Author Topic: Caving booking etiquette  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Caving booking etiquette
« on: July 17, 2021, 12:45:03 pm »
Hi all, asking a caving related question in the mining forum because I don't want to ask a question revealing my total ignorance in main forums and people might conclude I will definitely die and dissuade me etc (dying is possible but not a certainty EDIT: on this trip)

Anyway, supposing someone uses the CNCC booking system and reserves GG dihedral. They'd like to do direct in the (unlikely) possibility that it'd been sustained hot weather. If you book one presumably doing another is bad, booking both is just rude and antisocial. Sharing is caring etc.

Is there any way to book both but agree to share with another group or book one but have an agreement with another party. I understand the purpose of booking is crowd control to help the landowner so don't know if sharing is acceptable. But I don't want to book two and do one, nor do I want to book one and do another, etc etc etc.

Is there an established etiquette? Or is it just book one and stop complicating things. How does this work?
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2021, 03:03:19 pm »
The chances on any given day of Dihedral and Direct being rigged by separate groups is nil. Book both. If you book it during the week you may well have the only booking for the whole Dales, which is often the case for us.

When I booked something yesterday there was one booking in the Dales for today, a bone dry Saturday.

I have a suspicion everyone has snuck off to France.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2021, 03:45:24 pm »
Thanks for the advice. What I'd neglected to mention was this is about Sat 28th Aug (bank holiday) so I'd guess in normal circumstances that'd be a high traffic day. Not sure if that changes the answer

I'll assume not and keep both booked. Thanks again!

(If it is exceptionally dry end Aug and anyone wants to direct message me about this, happy to discuss)
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2021, 04:20:16 pm »
I'd book both but maybe put a note on here a week or so beforehand mentioning the possibility that you could negotiate with another group if they desperately want to do either of those routes into GG. You might even be able to agree the arrangement of a "through trip" (i.e. up one, down t'other - or vice versa).

Mind you, it'll probably chuck it down anyway . . .  ;)

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2021, 05:10:47 pm »
Thanks for the advice. What I'd neglected to mention was this is about Sat 28th Aug (bank holiday) so I'd guess in normal circumstances that'd be a high traffic day. Not sure if that changes the answer

I'll assume not and keep both booked. Thanks again!

(If it is exceptionally dry end Aug and anyone wants to direct message me about this, happy to discuss)

Bank Holiday either peeing down or roads blocked with tourists
I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2021, 06:26:15 pm »
If the weather's good, I hope to be one of those tourists. I'll make a point of driving extra slowly on lanes, stalling the car at traffic lights until they change again and all sorts of annoying things to cause upset. I'm not prepared to do all the obligatory tourist stuff like buying quince jam in past times shop or walking infuriatingly slowly down the high street with 2 walking poles so nobody can get past. I still have a few standards left
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Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2021, 06:40:04 pm »
I'd book both but maybe put a note on here a week or so beforehand mentioning the possibility that you could negotiate with another group if they desperately want to do either of those routes into GG. You might even be able to agree the arrangement of a "through trip" (i.e. up one, down t'other - or vice versa).

Mind you, it'll probably chuck it down anyway . . .  ;)
Great Idea
That'd be great if it worked out as down one up another, as long as the other party were happy with passing a  knot (I don't have a 90m rope)

Yes, last year Aug had storm Francis and storm Ellen. Not optimal
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Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2021, 06:51:48 pm »
If the weather's good, I hope to be one of those tourists. I'll make a point of driving extra slowly on lanes, stalling the car at traffic lights until they change again and all sorts of annoying things to cause upset. I'm not prepared to do all the obligatory tourist stuff like buying quince jam in past times shop or walking infuriatingly slowly down the high street with 2 walking poles so nobody can get past. I still have a few standards left

Dont forget the red socks and if you take a bike to be all over the road chatting away and not giving a toss   :lol:
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Offline AlexR

