Oxford University Cave Club

TGM Michaelmas 2002 


Minutes, etc.

"OUCC this term"

OUCC Home Page


Steve Roberts, Simon Goddard, Tim Guildford, Lou Maurice, Matthew Balaam, Dave Legg, John Pybus, Gareth Phillips, Pod, Sarah McCullogh, Rebecca Grapevine, Eleanor Packham, Rosa Clements

Meeting Started: 9.30pm



Anette Becher, Hilary Greaves, Paul Garver, James Hooper

Matters Arising:

The minutes of the last TGM were passed.

Officer's Reports

President: nothing to report

Chair (absent): nothing to report

Meets Secretary (absent): Nothing to report

Secretary: We got an email from the mountaineering club asking if we wanted to be part of a joint outdoor clubs ceilidh. This was thought to be a good idea.

Gear Officer: We now have LED lights on 5 club helmets. They are robust, much less hassle than the previous lights, and give consistent (if slightly dimmer) light. However, there is currently no system for replacing batteries. Suggested systems were:

The 2nd system seemed the most popular as there were concerns that the others wouldn't be adhered to. However Simon is going to write to companies for sponsorship, and could ask for batteries. We could also try walking gear companies as they may give us free stuff for gear testing. There will be a full inventory of the gear in the hut next weekend. The van has gone. We congratulated Matt on sorting out all the lights etc.

Expedition Leader: The 2003 expedition has £100-£1000 from the 2002 expedition. The 2002 report can't be published until the money has been spent, and the money can't be spent until we know what gear we need, which we'll only know after the gear fettle at the weekend. If we don't spend it, we'll have to give it back to sponsors. Tim and Steve thought that unless we have a good reason for spending it, we should return money to the University at least, as we have a reputation to maintain and they will be more likely to sponsor us in the future if the money is spent responsibly. For example we should give back the contingency money if we didn't need it. However it would be perfectly legitimate for the 2002 expedition to replace the gear it has used, and it should claim for wear on ropes, the tarp, and the trailer if necessary. The 2003 expedition needs storage containers, hangars, maillons, and possibly some more tents and/or a laptop.

Treasurer: This is the first term of our new accounting year, which runs from April-April as a compromise between our previous system and the system suggested by the University. Everything is pretty much as it usually is, the club is halfway through collecting membership fees so there would be little point in printing out a sheet of the exact accounts.

John also said the Ario 2000 accounts aren't closed yet, and Tim mentioned the Uzbekistan 2000 expedition.

Expedition ropes:

We have some new ropes. Hilary said by email that the expedition should wash ropes before the club needs them, i.e. in Spain or soon after return. There was general agreement and Steve said it wasn't an issue- there will be more rope-washing sessions for the 2002 expedition soon. Tim said several clubs have wall-mounted ropewashers and it would be good to have one. Dave said 13 Bevington Road have an outside tap for that very purpose, and we have permission to bolt onto the wall. Matt has already designed a wall-mounted ropewasher with a birdtable on top.

Review of safety:

... and novice trip briefing systems set up last year, freshers' trips/practice, and trip leaders were discussed together:.

Last year a risk assessment, code of conduct, and guidance notes for leaders and novices on novice trips were created and Howard Jeffs was very pleased with them, but Steve wanted to know whether they actually got used on novice trips this year. Links to the notes were emailed to all novices and leaders on the trips- some people read them and others didn't. The leader notes were followed, and Tim said his safety briefing covered virtually everything in the document (though he didn't have the document with him) although some older members were surprised that they were having a safety briefing, and Tim wasn't sure if anyone else would have done the safety briefing if he didn't. Rebecca thought it felt disorganised to just meet at the cave entrance, but Gareth thought it was more organised than he expected. Someone told Matthew it seemed very disorganised until they got underground, which is the right way round. It was decided that the weekend had gone well but trip leaders have to be reminded of their responsibilities, and now we have the notes, people have to read them- sending a link by email isn't sufficient (if there is an accident, people must claim to have read them). Awareness of the notes and the issues must be increased.

Howard Jeffs wants us to establish a system for authorising trip leaders. Steve said there already is one- past or present committee members authorise leaders. John said older members are usually better than undergraduates on committee at choosing leaders, but it was decided not to make that official. Tim said bureaucracy wouldn't improve poor leadership and we have to separate bureaucracy from our own good practice. John said there are now less experienced people than before- maybe the bureaucracy put them off? People agreed that relying on reading notes is the wrong way to go. In particular, it was decided that listing good novice trips was a bad idea, it's better to try and pick trips for individual people at particular times, e.g. Rich said by email that Lancs-Wretched Rabbit is unsuitable as a 1st SRT trip, but the trip last weekend went OK. Tim said that a challenging novice trip gives a better representation of caving than an easy standard one, and there was general agreement. Inevitably some people will find the trip too easy or too hard. Lou said Bristol University have ladder/SRT/rigging/rescue training in the gym every week- maybe we should do more SRT practice? Opinions differed as to how much SRT training we do, and whether or not training in the gym is useful, though there was vague agreement that more regular SRT practice would be good, but rigging is best learnt by apprentice system in caves.

Cave radios:

Chris Densham put this item in but he was absent, so he was mandated to sort out any necessary training for the cave radios.

Meeting closed: 10.40pm