SUSS Wombeyan Cave Survey Course

Oct 18 -20, 2019 Lachie Bailey

Participants: NUCC, SUSS, CSS, MSS

Once again the annual SUSS cave surveying course was back through popular demand. I went along because I’ve picked up a taste for cave surveying- that’s what happens when you gatecrash too many SUSS trips. Seeing as I have a handful of survey projects on the go, I reckoned it would be good to have a better understanding of surveying so I could teach other NUCCers how it works. The course was ably run by Phil Maynard, Jill Rowling and Mike Lake.

I rocked up on Friday arvo, and for several hours Em Butcher (SUSS) and I were the only people there. We relaxed in the luxurious cottage SUSS and MSS had booked for the weekend, and drank our way through three bottles of whiskey. At least that’s what the evidence suggested when everyone else turned up…

Saturday morning had an early start with a presentation on how to do surveying with a Disto. Soon enough we were all in Victoria Arch surveying away in a neat little side passage. After a break for lunch, we finished the surveying for the day, and returned to the cottage for another presentation, this time on how to reduce survey data to put into Survex. Dinner was a mixed affair, ranging from gourmet cooking to leftovers and 2-minute noodles. After dinner, we all got a wonderful introduction to the headache that is trying to reduce your survey data into a useable format!

Sunday was entirely spent drawing the maps up, using old fashioned pens and tracing film. While more modern ways to draw maps exist, they were beyond the scope of the course. With plenty of help from our instructors, soon enough we all had passable maps. It was very interesting that although we had all mapped the same chunk of passageway, the maps were all extremely different!

We all left with a much better understanding of how cave mapping works, and (hopefully) the skills to do it on our own. The weekend was fantastically well planned and organised- thanks again to Phil, Mike and Jill, but also to Marilyn Scott from MSS who did most of the background admin work. There’s a good chance SUSS will be running another course in late October next year, so if you’re interested have a chat to SUSS early in 2020.

The cost of the course was about $100, for cottage hire and equipment, and comes highly recommended by me! If you’re interested in surveying but can’t make the course, I do have the course notes too, which provide much good information. I’ve included the map I made as hopeful incentive for other NUCCers to come surveying with me!