UK Caving

OTHER STUFF => Idle Chat => Topic started by: Brains on February 16, 2012, 06:37:06 pm

Title: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Brains on February 16, 2012, 06:37:06 pm
In view of the thread on lack of caving content, and my own temporary lay off from caving, I thought sharing some anecdotes may help keep the caving spirit alive. First off I have repeated my story from the mid rope transfer thread:
Quote
When descending a wet shaft and you find it is too wet or the rope too short, dangle and spin gently in the water while finding your footloop jammer in your 'sac. Once attached now find your chest harness and croll in your sac and attach via a maillon or crab as you cant now undo your main D. Continue to dangle and spin under the water while trying to keep your carbide light in. Attach the footloop, stand up and attach the croll, step up some more and remove your descender. Return to the pitch head while still spinning under the water in the dark as your carbide lamp has now given up! Retire to the pub and tell me and the rest of the club in confidence...

And another to get the ball rolling; On a wet day some members went for trip in Bar to visit GG, wearing neoprene. In main chamber the 'fall was thundering and a lake across the floor. The victim went for a close look at the spray, and was caught by a deluge that stripped his wetsuit to his kness and knocked him over. Hobbled by the 'suit round his knees and wrists he staggered cold and wet from monsoon.

Do you have any stories you would share, changing names to protect the guilty? I have more but will save them for later if things start to flag a bit
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 16, 2012, 06:52:14 pm
I have so many to tell! I have been unlucky several times then again I was Lucky, cause I am still here!.

Well I think my biggest mishap has got to be this one back in 2009, which is summed up nicely in the linked trip report:(Which is a good warning about doing a grade 5 cave before you are ready!)

http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-north/HammerPot.pdf
 (http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-north/HammerPot.pdf)

This is also the reason I am going into LittleMeregill this Saturday, I know what it is like when no one is willing to help you get your gear!

Other incidents: I have had big boulders fall at me, been trapped by floods twice once abroad, once in Dales (Neither was my fault, however and was glad for my survival bag!). Caved very hung over with near disastarous conciquences in Titan.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: paul on February 16, 2012, 07:52:17 pm
Well I think my biggest mishap has got to be this one back in 2009, which is summed up nicely in the linked trip report:(Which is a good warning about doing a grade 5 cave before you are ready!)

http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-north/HammerPot.pdf
 (http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-north/HammerPot.pdf)

Excellent story Alex.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 16, 2012, 08:11:46 pm
I got more where that came from though one does need editing to protect identities.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Penguin on February 16, 2012, 08:23:11 pm
I'll offer up this one... 

A very wet day in Upper Cradle Hole (http://sites.google.com/site/shannoncavegroup/tripdigging-reports/fermanagh-cavan/marble-arch-system/mac-cascades-link/nicedayforducksuppercradlehole21may2011), Co. Fermanagh, the second of my two flooding incidents in here...

Normally the streamway takes about 15 minutes or less to negotiate with bags.  Sit tight or keep moving...?

My first flooding incident in UCH, two years previous to this May weekend, was less of a flood but it hit Artur and myself while we were beyond sump 2 in the Monastir Way.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 17, 2012, 12:06:38 am
I have two...LOL I've been told not to talk about mishaps becuase I shouldn't go caving then. Whatever.

1) Climbing out of a 120ft pit after a fast and hot cave trip about 40 ft up had a freak one of those once-or-twice-a-year instant migraines. Sat off on a flowstone ledge and took some med, but it was too late it came on too fast. After resting about 10 min trying to get it under control (and failing) had to decide a) keep climbing and hope I dont screw something up (harder to f*ck up when climbing at least) or b) ?? other options? In no way was I having CR called lol. But hey bonus for caving in a good group because all 5 I was with are vertical rescue experts, two already up top and they had rig stuff in the car which was close. Decided that while I could likely make it out going slow, talking to be sure I kept my brain about me okay, etc, it would be safer and faster to put a 3:1 haul in. Took like 10 min and I was out. Luckily dark and no noise is nice for migraines I fell asleep while waiting :P but assisted getting out (pushing myself off the wall and walking up along it, getting myself around the lips, climbing past the main lip which was totally undercut, etc)

2) Ran into carbide users for the first time. Holyshit is that stuff horrible. Could. Not. Breathe. I now know what gasping for air feels like, it sucks. Also it triggered a migraine but one dull enough I stopped with the meds I carry without trouble. Not being able to breathe was the more concerning thing. It affected other members in our group too who had troubles breathing and were coughing as well. Person in the other group using the carbide when spoke too scoffed it could ever be a problem, and purposefully fouled up air in the clean pockets we found in side rooms to hide in. Didn't want to stay behind our group so we let their group cave through and waited about 15 min for the air to clear out.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: owd git on February 17, 2012, 12:41:33 am
I still have a pronounced graize / bruize  on my chest from Meccano passage mis routing :lol: . If Clive Bennet ( cave & crag.) hadn't been able to 'retrieve me' I thinkI might still be there. :lol:(T'was in August last year write -up on 'cave& crag phorum / caving /fishermans tales in the depths of meccano passage)
Again ta Clive :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: gus horsley on February 17, 2012, 12:28:55 pm
I've got a couple of embarrassing mishaps, one from nearly 50 years ago.

I bought an old ex-RAF goon suit for a few pence.  For those of you unfamiliar, they were designed for pilots who had to bail out of their planes over the sea, consisting of a watertight "oversuit" with really tight cuffs and neck which were inflated by an orange plastic tube in the willy region which was then tied off in a knot.  Apart from not being able to inflate the thing myself (which caused much merriment due to simulated blow job from cavers), I used it quite successfully in Old Ing and Lower Long Churn.  However, it all went horribly wrong in Calf Holes after I'd inadvertently created a small rip in the goon suit, probably going through from Browgill through Hainsworth's Crawl.  As soon as I got in the canal I went from comfortable to bloody freezing in seconds.  By the time I'd got to the bottom of the pitch I could hardly move due to the volume of water in the suit and had to hang onto the bottom couple of rungs while someone fiddled with the cuffs and orange tube to release all the pent-up water.

The other incident was a few years ago in the entrance pipe of Valley Entrance due to being a little overenthusiastic and literally jumping into it.  I wouldn't have thought it was possible to be jammed by the knees in a sitting position but for a full five minutes I couldn't move in either direction.  It was only when I heard approaching voices from the interior that I summoned enough force to liberate myself but Christ it bloody hurt.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: matthewjc on February 17, 2012, 01:08:40 pm
And I must thank you Ric for releasing me & Tim from a rocky tomb when Nigel pulled that slab down in the futher reaches of the lower workings in Jug Holes :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alkapton on February 17, 2012, 01:27:14 pm
Here is a cautionary tale that highlights the importance of using SRT gear correctly....
Firstly I need to say that I use a left foot Pantin and seperate cowstails, so a la "Alpine Caving Techniques" I should have long cowstail on the right of my D and the short on the left.   Unfortunately the aforementioned book does not explain why the order is important, so on the day I got the order wrong I shrugged thinking it did not matter much and could not be bothered to undo my sit harness and get it right.
I am in Pwll Dwfyn and have met up with some Polish people one of whom wants to dive the sump at the bottom of the cave (this is happening about 12 months ago),  uneventful trip to bottom and it was uneventful comming back up, until I am half way up the second pitch.    By the time I'm half way up second pitch I've gone up 3 1/2 pitches with the cowstails the wrong way round so when I stand on my footloop and pantin something went wrong.   I thought my right foot had slipped out of my foot loop but it turned out the footloop broke because it had been rubbing a cowstail.   When the footloop broke I jerked causing my chest ascender to come off the rope.  At this point the only thing holding me on the rope was my pantin and I know I'm about to slip so I can't get the rope back in the chest ascender and figure what is wrong with the foot loop.  The only thing that will save me is long cowstail which is of course in hand ascender.   Normally a pantin comes off the rope real easy but when I slipped down the rope it didn't come off the rope, so I end up hanging from my long cowstail hugging the rope because my body is trying to turn upside down, so I'm now hanging almost horizontal 10 - 15 meters off the ground unable to get the pantin off the rope and so reorientate myself.
Due to language problems it took a while for the Polish cavers to figure what was the matter with me.   Fortunately there was a second rope rigged, so after a while someone climbs it, frees my pantin from the rope, and I can now be the right way up and get the chest ascender back on the rope.   A little confusion with language later, a spare hand ascender and footloop is presented to me and I can finally finish my ascent of the cave.
When I got out I found not only had my footloop broken because the cowstails were the wrong way round, but my short cowstail was almost completely worn through on the fig 8 loop where it attaches to the D.
Now I remember to always double check I have cowstails the right way round!!!
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: r_walklate on February 17, 2012, 03:21:31 pm
This is not a 'near miss' but at the time we thought we were going to die!!!
Taking a group through a flat out crawl one child was reluctant but with some persuasion an adult at the front and one at the back they  were happy to do it. About 5 m in a smell appeared one that you just ignore until you think this ain't normal!!! The child had literally shown us the colour of fear in a confined space!!

