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
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
CAVING WITH US NEEDS TO KNOW ALL THESE
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
by the belayer) The climber or rappeller now has a belay, ready to assist me if necessary."
the belayer) "I under stand you are rappelling and I am ready to catch a fall"
(Stated by rappeller or
climber) "I am no longer attached to the rope, anyone else wishing to use it may do so."
"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
"I am ascending (climbing) now."
"Go ahead; ascend at your pleasure."
off the tension (slowly), you are holding the rope too tight." The climber needs some slack in the rope for the next move.
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.
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!
(Stated by the rappeller or the climber) Used when a belay is no longer necessary.
(Stated by the
belayer) The climber is no longer on a belay.
(Stated by the rappeller) "I am actually coming down the
The climber has locked off the friction device and is not likely to fall.
climber feels himself falling. Provides the belayer with an advanced warning of the fall.