I have also seen Tony Bakers critism on our unjustified comments about the previous 'dump'. I now see he calls it a rescue camp . What a ridiculous statement. There was one plastic body size bag , a few night light candles and plastic cutlery !! I think Joel is in a better position than most to advise on equipment needed to survive underground than an inexperienced panel member.Joel Corrigan said:I would like to set the record straight about something that was written in the explanatory letter that Tony Baker sent to the DYO Wardens.
"There is also a wider issue that requires some explanation. In 2008 two cavers were trapped in the
cave by flooding. Their enforced overnight stay while awaiting rescue was uncomfortable and the
cavers concerned subsequently made some (largely unjustified) criticisms of the provisions and
equipment in the ?rescue dump? they?d had to rely on, that had been installed and maintained by the
South and Mid?Wales Cave Rescue Team. The showcave management, concerned by the
consequences of further such incidents, had within weeks set up what is now known as the
entrapment camp ? several large drums full of food, stoves, fuel, shelters, supplies, first aid and
emergency equipment. They also installed a permanent communications link as well as power to the
site of the entrapment camp. This was funded entirely by DYO Showcaves Ltd, at a cost of several
Rich Frost & I were the two unfortunates who were trapped for the weekend (went in Saturday morning on an exploration trip & got out late on Sunday night). I'll explain the set-up of the old rescue dump to give people a better idea.
2 x large blue drums containing the following:
Warmth: 2 x car blankets. Orange survival bag (1 or 2 but can't remember). Food: Hexamine solid fuel that was so old that it had become mush & was useless. 2 x tins of Rice Pudding but no tin opener, no pans, no fuel for heating. T-light candles. Various other items but nothing to eat, nothing to insulate from the ground, and nothing to maintain body heat. I spent 24 hours or more sitting on the lid of a drum with my back against the wall. We'd been totally submerged so hypothermia was a real concern & I'm not sure that Tony's use of the word "uncomfortable" really does justice to it.
The most absurd items in the drums were a bag of approx. 20 plastic knives, forks & spoons which were vital as we might not have survived otherwise!
I was wearing a Neofleece & each time we went back into the river to check if we could escape we risked hypothermia so having such a sub-standard emergency stash wasn't helpful, and if it wasn't for the basics that I always carry with me then I'd have suffered quite a lot more.
Part of rescue plan for the cave involved divers coming through Pot Sump if the flow in streamway was too high, and then climb up the pitch & into the cave. However, the pitch is a nasty, slimy obstacle that had no fixed aids at the time (or nothing trustworthy, at least) so they couldn't have come in that way.
A trio of friendly faces eventually got in the normal way on the Sunday night as the levels had dropped & we all exited whilst trying to avoid the press, although they caught us in the end.
On the Monday (I think), I went to a local outdoor shop and, thanks largely due to the press reports, they donated some items of equipment so that we could replace what we'd used and also to allow us to improve what was in the dump. These included some sleeping bags, insulation mats, warm clothes, plus quite a lot more stuff that I've forgotten about.
On the Wednesday, Rich & I went back in the cave to clear out the rubbish that we'd left as a result of our stay & to place those genuinely useful items into the drums. After that, we spent a few hours at Pot Sump measuring up for a fixed ladder that we were planning on getting made (I can't remember but we might have been discussing this with Jop at the time). Fair to say that we had learnt a lot by our little holiday & intended on improving things for future visitors.
By the following weekend (I believe), Rich & I were given a lifetime ban from the cave. One of my comments to the management committee was that banning people for getting trapped was a very bad idea because if anyone else is in the same situation they might fear the political consequences more than the physical danger & could try to free-dive out. Certainly the younger, braver me would have done that if I'd known what the result would be.
Rich & I were very bitter about this as we'd both spent decades pushing the cave, were on the access committee, and were more dedicated & protective of that place than the majority. Was the rescue dump inadequate? Absolutely. Were we vocal in our criticisms? Absolutely. Would the rescue dump have improved if we hadn't been so outspoken? Doubtful.
So I'm afraid that our criticisms of the old rescue dump were totally justified as the contents were useless & hadn't been maintained. My support for the rescue team is well-documented & I've been an active team member for years, but if something needs fixing I won't just hide under a bush to protect someone's feelings.
Anyway, just felt the need to clear the record as the bureaucrats tend to rewrite history if you let them get away with it :ras:
You (and others) remain free to refuse the fee and lose access, as you suggest. Those willing to pay up are at liberty to do so.prahja said:I think, sadly, that if the show cave are inisisting on these requirements and this is the only way to fund it then access should be lost - I dont think management committees should be insisting on large entry fees
Stuart France said:As one of the 'conservation wardens' entitled to take other cavers around Dan yr Ogof, I've just received the detailed letter attached from Tony Baker, the DYOCAP secretary, which explains the background. As this new charge affects everybody except the wardens, I'm publishing it here, and we'll put it on the Cambrian website shortly.
prahja said:I think, sadly, that if the show cave are inisisting on these requirements and this is the only way to fund it then access should be lost - I dont think management committees should be insisting on large entry fees and have voluntary wardens (who are now commercial guides) be responsible for collecting and handling cash. The wardens are now, essentially, entering into a financial contract to take cavers caving for a fee. Have the management committee had any legal advice on liability and insurance?