I can honestly say that hanging on a single jammer is so much more appealing than experiencing that!!!!!!!!! ;)
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Fulk on February 17, 2012, 03:42:11 pm
Hi Alkapton,

I'm glad you survived what sounds like a very unpleasant experience, but I'm slightly baffled as to how so much wear and tear took place so quickly; would it be possible to post a sketch or photo of your SRT set-up?
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: skippy on February 17, 2012, 03:43:49 pm
OK..Here’s my little incident.
20 years ago I was an impetuous youth and rushed head long into everything. My down fall.
A mate and I had done the Giants round trip but still wanted to do a little more. We decided to do the upstream series from Base Camp Chamber, heading up to the outlet sump along the narrow passage, climb up, traverse back in the roof..and climb down the rift. This was one of the first trips I’d ever done a few years earlier and was confident I knew where to climb down as one place was a 40 ft pitch.
We arrived at the chamber where the pitch was(above the inlet at base camp chamber) and started looking at holes back from the pitchhead that would enable a free climb back to the streamway.
I looked at one hole, noticed it was 15ft back from the pitch and assumed it was well over the rift passage…and duly threw myself into it. Realised then it was a bit snug and thought it wasn’t the right way. I tried to climb out but I went in at an angle and it was too tight to reverse UP. My mate threw a few slings down to act as footloops but I couldn’t get purchase. The only way was DOWN!!
I asked my mate to check the distance from the pitch to my ‘hole’ and I  was confident I was in the rift….I slid down 2 ft….The hole opened up and I fell 35 foot though the roof of the chamber….landing in a sitting position where  Sump 1 outlet is.
I was in total darkness(Oldham battery smashed but save my spine)……next thing I know I heard screaming…..it was me!!!.....But it was just shock setting in.

I had no major injuries…couple of bruised vertebrae and a sprained wrist!.....Where I landed saved me. I was in a perfect sitting position on a smooth ledge.1 ft either side and I’d have landed on boulders….and probably not survived.

I have since returned to the spot as I didn’t believe I fell as far as I did and walked away.….20 years down the line and it still sends shivers down me when I look up into that aven…… 
Hindsight is wonderful….and thankfully I have the opportunity to think how I should have got myself out of the situation.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Andyj23UK on February 17, 2012, 04:02:13 pm
bloody hell glenn - i know you told me the story when we were down there - and pointed at places - but i had trouble getting my head around it

reading that now makes perfect sense

for the recod - i absolutley detest down climbing unknown routes - even worse than ladders - for that vey reason - that if rifts start to widen - i could get stuck with no way to retreat - and a continutation too wide to get puchase on
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: langcliffe on February 17, 2012, 04:07:46 pm
20 years ago I was an impetuous youth and rushed head long into everything. My down fall.

Probably the commonest reason for having a mishap - the stupidity of youth...

Mine occurred when we broke into Far Chamber Extension Series in Notts Pot in 1970. Ron Bushell and Alan Proctor dug out the entrance and eased themselves gently down through the squeeze, and into the passages beyond. I then turned up, and hearing them on the far side, charged in head first, and totally missed the widest part. Extricating myself involved breaking a rib and tearing the sole off one of my boots. Getting out again proved to quite interesting.

Around the same time, access into the Adamson Series and Birthday Pot used to involve going all the way up North Inlet, and returning at a higher level through a roof crawl. One could then walk across a boulder bridge straight into the start of the series. After some very heavy flooding, some of the supporting boulders disappeared, and the bridge decided to follow the dictates of gravity whilst I was crossing it. It fell about 3 metres, with me riding it down (it's the big boulder that can be seen on the floor there). For some reason, I was able to step off at the bottom whilst the rest of the party were having kittens. We had to take in a signal box ladder to allow us to get back into the extension, which is still there today (or was two weeks ago), and access is now along the traverse from Three Ways Chamber.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: skippy on February 17, 2012, 04:15:31 pm
Hey Andy..I was gonna draw a diagram..but I cant draw :-[
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: skippy on February 17, 2012, 04:17:10 pm
Hey Langcliff....I cant imagine you having any 'incidents'....yer one of the calmest peope I've caved with :-)
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: langcliffe on February 17, 2012, 04:48:22 pm
Hey Langcliff....I cant imagine you having any 'incidents'....yer one of the calmest peope I've caved with :-)

It's a mask adopted to hide a permanent feeling of mild terror when underground. I learned the trick from Mike Wooding.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alkapton on February 17, 2012, 05:22:53 pm
Fulk:

Sorry I tried photo but can't make one clear enougth, and I can't draw that good, so a verbal description should work-

Sit harnes is the cheapest Petzl one, its OK but one day I'll get a better one.    Cowstails are fig. 8 to attach to D ring and barrel knot to attach a krab.   Hand jammer is Petzl Croll and chest jammer is Petzl Croll Basic, attached to D via a mallion and attached to chest harness via a delta mallion.  Other stuff on D is breaking krab and a spare mallion used as a spanner to undo D ring, but that is well out of the way as it needs to be to function as a spanner.     At the time my foot loop was 1" tape webbing tied directly to hand jammer running through a mallion on the D ring, krab from long cowstail into hand jammer.   So its a standard sort of set up.   I wasn't wearing the Petzl Stop.

The footloop had served me well and was in good condition, but now I use Petzl footloop attached to hand jammer via a mallion, which is better because I can easily remove the footloop for traverses or hauling.

Most people I tell this tale to are shocked because they don't understand how such wear happened in such short time, and it did not feel like there was a problem with the footloop rubbing.

The only scary bit was when I realised my chest jammer was off the rope and I was soon going to loose grip of my hand jammer and fall on the long cowstail.   I trusted my cowstail and jammer but nothing I could do if they fail as well!!!   If
I'd been on my own I could have kicked off my wellie, I happened to have a spare double footloop in my bag (but Polish girl had gone ahead of me with my bag), so I think I could have self rescued OK.

I tell this tale because its such a seemingly trivial mistake to make - just reversing the order of the cowstails - but it had catasprphic results.   You could see on fig. 8 knot of short cowstail the climbing ropes had just about sawed through its loop.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: damian on February 17, 2012, 06:23:32 pm
Alkapton:

I cannot begin to understand how having your cowstails the "wrong way around" can possibly cause the series of events you describe, particularly your croll undoing itself because you "jerked".

I also find your "standard sort of [SRT] setup" somewhat odd.

However even with this I cannot make the series of events you describe happen.

Surely there was something else going on that you didn't realise at the time??
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 17, 2012, 06:50:33 pm
I dont understand the point that his hand jammer was attatched to his cows tail?

Eh? hows that safe lol, I guess you learned your lesson there. I always use a seperate rope with a screw gate. I guess your method saves weight but at the very least it would slow you down as you would have to keep removing the hand jammer from the cows tail at every rebelay/pitch head?

As for chest jammer coming off that has happened to me but that was because I was at a funny angle.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Anon on February 17, 2012, 06:53:33 pm
Alkapton:

I cannot begin to understand how having your cowstails the "wrong way around" can possibly cause the series of events you describe, particularly your croll undoing itself because you "jerked".

