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Hints

Sian.jpeg: 1944x2592, 1626k (2009 Apr 03 00:00)

Handy Hints

  1. Always carry an emergency kit in a watertight container. Items which could be included are; accident form, pencil, lighter, spare jet, spare bulb, spare battery(s), whistle, knife. Some of these items might already be carried on your helmet or around your neck.
  2. Fit rubber bands made from car inner tubes on your gumboots. When ascending, feed the footloops through the rubber bands to help keep the footloops in position on your feet.
  3. Fit rubber bands made from bicycle inner tubes on your footloops (you may need to double them). When using the footloops, roll the rubber bands down to tighten the footloop around your foot. Footloops will not fall off as you ascend.
  4. Make a carbide carrying container (carbide pig) from an inner tube. Cut a short length (400mm) from a motorcycle inner tube, fold the end over and secure it with a rubber band (cut from the tube). Fill with carbide and fold the open end over, securing it with a rubber band. The pig allows the carbide to be extracted easily, is reasonably watertight and gets smaller as you use the carbide.
  5. If you ever lose or damage the base to your waist-mounted generator, you can use a carbide pig as a makeshift replacement ( I have seen this happen). A pig made from a motorcycle inner tube is best. Stretch the open end of the pig over the base of the water reservoir. Secure it with a rubber band if necessary. Protect the pig from any knocks as you continue.
  6. Ariane generators suffer from blockages to the water feed by waste carbide. Put your carbide into a length of nylon stocking, knotted at one end. Place this in the generator base. This contains the waste carbide and makes changing your carbide a breeze. Or you can carry a toothbrush to clean out the water feed.
  7. Corrosion is often a problem with the battery connections on a Petzl Laser headset. Use vaseline on the contacts to prevent moisture from corroding the contacts.
  8. Don't you hate fiddling with the krab on your cowstail to orientate it before clipping in? Use a rubber band (cut from a motorcycle inner tube) to secure one end of the krab to your cowstail. Twist it around and through the krab until it is tight. The krab is always the right way around to use.
  9. Keep a survival bag and perhaps an emergency form in your helmet. It is always with you then, even if you are separated from your caving pack. Survival blankets tend to deteriorate and break up into little squares over time so check them every so often if you use them instead of survival bags.
  10. Don't drink yellow water.
  11. If you don't like being a leader in caves, consider this: the leader gets to see where they place their feet when moving upstream in a cave. Followers stumble along behind in the now muddy water. Become a leader and see where you are going!
  12. Waste carbide can be a problem and a danger. Tip your waste into a strong plastic bag or use 2 thin bags. Tie a loose knot in the bag to allow any gas to dissipate slowly. A sealed bag will accumulate gas, until it suddenly breaks, allowing the possibility of an explosion (I've seen it happen).
  13. Consider carrying a piece of #8 wire, looped at one end, to use to loosen waste carbide in your generator. This avoids using fingers to do the job, especially when there is no water to wash in afterwards. I carry mine on my helmet, secured to the gas tubing by rubber bands.
  14. Always wash your hands after handling waste carbide. If you are unable to do so, do not put gloves on until you are able to wash. Otherwise, sweat builds up in your gloves, dissolving enough waste carbide (slaked lime) to remove your skin and leave you with carbide burns. Better still, don't handle waste carbide.
  15. Avoid filling your carbide generator with murky water, The silt settles later to clog your water feed, Either use clear water from pools or carry your own supply.
  16. If you have to wait in a cave and you are getting cold, put your generator down the front of your overalls to act as a hot water bottle. It's too bad if you use a Premier or electric system!
  17. Wear a balaclava whenever you go caving. It doesn't have to be worn around your head all the time, you can wear it around your neck until you stop and start to cool down. Remember the tramping adage: keep your head warm and you keep the rest of your body warm.