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Methods of protecting in-situ ropes from unwanted usage

JAA

Active member
Thought so.

Interestingly my uncle once dived that sump. The two of them rigged it on ladders and carried the gear in. Carrying rope was all too much so they didn’t bother with lifelines. Days of yore.
When cave divers were made of steel and ladders made of wood etc 😉
It’s a tricky site to make progress at without likely having to leave it rigged really. Without a huge amount of support anyway.
 

Fjell

Active member
Since it is in the permit system then I would think you either block book it or tell people it us rigged on the site. If you book a cave it’s not unreasonable to expect the normal route to be clear. It’s a long walk with the gear.
 
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Ed

Member
Simple really - if you leave stuff on other people's land don't be surprised if it gets used or removed.

Don't matter if you "discovered" it. It's not yours so don't assume
 

aricooperdavis

Moderator
I'm with Ed, I think leaving a cave rigged is generally antisocial for other visitors (in the same way that leaving top ropes on a crag would be). As such I'd attach a note to the top anchor apologising and telling visitors that they're very welcome to use the rope, but please to do so carefully. It's the least you can do!
 

Fulk

Well-known member
I'm with Ed, I think leaving a cave rigged is generally antisocial for other visitors
I wonder if the guys who left Death's Head Hole rigged would care to comment?
 

topcat

Member
I occasionally leave some esoteric grotty hole rigged whilst I am working on conservation projects but always assume that others may well use them. Ok by me.......'cos I'll use other folks ropes from time to time. What goes round comes round, in a nice way.

That's when using my personal ropes. I once had to leave club ropes in The Mohole because it was getting too wet, but made arrangements for their removal asap by a third party.

I once had a very experienced caving buddy get so hung up on the fixed ropes in Aquamole entrance series that they had to cut their cows tails. This was because I'd rigged over the fixed ropes so it was a bit confusing when in a rush. I'd prefer clean pitches but having to deal with fixed ropes is part of the game.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Is Deaths Head still rigged from the successful attempt on the Grand Traverse? or is this more recent?
 
I would personally never used rigged ropes as you never know if they'll be there when you return!

What you could do, remove the top two pitches. This will mean they are more likely to take all the rope down with them and more likely to use their own.

Also put a note saying if we see your full rope bag at the top of our pitch, we will assume you are contributing to the dig and so for that, thankyou in advance for the offer :-D
 

Leclused

Active member
When rigging :

- Start using longer ropes not at the top of the pit but at the 2nd or third anchor of a pit The top part of a pit need then to be rigged with a short rope between top anchor and the point you start using your longer rope.

When leaving
- Derig the short ropes

On return
- rig the short ropes again

I know it's a bit work but it will avoid others using your ropes because the already need to start using their ropes at the top of the pit. Of course they could switch from their rope to yours from the anchor 2 or 3.
 

rm128

Active member
There definitely appears to be a trend toward leaving an increasing number of Dales caves rigged. To my mind, this is an issue which needs to be addressed within the local caving community. Could it be possible to come up with a concensus on the best way forward? One thing that may help is a database of caves/pitches that are currently rigged. Useful information could include: cave, pitches rigged, when rigged, temporary or long-term (if temporary then planned date of derigging), point of contact (shying away here from terms such as “rigged by” or “responsible person” for obvious reasons), contact details. The “point of contact” could even make it known whether or not they are happy for others to use their rigging, or give preferences for how/when they could be used etc...

I occasionally leave caves rigged for a few days for various reasons. I try to derig as soon as possible and try to avoid leaving rigging in over a weekend. As far as I’m concerned, if I leave rigging in-situ then I have no right to expect others not to use it. I apply this same attitude if I come across rigging left in place by others, I.e. I decide myself whether to use it or not. For example, with the current rigging in Ireby Fell, I use the fixed rigging on Ding & Dong (regardless of the wishes of the “point of contact”, which I am unaware of anyway), but choose to rig Bell myself as the fixed rigging is a bit awkward (but presumably welcome in damp conditions). Similarly, the fixed rope on Pussy is horribly frayed, so I rig my own (which is made more tricky by the frayed rope using the drilled thread).

I’m certainly not against caves being left rigged, even for a prolonged period. I get the need for it, particularly with regard to exploration. I just think we need to try to agree on a way to make things work as well as possible for as many cavers as possible... explorers and recreational cavers.
 

Fjell

Active member
Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why Ireby has been left rigged? If all you are doing is digging down there, that is not a reasonable explanation given one person can easily rig it on their own - so I’m curious. Or is it an abandoned relic in need of a knife? You can’t leave routes like this rigged for months/years, they are heavily used by novices and people learning to rig.
 

rm128

Active member
Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why Ireby has been left rigged? If all you are doing is digging down there, that is not a reasonable explanation given one person can easily rig it on their own - so I’m curious. Or is it an abandoned relic in need of a knife? You can’t leave routes like this rigged for months/years, they are heavily used by novices and people learning to rig.
If only we had a database....
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
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.
 

rm128

Active member
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.
 

JasonC

Active member
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.
.......
All of this makes perfect sense, but you might find that folk are reluctant to own up to leaving rigging in place because of a) attracting flak for cluttering up a pitch/rigging it 'badly' etc, b) being held liable by a caver's family/insurance company if they came to grief on a rope you'd left years ago.
 

rm128

Active member
Valid points JasonC. On point b, I do think we would need to find a way of avoiding any particular caver being held legally responsible for potential accidents. That’s why I suggested that the database listed a “point of contact” rather than a “rigger”. Would this be enough to avoid legal ramifications? I don’t know. Could some other way be found? In situ rigging aside, what are the legal ramifications of failing rigging on a “standard” trip, where it is a parties own rigging that fails?

I do really think we need to do something though. In situ rigging seems to be an increasing presence. Where will it end?
 
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