I also find your "standard sort of [SRT] setup" somewhat odd.

However even with this I cannot make the series of events you describe happen.

Surely there was something else going on that you didn't realise at the time??
Glad I'm not the only one that found it somewhat puzzling..
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 17, 2012, 07:07:03 pm
Hmm just looked at the book and it does show hand jammer attached to the cows tail, how weird. Never noticed that before.

I think, however I will stick to my method, i.e. seperate rope attached to the mallon via screw crab. The method in alpine is probbably best for long expeditions where weight is really a premium. Though no one used that method in Dachstien that I know of.

Anyway we are off topic, keep the stories coming.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Brains on February 17, 2012, 07:30:08 pm
I'll chuck in another... Back in the day a friend went on a solo digging trip one evening. The dig is on the far side of a wooded valley, across a small river, and is essentially a long crawl through beddings, boulders and tubes to a too tight constriction. On the day it was wet and rainy, but undeterred all the kit was duly dragged to the dig face, holes drilled and rocks ready to break. In trying to squirm around and get some kit, my friend banged his lamp and killed the bulb. Not to worry, he carried a spare bulb in the headset. On finding his backup light lasted all of 3 seconds he proceeded to change the bulb by feel, and blew that as well... On reflection he decided to exit the cave by feel alone, abandoning the kit for another day. Being his dig, he knew it well and made it to the exit eventually. Now the fun began. In deepest Derbyshire in the dead of a moonless night in a wooded valley in the rain, he had to negotiate the climb down from the cave, cross the river an!
d climb the far side through cliffs and badger sets back to the car. Apparently when he finally opened the car the courtesy light blinded him, and his explanatory phone call to me for being late out was only qualified by our both realising he hadnt actually set a call out time with me or anybody else! BTW the rock was removed, and all kit retrieved, the offending lump gaving access to another 6 feet of flat out crawl to a too tight ongoing passage
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: paul on February 17, 2012, 07:46:25 pm
I posted this before, see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=696.0 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=696.0) for more, so I hope you don't mind a little repetition..

I suppose my second most frightening experience was finding out we had missed the lock-in at the Hill Inn one Saturday night while camping in the car park as we walked down to Clapham after doing Lizard Pot after having got there too late the night before to get a drink.

The most frightening was in Lamb Leer in Mendip in the 70's. Me and a schoolmate had borrowed 3 25 foot ladders for the pitch from the platform in the big chamber and had a lifeline for that. We hadn't a rope for the entrance pitch as it was supposedly a fixed 70 foot or so iron ladder and we thought we'd be OK. Dave headed down the entrance pitch and soon returned ashen-faced as the "fixed" iron ladder was swaying back and forth to and from the wall and sections which were bolted together often had bolts loose or missing.

We decided to use the lifeline on the entrance pitch! Continuing on down all went well and we had a good trip exploring all the nooks and crannies. Dave re-ascended the 75 foot of electron ladders, no lifeline, remember, and I followed. At the top where the ladder was lying flat on a slope of rock I couldn't get onto the slope. After numereous attempts I realised my arms were giving out and decided I best go down QUICKLY! I climbed downwards as quick as I could but my arms were knackered and I had them wrapped around the back of the ladder with hands gripped together. Thinking I must be very near the bottom, I glanced down to see I was still 15 feet or so then fell off! Luckily I landed OK with my Oldhams battery taking most of the shock and I was just winded.

Dave heard the crash and assumed I had fallen a long way as I had climbed down so quickly he thought I couldn't have gone very far. After a good rest I managed it the second time. Phew.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Fulk on February 17, 2012, 07:57:46 pm
Quote
Sit harnes is the cheapest Petzl one, its OK but one day I'll get a better one.    Cowstails are fig. 8 to attach to D ring and barrel knot to attach a krab.   Hand jammer is Petzl Croll and chest jammer is Petzl Croll Basic, attached to D via a mallion and attached to chest harness via a delta mallion.  Other stuff on D is breaking krab and a spare mallion used as a spanner to undo D ring, but that is well out of the way as it needs to be to function as a spanner.     At the time my foot loop was 1" tape webbing tied directly to hand jammer running through a mallion on the D ring, krab from long cowstail into hand jammer.   So its a standard sort of set up.   I wasn't wearing the Petzl Stop.

Well, each to his own, and one’s SRT rig is to an extent personal . . . there’s no right and wrong, there’s just what suits you, so it’s all a bit subjective.

However, this does not strike me as a ‘standard sort of set up’. It strikes me as a bastardized form of  the standard Frog System. I have the cheapest Petzl harness, and have no intention of changing it – it serves me well.

Hand jammer – well, I don’t doubt that a Croll would work as a foot-loop jammer, but it is designed specifically as a chest jammer.

‘chest jammer is Petzl Croll Basic, attached to D via a mallion’. The point of the Croll is that, on account of its twisted bottom hole, it’s designed to lie flat against the chest when put straight on the central maillon rapide, and to use an extra maillon is, to my way of thinking, perverse – not only could it cause the Croll to lie at the wrong angle, it could also introduces extra length, when what you want is a low-lying chest jammer.

One-inch webbing for foot loops has been discretided yeas ago, on account of the possibility of its getting jammed up in the Croll . . . and why on Earth was it running through an MR on the D ring?

I’m sorry, Alkapton, I don’t want to sound patronizing – but in view of the ‘incident’ that you endured, I think that it would be a good idea if you rethought your whole rope-climbing system – as Alex says (or, at least, implies) have a safety cord to your hand jammer and two entirely independent cow’s tails.

Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: shotlighter on February 17, 2012, 11:53:09 pm
I'll chuck in another... Back in the day a friend went on a solo digging trip one evening. The dig is on the far side of a wooded valley, across a small river, and is essentially a long crawl through beddings, boulders and tubes to a too tight constriction. On the day it was wet and rainy, but undeterred all the kit was duly dragged to the dig face, holes drilled and rocks ready to break. In trying to squirm around and get some kit, my friend banged his lamp and killed the bulb. Not to worry, he carried a spare bulb in the headset. On finding his backup light lasted all of 3 seconds he proceeded to change the bulb by feel, and blew that as well... On reflection he decided to exit the cave by feel alone, abandoning the kit for another day. Being his dig, he knew it well and made it to the exit eventually. Now the fun began. In deepest Derbyshire in the dead of a moonless night in a wooded valley in the rain, he had to negotiate the climb down from the cave, cross the river an!
d climb the far side through cliffs and badger sets back to the car. Apparently when he finally opened the car the courtesy light blinded him, and his explanatory phone call to me for being late out was only qualified by our both realising he hadnt actually set a call out time with me or anybody else! BTW the rock was removed, and all kit retrieved, the offending lump gaving access to another 6 feet of flat out crawl to a too tight ongoing passage
Hmm that brings back a few memories!
The scene of one or two near misses!!
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Brains on February 18, 2012, 06:20:32 am
 ;D I seem to recall somebody corking the squeeze with several of us on the inside wondering how to un block the hole, which is probably still less than a wellie boot high in the middle... udging and thrutching is an almost lost art!
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 18, 2012, 08:40:33 am
Alkapton:

I cannot begin to understand how having your cowstails the "wrong way around" can possibly cause the series of events you describe

Could really benefit from a sketch/photograph of the SRT layout.

Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alkapton on February 18, 2012, 02:43:16 pm
Hand jammer – well, I don’t doubt that a Croll would work as a foot-loop jammer, but it is designed specifically as a chest jammer.

How dull am I?  of course I got the names the wrong way around,  I don't wear them the wrong way around, I just called the Croll a basic in the post above.

One-inch webbing for foot loops has been discretided yeas ago, on account of the possibility of its getting jammed up in the Croll . . . and why on Earth was it running through an MR on the D ring?

Don't understand how it can get jammed in the croll, and now I don't use a home made footloop but a proper Petzl one, even if one person teased me for spending £20 on a "dog lead".   
But I am taking on the point of not running it through a mallion, I've always done that, nobody has ever picked me up on it, but thinking about it all the super fast people don't do that, and maybe nobody at all does that.   

