Rock climbing, rappelling, caving, and other high-ropes activities feel adventurous because the perceived risk of these activities is much higher than the real risk.
As such, these activities can be powerful tools to help people confront fears, set goals, and feel what it is like to step out of their “comfort zone” and into their “growth zone.”
However, we understand as individuals and as an organization that there is risk in everything that we do, and that a major accident at Crazy Horse could be catastrophic for our company, our community, our area, and our conscience.
We could not and would not operate if we felt that we were unable to mitigate and manage the risk that is inherent in our business, and as a result, risk management has become a driving factor in the way that we have developed as a company and in the way that Crazy Horse has developed as a climbing and caving area.
Below we have outlined some of the many things that we do every day to make Crazy Horse one of the safest adventure destinations in the world.
Highly Trained Staff
We invest a great deal of time and effort to guarantee that our staff are the most highly trained in the region in climbing and ropes skills as well as first aid.
Each of our staff must spend at least twelve months working full-time as an Assistant Instructor and demonstrate competence in many skills before he or she can become a CMRCA Instructor.
Each course or student group is led by an Instructor, which guarantees that there is always someone present who has a sufficiently broad base of experience and knowledge to inform an understanding of risks and to rescue any situation that could be encountered during the activities.
As courses or activities become more complex and dangerous, your instructors are guaranteed to be increasingly experienced to be able to handle the challenges posed.
Every employee of CMRCA has been trained in spine stabilization and the use of a back board, and a back board accompanies a CMRCA truck whenever we transport students or clients to the climbing area or elsewhere. Every CMRCA instructor carries a comprehensive wilderness first aid kit on every course.
In the summer of 2009, CMRCA hosted a Wilderness Medical Associates course to internationally certify all of its instructors in wilderness first aid.
In August, 2008, CMRCA hired an experienced risk management consultant to review our policies, create a mock rescue scenario, and develop detailed flow-chart style emergency procedures.
The mock rescue demanded that CMRCA staff treat a belayer with a serious head and possible spinal injury due to rock fall while rescuing a stranded, injured climber. Staff practiced coordinating first aid with improvised rescue, complete with a carry-out evacuation of a patient on a backboard.
In addition to revising our own procedures, CMRCA visited and evaluated local hospitals to determine which facilities can best fill our needs. Our emergency procedures include recommendations for certain hospitals, depending on the severity and nature of the situation.
The local Mae On Hospital (about ten minutes from the parking lot at Crazy Horse) was found adequate to handle most basic emergencies, although we prefer Sankampaeng Hospital (30 minutes away) for major trauma, and Chiang Mai Ram Hospital (45 to 50 minutes) for complicated but non-urgent injuries that require the latest medical technologies and highest level of care.
We have deliberately managed the development at Crazy Horse Buttress so that we can confidently say that every route is bolted to adhere to the strictest bolting standards.
This means that every route is bolted by an experienced individual using the latest glue-in technology, and each bolt is placed for a climber who is climbing at their limit on that route. CMRCA and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, with the help of experienced bolters and geological engineers, have developed bolting standards and processes for new routes in Thailand. A document detailing those standards will be available on this site shortly.
The Best Equipment – The Newest Equipment
CMRCA imports and distributes Mad Rock equipment and Sterling Ropes. That means that we can get the safest gear on Earth for low prices, so we don’t think twice about retiring old, worn, or suspect gear.
We take care of our equipment and keep it looking and functioning like new, and when that is no longer possible, we mark our equipment as retired and retask it for non-life critical jobs. We do not use ropes that have seen more than 12 months of use for any of our activities (except maybe low-ropes team building).