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2021, 02:39:03 pm »
Thought I'd chip in with some info from my misadventures, way before I became a BPC member and got to know GG quite well.
There used to be a trip report on the NUCC website, but that seems to have disappeared, so here is a heavily abridged version:

My first time going into GG full stop was Dihedral, conditions seemed superficially dry and there was barely any water going down Jib Tunnel. As I descended from there I met the the various inlets en route, and things went from being relatively dry to very much not dry. There was so much water around me that I missed the ledge - in part because I missed all but the 1st deviation, if you don't know where they are they won't necessarily be obvious.
Down was pretty much the only option at this point. I reached the bottom completely drenched, communication with people above you is impossible unless you have a radio (of course I didn't).*
The others followed, getting equally drenched. Going back up would have been somewhere in between impossible to quite dangerous. If no other entrance is rigged and the water above you too strong to get out, you're shit out of luck. Main Chamber is a very draughty place, hanging around here will get you very cold.

Luckily for us, we were part of a total of 17 people going into the system. So once the others arrived and I explained what had happened, we simply went out Bar to derig Dihedral from the surface.

I would worry a lot more about the above than the etiquette of booking.  ;)

*Because of the weight of the rope it might not be immediately apparent to those waiting whether you got off the rope or not, and even once they figure it out they won't know if you're sorting stuff out on the ledge or are at the bottom. You won't know whether the complete free hang is feasible until you're a good way down. A whistle with prearranged calls is advisable (usually in the form of old ladder calls: Stop-Up-Down, 1, 2, and 3 blows respectively)

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2021, 02:56:32 pm »
Thanks Alex, exactly the info I needed. The rigging guide has no deviations marked on Dihedral, I've seen a YouTube video that shows one at the very top to try to avoid some of jib tunnel water. There's what looks like another in the first enclosed section and a cryptic mention of one in the forums of one now snapped off (something about it was awkward round an overhang) so I'm expecting 2 or zero deviations  :-\

I'm hoping not to miss the ledge. I've 2 x 60m ropes so providing I don't pass the knot I'd know I'd missed the ledge which I'm expecting 40 to 50m down and perhaps jug up for another look... if conditions allow. What does intrigue me is how far the ledge is to the side of rigging straight down and are you in free space at that point or able to pendulum, not sure lassoing attempts will work under falling water.

I'm expecting it to be wet even if the Gill has dried up, I'm also expecting it to be pretty bloomin wet if any water is in the tunnel but your account is, erm.. concerning!

Wasn't sure if layers of pile and water proofs (to slow water movement, not keep dry) is enough or whether it needs an actual neoprene jacket etc, if there is any water on jib tunnel. Sounds more neoprene than favourite jumper...  :-\
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Offline AlexR

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2021, 03:20:06 pm »
The attire will be a question of personal preference, I'd rather ascend in a dressing gown than neoprene  ;D

I would just bank on getting wet, this isn't the end of the world. You'll walk yourself dry (or at least warm) checking out Mud Hall and the other sights, I'm sure. My advice is to go for a standard caving outfit, but have extra layers in a dry bag. A cheapo, packaway oversized waterproof jacket works wonders (something like this). You will be very glad you brought it when settling in for the wait as others ascend - unless it's a fast small party, of course.

In terms of rigging: There is one very obvious deviation only a couple of meters below the take-off, once you're into open space there are further deviations. Look for them in the chimney-like feature you're descending along. From memory there are two, possibly three. The more you get, the easier you'll find it to get onto the ledge. Ignore an old traverse line leading off if you see it, this has nothing to do with your route.

Please don't see this as me being a condescending wanker, I'm sure you're always very careful with rope, but I would definitely pack the ropes myself and make 100% sure there are two knots in the end of the rope. Dihedral starts out very cozy and protected feeling and gets very exposed very quickly, it definitely gives an extra piece of mind to know for absolute certain that there is a knot in the end of that rope.