I'm too hurried to look for other quotes but....
After 3 years good use my sit harness is getting near the end of its days, I want something more comfortable for horizontal caving and something harder wearing.

Croll goes on D ring via a mallion because that might not be efficient but it is comfortable.   The only reason for wearing croll as low as possible is to let you climb up as much as possible on a single stand up.   When I'm comfortable I'm faster than when I am not.   Also it means I can take off the chest harness without completely undoing the sit harness.

I've thought hard about having a third cowstail but at end of day it would be more hassle than benefit.   Hauling would be easier, horizontal cavng harder because just another thing to get snagged in a tight place.

I do a fair bit of SRT above and below ground,  my set up is always the same.   Only once have I ever reversed the order of my cowstails and only on that occaision has something bad happened.    It happened as I'd almost finished standing up so the rope was still travelling down the croll so the croll was loose on the rope,  I'm trying to stand on two legs, the left foot holds because thats the Pantin, the right collapses because the footloop failed, so I guess I jerked sideways just as croll is opening to let the rope pass,  thats why one must always have a cowstail or safty cord on the Basic.
Never before or since have I noticed any wear on my footloop after a days caving or practicing.   
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Brains on February 20, 2012, 07:11:25 pm
OK, another SRT related one - on a trip to Sell Gill with some newer people, I had to check their harnesses etc on the surface prior to descending. Everything was OK and going down the dry route went well with the training paying off well. On reaching the bottom of the first decent pitch I found a hand jammer and footloop/safety cord - booty thought I! Er, hang on a tick - thats just like mine, oh! It is mine!
 :-[ My main D was open and it had fallen off during the descent, I had been so busy helping others gear up and checking them I had become distracted and failed to check my own harness  :-[
Luckily it was only embaressing and not painful, the lesson being to gear up yourself before or after being distracted, not in the middle of...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 20, 2012, 07:57:22 pm
HOLYCRAP is that lucky. I've seen D rings (we say halfrounds) totally warped and bent out of place due to even as bad as not tightening it all the way! Much less being *open*. Hopfully you've replaced your halfround by now lol, I hear that sort of wear even if it doesn't break or warp it really weakens it.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: simonsays on February 20, 2012, 08:04:33 pm
Same place... Sell Gill...... I was stood waiting for my turn to descend the second pitch when my foot nudged a rock. It rolled,  bouncing from boulder to boulder whilst accelerating toward the pitch head. My screams of 'below' could probably have been heard in the next county. When it hit the bottom of the pitch the sound was like a cannon going off.

There was a wait of about three seconds (it felt like a lifetime) before I heard a remarkably calm voice from 40 feet below

'missed'


This was without doubt the stupidest thing I have ever done, above or below ground. Just thinking about what I might have been responsible for gives me nightmares :(
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 20, 2012, 08:14:07 pm
My main D was open ...

Cue for Mr. Biff of MCG to regale one and all with his tale of unplanned derring do while in Espana.....
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 20, 2012, 08:54:39 pm
Oooh that is interesting...so there "Below" is yelled, not "Rock"? That is good to know that difference in standard. Otherwise "Below" would just confuse me I might not pay attention to it. Here, "ROCK!" is yelled for anything falling (rock or otherwise, usually rocks of course, but holds for anything).
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Fulk on February 20, 2012, 09:02:12 pm
Talking of falling rocks, Simon, reminds me of the following incident:
We decided to do GB on a very wet day, where I would set up a picture of someone abbing down the waterfall that I'd had in mind for some time. Accordingly I took the big Mecablitz flashgun plus the two small ones, and, after a trip down to the sump – in much drier conditions than I had envisaged – we set up the shot on the way back up the passage with the big gun at the bottom and Jack wielding a small one at the top. And then, disaster struck . . . 'BELOWWW' came a cry from Miranda; we at the bottom – Charlotte with the big gun, me with the camera, and Dave, Tim and Matt looking on – looked up to see a stone rather bigger than a rugby ball boulder heading our way. As is often said to be the case, the scene appeared to unfold in slow motion, and we seemed to have plenty of time – ‘This way and that, dividing the swift mind in act to jump’! The rock then hit a ledge and splintered into fragments, which came flying down like shrapnel from a hand grenade, and this prompted us to get out of the way pronto – or at least try to! In the event, only one of us got hit. Poor Charlotte was hit on the hand and the thigh as the fragment ricocheted on its way, leaving her duly shaken, but not badly injured. Unfortunately, the flashgun flew off into the stream, where it shattered, and the battery compartment was lost. So Tim and I escorted Charlotte out, while the rest continued with their trip. So, a very short trip, but thankfully, nothing worse than a broken flashgun and slave unit (though it was the very expensive flashgun!).
The odd thing was how slowly events seemed to unfold – we at the bottom all agreed on that point, while Miranda wondered what the hell we were waiting for!
Amy – I prefer the US style of shouting 'Rock' for anything that goes down a pitch by accident . . . 'Below' is, as you intimate, open to misunderstanding. I once heard a story (true or apocryphal, I can't say) of a guy down the Berger who looked up when someone shouted 'Below' – and got a face-full of pulley. 
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 20, 2012, 09:12:17 pm
If you drop a bag down a pitch by mistake isn't shouting "Rock" confusing and inappropriate, though?
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: ogof addict on February 20, 2012, 09:26:02 pm
a nice sunday afternoon trip taking a few new people to see the Trident and Judge in OFD top, bog standard route, nothing i havent done many times before. the obligatory photos were taken and we had a bit of a chat near the Trident before heading out. I'd been keeping myself amused by planning out where i'd go after the novice trip, so the other person on the trip who knew the way could go back to swcc and put back my callout. after everyone finished their picnics we got ready to head back, when the other experienced person managed to trip over an "invisible stal" and looked like a cartoon character falling over, landing nicely on a soft flat bit where there are no stals, water or anything nasty  :)

during the return journey, i had decided i was hungover (it was dinner meet weekend after all) and it really wasnt wise to go back to my planned route, which everybody else had said "no f****ing chance!" to, so i decided to go out with everybody else.  i was even sensible and did the corkscrew the normal route and not the tight route . as we were heading up the slope about the corkscrew, a bunch of cavers that had a sort or fresher look about them were heading down. this was the point where my friends had left a banana skin on the rocks, which being invisible, i didnt see, and my feet went straight out from under me and instead of a nice flat soft landing, i landed on my thigh on one of those nice polished lumps of rock. i dont know what was worse, the embarrassment or the bruise that developed to be about the size of my hand, and it came up in a big lump. the bruise from the daren entrance crawl the day before with no knee pads was about the size of a 5p.

it did make me think. you can do yourself some pretty nasty injuries on the easiest of caving trips, i was lucky it was only a bruise and getting laughed at. and maybe something to make you think about what you are doing and not let your mind wander can be no bad thing?

my worst pains have been caused by caver games rather than caving, fortunately
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 20, 2012, 09:42:29 pm
If you drop a bag down a pitch by mistake isn't shouting "Rock" confusing and inappropriate, though?

I don't think it matters what you shout providing everybody knows what it means!

In the UK "Below" is the traditional shout, borrowed from the climbing community I think. Everybody knows what it means and that is the most important thing. As an international caver I also know that "Rock" means the same.

To be honest, if I am on or below a pitch and I hear anything being shouted, then I duck and try and make myself very small (quite an achievement for me... :tease:) better to look sillly than flat...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 20, 2012, 10:16:51 pm
Quote

OK, another SRT related one - on a trip to Sell Gill with some newer people, I had to check their harnesses etc on the surface prior to descending. Everything was OK and going down the dry route went well with the training paying off well. On reaching the bottom of the first decent pitch I found a hand jammer and footloop/safety cord - booty thought I! Er, hang on a tick - thats just like mine, oh! It is mine!
  My main D was open and it had fallen off during the descent, I had been so busy helping others gear up and checking them I had become distracted and failed to check my own harness 
Luckily it was only embaressing and not painful, the lesson being to gear up yourself before or after being distracted, not in the middle of...




