CUCC Expedition Handbook - New rigging guide

New rigging guide

Great, I have discovered a new cave...

If you have not come to this page from the sequence starting at Starting a New Cave" then go and read that first.

This page outlines step 5 of the survey production process. Each step is documented separately.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8


Interim rigging guide

The logbook is the place where we record the rigging of caves as soon as possible after we discover them. For a particularly fine example of rigging guides in a logbook, scroll through the 2005 logbook.

SAFETY: Sketched rigging guides are most intensively used during the few days after the pitch is first rigged, and this is also the time when accidents are most likely, so this is an occasion where hours count. Sketch the rigging in the logbook as soon as possible and make sure a copy is at both base camp and top camp.

When a cave is derigged, a good way of getting the rope lengths for your rigging guide is to leave the knots in ropes removed so they can be measured, but these days our caves are a bit deep and complicated for this to be feasible. Although a good survey and details of the belays can be used to estimate the length of rope needed, this is no substitute for measuring how much rope it actually took to rig. So please do this during the initial exploration and write it down in your survey notes.

Preparation of rigging notes

You will already have an "Interim rigging guide" in the logbook entries of the trips, and also sketches on waterproof paper which were made underground which were stored in the survey wallet and scanned to produce "notes-XXX.jpg" files in the online survey wallet for your trip. For small caves the logbook entry may be all you need.

Collect together your notes for the rigging guide now, including all the pitch lengths. It is a good idea to copy these notes now and put them in the plastic survey wallet or to photograph them and put the files in the online survey wallets. The next step of doing the survey can take some time so get the rigging data in order now so that it doesn't get forgotten.

Final rigging guide

A Rigging Guide of the vertical sections is published with the cave survey and the cave passage descriptions in the cave guide after surveying is complete. This is usually easiest to do as a sketch, but must include notes to ensure that all bolts can be found again and any deviations and natural belays recognised for re-rigging in future.

You will enter the final rigging guide sketch as a scanned drawing within the cave description when you edit the HTML pages for the online cave documentation. This is done using the "New Cave" online form.

Your initial rigging guide might be needed with some urgency during expo while exploration continues, so this is the place to put it.

See also the part of the bolting & rigging handbook which discusses writing up your rigging attempts.

Filing and Finding rigging guides

There are three different activities for rigging topos:

The simple and nicest-looking way to make them findable is to add them to the HTML inline in cave descriptions. For a finished example see the rigging topo for the "Merry Go Round" pitches in the Swings and Roundabouts area in 204. Creating a new cave in the online system is how you create the inline HTML. It is the next step in this Survey Handbook sequence of pages.
[To Do - improve documentatiton for how to add in image files in cave descriptions]

You should produce a separate rigging guide file for each connected set of pitches which will live in
expofiles/rigging_topos/ e.g. see
but also (to demonstrate that something is always better than nothing):

The format is important. Please don't use PDF: if you are scanning a hand-drawn sketch then JPEG is best for our purposes as it is compact and we reuse it easily elsewhere in the system.

If you are using a drawing package then produce the file in SVG format. Inkscape is what most cavers use as it's free and stable. This will make it possible to edit and update your topo in future.

Discussions on Expo Slack after the 2019 expo resulting in us consolidating rigging topo files into expofiles/rigging_topos/ when previously they had had a number of different homes. So if you remember putting them somewhere else int he past, don't do that now. Put them in expofiles/rigging_topos/.

[ We could dream up some fancy scheme for indexing the rigging for every pitch in the system and add that into troggle but frankly we don't think it's worth the effort.]

Back to the previous page in this sequence Drawing up your survey.
Now go the the next page in this sequence Creating a new cave in the online system.