How would this make you feel....

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How would this make you feel....

Postby cavelover_11 » Mar 1, 2007 11:39 pm

All right, guys and gals, how would you think about this....
I went on a caving trip this weekend with a large group and one of the trip leaders broke a cave formation off the ceiling with their helmet. :shock:
It was a smallish drapery like formation, and he/she lamented the loss for a brief moment- and then moved on... I am sure that he/she was quite ashamed and embarrassed and didn't want the rest of the group to notice. I was very saddened by all of this, and hate to think that our trip to this cave caused harm.
This person is planning on leading more trips, and this upsets me. What can I do to inspire my fellow cavers to be a bit more thoughtful? Any ideas??

:hairpull:
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Re: How would this make you feel....

Postby Teresa » Mar 2, 2007 12:00 am

cavelover_11 wrote:All right, guys and gals, how would you think about this....
This person is planning on leading more trips, and this upsets me. What can I do to inspire my fellow cavers to be a bit more thoughtful? Any ideas??


I wouldn't be concerned about this person's ability to lead trips. While cavers do not wish to cause wanton destruction, stuff happens to everyone if they cave long enough. If the person would have gloated, kept the formation, or otherwise not even noticed they'd damaged the cave--well, then I'd worry. But stuff happens, if they really wanted to undo the damage, they could have set the broken piece aside, and got one of the recommended cave epoxies, or seen if anyone in your area does cave resto. Depends on the magnitude of the broken piece, if it is an a wet area that might regrow, yada yada, too.


I also wouldn't worry about inspiring fellow cavers. But if you see them heading for a stal they can't see, say something before they get there.
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Postby JoeyS » Mar 2, 2007 12:05 am

That wasn't me was it, Cavelover?
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

I'm kind of a stooge at times when I'm caving, but this usually only happens when I've been crawling alot and naturally try to stand when the opportunity presents itself, and sometimes this is where the formations like to thrive. I have busted a few soda straws by accident. :hairpull: I'm pretty sure most all cavers have, and alway by accident. I've gotten scolded and I try to be more careful. What more can you do? Stay on the trail is the best advice. If you really want caves to remain totally pristine, then you might as well not go in them. Unless the person is deliberately ripping off formations, I would just forgive it as an accident.
I don't think the person should be condemned from leading trips; that's kind of harsh, IMO..

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Postby volica » Mar 2, 2007 12:40 am

Sh*t happens. He didn't mean it and was sorry. So don't hold it agains, because sooner ar later you will hit something with your helmet or pack, if not formations, then bat or so.
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Postby caverdan » Mar 2, 2007 8:50 am

Personally I would make note of the broken piece and return to reglue it back into place. We have several caves within the Williams Canyon project that have formations in the crawlways and in areas that are easily bumped in to. Things get broken once in awhile. But a little super glue or the correct epoxy for the size of formation does wonders for remending those type of accidents. Most times, if the formation was dripping before the accident, the formation continues to drip after repair.

Forgive, fix it, and forget about it. Chances of getting this guy to quit leading cave trips are slim to nill and will only cause hard feeling in the long run. Sooner or later you too will break something. The trick is to fix um as you break um. :deer:

I'd also sit down and talk with him some about what happened. Maybe see if he will go back with you to fix it. Let him know it bothered you and get it off your chest. I'm betting you will both feel better about it in the end. :banana:
Last edited by caverdan on Mar 2, 2007 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Scott Shaw » Mar 2, 2007 8:56 am

volica wrote:Sh*t happens. He didn't mean it and was sorry. So don't hold it agains, because sooner ar later you will hit something with your helmet or pack, if not formations, then bat or so.


Couldn't have said it better myself. If you cave long enough, you're gonna do that, no matter how careful you are.
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Postby Herman Miller » Mar 2, 2007 10:08 am

Scott Shaw wrote:
volica wrote:Sh*t happens. He didn't mean it and was sorry. So don't hold it agains, because sooner ar later you will hit something with your helmet or pack, if not formations, then bat or so.


