Way Out 8

The Newsletter of the West Brecon Cave Rescue Team
Registered Charity No 1016463

Supported by:
The Sports Council For Wales, SportLot,
Powys C.C. and Dragon Caving Gear

The Way Out is distributed freely but a donation to the team would be very welcome.
Send your donations to: WBCRT c/o Gary Evans. Poplar Court, Cae Hopkin, Abercrave, Swansea, SA9 1TP

Articles from ALL those interested in cave rescue are welcome for consideration.
Send articles to: Editor. Brian Jopling, Owl Barn Cottage, Duntisbourne Rouse, Cirencester, GLOS. GL7 7LG.
email Jopo(at)freenetname.co.uk. Text files, JPEG photo’s, GIF sketches please.

We have a rescue store We can be really proud of.

We have every item in it’s place and ready to go.

We have a drying room so kit can be returned to ready status quickly.

We have got rid of a lot of junk.

We have a stores that is clean and tidy.

We will keep it that way—won’t We!

WBCRT Annual General Meeting 2001. Summary.
The AGM was quorate with 28 persons attending. Several executive posts changed hands this year and important changes accepted to the WBCRT constitution, which will be available after the changes have been approved by the Charity Commissioners. (Changes now approved by CC , Editor)

The Hon. Chairman (John Lister) welcomed attendees and thanked all who had worked hard for the WBCRT in 2000.

The Hon Sec. (Rhys Williams) reported that the number of incidents attended last year was 4, reduced considerably from 1999. There were no major incidents.

9 Jan. Ogof Gwynt-yr-Eira Overdue.

6 April Rift nr Bridgend. Dog trapped 10m down. Successful.

3 May Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. Dislocated kneecap. Started as self rescue, stretcher carry when casualty became exhausted.

4 Nov. Pant Mawr. Caver too tired to climb ladder. Hauled out and brought back by Land Rover ambulance.

Members attended several events during the year including a Police open day in Bridgend, the Brecon Show and the Millennium youth games in Cardiff.

The Hon Treasurer (Gary Evans) reported that the teams running costs outstripped our income. Collecting boxes had shown a drop over previous years and members were asked to increase fundraising activities and think of new ideas.
He emphasised the importance of regular income.

The Training Officer (Toby Dryden) reported that five midweek evening training sessions had been held on subjects ranging from equipment familiarisation to night navigation.
Three full practices had been held, Cwm Dwr crawl and choke, Ratgoed Mine and The SWSARA joint exercise at Dinas Rock.
A Mountain Rescue training day at Morlias Quarry was attended by Ali and Toby who demonstrated SRT rescue.
Disappointment at the lack of numbers on practices and some training sessions was expressed with only two attending one evening session.

Equipment Development Officer (Jopo) reported that we have successfully changed over to GriGri's and dispensed with Fig. 8’s. Most effort had gone into helping to develop the new cave radio. Some work has been done by Bob Hall on collapsed scaffolding digs and he had obtained sponsorship towards the purchase of a pneumatic metal cutting saw.

The Equipment and First Aid officers, (Ali and Claire Garman) were not present due to the First Aid officer taking advantage of the Equipments officer’s tackle, leading to the birth of a son, Rhys, some 15 hours before the meeting. It was felt that they had a valid excuse—just! The meeting expressed their warmest congratulations.
Gary Evans gave a verbal report in their absence.

First Aid. Drug cabinet keys had been issued to Wardens and Advanced First Aiders and the first aid equipment was in good order. No purchases had been made separate to the SportLot grant items.

Equipment. Rescue equipment was in good order and a full inventory would be available after the completion of the building work and refurbishment of the stores. Minor urgent replacements had been purchased, with the big spend being part of the SportLot grant.

Bob Hall reported that any profit from SWCC social activities would be donated to rescue.

Chairman Brian Jopling
Secretary Alan Braybrooke
Treasurer Gary Evans Warden
Training Officer Rhys Williams Warden
Equipment Officer Ali Garman Warden
First Aid Officer Fred Levett
Communications Officer Pete Dobson Warden
Equipment Development Officer Toby Dryden Warden
Callout Database co-ordinator Bob Radcliffe Warden
Cave Diver Rescue Co-ordinator Martyn Farr
Fundraising Officer Marj Jopling
Ordinary member Claire Garman
Ordinary member Pete Cardy
Ordinary member Ian Pinkstone
SWCC Representative Bob Hall
Catering (co-opted) Les Cardy
Jules Carter Warden
Mid Wales Warden John Lister Warden
Mid Wales Warden Hazel Field (nee Forbes) Warden
Mid Wales Warden Idris Williams Warden
Mid Wales Warden Clive Edwards Warden

Bill Little’s Second Rescue from Ogof Ffynnon Ddu
Herewith my recollections of Bill’s rescue from OFD 1_.
Eric Inson

Bill, with Neill Jones and three others had gone to explore some significant leads up a chimney in OFD 1_ not far from where the boulders fall down from Coronation Aven. While Bill and Neil stayed at this location, the other three went via the Divers Pitch bypass to a passage near Heol Eira to see if any communication could be established as these two locations seemed close.

I was with Jill at the club that afternoon. We were preparing our evening meal when Neil burst in to say that Bill had fallen and sustained a broken leg, just above the ankle. He (Neil) had built a cairn in the main passage underneath the access chimney and had written a message in the mud for the others to find on their return.

We hastily finished our meal while others started telephoning and getting gear together. At this point the other three in the party appeared, having come out via Cwm Dwr, knowing nothing of Bill’s accident. ‘The poor bugger’s been down there on his own for well over an hour with a broken leg!’ said Neil.

Jill and I got into our wet suits and took two bags with hot drinks, hot water bottles and space blankets and went in via OFD 1 as fast as we could, leaving the others continuing with rescue preparations.

When we arrived we found that Bill’s leg was badly broken, with a bone protruding through his skin, but fortunately he was not losing blood. We made him as comfortable as possible and Jill got under the space blanket with him, which cheered him up somewhat.

Gradually the main rescue party and kit assembled, but nothing could be done to move the casualty until the doctor, Rob Williams, had attended to the injury and settled Bill’s general condition. The external wound had to be protected from further damage, and the ankle immobilised. Ideally a long leg plaster/splint should have been used but this was not possible due to the fact that his knee had to be able to bend to get through the boulder choke into Boulder Chamber. A compromise dressing of plaster and splint, enclosed in plastic sheet, was used.

Rob Williams administered a suitable amount of painkiller and tranquillisers and the carry out commenced A Neil Robertson ( I think ) stretcher was used where practical, but Bill had to get himself through the boulders with a rescuer guiding his leg. Fortunately Bill was wearing a wetsuit, which helped.

Upon reaching Boulder Chamber the floating stretcher was used and the trip downstream took only 10 minutes.

Unfortunately there was some infection in the wound and as a result the doctors could not re-assemble the leg perfectly, so Bill always had some discomfort afterwards in cold weather or if he undertook a long walk.
Eric Inson 26 Jan 2001

I believe that this rescue saw the first use of the Floating Stretcher. I hope that I can persuade Clive Jones, who developed it, to write an article for a future edition.

Daren Rescue 24-25 Feb 2001.
The next article should have been written before the Daren rescue, see article later. Pity Tarot reading is not one of our skills.

The HeyPhones were deployed for the first time on a real rescue. Unfortunately, because they are so new, very few rescuers had seen - let alone used them. As a tool forcontrolling the rescue they were of little use.
Nevertheless the most crucial message was received via the HeyPhones.
“His shoulder has been reduced and we don’t need a stretcher!”, made a huge difference to the rescue plan.

The HeyPhone
This article is not intended as a user manual. The manual is in hand and there will be training sessions. What is intended here is an overview and explaining the general principles of setting up and operating.

There are 6 sets available for immediate use in the rescue store upstairs front room.

How it works
The HeyPhone is a magnetic induction system that uses grounded antenna. A loop antenna can be used but it is intended that we introduce the units using grounded antenna until members are comfortable with the sets and protocols.

The transceivers talk to each other through the ground.

To do this you have to earth each transceiver to the ground. The unit transmits a signal into the ground which is picked up a distance away by a similar earthed unit.

To do this you simply run a wire each side of the transceivers and attach each end to an earth spike or to a length of braided wire, which you bury in mud or throw into a stream.

In each box there are spike and strip earths so there is no ‘surface’ and ‘underground’ unit.
With HeyPhones, operating at such low frequencies, there are two golden rules.

1 - Use as long an antenna as possible.
2 - Make sure that the ends are earthed as well as possible.

Once both sets are grounded the sets are used as you would a standard radio. Press to talk—release to receive, Simplex speech.

Normal radio discipline is essential. These sets can be used cave to cave—surface to cave in any combination, so the potential for confusion is exponential to the sets deployed.

The units are contained in a Peli 1200 case. You need more than two or more to communicate

The case contains the transceiver, PTT (Press To Talk) microphone/earphone, a 12v 1.3 AmpH cell, 2 x 25m earth wires wound on formers ( one end fitted with a banana plug and the other with a large crocodile clip ), 2 x earth spikes ( large steel tent pegs ) and 2 x 1m braided earth straps (electric fence tape ). One end of the tape has a copper swaged ferrule to clip the croc onto, the spike is connected directly using the croc. clip.

The transceiver has two adjustable controls. An ON/OFF volume switch and a function switch.

There are five sockets:
Power, PTT Mic., 2 linear and one loop antenna sockets.

A dual colour led indicator shows green to indicate set on turning red when transmitting speech or beacon tones. (see later).
The cell should last about 15 hours on standby and some 2-3 hours on transmit—so be careful if Rachel is an operator.
All sockets, with the exception of the two linear sockets, are individual so wrong connection should not occur.

General Layout
The most important control is the Function switch which controls which mode the unit operates in.
There are four FUNCTION switch positions.
See Fig. 1.

PHNS (Phones)
Used for privacy by allowing reception only through the speaker in the PTT microphone or when a headset—mic is fitted.
In very noisy caves ( water or rescuers ) a headphone and mic may be vital. At present we do not have this accessory.

In this position the internal speaker is switched on. This is the normal setting.

CONFID (Confidence)
When selected the unit transmits a short beep about every 90 seconds. This beep is just noticeable at the transmitting set but heard as a loud beep by the receiving set. It is designed to give the operator re-assurance that the other set is working. It does not interfere with normal use.

BCN (Beacon)
The BCN position causes the set to transmit a steady stream of beeps. No voice transmission is possible in this mode. The purpose is to allow a receiving antenna to be DX’d, (moved until optimum reception is received).

The BCN must only be used for timed periods, normally a minute or two, before switching back to the CONFID or SPEAKER function, and is of more use when the receiving unit is using a loop antenna, which is much more directional than the grounded antenna.

The designers have found that a series of beeps is easier to DX than a constant tone.

The only other adjustable switch is the combined ON/OFF and Volume switch. When switched on the LED is Green. Turning the switch clockwise increases the volume, which is pretty cool.

To prevent accidental movement both switches are click stepping.

Setting Up
We will first run through the setting up and first contact before covering the choice of sites and range of the HeyPhones.
When transporting the HeyPhones remember that they are electronic instruments and treat them as such. Please keep your hands as clean as possible when setting up or operating.

Pick a spot where you think a good earth is possible. This is where you find mud or water. Boulder floors or dry rock is not very good. You may have to move some distance from the incident to ensure a good earth. The antenna ends want to be as far apart as possible—it is the distance between the earth points that counts so make sure you can get a good spread, you should also choose a place out of water noise.

Open the Peli case and take out the two 25m antenna wound on their formers
Unwind a meter or so from one antenna and plug into any Linear Socket on the HeyPhone. Repeat with the second antenna (see Fig. 2).

The next step is to layout the antenna. (Tip: Leave some slack, or tie off, at the HeyPhone to prevent accidental disconnection). Remember that it is the distance apart of the earths that counts, avoid the situation shown in Fig. 3 where the apparent distance is large but the actual is not.

In the box are four earths—two braided tapes and two large tent pegs. Choose whichever combination suits your site.

Make a good earth. Bury the spike or braid in mud, put them into water or, in the worst case, lay the braid out and cover with mud or rocks—as wet if possible. Connect the large croc clips to the earths and bury them as well!

Once the antenna are connected check that the ON/OFF Volume switch is set to OFF and plug the power cable into the socket on the Heyphone. Then connect the spade terminals onto the cell, Red wire to Red terminal and Black to Black. See Fig. 4

The next step is to connect the PTT microphone plug to the microphone socket.
You will see that the plug is anti-fooling, (inset), so do not force it in, locate the plug correctly and push home without any force.
Both the power and microphone plugs have locking collars which should be finger tightened. See Fig. 5

You are now ready to switch on the unit. Turn the ON/OFF volume switch clockwise a couple of clicks. The LED should glow green. Turn the FUNCTION switch to SPKR.
You are now receiving and can transmit by press the sidebar on the microphone and speaking into it.

The setting up of the surface unit follows the same procedure but it is obviously easier to layout the antenna. On the surface avoid quarry or mining debris and look for a good soggy patch to earth into, and avoid setting up close to power lines—you will transmit mains hum to a receiving set.

A tent or suitable shelter should be provided in poor weather. Some means of communicating with rescue control is essential, FrancePhone, radio or cellphone—whichever is best.

When you switch the surface set on you will hear interference from the speaker. This is caused by commercial location beacons and sounds like ‘galloping horses’. It has proved difficult and expensive to filter out this interference and the designers decided it was not worth it.

When contact is made you will find that the interference is greatly reduce by the incoming signal. Only in shallow underground stations is interference heard.

Packing up
When the rescue is over, or you need to move station, the HeyPhones have to be packed away.
Remove all of the plugs from their sockets. Remember to undo locking collars first and always grasp the plug not the wire!
Clean all mud and water from the earths AND the wire before wrapping onto the formers, starting from the croc clip end (it makes redeployment much easier).

The HeyPhone is an electronic instrument and should be treated as such. Ten minutes spent cleaning the accessories before packing will make sure the unit is kept in top condition. This is very important, please don’t just ram everything back in and force the lid shut. You’ll wreck it!

Operational Use
Communications are vital. The HeyPhone gives the advantage of establishing contact with the sharp end as fast as your first team can get to the incident
Because the range is much greater than has been possible with previous cave radios the accuracy of your surface site is not so critical, but the terrain is more important.
The fundamental principle is that you are transmitting into, and detecting from, the ground not through it so earth continuity is vital.

The range of the HeyPhones is much greater than the Ogofone. We have successfully talked from Boulder Chamber to the Small Common Room, and by successfully I mean good clear speech.
It is highly likely that one or two stations in OFDl will allow direct communication with Penwyllt. Some of OFDll will be covered from the club but for the further reaches (from the club) and OFDlll will require a remote surface location.

There are pre-planned search patterns for OFD.*
These plans include the location of communication sites so rescuers can report quickly to control either success or for redeployment.
Over the next few months these stations will be tested with the HeyPhones and optimum surface locations will be marked physically and noted on route finding cards** so you can find them in bad weather.

Communications will be established as soon as both sets are switched on, provided that:
- The underground unit is at the right place and the antenna ends are well earthed.
- The surface unit is at the right place and the antenna ends are well earthed.

Each comms team should have a rough idea of the time when the other will be in place. In almost every case the surface should be set up sooner—but allow extra time in foul weather.

When the set (surface or cave) is first switched on, the FUNCTION switch should be set to CNFID.

If both sets are in the right place and well grounded the 90 second interval beep will be heard from the other set. If this is so then comms can begin immediately.

The HeyPhone operates the same as a two way radio. When you have the sidebar on, the PTT mic pressed, you are transmitting and the LED will turn RED.

Use call signs, always saying the call sign of the set you are calling first at least twice. This prevents confusion when more than two sets are deployed.
e.g. “Cave One”…”Cave One from Surface One”.. “Are you Receiving” … “Over.” - with a short pause in between each portion.

When a particular communication is finished the correct procedure is to say your call sign
e.g. “Surface One” followed by “Standing By”, not “Out” as Out means you are closing down.

Remembering to say your target’s call sign first is perhaps the single most difficult procedure to grasp.

Speak clearly and if you have a long message to pass you should break it into ‘packets’ and at the end of each say “So Far” … “Over”. This will allow the recipient to affirm or ask for a repeat. It is extremly frustrating to have someone prattling away with a long message when you misheard the beginning.
Resist the urge to ‘gabble’. It wastes battery and there is no need for excessively slow speech UNLESS the reception is poor.

Try not to talk directly into the mic, talking across it is clearer.
Remember—antenna wires as long as possible. Earths as far apart as possible and into mud or water is best.

*Search Plans are held in the filing cabinet in Front Top Rescue.
** Route cards are in the same cabinet.
Search plans and Route Cards will be the subject of a future edition of Way Out.

The recent rescue from Daren Cilau highlighted a problem concerning what should be provided by the team and what rescuers could be expected to provide themselves.

