On Saturday the 15th SUSS met up for a full day of rescue training at an IRATA training venue in Sheffield that Access Techniques Ltd very kindly allowed us to use. We try to have a few training sessions like this spread across the year as they provide an excellent guilt-free excuse not to go underground.
Thing got going by 10.30 am, starting with a short talk on the spectrum of rescues, of increasing desperation and severity, that are available to those caving in small groups. 17 SUSS members attended all or part of the day's training, plus one beginner from the TSG.
We soon left the conference room to learn and practice in three groups - one covering ladderwork, one assisted handlines and belaying and one hauling systems. We're quite lucky in that nobody wants to leave Sheffield so we have a lot of older, experienced members and therefore the training day could be run entirely in-house.
We broke for lunch which was a satisfying ten 12" pizzas from a kebab shop nearby. This was an opportunity to talk over the short handout sheets that I had put together with six possible scenarios that could be encountered underground, and what might be a sensible response to each situation. I usually enjoy thinking and talking over theoretical problems that could be encountered on the hill or underground, and I think it can be a good way to learn more during otherwise routine caving.
Once we all felt a little less bloated we returned to the ropes for the afternoon. The freshers were taken aside by Jack and Leo, who got them strung up and stuck in various ways so they could get more experience thinking themselves out of difficult SRT situations. The rest of us split into two groups, half of us rehearsed breaking into a tight line (Spanish pendulum) techniques, while the other half went over cut-the-rope and croll-to-croll pick off rescues until we swapped over. Some also practiced rescuing from the loop of a rebelay - a real possibility given that we almost all use non-locking descenders.
After seven hours at the training venue we finished up, with a lot of us going on to the TSG hut for an excellent Christmas meal prepared by NUCC, and associated revelry. Many thanks are due to Rob, Helen, and Twebb for delivering the training and to Access Techniques for use of the venue. Also Michael and Helen for the photos I have included here along with my own (assuming they are actually attached).
(N.B. Yes I am wearing a spray painted gold helmet, no, I would never do that. It was borrowed.)