Cave Rescue, July 6, 1991
Hosterman's Pit, PA


REPORT

On Saturday, July 6, a group of three cavers entered Hosterman's Pit near State College, Pennsylvania. These were Nevin Davis, Gregg Clemmer and Mike Dyas. Their plan was to tour the cave and check on a couple of possible leads. The cave is described as quite complex in three dimensions and requires some exposed climbing. Dyas had broken his arm previously and this had healed, but it was still limited in motion and strength. They left their ascending gear at the base of the 70-foot entrance drop, but brought a length of caving rope and their descending equipment for doing a pull-down rappel to get back down out of the upper level.

After several hours, they were completing the upper level loop and were nearing the rappel to the entrance area. At the Pipe Pit one must traverse across the tope of a 20-foot pit. They used a belay and Clemmer and Davis crossed. When Dyas tried to follow, he found he could not do a jam with the weak arm and lost his footing and fell. He was held by the belay and was lowered to the bottom of the pit. Davis went to the entrance area and retrieved Dyas' ascending gear, and he was able to ascend. They proceeded without further incident.


References

NSS News, December 1992 (Part 2) V50N12, Page 347.

Mike Dyas "Caving 'Near-miss Report" D.C. Speleograph, (47) 8, September, 1991.


Analysis

Now this is the way a fall is supposed to go -- you fall, the belay catches you and there is no problem. