Carroll Cave Trip Leader Training – 25 February 2024

Participants = Bill Gee
Mike Kovacs
Candace Kovacs
Jack Rufener
Alex Stump
Marty Griffin
Kohl Mitchell
Rick Hines
Tristin Whetstine
Nathan Taylor
Kristen Vogel
Becca Marlin
Tyler Marlin
Amy Fawkes

It has been some time since the last formal trip leader training session. There are several people who have accumulated in-cave skills and need only the formal training session to become trip leaders.

Before the session I revisited and edited the session outline. A copy was sent to all participants. I asked for feedback, but no one suggested any changes.

All of the participants from the cave trip yesterday stayed overnight to attend the training session. Quite a few additional people came in just for the session. The morning weather was 45 degrees, clear sky and light south wind. Forecast high was for near 70 degrees. A perfect day for training. We started at 09:45.

Due to the number of participants, we split into two groups. I handled the sessions inside the silo and Kristen Vogel handled everything else. When the groups were finished with the first session, they swapped places and we did it again. It took about an hour and a half for each session. Everyone had gone through both sessions by about 1:00pm.

In the silo I covered four main topics: 1) What is in there, 2) Using the winch, 3) Using the Lad-Saf cable sleeves and 4) How to escape if locked into the cave.

I opened the garbage can and discussed its contents. There are three IRT kits in dry bags, several safety tethers for attaching to the overhead chains, the winch handle and a large dry bag. On the shelf I mentioned the Sked litter and Oregon Spine Splint and the field telephones. They were not demonstrated – just mentioned. Hanging from pegs are several full-body harnesses and a few shoulder strap sets that can be added to most seat harnesses. The shoulder strap sets provide for a dorsal attachment point.

We hooked a volunteer to the winch hook. I demonstrated both 3:1 and 6:1 positions. I showed how the automatic brake works. Everyone took a turn at cranking the winch under load, both to raise and to lower. I demonstrated how to get two people on the winch handle

To demonstrate the Lad-Saf safety sleeves, everyone wore their seat harness. I showed everyone how to open and close the Lad-Saf. I discussed the reason for three carabiners and the tether that connects two of them. We used a ladder standing next to the test cable in the upper silo. Everyone took a turn clipping in, climbing up, climbing down, and safely unclipping from the cable. Rick Hines assisted in this part of the session.

More about the Lad-Saf sleeves is at  3M Lad-Safe Sleeves

The last thing was to take everyone down to the basement level. I showed where the release mechanism is on the hatch locks and how to undo it. Back in the silo I showed where the thumbscrews are that release the outer lock hasp.

From Kristen Vogel: During both morning sessions, I went over the training outline with about half of the group while Bill was training the rest of the group in the silo. We discussed procedures for rescue and call out. For both sessions, we had a mix of people with and without experience leading cave trips. Much discussion was had regarding best practices for leading cave trips in general, not just Carroll Cave. Everyone had valuable experiences to share (both good and bad). We ran through many scenarios and concluded that since so many different things can happen on any trip, the trip leader needs to be able to make decisions on the fly. It was helpful to discuss the most common issues that participants have encountered, decisions that were made, and the outcomes.

Trip report by Bill Gee