Author Topic: Commercial caving  (Read 9158 times)

Online aricooperdavis

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2016, 11:18:01 pm »
Kay, that was what I was getting at, but as you say it can't be overgeneralised but is probably a question of balance. For example it may be prudent to think most about access in areas that are likely to have particular scientific or ecological value, whilst still enabling access and enjoyment in less delicate areas. I suspect this is how most access bodies currently operate.

Pitlamp, royfellows, and droid - you make an excellent point, I take it back :thumbsup: What I was getting at is that in general each caver has the potential to cause damage, and that this should be taken into account when thinking about protecting vulnerable areas.

Online andrewmc

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #51 on: December 31, 2016, 12:34:05 am »
What we can probably say is that damage is (probably) positively correlated to cave traffic for any given cave.
(having wrote this, I am not even convinced this is totally true)
This is assuming all other factors are held constant, of course.

Incidentally saying x is proportional to y doesn't mean that y doesn't depend on anything other than x, just that as x goes up (while holding everything else constant), y goes up by a proportional amount. The reason it isn't proportional is only because the increase in cave damage decreases per person as the traffic goes up (probably), not because there are other factors.

There could be some confounding factors - caves that are rarely visited are likely to have fewer conservation efforts while more popular caves might actually end up tidier as people decide to tidy them up (particularly once they are already so polished they can't really get any more polished). Actually I suspect this might be quite important for a lot of caves... for example caves that have been P-bolted (and old anchors removed and holes filled) have fewer holes in them than caves with half a dozen rusty spits at every belay.

I know Ari understands all this, at least! :P

Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #52 on: December 31, 2016, 01:15:33 am »
The fact of the matter is, that even if you a fortunate enough to leave a good fossil, it will ultimately be melted by the expanding sun. Everything we do is futile.

Stop caring so much, stop worrying about climate change, the delicate habitat of polar bears. Get yourself on XHamster, find out who Valentina Nappi is and turn your bollox inside out, tell racist jokes, laugh at things you shouldn't. Celebrate your friends and people who are on the same page. Enjoy yourself.

Today my daughter did her first laugh. It was amazing. Before she gets stoned to death in her Britainistan future by the calipate, I allowed myself to enjoy it. Let's face it, everything we do, the people we seek to impress and all of our values are utterly meaningless.

Let's just have a nice time and enjoy each other's company, eh?



Maaaaaaaan

Offline royfellows

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2016, 09:45:13 am »
So stop worrying about the future because there may not be one, mmmmm.

Anyway, I have been giving quite a lot of thought over time to conservation issues and have come to the conclusion that the ultimate is no access at all. Well my thinking here is that unless people have the opportunity to actually see something, it may as well not be there at all. I think in a way this is what DFC is implying in his rather 'interesting' posting.

I think that if we carefully consider matters we have to come to the conclusion that the earth itself will not be around for ever.

EDIT (An afterthought)
Stu (DFC)
Congratulations on your new addition to the family. You will be an interesting role model.
 :lol:
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 09:53:35 am by royfellows »
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2016, 11:51:37 am »
i wonder if (dfc) will soften over the year's. i know i did when i had kids. changed my view of a lot of things over night. not as aggressive, more patient, more tolerant of others etc etc etc 

Offline royfellows

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2016, 12:05:54 pm »
i wonder if (dfc) will soften over the year's. i know i did when i had kids. changed my view of a lot of things over night. not as aggressive, more patient, more tolerant of others etc etc etc

Its the world that needs to take your thoughts on board, not just cavers.
 :thumbsup:
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Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #56 on: December 31, 2016, 12:52:38 pm »
My internet persona is only a loose approximation of my real life one and nothing to do with my work one at all!

Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #57 on: December 31, 2016, 02:22:47 pm »
My internet persona is only a loose approximation of my real life one and nothing to do with my work one at all!

 so bit of a keyboard warrior then  :lol: :lol:

Offline pwhole

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #58 on: January 01, 2017, 01:46:28 am »
I recently had to make the decision whether to slightly enlarge a pristine arch over flowstone and clean gours in a new passage, so I could get through, knowing that chisel-marks there would never disappear. However, a draught, echo and just-visible formations eventually gave me the push to do it. The chamber entered was found to be choked with flowstone curtains after 3m, and was beautiful, but definitely no way on. So I knew then I'd damaged the arch for 'nothing'. But if there had been a small squeeze into a new series in the chamber, then obviously it would have been considered 'worth it', as long as what was found would supersede the entrance - which would invariably get more damage in future as people visited. But you don't know that until you're through, by which time it's too late...again...

Offline Hughie

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #59 on: January 01, 2017, 10:47:26 am »
I recently had to make the decision whether to slightly enlarge a pristine arch over flowstone and clean gours in a new passage, so I could get through, knowing that chisel-marks there would never disappear. However, a draught, echo and just-visible formations eventually gave me the push to do it. The chamber entered was found to be choked with flowstone curtains after 3m, and was beautiful, but definitely no way on. So I knew then I'd damaged the arch for 'nothing'. But if there had been a small squeeze into a new series in the chamber, then obviously it would have been considered 'worth it', as long as what was found would supersede the entrance - which would invariably get more damage in future as people visited. But you don't know that until you're through, by which time it's too late...again...

Apologies if this comes across as judgemental, as a cave digger it's genuinely not intended to be. Had you not considered "a camera on a stick"? 3 metres is no distance and you can get them further with a little ingenuity. a go pro lookalike will even take video footage of your journey.

As I said, I'm not judging in anyway, but I can see how Kenilworth sort of has a point.......

Online Roger W

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #60 on: January 01, 2017, 05:07:09 pm »
Maybe the way on is to use robot cavers - small enough to get through those openings that would otherwise need "slightly enlarging" and fitted with enought sensors to avoid any vulnerable formations?   Then we could do all our caving in comfort from our armchairs, without any risk to the caves themselves...
"That, of course, is the dangerous part about caves:  you don't know how far they go back, sometimes... or what is waiting for you inside."   JRR Tolkein: "The Hobbit"

Offline royfellows

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #61 on: January 01, 2017, 05:54:47 pm »
I think maybe we already have armchair cavers Roger.
 :lol:
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Online andrewmc

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #62 on: January 01, 2017, 08:42:30 pm »
Maybe the way on is to use robot cavers - small enough to get through those openings that would otherwise need "slightly enlarging" and fitted with enought sensors to avoid any vulnerable formations?   Then we could do all our caving in comfort from our armchairs, without any risk to the caves themselves...

Drones? :P

I would be quite happy if all pretty caves were fitted with 17cm high slots at the entrance :)
I would say all caves, but then the number of people caving might plummet too dramatically...

Actually I've just checked and it turns out that according to the web I am skinnier than a Daren drum (~19cm apparently), so there would have to be a Daren-drum gap so I can get my bag through!

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2017, 02:25:13 am »
I've already used drones to rule out high leads that would otherwise require extensive bolt-climbs. This could be a marginal but occasionally useful conservation technique.

Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2017, 01:09:25 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2017, 03:09:09 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.

There is always the hard way like I did at Frongoch. Start working off an aluminium ladder, put in your stemples and build your platforms, and then a fixed ladder. (Treated 4 X 2 and 15mm rebar rungs), then aluminium ladder to the next stage, repeat.
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2017, 03:29:53 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.
you could maypole 50m in an evening with a 10m ladders.
I use an aluminum scaf cut into 2m sections

Online andrewmc

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2017, 03:54:25 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.

I've just done some maths, assuming 15 degrees Celcius (density air 1.2250 g/l, helium 0.1693 g/l) and using the lightest GoPro Hero 4 Session (74g) - many GoPros are quite a bit heavier.

You need approximately 70l of helium, not accounting for the weight of the balloon itself or guide line. That is a sphere 50cm across.

I have tried to look up party balloon data; this study http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/PUBLICATIONS/36.%20PartyBalloons.pdf of a 25cm x 20cm balloon (more like what we usually see in the UK, I think) had a balloon mass of 1.3g and a volume of 5.5l. This gives each balloon a lifting capacity of 4.5g (accounting for the balloon mass), and so we need 17 balloons.

