So the description that we go down and up a single rope on the other page wasn’t enough for you, huh? No worries, this page is here to provide a little more detail. However at the start, a disclaimer:
SRT is a potentially lethal activity, involving sophisticated equipment, complicated knots, hard rocks, and very big drops. No one in NUCC, and certainly not the author of this page, has any formal qualifications to teach it. You undertake any of the activities described on this page at your own risk, and please do not try to learn SRT from the Internet, be it from this page or any other website.
The purpose of this page is not to provide a comprehensive description of how ropework in caving works. The currently used standard for that in Australia is the book Vertical by Al Warild, the Captain of the New South Wales Cave Rescue Squad. It is an excellent book, and go read it rather than my blather below: it is available here. Failing this, another excellent resource is Alpine Caving Techniques by George Marbach and Bernard Tourte. This is the French guide to alpine caving, and contains much excellent information. It is also available online here.
The caving around Canberra does require a moderate amount of vertical work, as many of the caves in the area have small to medium sized pitches. The largest underground pitch in Australia is at Bungonia, and it is only about a 60m drop. Many of the smaller pitches can be laddered, and it’s mostly personal preference as to where the ladders stop and the SRT begins. Frequently, you’ll find that point is at about 30ft, as that’s the length of the shorter form of caving ladder, so that anything more than about 9m deep will be SRTed.
But what actually is SRT? It’s the art of ropework with a single rope, and there’s a whole suite of techniques that NUCC teaches. I’ll list some of the more common techniques, and describe them in more detail below, in roughly the order NUCC introduces them.