Cave Expedition Training 2023


Well-known member
Yes - it's that time of year again. The details have been around for a while but signup for the Cave Expedition Training Workshop run by the Dachstein expedition is now open!
What: the original cave expedition training weekend, running since 2001.
Where: based at the amazing Depot of the Gloucestershire Cave Rescue Group in the beautiful Forest of Dean.
When: Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June
Content to include: cave surveying, prospecting, basic & advanced SRT, rigging, self-rescue, kit selection, emergency protocols, 1st aid, etc...
For whom: cavers of any experience & ability levels who want to broaden their skills & knowledge. Priority given to those joining the summer expedition to the Dachstein but others are welcome if space available.
By whom: veterans of the finest exploration project in the world will be there to guide, advise & assist.
3/4th June
Cost: £30 for the weekend; £20 for one day

Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell

Camping/van parking available on the Friday/Saturday nights
Breakfast and lunch included (Saturday night food usually a big chip shop order but not included)
Open to all competent cavers; come and pick up some expedition skills!
More details on the form below or in the FB event.


Facebook event:

Read all about last year's event here on UKCaving!


Photo courtesy of Chris Jewell


Well-known member
The camping/van parking is included in the expedition fee; if you will have trouble either finding a tent partner/camping or need a lift let us know/post here/use the Google form and we will see what we can do...

Current list of volunteer trainers include some expedition legends & rope gurus

Rich Hudson, Tom Chapman, Matt St Clair, Ian Holmes, Tony Seddon, Jim Leigh, Andrew McLeod, Jo White. The list will be added to once others confirm, so please make yourselves known if you can help.
In addition, Thomas Matthalm is coming from Germany to assist. For those who don't know, in 2014 Thomas played a critical role in keeping a mutual friend alive for many days down the deepest cave in Germany before the rescue team arrived, and he's going to share his insight with you lucky people!!


Well-known member
Still space available for this!

Would be good to get some more students/young cavers involved; haven't had that many sign up so far. We know last year's dates weren't ideal with exams, so we've moved them further back this year as far as we could (venue wasn't available for subsequent weekends) and hopefully most people are finished exams by then.

It's useful training for anyone even thinking about going on an expedition and it's open to all. If you've been before, we usually change things around a bit every year so why not come again? :)

If finding a tent/transport etc. is a problem, let me know and we'll see what we can sort out.


Well-known member
There certainly is :)

Fill in the form here:


Well-known member
PS a heads-up: someone coming to the training is allergic to peanuts, so there won't be any peanut butter for your sandwiches this year (you'll just have to make do with jam like on actual exped), and if people could avoid bringing anything with peanuts in that would be great.

Last year on exped, we got this message out before the exped but somehow almost everyone managed to bring at least one peanut product by accident anyway (cereal bars, freeze-dried meals etc)...


New member
There certainly is :)

Fill in the form here:
Ah happy days, I’ll get the form filled in tomorrow, looking forward to it! thank you 🙂


Well-known member
The below account of the training was written by Tomasz Zalewski:

I recently had a chance to join a training session for the Dachstein Caving Expedition.
Although it was designed for the cavers willing to join the expedition, it was offered to anyone who would like to attend. The amount of training that was offered and delivered by the right people was just overwhelming. On top of that, the food was included and equipment available if needed. Without any hesitation I had booked it straight away and was looking forward to it with excitement.

The actual training happened over two days, with an option for early arrival for some informal seminar, as well as an actual local caving trip after the training for those willing to stay another day.

The training covered absolutely everything regarding SRT from beginner to advanced level rigging, rescue and self-rescue techniques and bolt climbing.
A bolting session (throughbolts and spits) was delivered in a quarry next to a compound and was excellent. There was an option to help with building the climbing wall prior to the training if you wanted to learn bolting with resin bolts.
The training about camping/shelter, emergency and first aid equipment was very interesting and helpful even if you are not planning an expedition. I didn't take part in surveying training but having had a chance to look at what others were doing, I have to say it was brilliant as well.

Not a minute was wasted during the weekend with lots of informal chats, equipment selection and purchase as Starless River was there. In the evening there was a breathtaking presentation about the Dachstein Expedition as well as a presentation on a long caving rescue in Riesending, Germany, about the determination to save someone's life and the fight for survival: much needed in case things go wrong with caving.

To summarise, if you ever have a chance to take part in expedition training, do not hesitate. If you want to take your caving adventure to the next level, expeditions are a great way. Although I am not joining this year, I have looked at the cost of joining the Dachstein and to my surprise it is a small fraction of what you would have to pay for an adventurous holiday.

That weekend will be remembered for a long time.
Tomasz Zalewski


Well-known member
One more account of the training from James Colville:

The Dachstein training weekend was a great chance for myself and other cavers new to the Dachstein expedition (or in my case, and many other cavers cases, any form of expedition caving!) to meet more experienced cavers and learn the important do’s and don’ts of expedition caving.

The weekend consisted of several workshops going over a range of important knowledge such as how to bolt and survey new cave as well as what equipment to bring when venturing underground. Alongside this, there was also a complex set of SRT routes rigged in the Depot to allow us to practice more complex ropework such as tensioned traverses, skinny rope and confined spaces.

There were also talks on the Saturday evening going over the history of the expedition for those unfamiliar with it as well as an excellent account by Thomas Matthalm of the 2014 rescue he was involved in in a neighbouring area of caves in Germany. This talk proved to be particularly insightful both in highlighting potential dangers to be aware of as well as giving good advice of what to do if we are unfortunate enough to end up in a similar situation. However, the account of the performance of the rescue teams did well to instil confidence in anyone who could have been put off by the former descriptions.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable training weekend leaving everyone looking forward to caving together in August!
James Colville