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  • Christine Grosart

Hauling Cylinders in Caves

Moving cylinders around caves, involving vertical pitches, is something that requires skill and care - and the main reason why it is desireable to be a competent caver before undertaking dives which involve underground obstacles.

I thought of this topic as I was just sitting in the garden and creating some cylinder hauling loops.

Simply putting cylinders into tackle bags and pulling them up a pitch is not safe. Cylinders are heavy and caving bags get a lot of wear and tear and the arse can fall out of the bottom of bags when you least expect it. Stitching can give way and your cylinder then goes into free fall - terrorizing and possibly injuring people below you - if it doesn't go bang!

The correct method is to make some loops from about 30cm of 4mm ish cord

(from a climbing shop or similar) and make a loop by tying a double fishermans knot in it.

Tidy the ends with a lighter and they are ready to go.

Next, larksfoot the loop around the cylinder neck and put a screwgate karabiner through it.

Then, put your cylinder into a bag and clip the karabiner through a handle or strap in the bag ready for hauling. If the bag fails, the string will save the cylinder. Clip the karabiner to a rope and if the cylinder is being hauled up anything other than a totally vertical pitch with no ledges, then it is adviseable to have a length of rope below the cylinder to allow someone on the floor to help guide it.

It is also strongly advised to put some steel Din inserts into the valves, as bashing them on rock on the way up a pitch will bend them and render them useless - It has been done plenty of times!!


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