Steve attended a Cave Instructor Certificate holder update day in the Dales last Friday organised and run by CIC trainer/assessor Chip Rafferty.  All CICs have to update at least once every three years to ensure they are current in regards to best practice, equipment and many other issues which need to be kept up to date.  Following a morning of presentations from the eight CICs in attendance, we spent the afternoon coaching advanced caving techniques on an indoor rig.

Of particular interest and importance were two equipment issues raised during some of the presentations:

  • The updated version of Petzl’s Superavanti caving harness has been found to have webbing which can come undone from the buckles on both the legs and body.  It appears the webbing is slippery enough to be able to work its way back through the buckles relatively quickly.  Petzl have been made aware of this by professional cavers and responded by saying that this issue does reduce after about 8 months use and it is up to users to monitor their equipment during use.
  • The second issue concerned the use of friction karabiners with the Petzl Stop.  Petzl’s technical notice stipulates that the friction karabiner should be attached at the top of the karabiner connecting the Stop to the harness to prevent any load on the Stop from below forcing the head of the Stop into the friction karabiner.  However, we were made aware of three known instances where this approach had caused the friction karabiner to suffer a broken gate.  We discussed alternatives including using a friction karabiner small enough to prevent the Stop becoming jammed in it so as to permit its attachment to the main maillion instead of the Stop karabiner – the way we used to do it.  An alternative is to use the Petzl Freino karabiner which has a friction spur built in, though not everyone found these comfortable to use.

This was an interesting and informative day which highlighted the benefits of keeping up to date with critical news and information.  If you are unsure about any aspect of caving or caving equipment please feel free to contact Steve who will do his best to help: and  07796 213817