Couldn't have said it better myself. If you cave long enough, you're gonna do that, no matter how careful you are.


i second
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Postby Dwight Livingston » Mar 2, 2007 10:15 am

It sounds to me like the trip leader should have made a bigger deal about it. Regardless of how he felt on the inside, I think an outward display of horror would have been a good thing. This being a lead trip, I assume that the group might be learning what attitudes apply to caving. A good bit of gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes would send a good message, to a much better effect than the usual pre-cave lecture.

And yeah, fix the damn thing.

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Postby cavelover_11 » Mar 2, 2007 4:35 pm

Thanks for the viewpoints...I know that no one is perfect and it could have happened to anyone.. but at the same time-there was no attempt to repair the damage or what not.
I guess it makes you think about moving carefully and being aware of your surroundings while caving.

It only too two seconds to break something that took many many years to create. Its just a shame that's all.
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Postby Teresa » Mar 2, 2007 5:02 pm

Well, what you could do instead of wringing your hands, or worrying about the other guy, is learn about cave restoration and become the local expert on how to do it. Then, when additional mishaps happen, you can fix them.

They usually cannot be fixed on the spot. In the case of a single soda straw, if actively dripping, it is probably better to let nature take its course. (I've tried to restore single straws--if they are continually wet, and you cannot divert the water, the glue will not 'take', but regrowth begins almost immediately. ) But if something dry or merely damp has been broken, it's not that big a deal to hide the piece nearby (do not remove it from the cave--that would cause it to dry out!) and make plans to return to fix it later.
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Mar 2, 2007 9:37 pm

Accidently breaking formations is something that can be avoided but it's not easy. I've also turned my head and heard the disheartening sound of "tink." Once while doing a survey in an area where gypsum beards abouned (everyone was moving as carefully as possible) I lost my footing and was about to fall towards where a nice group of beards were protruding from the wall... instead I lurched myself as hard as I could in the opposite direction and nearly snapped my ankle in the process... Better my ankle than the beards IMO. Thank goodness for "over the ankle length boots.
Generally if crawling down unfamiliar passages one needs to be very careful especially when the tight stuff opens up. Awfully tempting to get up asap... but gotta stop and turn your head a bit and see what's above you.
Being a trip leader can be difficult at times. You're concentrating on making sure everyone get through okay and out in one piece (because you're ultimately responsible for everyone on the trip... debatable I know... but in another thread ok?).
So sometimes you forget where you are and lose your own self-cautionary movements through a cave.
If the guy was an experience caver then he knew it's sometimes too late to take it back. If not all that experience the hopefully they'll know to be much more careful next time.
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Postby speloman » Mar 2, 2007 9:57 pm

I used to cave with a guy I called "Chip". It seemed he was always cracking his head on a low ceiling. The name chip came from the little chips that came off his helmet. Once he tinked a soda straw. He was a new caver and felt sooo bad. We talked to him and told him accidents happen. I will admit I have tinked a small soda straw once. I felt awful ever since then I have tried so hard to look up more frequently and watch out. Ralph is right it can be avoided but is hard. The thing is no matter how careful we are no matter how much we cave softly we do impact cave ever so slightly. Just remember to take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but carefully placed foot prints, and kill nothing but time
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Postby Komebeaux » Apr 8, 2007 5:23 pm

And people wonder why sometimes I belly crawl in a 4' pasage....
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Postby George Dasher » Apr 10, 2007 9:38 am

I'm certainly had it happened to me on more than one occasion. They're nothing you can do but lament what happened and move on in most cases. I even slammed into a pretty large 'tite in a big water pasasge and broke it off. I was just concentrating on the water in front of me (it was deep) and didn't look up. The 'tite came right to the top of my helmet, and not into my line of sight. I was also in front, so there was no one to spot me.

In fact, of all the types of caves I've surveyed, the caves I hate the worse are formation caves. It is just about impossible not to break something or walk on something you shouldn't. That's one reason to survey as you explore, so no one has to go back.
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