It'll be great, and almost certainly better than my first experience  ;D

Online Fulk

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2021, 06:07:09 pm »
Hi Cantclimbtom, I was gob-smacked by your remark that there are no deviations shown on the CNCC rigging guide for Dihedral, so I had a look at it . . . you’re right!

In fact, there are (as AlexR says) 3 or 4, which will give you a ‘reasonable’ descent.

Take care with your rope lengths; I note that the CNCC guide shows that 55 m is adequate to get you to the ledge, but the first time I rigged Dihedral I took a 60 m rope to get me to the ledge, having been assured that it would be long enough; it wasn’t*, and I found myself dangling 3 m or so above the ledge, and 1 or 2 m off to the side. As luck would have it, I’d taken down the next rope so I spent an ‘enthralling’ few minutes tying the ropes together and getting past the knot before swinging onto the ledge; passing a knot is my least favourite SRT manoeuvre, but to do it there in such an exposed situation was quite an experience.

Still – we (obviously) survived, but looking on the bright side, Dihedral is an amazing experince – go for it and enjoy it.

By the way, the CPC are having a 'non-winch winch meet' from 14th 21st August, when the intention is to rig most of the popular entrance to GG; this will almost certainly include Dihedral, so if you can make it then you should find it pre-rigged, with folk on hand to offer advice.

*Of course, our rope might have shrunk a bit.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2021, 06:24:11 pm by Fulk »

Online Fulk

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2021, 06:55:13 pm »
Like AlexR, I've done 'Jib Tunnel Direct', on a warm summer's day many years ago; the free-fall 98 m descent was quite something, and as Alex says, it got a 'tad damp' ( :)) towards the bottom, but on that occasion it wasn't stupidly wet, and we all prusiked safely back out.

I was out first, and can still remember lying in the warm sun, waiting for the others to emerge.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2021, 07:15:56 pm by Fulk »

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2021, 07:56:47 pm »
Thanks for sharing the adventures/misadventures. The rope too short made me chuckle (in a sympathetic way!). Perhaps it'd be wise for me to take a short length of rigging rope for all the bolts in the tunnel, then first drop Y hanged with a 60 to get absolute full length of that rope. I'd already planned to tie two 60m ropes together in a bag and ab with it hung below me "riding the pig" as I believe our American cousins call it. So I wouldn't be left ropeless but certainly it'd be "entertaining" to discover the rope running out before the ledge.

I dislike descending past knots, haven't done it in anger for a while, so I threw a rope over a tree branch this afternoon and remembered just how much I hate the croll catching/plucking strands of sheath as you down jumar that foot or two.

Maybe the rigging guide doesn't list untested anchors, which makes sense on one level... but it'd be very misleading for someone not familiar with the route (like me) who might think no deviations were there or needed. In my opinion they should mark untested anchors even if they used a small red skull and crossbones as the symbol for them (as clear disclaimer/warning).

As I read everyone's advice, direct route sounds less and less favourable unless a huge drought and jib tunnel sounds more and more favourable noting all your clear warning about water, deviations, lengths, etc :)

Fingers crossed for some dry weather or this'll be academic. Thanks also for explanation of non-winch meet. I can't make it then but that would've been great to try in one and out another
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Offline langcliffe

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2021, 08:08:28 pm »
As I read everyone's advice, direct route sounds less and less favourable unless a huge drought and jib tunnel sounds more and more favourable noting all your clear warning about water, deviations, lengths, etc :)

I think that the replies may have confused you - the stories above apply to the direct Jib Tunnel route, where instead of swinging on to Wingfield Ledge you keep on going to the bottom with the Jib Tunnel waterfall keeping you company.

The other Direct route is actually the main shaft, where one hangs a rope from bolts on the true right, and when a few metres down traverse to a Y-hang in a bottomless rift. This hang takes you between the Jib Tunnel and Main Shaft waterfalls (although you get splashed a bit from both).

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2021, 08:14:32 pm »
Hi Cantclimbtom, I was gob-smacked by your remark that there are no deviations shown on the CNCC rigging guide for Dihedral, so I had a look at it . . . you’re right!