Personal Readiness and Equipment for Cave Rescue
Working as a rescuer during an incident or a practice is different from caving. The two major differences are the amount of waiting around that are often involved and the need to take instructions. Some of the other facets of cave rescue activity are outlined below:

- Possibly a longer time spent underground – up to 24 hours in some circumstances
- Extensive use of ropes and other tackle
- Working in small teams with specific objectives

It is because of considerations like these that team members need to give special attention to their personal caving equipment. The organisational difficulties of a rescue may require rescuers to be waiting on the surface for long periods. The more self-contained a rescuer can be the better.

Caving dress
Clothing should be warmer than used on a normal trip. "Furry" type suits, with a waterproof oversuit are more suitable than a wet suit in all but the wettest cave. Gloves and a hood/balaclava are useful.

An electric lamp, and a spare if possible. Ensure they are fully charged. Teams may have access to stores of lamps, but these will be limited.

Underground Personal Equipment
1 Lightweight Bivvi Bag (Survival Bag), candle and matches/lighter
2 Personal First Aid Kit
3 Tape or Rope sling
4 Two or more screw gate Karabiners
5 A belay belt or sit harness
6 SRT Kit (have available to take if required)
7 Food – a mixture of instant energy (chocolate, etc.) and foodstuffs that are useful over a longer period (muesli bars, nuts, etc.)
8 A whistle

Most rescues occur in bad weather, and team members will need protection against the elements. A waterproof jacket and overtrousers, together with boots and warm clothing may be essential. It is possible that a rescuer will spend their time on the surface running a radio link or damming a stream. People involved in controlling on the surface should consider duvet jackets and other warm gear.

Food and shelter
Self-sufficiency in food and shelter will assist the rescue organisation. The more you can do for yourself the better. Depending on the actual event, tents and cooking equipment for personal use could be invaluable. Always include a sleeping bag in your personal kit.

Other kit
There is always the possibility of being involved in surface or underground searches. If you have copies of the appropriate cave surveys, bring them. Likewise Ordnance Survey maps of the area, a compass and map case.

Personal skills and knowledge
WBCRT maintains a database of its members. Included are details of members' familiarity with the caves of the area and the levels of their caving and rescue knowledge. Cavers are continuously extending their skills and experience. As you acquire new abilities and knowledge it's important to let WBCRT know so we can update the database.

Ensure your kit is labelled clearly. There is a great deal of confusion during an incident and inevitably gear is easily misplaced. Be original, but remember that stamping and engraving can weaken equipment.

Don’t rely on others – be prepared.

We (WBCRT) have decided that a small amount of ‘personal’ equipment will be added to the stores. This is for use only by those who are deployed immediately and who may have already been caving and cannot be expected to have spare equipment immediately to hand. Those who are called out , or put on standby, should take a little time to assemble gear and food.

WBCRT Team Training – 2001
Turn up or be damned!

Saturday June 2
Full Rescue Practice– Pwll Swnd
10.00 at Herberts Quarry. A full practice for the Team involving recovering an injured Caver from Pwll Swnd. All aspects of Rescue and Control will be included.

Saturday September 1
Joint Practice with Gloucester CRG – Slaughter Stream Cave
A joint Cave Rescue practice with Gloucester Cave Rescue Group and Gwent CRT at Slaughter Stream Cave in the Forest of Dean.

Sunday November 4
SWSARA Joint Practice– South Wales
This year’s South Wales Search and Rescue Association joint practice will be run by the
RAF Team and there will be an underground element.

Saturday November 24
War Game SWCC Penwyllt
10.00 A simulated Rescue held at SWCC Headquarters giving Team Members experience of Rescue Control. A bi-annual event that greatly benefits the Team and its members.

Rhys on 02920 650796 or Gary on 01639 730806
for further details.

WBCRT Modernisation Project
Gary Evans

This project was undertaken with the intention of modernising West Brecon Cave Rescue Team (WBCRT) by purchasing new equipment and making improvements to our existing building in order to ensure the viability, sustainability and effectiveness of the Rescue Team.
The WBCRT is a voluntary body and Charity that covers most of South and West Wales and all of Mid Wales. It provides, on behalf of the Police, a Rescue service for people and animals in all caves and disused mines, as well as in other natural and man made underground scenarios.

The project was conceived in 1997/1998 and the initial application to Sportlot was made in April 1999. The application was submitted in July 1999 with quotes and contracts being forwarded in August 2000. The project was given the go ahead in September 2000 and work commenced in October.

