Garlic Camp Tarp Rigging Guide

New for 2023, Garlic Cave Camp is "practical" (Ben Chaddock, 2023).

This guide was written by Joe Stell in 2023 (week 5) with help from Nadia Raeburn-Cherradi and Jono Lester - as Garlic Camp is still very much a work in progress, feel free to experiment with tarp setups and update this guide should you find an improvement - make sure to credit yourself!

Directions, Terminology and Pre-amble

Anytime I give directions, it is either from a plan view perspective with the entrance of the cave at the bottom, as shown in the diagram below, or just a view from the entrance (generally, from the entrance).

[Diagram to be inserted]

This diagram should give an overall sense of how it was rigged as of week 5 of the 2023 expo - it is a terribly drawn diagram on my phone, and is too shoddy and cluttered to be of much use for rigging, so I will probably attempt to draw a better one.

Three tarps were set up this year - two at first, but with a third added later (by myself and Adam A.) to stop the incessant drip next to the kitchen. I will refer to these in size order, with tarp 1 being the largest, tarp 3 being the smallest etc., as seen in the diagram above. There does seem to be a fourth, even smaller tarp, but we didn't rig this - for years with poor rainfall, this could be rigged underneath the strong drip at the very far top/back of the cave to provide more rainwater.

NOTE: it is quite possible that when you get to Garlic in the early weeks of expo, as happaned this year, you will find it mostly full of snow - should this happen, be ready to adapt the tarp setup somewhat, but also bear in mind that later on in expo, when the snow inevitably melts, reaching some of the ceiling anchors will no longer be so easy, and leaving ropes that can be prusiked up can be very helpful to those who arrive with a now incomplete tarp setup.

In addition to this tarp rigging guide, I've added a little information about the areas in Garlic and their uses - the stonework in Garlic is, like the tarps, a work in progress; again, do improve on it, update this guide and credit yourself.

Tarp 1

Tarp 1, the biggest, is rigged over the main sleeping area, right at the front right of the camp.

[Diagram and images to be inserted]

Firstly, this tarp is so large its difficult at full size for many reasons, one being the snow, and so it is folded in half - making use of the other half of the tarp is far too much faff for this year, but definitely something that could be thought about for the future; at the moment, however, folding seems to be working perfectly fine.

The tarp is set up such that it is actually resting on 5 ropes, with only the corners fastened, via putting a rock on the underside of the tarp, and tying a string around it - from others' experience this improves the lifespan of the tarp as the eyelets apparently will just rip over time, though I personally have insufficient life experience to have much input here.

The ridge rope is rigged between two bolted anchors in the ceiling - this rope serves an important structural purpose, so should likely be at least taut, if not tight.

The remaining ropes essentially serve as secondary ropes to help add structure to the tarp, stop it flapping about in a breeze, and also act as drying lines.

I personally believe that the supporting lines should be rigged first, before the corners are fastened. This is the way that top camp is rigged, and although I was not there for actually rigging this tarp, it makes sense to me.

Another attachment point may be added to pull the top edge of this tarp farther towards the back of the cave, however this should really be done once tarp 3 is rigged as this tarp will determine where the top edge of tarp 1 needs to be - more on this at the end of the tarp 3 section.

Tarp 2

The second tarp in Garlic serves primarily to collect water - not only is there a decent drip onto the tarp, it really pumps during even light rainfall, likely due to the large limestone slab catchment area.

[Diagram and images to be inserted]

The tarp is set up on the left-hand side of the camp, with slack thin blue string (and rocks in the same fashion as above) attaching the bottom corners and top left corner to the ceiling, and thin blue string attaching the tarp to a rope, which is then in turn attached to a bolted anchor on the far right side of the camp.

The result of the slack lines on the bottom corners should hopefully be a nice v-shape, from which water can be collected via a funnel, but more about this in water.

The placement of this tarp is not too important for your own dryness, but for optimum water catchment I would suggest that the top left corner is practically touching the bolt, as this way it is directly beneath the incoming streams.

