Flinders University Speleological Society Inc.



















Training Notes

A few Notes on Basic Caving Gear

HELMET WITH FOUR POINTS OF ATTACHMENT
So it does not fall off if you get hit on the head or you look down.

BOOTS WITH GOOD TREAD

OVERALLS OR ADEQUATE CLOTHING FOR THE CAVE ATTEMPTED

THREE INDEPENDENT LIGHT SOURCES

WAIST TAPE, 5 METRES LONG
Made from 50mm rated seatbelt tape. Yep, the same stuff as is in your car. Waist tapes come in handy to use as handlines: you can make up foot loops to help people climb up or down. Wrap the tape around your waist or carry it in your caving pack.

TRIANGULAR BANDAGE
You can make these from an old sheet or the leftover protest banner from the last demo you went to. Carry it in your helmet or a pocket.

A BAG TO CARRY THINGS IN
A day pack or a bum bag.


SPACE BLANKET (or a large tough garbage bag)
You can carry this in the top of your helmet. Space blankets are designed to keep the body heat in, thus helping to prevent hypothermia.

FIRST AID KIT
This should contain any personal medication that you are taking. Plus cotton buds, a compression bandage, non-stick wound dressing, cloth bandaids, tweezers, some pain killers, a small container of Betadine or Betadine swabs or equivalent, a note pad and pen and a small plastic bag to put any rubbish in. I also carry Saline solution, to get the dust out of my eyes. Matches/cigarette lighter. Pocket knife.

DRINKING WATER

SOMETHING TO MUNCH ON
Chocolate, or some energy giving food.

FOX FOURTYWHISTLE
You use less energy blowing a whistle than yelling for help if lost.

GLOVES
Fingerless or gloves suitable for the cave attempted.

AN EMPTY WINE BLADDER
To piss into. Women will need a small funnel.

A SHIT BAG
You know what for.

Based on the ASF Safety guidelines


Ropes

Your life depends on the rope that you use. So it helps to treat it respectfully (see below) and to know something about it. You need to record:
  • Purchase date & cost
  • Length
  • Type/Make of rope
  • Its use history. Including:
    • Where it was used (eg. Nullarbor)
    • When it was used
    • How it was used:
      • Ascents
      • Abseils/Descents
      • Rescues
      • Other (Towed car – not recommended!)
    • Cleaning:
      • When washed
      • How washed:
        • Stream/Front-loading Washing Machine/Bathtub
        • Rope Washer/Scrubbing Brush
An example rope log (two pages joined left-to-right) is given below.
Or you can download a pro-forma by pressing the button.

ROPE Use LOG

(i) Rope Description (brand, type, length, colour):
(ii) Date & Place of Purchase:
(iii) Cost per metre:

Num Trip Description Dates: From
To
Caves Entered No of Abseils No of Ascents Other
1 SRT training 3/3/08
5/3/08
F11 Mairs 10 + 2 belays 10 + 2 belays Practiced pulley system set-ups. Hauled 1 person out
2      
3      
4      
5      
6      
7      
8      
9      
10      
etc.      

Continues right


ROPE Washing RECORD

Num Washed
(Y/N)
Machine
Bath
Creek
RopeWasher
ScrubbingBrush
Other
Signature(1) Remarks(2)
1 Y Creek SB .sig Bad melt on mantle 1m from end: shortened to 48m
Informed equipment officer
2     
3     
4     
5     
6     
7     
8     
9     
10     
etc.     
(1) Signature of person(s) responsible for washing
(2) Comment on rope condition, problems, cleaning issues, etc.

Types of Rope

  • 'Static' (or low stretch) rope, designed for caving
  • 'Dynamic' (or stretchy) rope, designed for climbing
  • Good quality low stretch static rope of 11 or 10.5mm diameter should be used for general caving as they are designed to cope with the harsh caving environment and have adequate strength even when misused. Thinner diameter ropes will require alpine rigging techniques which are different to day-to-day caving techniques.

    Problems with Dynamic Rope

  • The open weave construction allows mud and grit to penetrate the rope.
  • Its stretchy characteristic can make it awkward when life lining, abseiling or hauling.
  • It is also too 'bouncy' during SRT and places additional strain on the anchor system.
  • So: cavers do not use dynamic climbing rope for caving.

    Characteristics of Static Nylon Kernmantle Rope

  • High strength
  • Retains good flexibility in wet and dry conditions
  • Thus readily accepts knots
  • And retains knots
  • High abrasion resistance
  • Low stretch of 0–3% (for standard 80kg bodyweight)
  • Low spin - very useful on long free pitches
  • High melting point of 250°C
  • Good UV stability
  • Things NOT to do to Ropes

  • TREAD on it
  • Leave wet (clean or dirty) ropes in rope bags (or any container!)
  • Dry ropes in direct sunlight
  • Leave them packed up with knots in them or gear attached to them
  • Store them in hot places, like a tin shed
  • Put them in the same place as petrochemicals, battery acid or other corrosive substances

  • Knots Used in Caving

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    How to Make a Harness

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    Log Book

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