The project which ultimately cost £62,279 was funded by Sportlot (£43,260) and Powys County Council (£9,270), with the remaining £9,749 being raised directly by WBCRT.

The project was completed in January, 2001 with final sign-off following inspection on 31st January.

Expenditure was as follows :
Building Work £16,764
LandRover £26,876
Technical Equipment £6,893
First Aid Equipment £2,929
Communications Equipment £7,126
Cave Diver Rescue Equipment £1,691

We are greatly indebted to Sportlot and Powys County Council for their support in this project and to all Team members who gave their time in administering and working to achieve a successful conclusion. We would also like to thank South Wales Caving Club for their support, both in this project and ongoing, and for all members of the Team who give their time willingly for the benefit of others.

The Project Manager was Gary Evans and the Building Engineer was John Harvey. The project sections were handled by Gary Evans, Pete Dobson, Ali and Claire Garman and Ian Pinkstone. Much assistance was received from Toby Dryden, Pete Cardy, Graham Christian and Brian Jopling.

Opening Ceremony
The opening ceremony was held on Saturday 17th February, 2001. It was a very pleasant and sunny morning and turned out to be an enjoyable and relaxed event. Many members of WBCRT and SWCC were present and there was good support from the invited guests.

In attendance :
_ Members of WBCRT
_ Members of SWCC
_ Kirsty Williams, Welsh Assembly Member
_ Kes Mathias and Kerry Telfer, South Wales Police
_ Gwyn Gwilim, County Councillor
_ Richard Preece, CCW
_ Sue Simpson, Powys County Council
_ Alan Hearne, Joint Emergency Planning Unit
_ Chris Dignam, Joint Emergency Planning Unit

Brian Jopling, WBCRT Chairman opened the event by welcoming everyone and spoke about WBCRT, Caving and Rescue. Gary Evans, Treasurer and Project Manager then explained the rationale for the project and described what had been achieved. Finally, Kirsty Williams, AM said a few words of congratulation and cut the ribbon, officially opening the WBCRT building. Guests then had a tour of the facility and LandRover, led by members of the Team. A buffet was provided and visitors were then shown around the club. Several expressed surprise at the size and scope of the club, and were impressed.
Sue Simpson and her husband were taken on a short trip into OFD 1 by Fred Levett and John Lister.

Clearly, what we have achieved is to modernise WBCRT and provide it with the infrastructure to continue to operate effectively for the next 10 years. We will have to continue to work hard in keeping people interested and in raising funding for running costs. However, the worry of ageing equipment and vehicle has been removed (for now).

Also, we have shown that there is money available for Cave Rescue, provided you are willing to put the work in to get it and manage the project.

We have benefited by raising the profile of WBCRT, Cave Rescue and Caving generally amongst non-cavers. This has been in a positive way, which must be a good thing. We have new allies through this project in many areas, who can support us in the future.

Finally, we have something to be proud of. An effective, well equipped Team with a modern approach, techniques and procedures.
Gary Evans, Warden, Treasurer and Sportlot Project Manager
March 2nd, 2001

Note from the editor.
Gary has been the driving force behind the project and to have completed such a comprehensive change in such a short time is a tribute to his dedication, all those who have been involved with the project know that his article is short on the amount of effort he applied.

This is a first as cave rescue was not initially regarded as a suitable candidate for funding by SportLot, however they were persuaded, and to be fair SportLot was extremely helpful and wanted the project to succeed.

Now that Gary has opened the door to SportLot other cave rescue teams will benefit from his groundwork.

From the start a major criteria was that we would not suffer the problems caused by ‘DIY’. Funding was sought to have work done professionally, to a high standard and to a timescale, DIY projects having the nasty habit of lasting forever.

I know we have the skills to have done much of the work ourselves, and indeed some tasks such as painting, muck shifting, digging out and the heating was done by members.

More importantly the SportLot criteria insisted that all current building reqs. had to be applied, something difficult to achieve with ‘amateur’ workers.

The net result was that the work, started in October 2000, was finished and signed off in Jan 2001.

And first used in February 2001!

Daren Cilau. The Rescue of Keith Pearson.
On Saturday 24 February three experienced cavers entered Daren Cilau, Llangattock, Powys to undertake a two-day trip, camping overnight in the cave at the Hard Rock Cafe some 4km into the system.

