Crate stacking is an activity that we borrowed from the UK. It is also known
as crate climbing. This activity can be
performed by Cubs and up. A qualified belayer is required. Official climibing
harnesses and belay techniques must be used. Bicycle helmets may be used in place of
Objective to make a of stack milk crates as high as possible.
The crates are stacked in single or double column.
Two crates side by side, two people. Both
stand on one crate, add crate to other side then step up. Add two crates to the
other side and repeat.
All youth wear helmets.
One youth is designated the climber and has to keep climbing up to
stack the next crate as the tower gets higher.
The climber wears a climbing harnes with a rope up and over a
pulley and belayed by an adult.
The other youth pass crates up to the climber.
Eventually the tower falls over and the climber is left suspended
in mid air and is lowered to the ground.
From UK ScoutBase:
- Crate climbing is the act of placing one crate on top of another with the
climber remaining standing on the top most crate without dismounting at any time.
The aim is to see how high you can get before the pile of crates topples over or
the climber fall off. The climber will start by standing on top of one crate, which
is placed on the ground. They will then attempt to place another crate on top of the
first and manoeuvre themselves to stand on top of the second crate at the same time.
They will continue to add crates in the same manner.
- The climber will have their balancing skills tested as well as having to try to
work out the best method to achieve the climb, depending on how successful you are,
a head for heights can also be an advantage.
Comments from UK Scouters:
- Try not to use milk crates! - they are not strong enough - look for beer
bottle, or 750ml drinks bottle crates - they tend to be smaller and much
more robust! They also tend to have bigger handle holes....
- Better to use something like a high-friction "shiv" (basically a pulley
that doesn't spin) this can minimise the severity of falls as there is
more friction at the top... - but doesn't damage the ropes as much as just
going through a crab or similar.
- You may also wish to consider adding a chest harness to your arrangements
to minimise risk of inversion of the climber (usual practice for "free
- You may wish to give the people on the ground a pole to lift the crates to
the guy on top (basically a long pole with an "inverted hook" on the end)
- You will need to set an "exclusion" zone - a 25 crate tower can go a long
way - and the top crates have quite a force when the hit the ground...
- It probably takes a good 5-10 minutes per person if they are good - plus
time to swap climbing kit - unless you have a fair number of harnesses...
At the Gilwell campsite in the UK:
- Gilwell has a pole or rope secured between two close tall trees from which
the climber hangs via a rope leading to a control on the ground, as you
might for a climbing wall.
- There semed to be about 40 crates.
- The area around the trees is fenced off with a 6' tall security fence.
- The climber wears a body harness and helmet.
- The ground person should wear a helmet too in case a falling crate bounces
off their head.
- There are two stacks of crates, the climber stands on the tallest and builds
the adjacent stack two crates at a time (one to level the stacks out and one
for the step up).
- They keep climbing till the stack wobbles and they drop off. They should end
up hanging in mid-air with no drop as the crates tumble, the rope person
needs to keep the line as tight as possible while bearing in mind that the
climber needs to bend down to place the crates.
- It took about 15 mins per climber.
Photgraphs of Other Groups