Supplys

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

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Supplys

Postby plicpriest1 » Apr 23, 2013 12:39 pm

Hello all,
This post has probably been done before, but im to lazy to look for it :big grin: . Besides current info is always good!

So here it is: I am looking to start vertical caving. I need the ropes and all of the other fun items that go with it. Call me crazy but I somehow expect the supply aquisition to be expensive. So economy supplys is what Im aiming for.

Fill me in what do I need to get started? Oh and yes I am looking to get some training on the subject before I just go and kill myself. I am also looking to aquire the "On Rope" book sold at the NSS store. Any reviews?

Thanx in advance

Brian

Oh and feel free to chime in any other bits of advice!
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Re: Supplys

Postby snoboy » Apr 23, 2013 12:49 pm

Couple other books besides On Rope -

Vertical by Alan Warild. Available online for free here: http://cavediggers.com/vertical/

Alpine Caving Techniques for a more euro perspective.

Usual advice is go learn, then buy. It's good to use systems similar to what cavers you cafe with use, both for getting good coaching, and for safety - it's easier to spot problems with a system you are familiar with, and many systems have oddities that make for specific rescue techniques. The other advantage to putting off purchase is that you will likely get opportunities to try many different models/types of gear while learning, and see what you really like, and what works well with local rigging styles.
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Re: Supplys

Postby caver.adam » Apr 23, 2013 12:53 pm

Disclaimer: You should take a class to learn how to do vertical caving. There are a number of safety factors involved in both the environment and in the equipment used. Learning to use the equipment (such as a rack, or a bobin) is compounded by the fact that each of these devices has safety problems which are not as pronounced as in more expensive industrial equipment. The cave environment is notoriously tough on equipment and ropes and you need to know how to properly protect your rope from wear. There are vertical classes you can pay to go to if you don't have a free one available locally.

Ok, that said...On Rope is an excellent book covering a lot of aspects of vertical caving. I highly recommend it to any vertical caver that has not read it. HOWEVER, when you buy a copy on Amazon you must be careful that you are buying a current edition. The older editions are still quite good, but cover different information and have outdated technology.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Extremeophile » Apr 23, 2013 2:34 pm

Basically what others have already suggested:

Step 1 - Read all that has been written ... On Rope, Vertical, Alpine Caving Techniques, Nylon Highway
Step 2 - Identify opportunities in the local caving community to learn and practice. I don't know of any formal classes in the Castle Rock area, but you're about half way between Colorado Grotto and Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto meetings. CG is held in an auto body garage in Denver with vertical practice opportunities. Talk to the Grotto officers about setting up a practice session before the next Grotto meeting. I'm not sure what SoCoMoGro does, but contact their officers to find out. Castlewood Canyon has many good top-roping areas where you can practice techniques.
Step 3 - Once you are comfortable and confident in a controlled setting, find caves with easy vertical challenges to practice these skills underground. Colorado has many such places.
Step 4 - Decide on the best vertical system based on body type and type of vertical caving you'll be doing and buy the right gear. Vertical caving is not the best place to bargain shop. It's okay to wait for sales or buy the occasional piece of used equipment, but having high quality gear designed for the type of caving you'll be doing will make you safer and more efficient. I've seen a number of independent, budget-minded novice vertical cavers using old retired dynamic climbing ropes, rock climbing harnesses, and Jumars. It's better to find other places in your life to save money so you can afford to get the proper equipment for vertical caving.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Extremeophile » Apr 23, 2013 2:55 pm

For formal training you might try Todd Warren and Quest Adventures in Colorado Springs. He's a long-time caver and expert in vertical techniques.

http://questadventuresllc.com/index.htm
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Re: Supplys

Postby Stridergdm » Apr 23, 2013 4:05 pm

What others have said.

For myself, I never found reading about this stuff in a book worked for me. Even if it did, have to have the hands on experience.

And quite honestly, I highly recommend you have your change-overs down cold. You may never need one, but when you do, you'll want to be sure you can do it w/o fumbling or even having to think too much about it. (since most likely when you have to do it, you won't have time to think too much about it.)

And then, most of all: HAVE FUN!
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Re: Supplys

Postby Extremeophile » Apr 23, 2013 4:31 pm

Stridergdm wrote:For myself, I never found reading about this stuff in a book worked for me. Even if it did, have to have the hands on experience.

