Cambridge Underground 1990 pp 2-3

President's Bit

Jeremy Rodgers

The twilight months of last academic year saw CUCC at a peak, with a large number of 'experienced' - later to show themselves not so, old lags, and only a few sweet young things (such as myself). This set the scene for some fine caving in the summer including what promised to be an extremely active expedition. The story of the expedition can be found later in these hallowed pages, however, in summary, the expedition was extremely active with a lot of cave being discovered and the whole of Kaninchenhöhle being resurveyed, but unfortunately with the club learning a lot about the techniques involved in self rescue.

This year's expedition will probably go down as the year of the rescue with two serious rescues. Both occurred on the same pitch while descending using descenders rigged for low friction, and both involved people who should have known better. Both incidents were caused by carelessness prompted by rushing, however, the nature of the pitch involved lends itself to such an accident, and so perhaps Becka and Chris can to some extent be called unlucky rather than completely incompetent. Both rescues were handled in the main by members of the club, and the club can consider itself extremely lucky that the consequences were not more serious. Thanks should be given to all who helped in the rescues, especially the Austrian cave rescue who got Becka off the mountain, and Mark Dougherty (if it doesn't boost his ego too much) for his expertise in both incidents.

With the start of a new academic year the club lost 70% of it's members, some off to try out the real world (the students) and others heading North to lands of beer and caves (the old cunties), drastically reducing the experience base of the club which now consisted mostly of second year cavers. Still, those left managed an impressive recruiting drive resulting in far too many novices (do they breed like flies?).

This year saw another progression in the move away from wetsuits, with novices buying SRT gear and therefore furries before Christmas. Although this has not been a problem yet, with people willing to lend wetsuits for wet trips, a problem is going to arise at the start of next year with most members of the club only owning one set of gear, and therefore not having anything to lend to novices. Is a return to old clothes and dustbin liners (Ughh!) going to come to pass?

Luckily for the club, a lot of the novices proved themselves to be both extremely keen and competent (in caving, but unfortunately not in drinking), with about 10 showing signs of keeping up our glorious sport. However, the speed of their indoctrination proved to be slightly too great with a rather silly incident at the bottom of Pen y ghent pot with a novice using the SANS ROPE technique of pitch descent. The novice was unlined (the lifeline having been left above the big pitch by mistake) on Myers' Leap, which as always was extremely wet, a set of circumstances which unforgivable and breaks several fundamental rules of caving. That the novice was able to get out under his own steam, without the need for a rescue, was more a matter of luck and every effort to avoid such occurrences should be taken in the future.

The dinner was one of the year's highlights, perhaps best summarised by the facts that a) both the head porter and the Dean appeared to keep an eye on us, and b) nobody I have talked to has the faintest idea as to what happened at the after dinner party! Thanks are in order to Dave, for organising the dinner and being so popular with the college that we weren't thrown out well before we had finished.

Finally, I would like to thank this year's committee for their work, especially Dan, for making my life easy, and Tanya and Juliette for rescuing the club from it's financial problems at the start of the year (don't mention the sweatshirts.). Special thanks are also in order to Wookey for the work he put in to producing a survey of Kaninchenhöhle.

P.S. A hint for next year - rescue practice much safer with a willing volunteer.

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