I can't find line densities for skinny cords/fishing lines, so I am going with 1.15 g/cm^3 for nylon and assuming a 0.5mm diameter cord, giving ~0.23 g/m. With a 60m guideline, I get ~13.5 g. Total mass is then ~88g (GoPro and cord).

I've just discovered there is a Hero Session 5 which is 73g and I need to include the mass of the microSD card which is about 0.5g. Conveniently these errors cancel each other out, rounding up :)

With the same balloons as earlier, we now need 20 balloons. To account for incomplete fill, temperature changes, miscalculations or estimates and (potentially significantly) draughts, I would have at least 50% extra balloons if not double.

That's a lot of balloons! Try and do it with an original GoPro (~150g?) and you will need yet more balloons...

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2017, 05:15:54 pm »
Bin bags and garden refuse sacks come in sizes up to a couple of hundred litres.
The helium would be at atmospheric pressure. In a balloon its density would be (marginally) increased.
A puncture would produce a relatively gentle descent.
Swaying and turbulance would produce some spillage so excess lift would be needed at first.

Might be worth a try before doing it the hard way.
At the very least you could have some fun with the silly voices.

Offline owd git

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2017, 06:45:49 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.

I've just done some maths, assuming 15 degrees Celcius (density air 1.2250 g/l, helium 0.1693 g/l) and using the lightest GoPro Hero 4 Session (74g) - many GoPros are quite a bit heavier.

You need approximately 70l of helium, not accounting for the weight of the balloon itself or guide line. That is a sphere 50cm across.

I have tried to look up party balloon data; this study http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/PUBLICATIONS/36.%20PartyBalloons.pdf of a 25cm x 20cm balloon (more like what we usually see in the UK, I think) had a balloon mass of 1.3g and a volume of 5.5l. This gives each balloon a lifting capacity of 4.5g (accounting for the balloon mass), and so we need 17 balloons.

I can't find line densities for skinny cords/fishing lines, so I am going with 1.15 g/cm^3 for nylon and assuming a 0.5mm diameter cord, giving ~0.23 g/m. With a 60m guideline, I get ~13.5 g. Total mass is then ~88g (GoPro and cord).

I've just discovered there is a Hero Session 5 which is 73g and I need to include the mass of the microSD card which is about 0.5g. Conveniently these errors cancel each other out, rounding up :)

With the same balloons as earlier, we now need 20 balloons. To account for incomplete fill, temperature changes, miscalculations or estimates and (potentially significantly) draughts, I would have at least 50% extra balloons if not double.

That's a lot of balloons! Try and do it with an original GoPro (~150g?) and you will need yet more balloons...
Ask a physicist, or father of one; the only element in the periodic table that can escape our planetary gravity is Helium, and is a finite resource on this wee rock in space. bethink your interplanetry footprint please.
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Offline JasonC

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2017, 07:21:19 pm »
We've got a 50m shaft to bolt climb and I was thinking about a go pro on a helium balloon. It's the sort of thing that if it goes, it will be utterly incredible.
you could maypole 50m in an evening with a 10m ladders.
I use an aluminum scaf cut into 2m sections

Drain rods?  You'd only need, er.. 55 of them. And your Go Pro might wobble a bit when up aloft, but still mebbe lighter than 25 sections of scaff ?

Anyway, we seem to have drifted somewhat off topic, but still relevant to conservation.  A bit.

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2017, 08:00:14 pm »
Yes it's still relevant to conservation, perhaps not cave Conservation. Owd git is right about helium being a finite (and diminishing) resource on our planet. It seems it's the Yanks to blame - they have most of the World's stock  and are flogging it at giveaway prices just to get rid of it, so it's far cheaper than it should be and so not worth recycling.
Now if Disgusted from Cornwall were Disgusted from Derbyshire he would be ideally placed to harvest his own helium from a renewable source.
A trip down Giants and a few good lungfuls should do it!



« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 08:27:39 pm by Chocolate fireguard »

Offline owd git

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2017, 10:50:35 pm »
Do you mean Radon? :thumbsup:
or methane from the decomposing sheep and their poo?  :shrug:
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Online andrewmc

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2017, 11:28:40 pm »
Physics lesson time :)

The Earth's stock of helium is formed from radioactive decay of heavier elements (details in a minute). (incredibly simplified/probably not-quite-right explanation follows) Oil reserves are formed when oil, having been formed at low concentrations over a large area, rises through the overlying rock until it is trapped by an impermeable bed, typically an anticline so the oil doesn't escape out the 'sides'. Helium will also rise and be trapped in the same way, which is why helium is collected from (some) oil wells (but not most).

Radon is, like many other radioactive isotopes, an 'alpha' emitter. It decays radioactively by expelling an alpha particle (2 protons and 2 neutrons) from its nucleus, which lowers the mass of the atomic nucleus and makes it more stable (it also converts the atom into a radioactive isotope of polonium). The plucky little alpha particle will shoot off until it is able to steal two electrons from somewhere (the new polonium atom will have 2 too many electrons so it will, I presume, lose them somewhere) and become a helium atom (until then it is a helium ion; alpha particle is just shorthand for 'helium-nucleus-going-somewhere-quickly-because-it-was-just-produced-by-radioactive-decay'.

So when Chocolate Fireguard suggests going down Giants that is to collect the helium produced from radon decay. Whether there is actually enough to measure is a different thing!

PS hydrogen will also not stick around in the Earth's atmosphere but there is a lot more water around to easily make hydrogen from.

PPS having checked good old Wikipedia, the current rate of loss of hydrogen and helium from the atmosphere is 3kg and 50g per second, respectively, or ~90,000 and ~1,500 tons a year, respectively... Global demand of helium is apparently 30,000 tons a year (I doubt much of this is recycled). The major practical problem is not that we lose released helium from the Earth and more that once you have let it out of a balloon into the atmosphere it is very hard to get it back out again, even if it does stick around!

PPPS https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/scientists-unearth-one-of-worlds-largest-helium-gas-deposits/1010122.article
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 11:45:25 pm by andrewmc »

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Commercial caving
« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2017, 11:55:29 pm »
Do you mean Radon? :thumbsup:
or methane from the decomposing sheep and their poo?  :shrug:
O.G.

I meant radon.
It was just a joke

Physics lesson time :)

The Earth's stock of helium is formed from radioactive decay of heavier elements (details in a minute). (incredibly simplified/probably not-quite-right explanation follows) Oil reserves are formed when oil, having been formed at low concentrations over a large area, rises through the overlying rock until it is trapped by an impermeable bed, typically an anticline so the oil doesn't escape out the 'sides'. Helium will also rise and be trapped in the same way, which is why helium is collected from (some) oil wells (but not most).

Radon is, like many other radioactive isotopes, an 'alpha' emitter. It decays radioactively by expelling an alpha particle (2 protons and 2 neutrons) from its nucleus, which lowers the mass of the atomic nucleus and makes it more stable (it also converts the atom into a radioactive isotope of polonium). The plucky little alpha particle will shoot off until it is able to steal two electrons from somewhere (the new polonium atom will have 2 too many electrons so it will, I presume, lose them somewhere) and become a helium atom (until then it is a helium ion; alpha particle is just shorthand for 'helium-nucleus-going-somewhere-quickly-because-it-was-just-produced-by-radioactive-decay'.

So when Chocolate Fireguard suggests going down Giants that is to collect the helium produced from radon decay. Whether there is actually enough to measure is a different thing!

PS hydrogen will also not stick around in the Earth's atmosphere but there is a lot more water around to easily make hydrogen from.

PPS having checked good old Wikipedia, the current rate of loss of hydrogen and helium from the atmosphere is 3kg and 50g per second, respectively, or ~90,000 and ~1,500 tons a year, respectively... Global demand of helium is apparently 30,000 tons a year (I doubt much of this is recycled). The major practical problem is not that we lose released helium from the Earth and more that once you have let it out of a balloon into the atmosphere it is very hard to get it back out again, even if it does stick around!

PPPS https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/scientists-unearth-one-of-worlds-largest-helium-gas-deposits/1010122.article

I must remember never to tell Andrew a joke.