A database listing caves that have been rigged and perhaps might still be isn't much use cos if you're planning to visit a cave you definitely need to take the required kit with you anyway. If you visit without the gear and find out that the cave's no longer rigged you'm twazzock.
Well, I think we’ve had an illustration of one reason why a database would be useful just today, I.e. explaining why caves are rigged. That in itself is useful. If we can understand the reason for the in situ rigging, perhaps we can live with it slightly easier.
Other reasons why it could be useful include:
- keeping a record of when the rigging was installed. For example, do you know when the rope leading from Deaths Head main chamber up into Long Drop was installed? I certainly don’t. If I did know, maybe I’d be less (or more) likely to use it. Of course, I could simply decide never to use in situ ropes. But let’s be honest, we all (well, plenty of us anyway) use such things from time to time to get to places we would not otherwise be able to access. What’s wrong with knowing how long the rigging has been in place?
- a record of when the rigging was installed could be a spur to replacing it periodically.
- rigging listed in a database is less likely to be forgotten about. I’m assuming a proportion (perhaps substantial) of the in situ Dales rigging is there for no other reason than nobody has bothered to remove it when it was no longer needed.
- if I know that a particular cave is (or may be) rigged, I can then choose to go somewhere else if I don’t want to deal with double rigging.
- a database could give previous users of the rigging on a particular pitch an opportunity to comment on issues, e.g. “rope frayed on 4th pitch” or “loop on 3rd pitch 2nd rebelay very short”.
These are just some reasons. I’m sure there are lots of others.
To address your particular issue Cap, of course you would have nobody to blame but yourself if you decided to take no tackle on the basis of a potentially unreliable database, only to find that your chosen cave wasn’t rigged after all. But even potentially wrong information can be useful. For example, returning to Ireby Fell, on a recent visit I believed it was likely to be rigged. Even so, tackle for the entire cave was still taken to the entrance. A quick trip to the top of the first pitch revealed that it was indeed still rigged, so all the tackle could have been left at the entrance. As it was, I still took ropes for the 3rd and 4th pitches as I knew that I would prefer to rig those pitches myself.