Introduction to cave surveying

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This is an incredibly unique opportunity to learn how to survey caves on Vancouver Island. This trip will involve two caves that are located on the south end of the island. Even more exciting, one of these caves has yet to be fully explored, and there is potential for exploration. There is small chance this trip will have to be postponed. The wife of a key player in all of this us actually quite sick. For now, however, all systems are a go.

Description of Caves

Snotley Snail

The first cave that we will likely visit is called Snotley Snail. Getting to Snotley Snail requires a 4km hike over some pretty gnarly terrain, and it has a section with a really tight pitch. There is 15m or so entrance put, so some experience with rappeling and ascending is a prerequisite for this cave. I hope to also host an SRT practice workshop the weekend before, so this will provide some time for practice and freshening up or fine tuning your skills. Further details on this to be announced as plans progress.

White Balconey

The other cave is White Balconey. It is really close to the road, but hard to find. It is a serious bushwack, but only 200 meters. It has no vertical, but has water moving through it that flows out to a river. It is white marble and very beautiful. The two caves are about a 45 minute drive apart.

Participants and Gear

Mandatory Equipment

  1. Climbing or caving helmet; you want full head coverage
  2. Headlights (3x), and backup batteries
  3. Seat harness (+ chest harness highly recommended)
  4. 3-4 locking carabiners
  5. Ascending device (e.g., Petzl ascension)
  6. Rappel/abseil device (e.g., Petzl Stop, figure 8, GriGri, ATC)
  7. Either a bona fide caving suit, a pair of coveralls, or dispensable clothing

Must have most of your own SRT/vertical equipment, or be able to borrow from somebody. Must know how to safely ascend and descend a rope. Must be familiar with your vertical kit and how to use it. If you do not have previous SRT experience, you can still come, but a mandatory pre-trip workshop (likely held the weekend prior) will be required.


Hoping to recruit someone who owns a AWD vehicle, but the other option is to rent. Unfortunately, I can only take a few bodies on this trip--this limitation is one that is pragmatic with respect to learning how to survey a cave. Those who have been previously been on one of Nick Hindley's caving trips or another caving trip involving vertical would be very ideal candidates. I am primarily concerned about proficiency in ascending and descending ropes.

Pre-Trip Meeting

Details to be announced early in the New Year.


Organized by: MacNeil, Raymond Raymond MacNeil


Start time: Friday, Jan. 18th, 6:00 pm End time: Sunday, Jan. 20th, 6:00 pm


Details and Signup Here!



  1. Raymond MacNeil; Says -> Y/Y/Y/Y/Y/N
  2. Sebastian Gitt; Says -> yes to all except surveying experience

actually going


If no one signed up has a vehicle, Ray (the organizer) will be renting one.