Scouterhorn Questions and Answers


The purpose of this page is to document answers to questions about the Scouterhorn, particularly questions that come up infrequently.

The page is a work-in-progress. The current answer may have changed because of changed standards or different interpretation. 

Also, please understand each answer has the same beginning; "It depends..."  We intend to be as clear as possible when we form the question, but if your situation is different in some significant from the context of the question here, the answer we provide may not be the answer you should use. In short, the answers are guides, not rules. Use good judgement.

  • Staffing:
    • Q: How many people are needed to staff the Scouterhorn? [2022-04-28]
      • A: NCAP standards require at least one adult lead instructor / facilitator (referred to as "Climb Master" in the manufacturer's documentation) and at least one other person who is at least 18 years old (aka "Assistant Climb Master"). Both must be current in their training (i.e., have completed the on-line training, completed the manufacturer-recommended training, and, within a year of operation, have been assessed for on-site set-up, operation, and take-down). [2022-04-28]
        • Experience has shown that younger climbers (Cub Scout and younger) need direct attention to ensure a safe climb (e.g., helmet and harness are secure and always positioned correctly while climbing). Recommend the number of climbers who need direct support should be equal to the number of trained staff or parents / guardians willing and able to provide direct support. [2022-04-28]
      •  Short answer: A recommended minimum of 4 staff, depending on the mode of operation. More if weather conditions are severe (e.g., low or high temperatures, bright sunlight) or period of operation is over 4 hours. At NO time should operation require the Lead Instructor to provide direct assistance. The most important job of the Lead Instructor is to ensure safe operation. [2023-04-13]
  • Scheduling:
    • Q: How do I schedule using the Scouterhorn? [2022-03-08]
      • A: Send email to Stephanie Messenger ( requesting to book the Scouterhorn for the dates required. Be sure to include date you will pick up the Scouterhorn and gear, and when you will return it.
        • Please advise whether your unit / group has trained tower operators and who those individuals are.
          • If the Scouterhorn must be transported, please ensure your District Executive (DE) is willing to use the "Captain America" truck (the Ford F250 truck that was part of the Scouterhorn donation), or if you have a volunteer who is willing.
        • Stephanie / Camp Snyder will send a personalized payment link to your unit contact to collect the remainder of the information needed and the payment for your rental.
  • Permits:
    • Q: What permits (if any) are required?
      • A: That depends on the location and climbers. The Commonwealth of VA, the state of MD, and the District of Columbia had different requirements. Generally, however, if the only people allowed to climb are members of BSA, no permits are required. If you plan to allow non-members on the Scouterhorn, you have homework.
        • Maryland: At LEAST 30 days prior to your event, submit your request for an inspector. Specify the date, time, and location the Scouterhorn will be set up and ready for operation. If you're not ready when the inspector arrives, the inspector may cancel the inspection. Same could happen if they cannot find you. Copies of the recent inspection and certification of liability insurance are in the operations binder. Strongly recommend you confirm those reports are in the binder and you know what they look like before you leave Camp Snyder. If you don't have cellular access at your location, we won't be able to transfer electronic files (or offer guidance).
        • Virginia: The code for operating amusement devices is under the Department of Housing. Each jurisdiction is allowed to define how the jurisdiction implements the code. For example, Camp Snyder is near Haymarket in Prince William County. Camp Snyder is its own jurisdiction. Haymarket is another jurisdiction, and Prince William County is a jurisdiction. No permit required for Camp Snyder. But to operate the Scouterhorn in the city of Haymarket, the operators would need to contact the officials responsible for housing permits for Haymarket to find their current requirements.
        • DC: We have not yet found the specific requirements for their permitting process. The interest in using the Scouterhorn in the District has always evaporated when the a question is asked: "Who will transport the Scouterhorn to and from the District and Camp Snyder?"
  • Training:
    • Q: How long is the training valid?
      • A: The on-line training is good until standards require changes. When this happens, you would need to log in and retake at least the changed portion. This has not yet occurred.
      • The on-site training covers three phases; set-up, operation, and take-down. The purpose of this session is for students to demonstrate they understand and know how to follow the checklist items for the three phases. At least once a year, to remain current, you must be assessed as current. To be assessed, volunteer to support a council level event when the Scouterhorn will be operated by a member of the COPE and Climbing Committee who will assess your current capability. Or retake the on-site training when offered.
  • Towing specifications
    • Q: What are the towing specifications for the Scouterhorn?
      • A: The following are believed to be correct. Not all are in the Operations and Owner Manual. Odd.
        • Travel Dimensions: 28’10″L x 7’6″W x 9’5″H (874cm L x 228cm W x 286cm H)
        • Operating Dimensions: 29’10″L x 9’7″W x 24’6″H (908cm L x 291cm W x 747cm H)
        • 4800 lbs (2177kg) total weight
        • 600 lbs (272kg) tongue weight
        • 2 5/16″ ball bumper pull hitch
        • 7-Prong Electrical Plug
        • 15″ wheels
        • Full size spare tire
        • 3500 lbs (1587kg) torsion axles (dual axles)
  • Modes of operation:
    • Q: how can the Scouterhorn be configured?
      • A: there are three modes of operation:  [2022-09-20]
        • Mechanical kiddie ride”: Use only the autobelays. High throughput may be possible but expect high incident of some climbers being frustrated by not getting to press the buzzer due to lack of strength, stamina, or technique.
          • Staffing: One Lead Instructor with an assistant instructor and at least three staff are required to safely operate the Scouterhorn at maximum capacity.
        • Belay Assist: Registered climbing ropes are threaded through rapid links on routes #1 & 4. Competent belayers enable climbers to stop and rest, and continue to climb. Climbers who lack strength, stamina, or technique can succeed. The hands-on assessment will include belaying using the PBUS method (pull-brake-under-slide).
          • Staffing: One Lead Instructor with an assistant instructor and at least five staff are required to safely operate the Scouterhorn at maximum capacity.
        • Fully Manual: Two routes (#1 and #4, or #2 and #3) are configured to support climbing and rappelling with registered climbing ropes (75’ long) and registered rappel ropes (100’ long). Climbers climb as high as they want while belayed, connect to the rappel rope, and rappel down. The hands-on assessment will include belaying using the PBUS method, configuring releasable rappels, and teaching "ground school" for transitioning to rappel. This mode supports the requirements in the Climbing Merit Badge.
          • Staffing: One Lead Instructor with an assistant instructor and at least five staff are required to safely operate the Scouterhorn at maximum capacity.