That exact same thing happened to me only I did it on Titan I descended the whole darn thing with my D-ring undone, like you I found a hand jammer at the bottom and thought, hmm that looks like mine, it was, presumbly it fell off after I used it as an extra leg hold at the rebelay. For me I blame the heavy drinking the night before, I was ill and probbably should not have gone caving that day.

It was this trip where I got my reputation of dropping things from.

Speaking of dropping things one of my mates is just as unlucky, he has dropped his bag with all his camera gear not once but twice. Once down a 100m pitch in Austriaand  once from the top of Rowton. Both times the camera survided, though his flash guns where you guessed it totally destroyed.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 20, 2012, 10:22:39 pm
Avoid an embarrassing death. Purchase an Omni. It's not only the future, it's the present.

(http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/WebRoot/BT2/Shops/BT3421/4B9E/0A3F/47C3/176E/F20F/0A0A/33E8/9BFF/omni_m.jpg)

Veylerbull here:

http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/epages/BT3421.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/BT3421/Products/PetzlOmni/SubProducts/petzlomni-0006 (http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/epages/BT3421.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/BT3421/Products/PetzlOmni/SubProducts/petzlomni-0006)
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 20, 2012, 10:23:19 pm
If you drop a bag down a pitch by mistake isn't shouting "Rock" confusing and inappropriate, though?

I don't think it matters what you shout providing everybody knows what it means!

In the UK "Below" is the traditional shout, borrowed from the climbing community I think. Everybody knows what it means and that is the most important thing. As an international caver I also know that "Rock" means the same.

To be honest, if I am on or below a pitch and I hear anything being shouted, then I duck and try and make myself very small (quite an achievement for me... :tease:) better to look sillly than flat...
Yelling "ROCK!" no matter what doesn't really matter...if a pack or rock or anything else is falling from a height you'd not want to get hit regardless. Point is don't look up something's falling! We tend to use a lot of vocal commands around drops (on rope, off rope, "ok", on belay/belay on, off belay/belay off, on rappel...) ROCK is very distinctive in sound from these and projects well. Whereas something like "Below" might sound something like "rope" with the dominant "o" sounds in both them if you can't hear each other well. Needing a repeat for clarification if a rock (or something!) is falling is likely too late, and you'll tend to look up to try and see what the person at the lip is doing whereas ROCK you know /dont/ look up! But now I shall remember when over there that BELOW = ROCK!

Similar thread...do y'all use BO there? I just learned that one this weekend because we had to look for the pits and were spread out walking the ridge... "BO" is a call wanting a response of BO to just know where people are or tracking to a location. Two, "BO BO" means i'm coming to you. Three, "BO BO BO" means come to me. Apparently started from some people just messing around in a cave seeing what sounds carry well. BO! carried best. So for example, when someone found Dinky Pit, they shouted "BO BO BO!" so we all knew to head that way. On the way if we wanted to hear the sound again to follow we'd just shout BO back and forth. Explains one of my very first cave trips and our group got split up in a bit of a mazy section and a member started to yell BO until hearing a reply BO to follow. It's apparently pretty standard in the US I just didnt know until now!
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 20, 2012, 10:24:41 pm
Omni. It's not only the future, it's the present.

(http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/WebRoot/BT2/Shops/BT3421/4B9E/0A3F/47C3/176E/F20F/0A0A/33E8/9BFF/omni_m.jpg)

Veylerbull here:

http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/epages/BT3421.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/BT3421/Products/PetzlOmni/SubProducts/petzlomni-0006 (http://www.thecavingandclimbingshop.com/epages/BT3421.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/BT3421/Products/PetzlOmni/SubProducts/petzlomni-0006)
My friend just got one here...liked it a lot until it corroded after one trip where it got wet. He got a replacement but (understandably) still does not trust it as much as a good ol' halfround. It's so wet over there, how do they stay in good shape?
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 20, 2012, 10:26:09 pm
It's so wet over there, how do they stay in good shape?

It's not that wet "over here". They've just declared a drought in the South East...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 20, 2012, 10:27:31 pm
Your friend's one must have been a copy, a fake or a duff one, or it was stowed in acid or similar substance; I have many Omnis and have been using them for years and they get wet very frequently; never experienced any corrosion on any of them.

Eminently and completely trustworthy since it automatically self closes, unlike a good ol' halfround (as the above posts have clearly demonstrated).
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 20, 2012, 10:28:37 pm
So jelous, of the drought that is. Its pissing it down and bloody windy at the moment up here.

And Amy yes we have BO here but we have sprays for that. (or roll ons)

Finally I think shouting below is stupid, as it sounds too much like "hello" so you look up who is saying hello to you. I think we should change it to rock.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 20, 2012, 10:30:14 pm
Yelling "ROCK!" no matter what doesn't really matter

Absolutely; so why the debate?

US: Rock
UK: Below
France: Pierre (it's a Bible thing)
Or just: Anything shouted loudly and urgently
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Bob Smith on February 20, 2012, 10:33:47 pm
Oooh that is interesting...so there "Below" is yelled, not "Rock"? That is good to know that difference in standard. Otherwise "Below" would just confuse me I might not pay attention to it. Here, "ROCK!" is yelled for anything falling (rock or otherwise, usually rocks of course, but holds for anything).

that could be confused with

"YOU ROCK!"

which is what we would shout after observing someone performing a spectacular underground manoeuvre.  ;D
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 20, 2012, 11:31:41 pm
Your friend's one must have been a copy, a fake or a duff one, or it was stowed in acid or similar substance; I have many Omnis and have been using them for years and they get wet very frequently; never experienced any corrosion on any of them.

Eminently and completely trustworthy since it automatically self closes, unlike a good ol' halfround (as the above posts have clearly demonstrated).
from caving supply dealer here, it was left in the pack for a day or two where it was damp, but wouldn't think that would cause such a bad issue as it is the same treatment the halfround got. Anyway yeah, replacement gotten, just storing it indoors in dark cool dry places now. Was just odd to happen so quick for standard gear treatment everything gets (get home late, leave in [opened so air can get in/out] pack overnight or two until it's all cleaned up and set out to try).

a lot of folks here dont like autolocking as they've had troubles with the autolocking not working (goes for any 'biner not just omni, standard here is to not use autolock)

As to rock, s'no debate afaik, was just trying to answer your question as to why to use rock for meaning pack as well =) Just posting our reasoning for using the word to mean everything since reasoning was asked =)
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: ian.p on February 21, 2012, 12:35:45 am
alkapitan:
several things firstly im just guessing but have you taught yourself SRT out of a book? i first started trying to prusic on loops like what id read in a book and prusicked up the 20ft pitch in swildons on a pair of bootlaces cos id read chris bonington did that once (on a mountain rather than swildons obviosly)  and i was fairly sure he was bigger than me so my bootlaces ought to take the weight thinking that was a fairly normal thing to do....neadles to say thats not the case... the trouble with learning things out of books is that theres no one there to tell you when youve mis understood somthing reading alpine caving techniques from cover to cover will unfourtunatly not make you a vertical caving god...

 you realy do need to find someone who knows there stuff (and i mean actualy knows what theyre doing rather than the club armchair caver whos done alum pot a couple of times and never stops going on about there pantin) then hopefully they can help you sort your rig and technique out so its rather safer than yours sounds.

to debunk a couple of myths you apear to be living under:

there is no corect way round for your cows tails im fairly sure ive used mine in just about every oreintation and location on my D ring and i have never maniged to chop through my footloop.