At 23.30 Sat one of the party sustained a dislocated shoulder while visiting the Blue Greenies formations beyond the Restaurant at the End of the Universe camp. The shoulder would not reduce and it took some ten hours for the party to return to the Hard Rock Café camp.

The casualty had a history of shoulder dislocation and carried painkillers when caving. He had successfully reduced his shoulder on a previous caving trip.

After making the injured caver comfortable in a sleeping bag, and fed and watered, the two fit cavers started out from HRC at 09.30 Sun 25 and exited the cave at 14.30. The callout, via the emergency 999 service, came at 14.50 and the first rescue team entered the cave at 18.20.

The medical team entered at 20.00 Sunday and included our cave rescue doctor, Lisa Williams, an orthopaedic registrar. Direct communications through the rock from surface to casualty were made at 01.00 Monday using the HeyPhone.

At 03.00 surface control were informed that the shoulder had been reduced and the medical team would be leaving the HRC at 05.00 with the casualty walking. A huge feeling of relief was felt at Control since a stretcher carry from HRC could have taken, conservatively, 3 days and probably included modifying some passageway, in particular the entrance crawl, something we are quite capable of, but very averse to doing.

The casualty's progress was relayed to the teams via FrancePhones, installed as far as the pitches, who also expressed their delight at the news! The entrance crawl has a permanent telephone cable installed to speed up installation in the event of an emergency and made line laying simpler and very much quicker.

The casualty took some 4 hours to reach the 33m pitches where he was hauled up in a sit-harness with a SRT barrow boy, then lowered down the other side.

Crossing the pitches removed a psychological barrier and the casualty then seemed to go into overdrive and we were astonished at the rate he progressed, considering the difficulty of the terrain. He had a short rest at the food station established at Big Chamber Nowhere Near the Entrance while surplus, and knackered, rescuers exited the cave. A small team of fresh cavers with an advanced first-aider, Charles Bailey, went in to assist the casualty through the entrance crawl if required.

He in fact required very little assistance and indeed caught up with some of the rescuers who had set out before him.

It is a tribute to the casualty's fitness and ability that he was able to make such good progress out of a very difficult cave.
63 cave rescuers from three teams, Gwent CRT, West Brecon CRT and Gloucester CRG signed in, 28 being the largest number underground at any onetime. Some 45 rescuers were on standby but not required.

Jopo ran Surface Control assisted by Toby Dryden and Chris Brady . Gary Evans was Underground Control assisted by Stuart France. Gavin Newman was our nominated Press Officer.

If the incident had required a partial or full stretcher carry several other cave rescue teams would have been called in.

Well done to all who attended or who were on standby and those who helped recover equipment on the Monday and following Sunday.
Brian Jopling, Surface Controller.

This Rescue highlighted once again the serious nature of a rescue in Daren Cilau. This is the third major rescue from this cave and each time, there has been difficulty in finding quickly the right rescuers for the job. There was a great deal of work done in 1990 to create a rescue plan for the Cave and to identify Cavers who would be willing and able to undertake a long rescue there. The plan was not available during this or the previous rescue and we will be working via SWCRO to update, re-print and redistribute it.

If you are reading this and are not currently listed on the call-out lists of West Brecon CRT, Gwent CRT or Gloucester CRG, please contact us immediately so that we can include you. Whether you are new to Caving or are a Daren Cilau regular, your inclusion on the list will be a great asset. Contact Gary Evans on 01639 730806 or E-mail garyevs(at)compuseve.com or Bob Radcliffe on 01792 362242
Gary Evans.

Static Ropes
From Mike Margeson, MRC Equipment Officer.

Lifespan of ropes - new info/guidance from the MRC equip sub committee.
We now have, in writing from the UK importers of Edelrid Ropes, new PPE guidance notes regarding durability of ropes, i.e. lifespan.

With low stretch ropes, as long as not subject to mis-use, and if stored correctly and regularly inspected, the manufacturer's recommendation is that the ropes should be retired no more than 6 years from the purchase date regardless of actual usage.

This is an excellent development. Prior to this, we have been working on a three year replacement programme and advice from the MRC. It would therefore be reasonable, as the full 6 years is for light use, to certainly advise that five years is a reasonable and realistic time scale to audit and plan for in a rolling replacement programme of team semi-static rope. This is a great move to a more real life span and will make major savings. It is not to say, however, that a rope might need replacing after its first time out. Checking and monitoring systems, and knowing what damage to look for, are vital. However this is good news.

