CUCC Expedition Handbook

Expedition Leadership

This is far from a complete checklist. However, it is a series of notes outlining some expo jobs and giving a vague timetable. It needs to be kept up to date!

Expo Committee

In order to make sure that various necessary jobs get done, it is always best to assign tasks to specific people, since otherwise everyone thinks that someone else will be doing it. Define responsibilities early!

Overall coordinator and motivator.
Collects deposits to fund gear-buying. Keep track of accounts and sends out expo bills a month or two after expo returns. Provides expo bire and sesh books. See the explicit treasurer's checklist and guide.
If you are going to pursue sponsorship, start early (you will be competing with many similar groups and most potential sponsors will be more impressed by an air of efficient organisation than one of last minute desperation).
This covers more than just rope and hangers. The club and expo dear orders are usually combined, so will need to liaise closely with sponsorship officer and club Tackle Master.
The logistics of getting 20 or so cavers and half a tonne of miscellaneous gear out to Austria, on a shoestring budget with a limited number of cars, and people coming-from/going-to various places are daunting. The job mostly involves collating info and badering people regularly. Starting early saves everyone money. See the explicit transport checklist and guide.
Survey marshalling and Kataster chief
If the previous expo's survey marshal did a good job then this can be straightforward, otherwise finding and recording the records needed to make sure that survey is in a fit state to support future exploratipon can be heartbreaking and frsutrating. The non-survey data archiving also needs doing carefully, such as curating the list of equipment left at top camp and ensuring that the logbook entries are all typed up and parsed into the expo server.
Caving Priorities
This should be the fun bit, but thee is a long grind in getting the previous years' survey data and QMs sorted out - the previous years expoers will need a lot of chivvying.
Project officers
If there is a special project which has its own special needs (radios, aerial photos or whatever), it may be best to have one person specifically responsible.
Previous expo members can help a great deal, even if they are not going. Don't be afraid to ask questions, solicit suggestions, or ask for help with equipment or training. Keeping older members involved will also make it more likely that they will return to expo in the future. This is particularly useful in view of the amount of information which is still not written down adequately, like where to find cave XYZ etc.

Vital jobs

Every expedition depends on the work of previous expos. The first priority is to make sure that all the work of last year's expo is finished (but don't let these tasks block time-sensitive tasks for this year). This should be the job of last year's expo committee, of course (especially as this work needs to be started well before the next expo starts to become organised), but the current year's leadership needs to check that everything has been done as soon as they start organising.

The next priority is the vital jobs with deadlines

Have we finished?

Preparing for the next expo

Time-critical tasks

There are two time-critical external tasks that must happen, otherwise expo might not happen.

Send off permission request to camp and cave in the National Park
Deadline: End February. Do it at the same time as the GPF application.
Address (since 2013):
Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung
Abteilung 13 - Naturschutz
Landhausgasse 7
8010 Graz
We have been late before on this in 2013 and 2014 so it's important to do it on time. Not doing so jeapordises the whole expedition.
Apply for Ghar Parau Foundation funding.
Deadline: last day of Feb. Applications are done online.
Check expo VfHÖ members are paying subscriptions
Deadline: end of December. In 2018 we had 9 people paying €30 to be members of this local cave club. This is for very basic underground insurance cover. This is life membership with annual renewal, so an additional €30 each is due in January. If this is not paid by the individual then expo will almost certainly have to pay it to maintain goodwill.So in early December these people need to decide if they want to cancel their membership and do that by the end of December.

General Preparation

Once you have an idea of the size and style of expo

Getting people committed

By Easter you should have broken the back of the administration, but you will still be surrounded by people who haven't decided / haven't paid. Organising transport is one of the biggest nightmares and the sooner you know who is going and when, the easier this gets. Getting a second (non- refundable) deposit off people helps to tie them down.

Last minute

There should be nothing left to the last minute (ho ho !). But unless you are an amazing organiser with unbelievably cooperative expo members of exceptional competence and self-reliance, there will be a panic for the last couple of weeks at least.

On Expo

Have fun, don't push so hard that it gets dangerous, the caves will still be there next year.

Before going home

Back in the UK

It's easy to relax when you get home, and then meet up at the BCRA conference in a state of panic because there are no slides, no-one to do the talk, no surveys etc. Timescales are short and expo members are dotted around the country. Not everyone will come to BCRA. But the quality of the talk affects the size of next year's expo grant since the people who administer the cash will all be there and good impressions do count.