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Workshop in caving techniques (1st session) · Wednesday, August 21st

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Organized by: Jannu Casanova Moreno.

Start: Wednesday, Aug. 21st, 6:00 pm
End: Wednesday, Aug. 21st, 8:00 pm


In case you haven't heard there is a caving trip we have been invited by the Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group. In preparation for that trip I'll give a small workshop teaching basic progression techniques in vertical fixed ropes (single rope technique).

Although a bit of experience handling ropes will make it easier for you, it is not absolutely necessary since we'll teach everything you'll need. There is no rock climbing involved, just  using ascenders and descenders to move through fixed ropes.

I'll give reading material links for each session, but just in case you're curious, and for future reference, an excellent source of all you ever wanted (and not wanted) to know about vertical caving can be found here

The workshop will consist of 4 sessions (a la Lead Ladder). The content will be adjusted depending on how much time we actually take in some of the activities and the venues we find available. So far a rough schedulle looks like this.

1.    Brief intro on gear. Use of ascenders (frog technique) and descenders (rack and stop). Locking off the descender. If time allows, direction change in the middle of the rope (aka change over). (Aug 21, Norm Theatre climbing wall)
2.    Passing knots and deviations.   (Aug 27, Norm Theatre climbing wall)
3.    Passing rebelays (TBA)
4.    General practical review. (TBA)

First session will be held on Wed Aug 21st. If we get the Norm Theater, it will include some easy practice on ascent and descent, otherwise only theory. I’ll post more details soon but you are expected to do a bit of reading and watch couple of online videos.

Mandatory videos for the first session:

  1. About the gear
  2. Descending with a "stop" and ascending with the "frog" technique (2:35 to 12:10)

Optional reading if you have nothing to do in your spare time. From the online book found here:

  1. Chapter 1; p. 5-12, about vertical gear
  2. Chapter 6; p. 91-101, descent
  3. Chapter 7; p. 109-119, ascent


We’re limited in gear, so I think 15 will be a hard maximum and even then we might have to substitute the descenders in some practices since we only have 2 or 3. If you have ascenders (jumar, croll, basic, etc) bring them please, and if for some reason you have static rope descenders (rack, stop or even figure 8, bring them along also).

For personal gear you’ll need. It’s OK if you don’t have everything. Bring what you can

  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • 2 locking biners
  • 2 non locking biners
  • Some sort of webbing (3 m) for footloops.*
  • Belay device in case we have to pretend it’s a descender due to gear shortage.
  • If you have maillions, bring them
  • OPTIONAL: 5 or 6 mm cord loop for prussik knot.

*For the practice sessions, we can use slings or webbing you have already. If going caving in reality, you might have to buy some material. Not too expensive.

Feel free to post questions in the message board

Posted: 2013-08-13 20:40:23
Last modified: 2013-08-26 17:09:34