Tarp 3

Tarp 3 was set up by Adam Aldridge and myself upon arriving at a Garlic Camp with significantly less snow than when it had initally been set up - with the current set up of only two tarps, a significant drip falls between the two, rendering much of the now available kitchen space still unusable during and after periods of rainfall.

[Diagram and images to be inserted]

We set up tarp 3 without access to the blue string, so the Frank Tully approved method of thin blue and rocks for tarp fastening was not possible - you could definitely try this in future, but it will unfortunately reduce the quite useful working area of this tarp.

Having to botch together this new tarp, most of the lines were threaded through loops of other ropes used to attach the two previous tarps, then re-threaded through the loop or maillon attached directly to the tarp to tension, then clove hitched to another loop or attachment point elsewhere to fasten.

As seen in the diagram, the top left attachment rope was re-threaded, then tied to a natural anchor at the far back of the cave using three half-hitches, with a similar method being used for the bottom right corner, finally being attached via a clove hitch to a loop at the natural anchor at (on the diagram) the bottom right of the cave.

Our rope used for the bottom left corner of the tarp was not long enough to re-thread but was instead passed through the loops at the bolted anchor in the ceiling (used to attach the tarp 1 ridge-line and the tarp 2 bottom right corner) then clove hitched to the bolted anchor just to the right of the entrance, and this seemd to work just fine.

The top right corner of the tarp was attached with some green cord and a maillon - it's useful for this corner to be as close as reasonable to the anchor, as the area surrounding this anchor is really the most useful area you are trying to protect. Once this third tarp is in place, as mentioned earlier, it may be useful to pull the first tarp underneath the watershed of the third tarp by tying green cord between the top right tarp 2 rope and part of tarp 1.

Water Collection

Primary water collection should generally be from tarp 2, as this produces the most (quite a lot of) water during periods of rainfall.

[Images to be inserted]

What wasn't managed this year, due to only having one funnel and far too much rainwater for my liking, was putting another funnel under the watershed of tarp 1 as this drips considerably during and after periods of rainfall, so would be a useful source of water in drier years. The setup is really no more complicated than it looks in images - a funnel with a filter feeds a hosepipe, which then feeds into an open top water drum - we used a gas can lid to collect water from the drum but there may be more sensible options.

Other Information

A nice little gear rack rope was put up in the dry spot to the left of the entrance using a natural anchor for the bottom attachment point. Unfortunately the area you must cross to get to this rack can get quite muddy and slippy in the rain, so perhaps some cleverly placed stones could be implemented to help mitigate the risk of a muddy arse.

Under the main sleeping tarp (tarp 1) there is potentially place for up to 6 beds, if you're comfortable with your campmates. However, there is definitely room for expansion of the lower platform on which the kitchen currently resides, should the snow allow, to possibly create space for another one or two sleeping spaces - this is the perfect acitivty on a rainy day when hiking to a cave entrance doesn't seem quite so appealing as it did yesterday.

Whilst on the topic of sleeping places, "milarepa's hideout" (the hole opposite and above Garlic, on the other side of the bowl) is ripe for expansion, in much the same fashion as the ditch to the left of topcamp. It is currently quite drippy, and probably quite draughty too, though perfectly good enough for Adam Aldridge with a survival bag rigged to the ceiling, so with a proper setup it could probably work for the average caver or two.

Unfortunately the path leading to the hole and out of the bowl from Garlic is slightly treacherous in places, and Nadia and I both believe that it would definitely be a good idea to attempt to improve this somewhat before an unwary wanderer succumbs to an early demise during a nightly grike visit.

The grike

Speaking of the grike, should you feel the urge, the path to it is right of the lone tree (if you're looking at the northerly ridge towards the Garlic Cave bowl). The path is cairned so just follow those, and hopefully you find it in good time. Unlike topcamp, we don't have such luxuries as a fully functioning toilet seat so you will have to carry it out as nature intended - with a deep squat. Just make sure not to fall in.