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Showing posts from November, 2009

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

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Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

Personal Caving Equipment – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Change of Clothing

One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks
Small pack w/
Water
Food
Small First Aid Kit
Plastic Trash Bags
and
Change of Clothing


Change of Clothing

We mentioned in another issue about plastic bags and storing your muddy caving cloths. When you are done ca…

Personal Caving Equipment – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Cave Pack

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One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks
Small pack w/
Water
Food
Small First Aid Kit
Whistle
Plastic Trash Bags

and
Change of Clothing


Cave Pack

If you’re going for an easy 2-hour caving trip you really don’t need much. But you never really know what ca…

Personal Caving Equipment– Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Clothing

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One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks

Small pack w/
Water
Food
Small First Aid Kit
Plastic Trash Bags
and
Change of Clothing


Clothing

There is no particular order of importance for which article of clothing is most important. The actual clothing you w…

Personal Caving Equipment – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Light Source and Batteries

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One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks
Small pack w/
Water
Food
Small First Aid Kit
Plastic Trash Bags
and
Change of Clothing


Lights

You are going to have to have at least 3 sources of light. Inside a cave there is absolutely no light. It’s not nightti…

Encore: Dead Dog Cave with Troop 178 12-15-07

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Philly Grotto was heading on down to West Virginia with Troop 178 to do a little caving at Dead Dog Cave. I guess we've never done this cave in the winter before because I don't remember the walk to the cave being so cold. By now we don't get lost in the field looking for the hole they way we did the first couple times. But it's still a good ½ to ¾ mile walk from the cars to the entrance of the cave.

This was not their first caving trip with us. They had done some in NY as well. We all entered without any incidence and started poking around. There are parts of the cave I've been before and other parts I'd like to get too. With the size of this cave I still have not seen the whole thing, much less in one trip.

There is a fair amount of climbing and squeezing. It is a strenuous cave to crawl around inside of. We let the boys lead a good bit and discover what passages they could find. There was passage that they found that I didn't think looked worth while to s…

Personal Caving Equipment – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Helmet

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One of the elements for the Caving Elective requires you to know what equipment you will need for caving.

There are some very basic pieces of equipment that every caver should have when entering a cave. This is equipment that must be in good working condition and every one must have their own without sharing. Each issue will discuss one or two items in more detail so you get an idea of why each item is important and where to find what you need cheap. I’ll later go into optional equipment that is a very good idea to have and WNS decontamination procedures for those who face that challenge.

Here’s you basic list:
Helmet
Helmet Mounted Light Source
Two sets of fresh batteries
Two additional Light Sources
Sturdy Boots
Sturdy Work Gloves
Old rugged Clothing
Thermal Layering Underwear
Synthetic Socks
Small pack w/
Water
Food
Small First Aid Kit
Plastic Trash Bags
and
Change of Clothing

Helmet
Your helmet should be UIAA approved for climbing. (http://www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/cert_files/UIAA_106_helmets_2009.…

Encore: Crew 5 3-19-05

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On Saturday, March 19, 2005, 9 members of Crew 5, of West Chester PA, planned to cave. Members of the Philadelphia Grotto guided this quest for adventure.

Crew 5’s plan was to do more than just go caving, they wanted to get a taste of as many aspects of caving as they could. To do this they decided to earn the Caving Elective of the Ranger Award. This elective includes learning about and teaching to others different aspects of the cave environment. They learned about cave biology and geology and how it’s all part of the big environmental picture. They learned about cave maps and how to read them. They learned about they’re own safety in the cave. They learned how keep the cave, and its inhabitance, safe by practicing Leave No Trace ethics while in the cave.

So the plan was to enter the cave about 11:00 to 11:30. But before we went in there was a quick demonstration by Landon on Carbide headlamps and how they work. This was followed by the all-important "Talk" by Amos on last m…

Encore: Caving with Crew 304

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Since Geocities is closing down, I have to move all my trip reports. They are in a sort of blog form, so I'll be moving them over here, one at a time.
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Crew 304 is from Glenside. We’ve done trips with them and Troop 304 before. They are a great bunch and fun to be around, so the motivation to get them into the schedule was there even though it was full already. We found September 6th to be a good date for mostly everybody.

Saturday morning Amos, Steve, John, and myself met at the McDonald’s parking lot and piled into the Montana and headed west on the Turnpike. What was left of the hurricane was blowing rain. The forecast didn’t look all that great, but we would be underground most of the day.