Having the croll on your D ring is important for a number of reasons not just efficeancy it also insure the rope runs smoothly through the jammer, keeps you in closer to the rope making it easier to prusic and less likley you will end up topaling over. it should be more comfortable to have it atached directly onto your croll as on a another mailon its going to twist into your body you might as well use a normal jammer.

with regards to ataching your hand jammer with a maillon thats better than tying it in directly but a crab would be better if your going to use it as a third cowstail you might also want to consider having a crab to atach the safety cord to youre D ring as it makes life easier for someone to pick you of a rope if you get nocked out by a boulder.  and I strongly strongly sugest you concentrate on getting youre basic technique sorted out before you ever consider hauling anyone up anything youre more likley to get that person killed if you dont realy know what youre up to.

sory if that sounds a bit blunt but i hope it helps
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 21, 2012, 08:25:15 am
a lot of folks here dont like autolocking as they've had troubles with the autolocking not working (goes for any 'biner not just omni, standard here is to not use autolock)

The triact autolocking karabiners and triact autolocking Omni are not suited to muddy environments as it apparently does indeed cause problems with the functioning of the gate; however, the standard Omni "autolocks" in as far as it is a similar mechanism to a spring gate karabiner and hence closes automatically; the red "alert" collar shows that it requires manual fastening by turning the collar (again just like a screw gate karabiner); however, like karabiners generally, fastening the screw gate does not increase the load-bearing capacity of the Omni; it's as strong as it can be whether or not the collar is fastened (it's just less likely to be opened inadvertently if the collar is done up).

Hence my personal preference is for an Omni with a screw gate collar because (a) it closes automatically because it's got a spring loaded gate (b) it has a red alert collar colour reminding you to fasten the collar and (c) whether you turn the screw gate or not, it is as strong as its rated load-bearing tolerance (d) you don't need a spanner or five minutes of faffing to put/take your harness on/off with an Omni whereas the old style maillons occasionally made hopping out for a wee a mini-epic in their own right.

Put simply, you are not going to descend or ascend with your central D-maillon open and hence putting your life in jeopardy. Seems an excellent reason to purchase one, imo.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Anon on February 21, 2012, 10:22:13 am
Hence my personal preference is for an Omni with a screw gate collar because (a) it closes automatically because it's got a spring loaded gate (b) it has a red alert collar colour reminding you to fasten the collar and (c) whether you turn the screw gate or not, it is as strong as its rated load-bearing tolerance (d) you don't need a spanner or five minutes of faffing to put/take your harness on/off with an Omni whereas the old style maillons occasionally made hopping out for a wee a mini-epic in their own right.
I purchased a screwgate Omni a year or so back, having previously used D's for years, was a bit wary at first but now, not sure I'd go back to a D given the choice. Makes life easier, imo (definitely better when there's a need for taking gear off/putting on in some small snatchy little pothole) and as Chris says safer..
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 21, 2012, 11:01:49 am
Never realised you used one Dunc, I will pick one up in Inglesport next time I am in then. (I am sure they sold them) and try it out.

Anyway lets get back on topic, I may post yet another one of mine on here but can't at the moment.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Joel Corrigan on February 21, 2012, 11:54:39 am
Hopefully incompetence isn't too contagious; this sort of thread is a particularly useful way to work out which individuals are best avoided in a cave & reckon we should all have passport-style photos next to our pseudonyms....!   
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: caving_fox on February 21, 2012, 12:27:25 pm
Afew things to post that have happened over the years. But before that a bit about the croll:

Quote
Having the croll on your D ring is important for a number of reasons not just efficeancy it also insure the rope runs smoothly through the jammer, keeps you in closer to the rope making it easier to prusic and less likley you will end up topaling over. it should be more comfortable to have it atached directly onto your croll as on a another mailon its going to twist into your body you might as well use a normal jammer

I too attach my croll to the d-ring with a maillon. It doesnt' twist - although it does require you to thread your chest strap correctly (ie it can twist with the chest strap threaded wrongly). For those of use with proportionally longer bodies having the croll slightly higher helps keep your torso more upright. Yes it reduces the prussic 'stroke' but this is countereacted by a more comfortable position. Having the cheat strap properly tight means that you are still completely close to the rope. I've tried it both ways when setting up my gear, and this is definetly the right option for me.


Scares: prussicking up and catching my croll handle with the knot on the handjammer's saftey cord. Croll pops open. Argh. flick back on rope, resume breathing. NO idea how it happened, only the once, on the exact same rig I've been using for years.

Falling - Cuallam 2 (I think) in Claire. bimble down with a few friends. Free climb the 10 m waterfall to the sump. It's an easy climb in low water, done it before, no bother. Climb back up. I'm last and just as I get my head over the lip I slip. No idea whether it was hands or foot, but just whump. Gone. (this is 10 m up remember) Fortunatelty for me the grab somethign reflex kicks in well. I've fallen maybe a foot or two and am wedged in a crack catching my breath. Frieds are really quite concerned, lot of shouting. It takes me a minute or two to reassure them that I'm fine and I'll climb that last metre in a bit. No injuries at all.

Dropping things - Diccon Pot, Friend is rigging I'm lying in the crawl. chatting to mates. Nothing special .... BANG .... silence. We start shouting! finally "Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck" starts echoing back up the shaft. Phew. Friend is OK. He'd swung out for the deviation grabbed the wall, and had part of it (" a on tonne flake") just peel away in his hand, which dropped some distance, quite noisally. Luckily no-one else was at the bottom. We retreated, Haven't been back, although I do want to at some stage. Friend doesn't.

Getting Lost - OFD. And this is really  :-[ I was leading, we'd had a good trip round Top, can't remember where, but had gone smoothly. Wasn't really concentrating on the exit, got to the main passage by Big Chamber, and decided this was Gnome instead (there are a few similar ish stals, honest) turned around and headed back into the cave. repeat. More than once. Finally I got myself sorted out. But spent at least 30mins no more than 100m from the easy exit, unable to find it.

Flooding - Otter. I'm sure this in a trip report on here somewhere. Over the tides trip, long and tiring. Got back to the sump to find instead of low tide ankle deep water it was nearly full and rising - 2" of airspace (ie well over 6 foot of water) as the first (guide) person arrived 0" by the time the last one got there! Fortunately we had time to climb through the Eyehole (maybe another two foot higher) and escape, damp but safe - it was still rising, and close to the bottom of the eyehole by the time I was through. It had started raining almost as soon as we went unground. Sump didn't re-open for another 3 weeks! Which would have been a long time to wait.

You live and learn. No Harm, no foul.


Makes you think though. I don't freeclimb so 'freely' anymore.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: ogof addict on February 21, 2012, 04:34:27 pm
Another advantage of the omni type centre maillon is that you don't need dirty old men fiddling at your groin for 5 minutes trying to screw you up
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 21, 2012, 04:39:30 pm
a lot of folks here dont like autolocking as they've had troubles with the autolocking not working (goes for any 'biner not just omni, standard here is to not use autolock)

The triact autolocking karabiners and triact autolocking Omni are not suited to muddy environments as it apparently does indeed cause problems with the functioning of the gate; however, the standard Omni "autolocks" in as far as it is a similar mechanism to a spring gate karabiner and hence closes automatically; the red "alert" collar shows that it requires manual fastening by turning the collar (again just like a screw gate karabiner); however, like karabiners generally, fastening the screw gate does not increase the load-bearing capacity of the Omni; it's as strong as it can be whether or not the collar is fastened (it's just less likely to be opened inadvertently if the collar is done up).

Hence my personal preference is for an Omni with a screw gate collar because (a) it closes automatically because it's got a spring loaded gate (b) it has a red alert collar colour reminding you to fasten the collar and (c) whether you turn the screw gate or not, it is as strong as its rated load-bearing tolerance (d) you don't need a spanner or five minutes of faffing to put/take your harness on/off with an Omni whereas the old style maillons occasionally made hopping out for a wee a mini-epic in their own right.

Put simply, you are not going to descend or ascend with your central D-maillon open and hence putting your life in jeopardy. Seems an excellent reason to purchase one, imo.
Ahhh okay you are using autolocking in a different term then. We call those screw gate collars simply "locking biners" and the ones that automatically lock it for you "autolock biners" the latter is what cavers here stay away from for the reasons you mention.

Another advantage of the omni type centre maillon is that you don't need dirty old men fiddling at your groin for 5 minutes trying to screw you up
'tis why I pick a hot caverguy to check my gear over :-[  :ang:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 21, 2012, 04:43:39 pm
Another advantage of the omni type centre maillon is that you don't need dirty old men fiddling at your groin for 5 minutes trying to screw you up

There's quite a few dirty old men out there that don't see that as an advantage...  :doubt:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 21, 2012, 04:49:48 pm

Getting Lost - OFD. And this is really  :-[ I was leading, we'd had a good trip round Top, can't remember where, but had gone smoothly. Wasn't really concentrating on the exit, got to the main passage by Big Chamber, and decided this was Gnome instead (there are a few similar ish stals, honest) turned around and headed back into the cave. repeat. More than once. Finally I got myself sorted out. But spent at least 30mins no more than 100m from the easy exit, unable to find it.



