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38 votes

What should one do when climbing if someone above you yells ROCK?

How you react will depend on the situation. If you're climbing and you hear someone yell "ROCK" then your default reaction should be to hug the rock, brace for impact, and hope the rock misses you, ...
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37 votes

Will a compass work underground or underwater?

Compasses are good equipment both spelunking and diving. Even the deepest cave you could go to is still near the earth's surface, geologically speaking. The earth's magnetic field is also essentially ...
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  • 4,199
33 votes

Would a gunshot echo in a cave?

It turns out that gunshots can be used to map caves, The decade-long search might have gone a little differently, though, if soldiers had access to a new system that can use sound waves from a ...
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24 votes
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Why does suspension trauma happen?

Most climbing harnesses support the majority of your weight, if freely suspended, around the tops of the thighs. While the waist belt may be designed to take the brunt of loads in a fall once you are ...
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  • 6,192
21 votes
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Can I record my route electronically when underground?

How would GPS trackers work when underground? Poorly I have no personal experience with Alltrails, but the GPS apps which I have used in the past mostly did not cope well with GPS reception being ...
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  • 12.2k
18 votes
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Headlamp with open flame

I would guess it's a carbide lamp as it was in former times used by mining workers and is still used in speleology (caving) sometimes. The basic working principle is a box with carbide and a water ...
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17 votes

Can I record my route electronically when underground?

Assisted GPS is different from inertial navigation. It uses ground stations to transmit GPS almanacs and ephemeris for faster GPS start-up. There are also wide-area augmentation services such as ...
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  • 4,367
16 votes
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Semi-static rope 24 hour rule

Yes, it is accepted practice to wash new Semi-Static rope (or Single Rope Technique/SRT Rope as it is known by cavers). Dave Elliot is a highly respected SRT expert, and he wrote the CNCC Rope Care ...
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  • 5,942
15 votes

What should one do when climbing if someone above you yells ROCK?

You have no idea how much time you have before you might take an impact, no matter how far above you the call is made because you don't know the delay in calling ROCK. Therefore, I think the answer ...
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15 votes
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What temperatures can I expect in caves compared to surface?

The temperature within the cave is almost constant whatever the current surface temperature is. Once well away from surface influences, i.e., not near an entrance or another close connection to the ...
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14 votes
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Minimum safe rappel rope diameters?

It isn't that unusual to use 8mm rope in caving on vertical (at least in Europe) especially in deeper caves with more rope to carry down and of course, back out again. In the US cavers tend to rig ...
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14 votes
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Exploring coastal caves safely?

While this answer on a different question related to safety precautions for caving explains most of the what-to-have-along things, I'd like to put forth some points that can help you understand ...
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12 votes
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What is the warning call for falling rocks in your area?

North America English Canada / United States "ROCK!" (pronounced /rɒk/) French Canada "ROCHE!" (pronounced /ʁɔʃ/) Europe European Alps "CAILLOU !" (pronounced /ka.ju/...
12 votes
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How to escape a cave in an emergency situation?

Assuming you have no way of safely and reliably leaving the cave to get help, your first priority is not to become a casualty yourself as well. Even if the Guide needs urgent medical attention, it ...
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9 votes

Exploring coastal caves safely?

In addition to WedsPashi's answers, in the past when I've waded and scrambled around coasts I've gotten scratched and pierced by sharp mussels and rocks. I had a friend once step on a particularly ...
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  • 221
8 votes
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What is a lava tube, as a place to see bats? Are there any in the United States?

Basically, a lava tube is formed when a underground lava flow stops flowing, leaving behind a long tubular cave. A lava tube is a natural conduit formed by flowing lava which moves beneath the ...
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8 votes
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How to get rid of illegal artificial paints on historical monuments?

When I've had to clean spray paint from remote destinations, we've used chemical paint removers in spray bottles and scrub brushes. Do not do this on a historic site without permission from whoever ...
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  • 4,199
7 votes

Semi-static rope 24 hour rule

They shrink, apparently. For example, Beal's Precautions says: Before first use, soak the rope and leave to dry slowly. It will shrink by about 5%. Take this into account when calculating ...
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  • 3,906
7 votes

Dangers of excavating caves?

In the UK and at least some other European countries, it is very common to dig in caves to get through blocked passages. Normally this is done through either sections of cave blocked by boulders from ...
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  • 5,942
7 votes

Why does suspension trauma happen?

The main problem is the disruption of the normal blood circulation. The blood pressure generated by the heart alone is not able to persistently pump back the blood from the feet, it needs the venes ...
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  • 1,451
7 votes

What should one do when climbing if someone above you yells ROCK?

As climber, your options are usually limited: get close to the wall, grab a good hold and/or a sling/pair when nearby. One possibly bad result of the rockfall might be that you'll be short a rope or ...
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7 votes

Can I record my route electronically when underground?

GPS and similar technologies do not work at all underground, they can be blocked fairly effectively by dense tree-cover or being deep in a valley, even with clear views of the sky. Any thickness of ...
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  • 7,971
7 votes

When cave diving, if one sees an air pocket, how can one know whether the air is safe to breathe?

There isn't an easy way of telling if the air in air pockets are safe to breathe, especially in short sumps where cavers might free dive (i.e.dive through by just holding their breath with no air ...
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  • 5,942
6 votes
Accepted

How fast does suspension trauma happen?

The wikipedia page you quote should be right, of course this may vary by situation and person. So The asnwer to "how fast" is "about 20 minutes". This is indeed not a whole lot of time. When it is ...
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  • 1,451
6 votes

Would a gunshot echo in a cave?

From my experience in caves, I'd say you could expect the gunshot to reverberate for just a second or two in passages that are barely more than walking size. In larger passages, maybe longer. Around ...
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  • 163
6 votes
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Good places to go potholing in the UK

The main areas for caving in the UK are: The Yorkshire Dales The Peak District South Wales The Mendip Hills (near Bristol) The North Pennines There are other, smaller areas as well, such as: ...
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4 votes

Will a compass work underground or underwater?

Magnetic compasses work well in caves (both dry and submerged), with the usual caveat that iron-rich minerals can cause deflections. In mines, consider using regular back-bearings for confirmation. ...
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  • 4,367
4 votes

Minimum safe rappel rope diameters?

I also agree that 8mm rope is pretty safe. I've done pretty close to straight vertical rappels up to 160ft on it while canyoneering (8mm rope is very common in canyoneering). I'm assuming you've ...
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4 votes

Headlamp with open flame

What you're looking at is a carbide lamp, and it looks to be a Petzl Aceto. What you can't see in this photo is the generator, which is a round canister with two parts. The upper part contains water,...
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  • 4,367
4 votes

Would a gunshot echo in a cave?

So the answer is that the other person will almost definitely be able to hear the gunshot in the absence of background noise. Will it echo? That sounds like it would depend a lot on how much the walls ...
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