We were all to meet at a rest stop. The Crew was running a little late. After a few phone calls back and forth we found out where they were and got their course corrected and headed toward us. We finally got all coll…

Encore: Central New Jersey Council Girl Scouts Caving IPP 8-03-08

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Since Geocities is closing down, I have to move all my trip reports. They are in a sort of blog form, so I'll be moving them over here, one at a time.---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central New Jersey Council Girl Scouts wanted to do a Caving Interest Project Patch for their Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts. They asked me if I could help them with this. They were going to Laruel Caverns in the middle of August, but wanted to do a pre-trip class to lean what they could about caves and caving.

I guess I didn’t figure on traffic being that bad. What should have taken about an hour and 15 minutes was more like two and a half. This was all the notorious “Surekill Crawlway” that caused the problems.

I eventually arrived and went in to see what was happening. They all were there and just settling in to start. They helped me unpack all my props from the car and sat down to review their safety protocols for running a trip like this, just so the girls …

Encore: The Brandywine Valley Association

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Since Geocities is closing down, I have to move all my trip reports. They are in a sort of blog form, so I'll be moving them over here, one at a time.
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( http://www.brandywinewatershed.org/ ) is an organization dedicated to the environmental protection of the watershed in Brandywine Valley. They run a Summer Camp program that reflects that philosophy. One of the components of their summer camp program examines and teaches the relationship of the watershed with the karst region.

Last year they went to Crystal Cave (http://www.crystalcavepa.com/ ) in Kutztown to learn about caves. The Education Director had contacted me, through the grotto, looking for information on caves that she could use with the program. I volunteered to go out a talk with the kids after their trip through Crystal Cave.

For kids younger than I am use to working with, they knew their stuff. They must have paid attention and asked questions of th…

Encore: Caving with Troop 9 May 1, 2004

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Since Geocities is closing down, I have to move all my trip reports. They are in a sort of blog form, so I'll be moving them over here, one at a time.
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On May 1st, 2004 Boy Scout Troop 9, from Honey Brook, went caving with members of the Philadelphia Grotto. The Troop members consisted of John, Randy, Dan, Shawn, Brandon, Mike, and adult leader Randy. The members of the Grotto were Stacy, Amos, Bill, and Marcy. I played double duty being the Scoutmaster of Troop 9 and the Youth Group Liaison of the Philadelphia Grotto.

Senior Patrol Leader Dan split the boys into two groups and the Grotto members divided themselves as group leaders and sweeps.

The planned 2 to 3 hour tour went very well. The boys had opportunities to explore different parts of this large, maze cave. No injuries, just fun.

All in all the consciences is that the boys want to go back and the grotto has extended them an invitation for next year.

Caving: A policy statement and guidelines on caving prepared by the Youth Groups Liaison Committee of the NSS and the BSA

General Caving Policy
Caving can be a hazardous activity when the proper equipment, skills, and judgment are not used. Trips that are led by adults inexperienced in caving and trips containing large numbers of persons compound the hazards already inherent in the activity and create a potentially dangerous situation.

1. All caving, other than simple novice activities, should be limited to adults and young people 14 and over—members of Venturing crews or Learning for Life posts, and older Scouts in troops and teams. “Simple novice activities” means commercially operated cave excursions.

2. Units (teams, troops, crews) that include cave visits in their program, whether for one trip or many, must adhere to the two deep leadership policy of the Boy Scouts of America (two registered adult leaders, or one adult and a parent of a youth member, one of whom must be 21 or older). These leaders must be responsible, mature adults who are constantly present with the group. One cave trip leader must be…

Part 4, The Program – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award – Planning a caving trip.

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Whether it’s your first, tenth or one-hundredth caving trip, planning is the key to a successful, safe, and fun trip. Planning is part of the joinery and the adventure.
The BSA Caving Policy (bin # 19-102) says in part “Any cave trip must include a fully qualified leader or adult assistants qualified to handle all problems that might arise. These leaders should have had experience as active participants in a competent caving group.” If you’ve taken my advice and solicited your local Grotto, you probably have an experienced caver helping your Crew plan your caving trips.
The reason for this is that not all caves are the same. It is good to have someone along with some experience with the cave you plan on exploring. The first rule of getting out of trouble is avoiding it in the first place. Know something about the characteristics of the cave and know your own limits. It’s always good to push yourself a little, but not to the point the trip becomes needlessly dangerous.
There are some basi…