What sort of incompetent idiot can possibly get lost so close to Top Entrance? 

Over to you, Mr Williams......
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 21, 2012, 04:59:09 pm

What sort of incompetent idiot can possibly get lost so close to Top Entrance? 

Over to you, Mr Williams......

And Top Sink...

Believe it or not I was actually not going to mention your moments of being directionally challenged...   :bow:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: JasonC on February 21, 2012, 07:24:28 pm
Hopefully incompetence isn't too contagious; this sort of thread is a particularly useful way to work out which individuals are best avoided in a cave ....

Which ones ?  Those who own up to their mistakes and have learned from them, or those that think they never make any ?   ;)
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 21, 2012, 07:28:57 pm
Definately a good point Jason.

On a related note here is a water related misshap we had on Joels expedition. We were properly equippted for this particular misshap but still you don't expect it to happen to you.

http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-misc/Dachstien.pdf (http://www.brcc.org.uk/reports/pdf-misc/Dachstien.pdf)

I found afterwards after checking my footage I was actually filming at the time but mud obscured the lense so I only linked the audio file of the event on the trip report. I also found out I talk to my self alot hehe.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 21, 2012, 07:45:04 pm
Those who own up to their mistakes and have learned from them, or those that think they never make any?

Somewhat disingenuous, suggesting there's only two categories. What about:

Those who make mistakes over and over, even though they learn from the previous ones?
Those who make mistakes over and over, and never learn from them?
Those who infrequently make mistakes but which have no epicness to them?
Those who infrequently make mistakes but which are epic-factories?
Those who own up to their mistakes but don't learn from them?
Those who don't own up to their mistakes, but learn from them?
Those who don't own up to their mistakes, but do learn from them?
Those who think they never make any, but actually do?
Those who think they never make any, and actually don't?

er,.... there's probably a load more, too....

My best guess is that Joel was observing that there are people in the world who have one foot on a banana skin and the other over an abyss, occasionally not clipped in with their cowstails, with a flickering dull lamp and a history of disaster on their infamous CV and that such people might be best left to their own devices rather than inviting them on anything too committing.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 21, 2012, 07:50:17 pm
Quote
Those who think they never make any, and actually don't?

I don't think anyone does not a make a mistake from time to time, so that catagory can be removed.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 21, 2012, 07:59:40 pm
Quote
Those who think they never make any, and actually don't?

I don't think anyone does not a make a mistake from time to time,

 :ang:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 21, 2012, 08:08:31 pm
I know it seems like I am on the aforementioned banana skin, unclipped in a disaster zone. But please understand that only the D-ring incident was my fault well  :beer2: 's fault. Everything else has been a matter of luck and considering I have been caving almost every weekend since late 2007. The amount of incidents can be expected due to pure chance.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Elaine on February 21, 2012, 09:36:35 pm
'tis why I pick a hot caverguy to check my gear over :-[  :ang:

Ok, next question .............  where are they? (Hugh being an exception of course)

I expect they are all running away when they see me look up expectantly with my SRT stuff all in a tangle!
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 21, 2012, 10:26:49 pm
'tis why I pick a hot caverguy to check my gear over :-[  :ang:

Ok, next question .............  where are they? (Hugh being an exception of course)

I expect they are all running away when they see me look up expectantly with my SRT stuff all in a tangle!
Uh you had hot caverguys there in the UK...I know...I saw them :P
As for here, well I'm the only female who consistently does vertical and most the guys are older/married but not all. So I have free pickings of the rest...well and ok it helps my bf is always with me  :kiss2: always there to double check each other's gear  ;) Is it just me or do guys look even sexier in seat harnesses?  ;D
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Elaine on February 22, 2012, 08:51:20 am
It's just you Amy! lol   ;D
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Rhys on February 22, 2012, 12:23:23 pm
I suppose my most serious incident happened in the Picos de Europa back in 1997; I still get the piss taken about it even now... It was written up here: http://www.oucc.org.uk/expeditions/expedition1997/Medical_incident.html (http://www.oucc.org.uk/expeditions/expedition1997/Medical_incident.html) and in SWCC newsletter 120.

Basically, it involved a dry pitch turning wet during a thunderstorm, a very tight rebelay, extinguished carbide flame, dead battery backup, hypothermia, jammers stuck against a knot, climbing onto a ledge, clipping onto the rope with spare gear, cutting the rope and exiting.

I learnt some lessons that night.

Rhys
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Tony_B on February 22, 2012, 03:45:16 pm
Back on topic: I took two work colleagues – complete newbies – to SWCC for the weekend, and we went into OFD I. They negotiated the stream with no problem, and when we got to Lowe’s Chain I told them to wait while I climbed up and rigged a ladder and lifeline for them. As I turned round at the top, Colleague 1 (6ft 3in, built like brick outhouse, pretty fit), said ‘I reckon I can do that’. I told him to wait where he was but before I could even get the ladder out of the tackle bag he’s hauling himself over the lip.

Colleague 2 (5ft 8in, weedy, not very fit), clearly feeling the pressure, says ‘I can do that’. Knowing that he can’t, (and keen to spare his blushes) I tell him forcefully that I’m going to rig it for him and that he should wait, but he’s determined and, to be fair, he gets to the top before I can even unravel the ladder. Just as I reach out to haul him over the lip by his belay belt, he vanishes and there’s a sickening noise as he hits the deck. I peer over and he’s lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

I’m thinking: how am I going to initiate a call-out? What if he’s unconscious? What if he’s broken both legs? Or his spine? Or his neck? What if he’s paralysed? But after what seems like ages (but was probably no more than five seconds) he gets up, dusts himself down, and waits rather sheepishly while I rig the ladder and lifeline and get him up. He makes it round the rest of the trip, with no problem, but owns up later in the week that he has a bruise the size of a dinner plate on his backside, and couldn’t walk for two days. He’s nagged me since to take him again, too. 

I still break out into a cold sweat at the mental image of him in a heap on the floor, though.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: menacer on February 22, 2012, 04:10:17 pm
. Just as I reach out to haul him over the lip by his belay belt, he vanishes and there’s a sickening noise as he hits the deck. I peer over and he’s lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

LOL Thats reminded of an "incident " 4 of us had at the same place about 20 odd years ago.
We were playing the "lets see if we can jump over the top game." Whilst most of us made it over, Duncan "miss footed" on take off, our hearts stopped a beat, the jump turned into a slow motion roadrunner styley comedy act and Duncan splatted against the opposite side, before he slid slowly back over the edge, arms and hands scrabbling frantically before plunging back into the streamway.
I remember the long pause before someone drew up the courage to say "Duncan?" as we all peared over the edge to see a red faced Duncan, miffed that he's failed the jump.
He gave up caving about a year later and climbs mountains now.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 22, 2012, 05:35:05 pm
I learnt some lessons that night.

 :bow: :bow: :bow:
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 22, 2012, 07:06:12 pm
I watched or more heard someone fall down a wet pitch on Swinsto just as I was clipping in ready to go down. Tthe impact was so loud that for some strange reason for a brief moment I thought I had fallen. After that millisecond passed I realised I had not moved an inch, I looked down to see one of mates in a heap at the bottom having fallen the last 10ft of the pitch. Luckly despite bruises he was okay, but that certainly was scarey for all concerned.

Glad he was not hurt more so as it was a pull through so not sure how rescue would work, we had two ropes so I guess we could have left one with the party up there while the rest of us went out to get help, but if the rope got stuck....? Either way it would have been a long wait
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: barrabus on February 22, 2012, 07:46:15 pm
Either way it would have been a long wait

I am told by those that know that it takes about seven hours to get a stretcher out of Swinsto from the big pitch, either up from the top of the pitch or down from the bottom.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: ogof addict on February 22, 2012, 09:07:52 pm
how does someone fall down the last 10ft of pitch? i must be missing something here.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: barrabus on February 22, 2012, 09:13:42 pm
how does someone fall down the last 10ft of pitch? i must be missing something here.