Probably because the CNCC don't tend to acknowledge the existence of bolts which weren't put in by one of the authorised bolters. Although having said that, Wooding and I put a couple of them in when we were P-bolting Rat Hole. We used to access the bottom section of Rat Hole by traversing from Dihedral through Hamster Aven. Maybe we didn't tell the powers that be about them at the time.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2021, 08:18:27 pm »
Here is the original Pre-P topo which does at least give you an idea of the effect you are trying to achieve.


Online Fulk

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2021, 08:23:37 pm »
Is that from Elliott's book?

Offline Fjell

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2021, 08:24:29 pm »
Ja.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2021, 08:28:02 pm »
Wow, Thanks again! There are some differences there, that's for sure. I'll print that.
I can see the distinction between a 60m rope and a used to be 60m rope being very significant :) or even worse 2 ropes that are in the used to be 60m category and running short to make the final drop.

Thanks also to B for the message, have contacted them to check that
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Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2021, 08:58:37 pm »
Thanks as well to langcliffe, I had meant direct (not dihedral-direct which I only learnt as a practical option in this topic). In fact to me direct was the "obvious" route in/out. But as I get more advice here, dihedral sounds very slightly less water sensitive and sounds a classic due to both enclosed start and open sections. I now think dihedral would be best choice for a good intro to GG.

Thanks again all
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Online Fulk

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2021, 11:22:14 pm »
For sheer spectacle, it'd be hard to beat anywhere. Have a good trip, Cantclimbtom.

Online Fulk

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2021, 09:08:28 am »
By the way, Cantclimbtom, the CNCC topo omits a rather awkward deviation just below the big ledge that's shown in Elliott's version above.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2021, 11:01:41 am »
Thanks, I'd noted that deviation in the pre-P topo and was happy about it, at least I was until you said "rather awkward"  ;)

Will carry enough sling+krab to cover 4 deviations, I'm assuming to keep eyes out for a blank bolt as they're unmarked (but if they have a bit of in-situ tape tied to them already, so much the better)
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Offline CNCC

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2021, 06:42:13 am »
Hello all

Sorry for the slow response to this, but we’ve been out caving and enjoying the nice weather  ;D

Several points raised in this thread so far to respond to with our perspective.

Where the booking system is currently in operation there were, until very recently, some very restrictive permit agreements requiring advanced notice and with less overall availability (including closed seasons, or no access to non-club cavers in some areas). The system was introduced as a compromise with landowners to move away from the previous permit system, while sustaining good relations (and good relations are desirable for many other reasons).

The booking system is therefore a tool to facilitate cave access in a way that satisfies three major landowners and shows the respect that we have always encouraged cavers to show. We encourage cavers to use it, but as the caves are all on open-access land, we have no intention of ever insisting upon use of the booking system. The caves are open access and require no permission to visit.

The decision on whether to use the booking system lies very much with the caving community.

In terms of booking system etiquette, it isn’t our place to make recommendations; but it would seem prudent that if you are doing an exchange trip via two heavily SRT-orientated entrances, to book both, to avoid disappointment to another group who may be using the booking system as a means to avoid underground traffic. Likewise, only book what you need, and cancel any bookings you will not be using as much in advance as possible. Our statistics show that a large proportion of bookings are made less than two days prior to the trip, so cancelling even a few days before the date will free up availability for others who might be planning their trip the night before. There is plenty of availability to go around; there are a lot of caves on Leck/Ingleborough/Casterton fells and some of the less SRT-orientated entrances accommodate two bookings per day.

We did explore the idea of allowing groups with bookings to contact eachother to discuss routes etc, but that just entered a GDPR minefield that we had no desire to explore.

We would like to emphasise that having a booking for a cave does not guarantee you exclusivity, and we urge respect towards any other group who turns up without a booking while you are there. Many people will not know about the booking system, will be there due to an unexpected change of plan, or will have decided not to use it for whatever good reason.

