A climbing safety expert is conducting training workshops for teachers following near-fatal accidents at climbing walls in Dubai.
Two falls at different climbing walls within 48 hours in September raised safety questions about the sport.
Traks Pro, a rope access training company and distributor for the climbing equipment manufacturer Petzl, hosted a clinic this week on climbing safety to a team that will pass this knowledge on to new climbers.
"It was initially in reaction to the accidents at the local climbing walls," said Alex Sims of Traks Pro.
Mohamed Alavian, 24, an aviation student from Iran, suffered fractures to an arm and his skull after a 12-metre fall at the Dorell Sports climbing wall at the World Trade Centre on September 8. Two days later, Ahmad Daood, 29, a Jordanian, broke both legs and an arm after falling eight metres at the Adventure HQ climbing pinnacle at Times Square Mall. He is expected to be in a wheelchair for a further two weeks.
"I suppose we realised the community was growing and there is a lack of awareness of the safety elements of climbing," Ms Sims said. "A lot of people know of the risks but a lot don't know about the more intricate details involved in safety."
Chris Blakeley, a manager at Petzl, said there was a need to instruct climbers on basic techniques.
"There is a recent history locally and worldwide of major incidents at climbing walls, which could have been completely eliminated by a simple safety check," Mr Blakeley said.
Safety checks are conducted by the climbing partner. "The idea of a partner check is you have a second pair of eyes," he said.
The course, supervised by Mr Blakeley, trained five instructors in the UAE and Saudi Arabia who could pass their knowledge on to climbers. "I'm assessing the abilities on the knowledge acquisition of the coaches being trained," Mr Blakeley said.
Dave Gerbeer, a fourth-grade teacher from Gems World Academy who is one of the climbing trainers supervised by Mr Blakeley, said: "It's really good to come in and get the answers to those questions. When you climb with different people, they use different techniques."
Ms Sims said Petzl could explain how the equipment was intended to be properly used.
Belaying, a method of holding the rope that prevents a falling climber from hitting the ground, was an important part of the process.
"There's the correct method of belaying and Petzl products are similar [to other brands], and there is a gesture that is common to all of them. The rope feeding into the device is controlled by the hand. A lack of attention on the control rope is a major discrepancy," Mr Blakeley said.
Mr Gerbeer said learning how to pass the message on in the easiest and most direct way would help give first-time climbers the correct information on the importance of safety.
"A lot of first climbers say they will not be able to do that, but if you show them the proper techniques it will boost their confidence and they'll climb a bit higher," he said.