Sanitation Procedures and Policies among University Climbing Walls in the United States


  • Erik Rabinowitz Appalachian State University
  • Eric Frauman Appalachian State University


sanitation, cleaning, climbing walls, facility management, universities


The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine sanitation practices, procedures, and policies presently being used at University climbing wall facilities in the United States. Using a systematic random sampling of University climbing facilities a total of 54 university climbing walls directors responded to the telephone survey. There appears to be a lack of consistency amongst University climbing facilities concerning sanitation practices, procedures and policies. There are numerous direct sanitation recommendations for administrators to consider from this article. For example, the need for establishing a sanitation schedule for all equipment which might include frequency of each items cleaned, type of cleaning materials/agents, detail procedures, staff protections, participant protections (i.e. does the wall need to be shut down to do this type of cleaning) may be suggested. Air quality and chalk issues, impact attenuating surfaces (mats and barefoot belayers), bloodborne pathogen concerns, rental equipment (e.g., shoe cleaning, helmets and lice problems), climbing shoe cleanliness (e.g., removal of shoes and harnesses before entering restrooms policies, bottoms of shoes cleaning, and much more are brought to light in this article. To date, there is no evidence or study that anyone has been exposed or even ill directly from an indoor climbing facility due to sanitation levels. However, a proactive examination, discussion and possible need to establish industry level sanitation best practices may be necessary.



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