Lots of cavers seem to appreciate the system to pick a trip where you are less likely to encounter congestion. The more people who use the booking system, the better it works for this purpose, although we never installed the system for these purposes.

We suggest common sense, courtesy, and respect.

If you wish to use the booking system, it takes a matter of minutes to register, and even less to make a booking. We have tried to make it as hassle-free as possible, and we welcome feedback (webmaster@cncc.org.uk).

With respect to the rigging topo for Dihedral:

Firstly, a reminder that the CNCC has a reporting tool for such things (missing deviations, inaccurate rope lengths or misleading topos). This can be found here:

https://cncc.org.uk/caving/report/topo-error.php

Many of our topos originate from the early CNCC rigging guides. They are unaudited and we rely on cavers to report issues and errors. In the last year we have updated dozens of our online topos and descriptions in response to feedback from the caving community. They are far from static documents.

One of the UKCaving moderators has kindly submitted this dihedral discussion to our attention.

Langcliffe is spot on that the CNCC has not historically acknowledged anchors that were not placed by approved installers. The reasons for this are a separate discussion altogether and would bore the pants off most cavers (us included!) as it spans horribly into realms of liability and insurance.

However, this is something we are actively discussing, with a view to including selected non-CNCC anchors on our topos where they may be appropriate. These missing deviation anchors, providing they are resin-bonded and stainless steel, may fall into this category.

From what we can gather from the discussion above, there is a feeling the CNCC rope lengths for dihedral could benefit from an additional 5-10m adding to each (maybe 60+60 instead of 55+55)? This is an easy change to implement. Secondly, we surmise there are some deviations that could benefit from being noted on the topo. Anyone who is familiar with the current situation including where these deviations are, what they are (what anchor type) and what condition they are in, please get in touch (pr@cncc.org.uk or use the link above) and we may be able to note these on the topo depending on how the current discussions about non-CNCC anchors proceeds.

Alternatively, we may be able to send a few of our installers to take a look... we’ve sent them to far worse places over the past year.

In general it never hurts to carry a little but more rope and a few more krabs/slings than the topos show, it creates a bit of redundancy and covers many eventualities and enables greater flexibility in the rigging.
Council of Northern Caving Clubs; Working together for northern caving since 1963

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2021, 05:28:07 pm »
Thanks CNCC for the detailed explanation

I'm aware that some places can be accessed without going via a booking system, even (so I hear...) many common padlocks can sometimes open/close without leaving a trace and nobody being the wiser. However I'm aware of the access situation having been negotiated with landowners and so intend to do everything as legitimately, courteously and respectfully as possible to maintain everyone's current access.

Assuming of course that weather is clement and my trip goes ahead...  I'll be sure to feedback estimated rope lengths, deviations etc if anything significant, following https://cncc.org.uk/caving/report/topo-error.php

I understand that you cannot endorse the use of any anchors that haven't been CNCC installed/tested but if it was the case that deviations were actually necessary to land on the ledge (I have yet to discover the facts here) and they were omitted from the topo then it would be misleading. So I guess there's a balancing act there. I still think you should include some unapproved anchors/deviation with a skull and crossbones symbol and "do not use" in the key to cover yourselves if a topo was misleading otherwise. As mentioned no idea yet if that applies here :)

All the topos online and all the advice generously given here is greatly appreciated!
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Offline CNCC

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2021, 06:29:46 pm »
We've not had any replies to our above post regarding the missing deviation anchors or rope lengths, so one of our anchor installers has kindly taken this on as a project and will be making a visit to assess what anchors are where (and to investigate the nature of the 'missing' deviation anchors), and to review rope lengths. We'll get the topo updated based on his findings, hopefully in the next couple of months.

Thank you to everyone for flagging this up!  ;D
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Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: Caving booking etiquette
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2021, 07:55:07 pm »
Unless you can also guarantee dry weather for the tail end of Aug please? you're pretty much covering everything possible. Thank you again
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