Cheryl & Earl Suitor

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CAVING BASICS

IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO CAVING THESE ARE THE MINIMUMS:

WHAT TO BRING:

A HELMET

1) 3 independent sources of light. (Helmet mounted lamp + 2 flashlights)

2) Extra batteries. (More than you will need)

3) A sturdy small pack to hold your gear

4) Water (1 or 2 bottles of water)

5) Food (Energy Bars, Nuts, Trail Mix, etc.)

6) Coveralls or sturdy clothes you don’t mind ruining. Long-Johns underneath.

7) Work Gloves

8) Good sturdy hiking boots that give ankle support.

9) A change of clothing & clean socks & shoes for later. Possibly a towel.

10) A small first aid kit & any medicines you take.

11) An extra pair of glasses if you need them to see very far. (In case of breakage)

12) A plastic trash bag to put your dirty clothes in after the trip.

13) Knee and elbow pads if a lot of crawling is involved. (Depends on the cave)

14) Possibly a disposable camera with flash [optional]

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Sharps Waterfall [Photo by Doug Lake]

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SSS Entrance to Culverson Creek System

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Vertical Practice Raven Rocks, VA

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Cheryl

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Earl at Crossroads Cave

Cheryl & Me at Trout Cave ~ 2007
Trout Cave Franklin, WV

White Nose Decontamination Procedures (Must be followed).

CBS News Special Report on Roger Brucker(One of our dearest friends)

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Cheryl's Painting "Joel's Helmet" 2013 NSS Convention Cavers Choice Award !

 

CONDUCT:

Caving is dangerous. No matter how professional you are about it, it is intrinsically dangerous. If you can't deal with that don't go. Know your limitations.

1) Watch where you step before you step there.

2) Always maintain at least 3 points of contact. (2 hands & 1 foot, 2 feet & your butt, etc)

3) If you knock something down while climbing (anything) yell: “ROCK!” So those below can take cover.

4) If someone else yells “ROCK” cover yourself DON’T LOOK UP !

5) DO NOT JUMP to another spot. Climb there.

6) No horseplay.

7) Cavers have a credo: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time”. If you break a formation it could take literally thousands & thousands of years to grow back, if ever. Be very, very careful around formations, and don’t touch them with your bare hands. Even oils from your skin can harm them. Pick up all trash & take it out to a trash can. Leave the cave just like Mother Nature left it.

8) Don’t mess with the bats. You can get a good look, but try not to disturb them. Don’t touch them. If you wake them in the winter while they are hibernating you will kill them! They won’t hurt you. They fly out of the cave in the evening for a night of eating bugs, and come back at dawn.

Little Browns can live to be 32 years old. They have one baby per year per mother. Bats are the only mammal that can fly. There are 14 species in WV. By far the most common are the Little brown (Myotis lucifugus), and the Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus) It is not terribly unusual to see a Virginia long eared bat. They are a very endangered species & have dark fur & long rabbit like ears.

ROPE CALLS - From On Call


EVERYONE VERTICAL CAVING WITH US NEEDS TO KNOW ALL THESE

Rope calls are not only a matter of courtesy. They are essential to both the climber and those people above and below the person on rope for SAFETY. Here are listed the most common rope calls in vertical rescue, vertical caving, and climbing.

STOP
Valid for any reason, no matter who yells it. Everyone stops (except belayers) until the reason is discov ered and corrected. This is everyone's responsibility when any unsafe condition is seen!

FOR REAL
Probably the most important call on the rock face or anywhere else. It means exactly what it says: "This situation is actually happening, and assistance may be of prime necessity." Do not use in jest, only when you or someone near you is in distress.

ON ROPE
Means "I am attaching myself to the rope now; everyone else keep their hands off." This is not a call for belay. State which rope.

ROPE
Used by the person at the top of the drop who is about to toss a rope off the lip. It is a warning to anyone in the fall zone that a loose coil of rope will be coming down. If the bottom can't be seen, , wait approximately five seconds before the throw.

ROPE NUMBER
Means "Yes, I heard your call for rope no.7 and will keep it clear of others."

Note: Rope number is determined by its position left to right when facing the rock face.

ON BELAY
(Stated by the rappeller or the climber) Means "I need a belay on this rope." A belay should not be offered until it is requested for the rope in question. Inadvertent tension on the rope may cause someone to be pulled off the lip! Again, use rope number. E.g.: On Belay, Rope Two.

BELAY ON
(Stated by the belayer) The climber or rappeller now has a belay, ready to assist me if necessary."

RAPPEL ON
(Stated by the belayer) "I under stand you are rappelling and I am ready to catch a fall"

OFF ROPE
(Stated by rappeller or climber) "I am no longer attached to the rope, anyone else wishing to use it may do so."

TENSION
"Take up all of the slack in the rope and hold on." This is necessary when a person is in immediate danger of falling, feels he is going too fast, or feels that the next move may result in a fall if not success fully completed. The belayer is to repeat this call back.

CLIMBING
"I am ascending (climbing) now."

CLIMB ON
"Go ahead; ascend at your pleasure."

SLACK
"Let off the tension (slowly), you are holding the rope too tight." The climber needs some slack in the rope for the next move.

EQUIPMENT
Some equipment is being transferred (lowered). It is attached to a rope and will be under controlled descent or stop. Walk to the side and stay clear.

ROCK!
Shouted at the top of your voice for any falling object no matter how small. Even a pebble may cause serious injury if it falls far enough. Failure to shout ROCK! may cause serious injury or death, even yours, if something is dislodged. Upon hearing ROCK!, immediately remove yourself from the fall zone. Don't look up, take cover!

BELAY OFF
(Stated by the rappeller or the climber) Used when a belay is no longer necessary.

OFF BELAY
(Stated by the belayer) The climber is no longer on a belay.

RAPPELLING
(Stated by the rappeller) "I am actually coming down the rope".

LOCKED OFF
The climber has locked off the friction device and is not likely to fall.

FALLING
The climber feels himself falling. Provides the belayer with an advanced warning of the fall.