Everyone learns differently. If you have good visualization skills then reading these references will help a lot, but for others the only way to learn is to do it. Aside from vertical techniques though, I would also argue it's important to understand how static ropes are constructed, what knots are used and why, general concepts about main anchors and rebelays, etc. It's much easier to learn this supporting information from books.
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Re: Supplys

Postby GroundquestMSA » Apr 23, 2013 6:28 pm

I started with a copy of On Rope ($35, good idea), a used length of static rope ($90, bad idea), a climbing harness ($9, bad idea), a rescue 8 ($35, bad idea according to many) and a few prusik loops ($15). I didn't have anyone to teach me anything until I found this forum, so while I didn't (and still haven't entirely) learned to climb "properly," I was able to accomplish my goal; not be stopped by pits. I've slowly bought more efficient gear since then, but if I knew better I would have bought most of it in the first place.

If you have access to folks who can help you in person, that will allow you to see what gear you need before making the same mistakes I did. When you decide to buy gear, PMI Pit rope is a good, cheap choice that was overwhelmingly reccommended to me by members of this forum. If you ever decide you want a used stop-style bobbin descender (unlikely) let me know and I'll send it along for the price of shipping.

Practice a bunch. Extremophile's step 3 is a very good one. It's exciting to use new skills to navigate an actual in-cave obstacle, even if it's a tiny one, and that's the only real way to see what you may need to change.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Stridergdm » Apr 23, 2013 6:49 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
Stridergdm wrote:For myself, I never found reading about this stuff in a book worked for me. Even if it did, have to have the hands on experience.

Everyone learns differently. If you have good visualization skills then reading these references will help a lot, but for others the only way to learn is to do it. Aside from vertical techniques though, I would also argue it's important to understand how static ropes are constructed, what knots are used and why, general concepts about main anchors and rebelays, etc. It's much easier to learn this supporting information from books.


Oh, don't get me wrong. I have several books on the topic (and have even read most of them) but find the hands-on learning more useful for me.

(not to mention my edition of On-Rope is the one that has the Frog System slightly mislabeled. Not that I setup my frog that way in any case. :-)
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Re: Supplys

Postby plicpriest1 » Apr 23, 2013 10:04 pm

Hay thanx much everyone.
I just dont want to sign up for a class and show up empty handed. Though if that is how it is done than cool. I do agree that getting cheap items for such critical activities could be a mistake. On the other hand though I dont want to have to drop a hundred million dollars if I dont have to. I think of it this way: buy coco puffs (name brand) or coco roo's (not so name brand). Same cereal, different price.

I did order on rope from the NSS store today though. I find that reading about it, as well as doing it helps me best. I figure I drop $40 on the book and learn theory now. Acquire equipment, than do learning as I go. Or if somebody has the gear already than I can see what sort of things work best.

Truth is im a neophyte when it comes to this whole vertical thing. Its kinda like which came first the chicken or the egg. So since im logged on: To get a good working set of gear and rope that will get me places safely and without breaking the bank, what sort of list of things would you all recommend? Ya I know Im needy :tonguecheek: .

Brian
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Re: Supplys

Postby Chads93GT » Apr 24, 2013 9:29 am

Started with a climbing harness. Figure 8. And prusiks. Taught myself from reading rock climbing books. On rope. And alpine caving techniques. If you have no other options there is that.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 24, 2013 11:06 am

The easiest way to learn anything related to caving is to join a grotto. They have the experience and gear you need, for free. Well, minus the dues and thank you beverages you supply. Other ways are certainly posible and lots of people successfully do it other ways, but it is sort of like reinventing the wheel and paying for it twice.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Stridergdm » Apr 24, 2013 11:28 am

plicpriest1 wrote:Hay thanx much everyone.
I just dont want to sign up for a class and show up empty handed. Though if that is how it is done than cool. I do agree that getting cheap items for such critical activities could be a mistake. On the other hand though I dont want to have to drop a hundred million dollars if I dont have to. I think of it this way: buy coco puffs (name brand) or coco roo's (not so name brand). Same cereal, different price.
Brian


Don't worry about showing up empty-handed. Just ask in advance. A lot of grottoes or their members generally have extra equipment they can loan you. That way too you can try a variety of systems. You may find the system you THOUGHT would work for you really isn't the best idea. Better to find out before you spend money.

And btw, if you ever do get $100 million, just remember all the friendly help you got from folks here on cavechat! :banana_yay:
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Re: Supplys

Postby caverdan » Apr 24, 2013 12:55 pm

Hows it going Brian.....long time...no see. :kewl: Look on the NSS home page and you can find a grotto up by where you are working. Colorado Grotto now meets where they also hold vertical training at times.
They meet the first Thursday of the month and SoCoMoGro in Colorado Springs meets the first Wednesday of the month. Finding someone in a grotto is most definantly the way to learn vertical techniques for caving. I might be able to hook you up with some loaner gear. :kewl:
Member: Colorado Madrats, SoCoMoGro,CWSG.
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Re: Supplys

Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 24, 2013 1:02 pm

Off topic, but every time I look at the title of this thread, I can't help but think....

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