What is quite interesting is that Edelrid did not tell the importers of this change. We could not purchase rope as part of the SportLot grant because of the shelf life being less than 5 years and a working life of 3 years.

Gary subsequently purchased a rope for business use and spotted the new guidelines on the label.

I asked Mike to investigate and the result is shown above.

The North Island, NZ, SAREX - October 2000
I have just attended my first rescue practice down here in my adopted country, and it was awesome* so I thought the members of WBCRT might like to share the experience.

SAREX stands for Search and Rescue Exercise. SAR is the national body responsible for rescue: caving, climbing, tramping etc. essentially trained volunteers work under the direction of the emergency services. All North Island cavers were invited to this exercise. Hamilton-Tomo Group (HTG), my local club, were the hosts and their HQ at Waitomo was the base. As I left Hamilton for Waitomo on Friday evening the weather was typically Welsh! cold and raining, and it continued like this all weekend leading to localised flooding.

The organisers briefed us on Saturday morning. A novice caver with a broken leg in a cave called Luckie Strike. This cave has a stream flowing into its entrance and several waterfalls along the underground river. On Saturday morning it was in full flood and impassable. There is a parallel high level route consisting of wide, exposed rifts leading to two chambers connected by a choke. In this second chamber was our casualty. In low water conditions a casualty would be evacuated along the stream and hauled up the waterfalls. This option was out and removal along the high level route was the only other possibility. The group discussed ways and means of evacuation and were formed into four teams to implement the plan. Surface and underground controllers were appointed as were team leaders and off we went.

HTG has a high sided steel trailer with overhead doors housing its specialist kit: First aid, stretchers, radios and Mickie phones etc. these phones are almost identical to the France phones used in Wales. One big difference however is that there is very little specialist kit for vertical hauling; no colour coded rescue rope, drills pulleys etc. club rope and cavers' personal kit is used. There are plenty of 4WD Ute's to tow it.

The plan in essence was to:
- Send in a first team to rig the rifts with traverse lines, reach the casualty, apply first aid and assess her fitness for a carry out
- Follow up with a team setting up communications to the first team. The Mickie phones are not placed at fixed locations, they move with the teams who clip them to the wire wherever needed.
- Acting on advice from the first team, a third team would rig the cave and commence the evacuation.

The carry out would involve a Tyrolean traverse from the accident point to the base of an 8m pitch. After the haul up, a stretcher carry along a series of Tyrolean’s to the entrance. Much of the high level route is exposed and greasy, so stretcher hauling groups had to be protected at all times with traverse lines. Quite a big deal for just 20 cavers. The photo below, shows our casualty being loaded onto one of the Tyrolean's traverses.

Rigging the traverses and the pitch involved some interesting rigging and knitting together of personal kit. None of the cavers were experienced in rigging for rescue so learned on the job. One important lesson was to make damn sure you can retrieve the casualty if the haul goes pear-shaped. The pitch haul was managed using a Z-rig with two pulleys and a 3:1 advantage. It takes just three cavers to lift the stretcher plus a lifeliner and a jockey. It's just a short way from the head of the pitch to the first of the high level traverses. The Tyrolean's had been wound up tight to make the stretcher run smoothly and progress was generally smooth. Header and tail ropes provided safety and some extra oomph as needed. The cave was derigged as we moved the casualty out. By early evening we had all emerged into the rain and cold and mist of the open air and had a hot drink. The practice had taken 6 hours and was judged by everyone novice and experienced, to have been a success. Below you can see two team members celebrating success with a little of what does you good.

If like me you are familiar with cave rescue in the UK , you will see much that's familiar here but also some new stuff.

There's only about 300 cavers in the whole of New Zealand and it's bigger than the UK. Of those, only 70-80 are reckoned to be active. When there's a rescue there are a lot less rescuers.

One consequence is that techniques are less labour intensive. Another is that teams are smaller.

Much of the specialist kit used in the UK is either unavailable or too expensive here. As a result teams use club tackle and personal gear to make the rescue work.

*Awesome. A term used to describe anything, from an ice cream to an orgasm!
Brian Bowell.

A Plea.
Please send articles on any aspect of cave rescue.
Equipment, Techniques, Experiences, Ideas, Photo’s.
All contributions are welcome. You do not have to be a member of this or any other team to contribute.

The WayOut needs You!
Brian Jopling, Editor.