Presumably either climb down the pitch and fall, or abseil down a rope that is too short and has no knot at the end...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 22, 2012, 10:10:28 pm
None of the above from what I can gather he just lost control on the slick wet rope and plummeted, he was the 3rd or 4th down.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: ogof addict on February 22, 2012, 10:17:24 pm
 :o
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 23, 2012, 01:30:41 am
Is bottom belay typical there? It is here unless requested not to have it...and of course first person down doesn't get one.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 23, 2012, 08:34:14 am
Kindly define what you mean by bottom belay.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Fulk on February 23, 2012, 08:35:09 am
No, Amy, 'bottom belay', if used at all, tends only to be used for novices.

I'm led to understand that providing a bottom belay can lead to a sense of false security, insofar as the belayer has to have very quick reactions to be of any use – but I'm prepared to stand corrected on that if anyone has experience of using the technique for real.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 23, 2012, 08:35:09 am
I would only normally bottom belay a novice. Bottom of a pitch is not a good place to hang around with people above...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: graham on February 23, 2012, 10:35:37 am
I would only normally bottom belay a novice. Bottom of a pitch is not a good place to hang around with people above...

Agreed.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: paull on February 23, 2012, 11:30:40 am
None of the above from what I can gather he just lost control on the slick wet rope and plummeted, he was the 3rd or 4th down.

it was the second pitch in swinsto , i was in the hole at the top of the 3rd pitch when i herd the fall,  quickly getting back to the bottom of the 2nd to find our fellow caver flat on his back at the bottom of the pitch and winded

it was a winter trip with snow on the surface and the water was bloody cold , we think that he had a bit of a panic when in the spray from the waterfall  and let go of his stop to push himself out from the water, being on a wet 9mm rope the brake on his stop did not work and he fell to the bottom ( we still cant get through to him to change to a simple because it gives you a free hand )
thankfully he wasn't injured and managed to make his own way out of the cave

this is the only mishap or incident Ive been involved in underground in the 7yrs I've been back caving , the incidents are normally on the way home and involve bikers laying in the road having had a rtc with a car
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: paul on February 23, 2012, 12:24:51 pm
There were a group of 4 of us doing a Swinsto "pull-through" quite a few years ago with Chris wearing thick neoprene gloves which he had just bought.

All went well until the last little climb down where the Swinsto and Simpsons routes join and as it was fairly wet, we put a handline on it.

Chris slipped on the climb down and couldn't hold on the handline with his thick gloves and peeled off backwards. Luckily he was wearing a tackle sack full of rope on his back and that took most of the shock. Unluckily, he broke his wrist and thumb.

We manage to get him up the ladder we had rigged previously at the pitch up to Valley Entrance with his one good arm, between the other two pulling his lifeline at the top and me supporting him on my shoulders while he and I climbed the ladder.

Mark drove Chris to the Lancaster Royal Infimrary for fettling (they kept him in overnight as there were no X-Ray facilities available until the morning) while Jon and I headed for the Marton Arms and picked Chris up the next day from the hospital.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Amata on February 23, 2012, 06:11:28 pm
I would only normally bottom belay a novice. Bottom of a pitch is not a good place to hang around with people above...

Agreed.
Of course, it's why you use a J belay. You are out of "falling rock" zone and allows a smooth ride while keeping proper tension. The angle created if weighted combined with the weight provides a fast full stop. I practice catching people off only a 40ft cliff. I've also practiced in cave with a 140ft drop. It's a wonderful technique as it works for both short rope and long rope. (Originally trained for it for Bridge Day, 700-850 ft rappel depending on which slot you draw over the gorge).

I can say firsthand it works for both short 40ft practice cliff and long rope 800+ stuff just as well. that's the nice thing about this technique. Short rope typical belays you are probably thinking of may work but as noted often fail and give false security, put you in rock fall zone, etc. This technique circumvents those issues.
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Elaine on February 23, 2012, 07:12:38 pm
I was following someone through a crawl, when she said "this opens out onto a pitch and it is rigged" So as we were wearing srt stuff she decided to go down. I am behind. I cannot see anything. Then suddenly she disappears out of sight very quickly. For some bizarre reason she attached her descender to the end of a rope that had been wound up and tied off in a bit bundle. When she started descending the bundle rapidly undid itself. Lucky for her it knotted itself after she had fallen 10ft or so. If she had also gone the other 20ft to the bottom it would have been a different story.
Darwin award anyone?
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: menacer on February 24, 2012, 07:24:11 pm
with the concomitant possibility of dropping the jammer back down the pitch????

Which brings us nicely back on topic
Thats exactly what i did the 1st and last time I borrowed Chris's SRT kit  to do a rhino trip. Im just "used to" removing the top jammer from the rope and letting it drop onto the safety cord...only on this occaision, it went tinkle tinkle tinkle all the way down the pitch.  :'(
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: graham on February 24, 2012, 07:28:44 pm
with the concomitant possibility of dropping the jammer back down the pitch????


Thats exactly what i did the 1st and last time I borrowed Chris's SRT kit  to do a rhino trip. Im just "used to" removing the top jammer from the rope and letting it drop onto the safety cord...only on this occaision, it went tinkle tinkle tinkle all the way down the pitch.  :'(

If it hit a big boulder and was the cause of the major fall, I'll sue ...
Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Alex on February 24, 2012, 07:35:16 pm
Carrying your descender on the side of your harness is a real bad idea, I do not do that anymore. On thrutchy pitches/climbs it comes off, trust me. Once it got wedged half way up a tight climb and I did not notice for 10 minutes meaning I had to backtrack through some real awful stuff to find it. It also did the same on a pitch in Cresant.

Needless to say if it needs stowing I always put it in a bag now.

Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: Les W on February 24, 2012, 09:49:31 pm
Back in the days before p hangers I was rigging down Bull Pot in Kingsdale.
I used to keep my rigging spanner on an elastic bungee tied to a snoopy loop around my arm with the spanner tucked under the loop when not in use (as, I believe, most riggers used to do).
On this trip for some reason I didn't have the elastic tied to a snoopy loop but had cliped it to my harness instead.
Having sucessfully rigged and descended the first 4 pitches, I was heading towards the head of the mythical fifth pitch, a manoeuver that involves a thruchy traverse to the pitch head. As I arrived at the pitch head I felt a tug on my harness and looked back to see my rigging spanner losely jammed across a narrow part of the rift some 20 feet behind me whilst still attached to me by the bungee...  :o

I was somewhat concerned with the situation at that point and naturally didn't want to put any extra stress on the bungee, in case the spanner slipped from its precarious position and relocated itself some 20 feet nearer to me at high velocity...
I carefully uncliped the bungee from my harness and let it go. I rigged the 5th pitch on naturals and managed to retrieve the spanner on the return.

Title: Re: Underground mishaps and other incidents...
Post by: MarkS on April 24, 2012, 10:24:41 pm
Near the end of a fantastic week at the SWCC, I was on a 1-3-1 trip which was going brilliantly. We were just heading back through from Cwm Dwr to 1 and were at the 5 m climb just before The Connection when as I climbed down one of my hand holds came off the wall, swiftly followed by the second. I fell ~3 m resulting in a broken leg and an enourmous thanks goes to everyone who came to help out.

What really made me think afterwards was that it was almost impossible to preemt. At the time, the guys behind me didn't think I was doing anything wrong. I conciously thought at the time that I'd be able to easily take my weight on either hold, and when some people went back the next day they said that the holds (now on the floor) looked decent.

I guess it's the sort of risk inherent with any outdoor activity, but something I think there's no harm in having a reminder of now and again....although I'd have preferred not to have witnessed it first hand...

There's a full write-up at http://www.yucpc.org.uk/reports/details.php?id=1261 (http://www.yucpc.org.uk/reports/details.php?id=1261)