An Encyclopedia of CUCC caving terms

New cavers, setting off for the Peak District in the coach or minibus, little know what they have let themselves in for - and have little chance of discovering this from the incomprehensible terminology and esoteric conversation of the experienced cavers.

Hearing they are to be confronted with ducks, crabs, grannies and hard men, armed only with a pinanaraldite and a furry wonder; and that they are expected to perform such actions as 'gonking', 'thrutching' and 'pissing about', it is no wonder that motivation has shrunk to zero before setting foot underground.

Their hopefully purchased CUCC Journals are hardly likely to fill these gaps in vocabulary, being in the main a compendium of 'in' jokes by, and mostly about, people they have never heard of, with such unlikely names as Animal, Sapling, Rhino and Wookey. This article sets out to remedy this state of affairs, being a glossary of caving terms which the neophyte is certain to meet, and which lose much of their power to terrify when explained in simple language. The newcomer to caving is exhorted to familiarise him/herself with these terms and use them with confidence.

A useful technique requiring a piece of metal called a descendeur. This has convenient holes in it so it can be tied on to the end of a piece of rope to weigh it down. After the rope has been thrown down the pitch, a coil is passed under the crutch and round the neck whereupon a controlled slide brings one to the bottom of the pitch.
A rhetorical question expressing grave doubts as to the safety / feasibility / whereabouts, of the proposed cave. [see also "Motivating Cavers", CU 1985]
A novice's first attempt at putting on a sitsling.
The leader of a party. Useful to belay to.
Reverse of abseiling.
(Double Lifeline): an advanced single rope technique allowing one person to ascend and another person to descend a pitch simultaneously.
Three affluent cavers proceeding to the pub (see duvet).
Figure of eight
A secure knot made by tying sixteen half hitches one on top of the other. Allow an extra 15m of rope.
A drawback not sufficient to allow one to proceed to Are-they-open.
Hero medal
Highest award of skill / leadership / courage, invariably awarded to oneself.
Unselfishly remaining at the top of the last 50m pitch in order to facilitate lifelining.
Things you catch (usually on ladders when climbing).
The first word the novice will come across. The ouigee is easily recognised by his clean, loose-fitting oversuit and by the enormous quantity of tackle he is carrying. If not caving, he is often to be seen buying fifteen pints of bitter and a half of lager.
Maximum capacity of footbridge- next stop after PU.
Tree in Horton Graveyard. [To fully understand this, you must appreciate that CUCC used to stay at Brackenbottom, and drink in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. WebEd.]
Formations generally found halfway up big pitches, requiring a long pause for full appreciation.
A novice's first attempt at putting on a baudrier.
A tear in a wetsuit or oversuit; emergency measure to combat hypothermia.
An underground phenomenon resulting from too much beer at lunchtime or a new and close-fitting wetsuit. See also slash.
Final solution to the Baudrier - Sitsling dilemma.
(Based on an article in Cambridge Underground 1975 pp 6-7, by Anonymous, in which the original "unlikely names" were "B & G Wonder, and Batpond")

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