Caving, or Climbing, or have similar industry training in rigging or construction
  • One leader must hold a current Apply First Aid qualification
  • For each crate stack there must be two leaders, one spotter and one belayer
  • The belayer must be over the age of 18 years and be qualified in the art of belaying as trained by one of the specialist Rope Activity Teams, i.e. Abseiling, Caving, or Climbing, or have similar industry training in rigging or construction


  • Be able to rig a participant in a harness
  • Be able to set up the activity without supervision
  • Be able to rig an anchor (belay) point
  • Be able to safely belay the crate stacker. It is important that the weight of the belayer is heavier than that of the stacker


  • Climbing Harness to fit the crate stacker, allowing flexibility of their body to place crates
  • 30m static kernmantle abseil/climbing rope
  • Several screw gate karabiners for anchors and rigging
  • Suitable slings as required
  • An approved belay device, including a back-up prussic belay system, as per a climbing activity
  • Helmets
  • Gloves for the belayer
  • Suitable snug fitting clothing and foot wear
  • First Aid Kit


  • The overhead anchor might be the roof beam of the Scout hall, IF THE BEAM AND ANCHOR ARE SUITABLY LOAD RATED TO WITHSTAND A FORCE OF AT LEAST 15kn
  • If the upper and lower anchor points are not part of an engineered structure, then additional rigging equipment may be needed
  • The anchor point must NEVER be the branch of a tree
  • The belay operator is to keep just enough slack so that the stacker is not supported by the rope
  • The height of the overhead anchor must be greater than the maximum height allowed for the stack, plus the height of the stacker
  • The standing end of the rope is led away from the stack position and via an approved belay locking device connected to a low level anchor point
  • The stacker is fitted with an approved climbing harness and climbing helmet
  • The crate thrower is fitted with an approved climbing helmet
  • The belay operator is fitted with an approved climbing helmet


  • An 11mm static kernmantle rope is passed through a karabiner connected to a rated anchor point (15kn or 1.5 tonne) directly above the stacking position. The working end of the rope is connected to the stackers harness load point, using a figure-8 loop or barrel hitch
  • An exclusion zone is established

 Site Management:

  • All spectators must be kept well clear of the stacking exclusion zone
  • Sensible behavior must be maintained
  • No one is to stand on crates, etc. unless they are attached to the belay rope


  • Begin by placing a crate on the ground directly below the overhead anchor point
  • The stacker then stands on the crate and any slack in the belay line is taken up
  • Additional crates are handed to the stacker one at a time
  • The stacker must add each new crate to the stack while standing on top of the growing stack
  • As the stack grows, crates are thrown to the stacker one at a time, only after voice and eye contact has been established
  • At some point the stack will become unstable and could possibly collapse. It is at this time the stack is to be demolished from the top, while the stacker is lowered to the ground


  • In the event of an unforeseen collapse the stacker must be caught and controlled by the belayer and lowered to the ground


  • The Group Leader (or District Commissioner in the case of a District Activity or Region Commissioner in the case of a Region Activity) must be personally acquainted with all details pertaining to the activity and shall fully satisfy himself/herself that all equipment employed in the construction and operation of the Crate Stacking activity meets the relevant standards specified in these rules
  • It is required that a Crate Stacking activity constructed and operated in accordance with these rules shall first be designated in writing to the Assistant Chief Commissioner, Graeme Cumbrae-Stewart as being an Authorised Scouting Activity.  This is essential for the purposes of our Public Liability Insurance
  • No charge shall be made for participants who are members of the general public

For further information, please contact the Assistant Chief Commissioner - Activities, Graeme Cumbrae-Stewart.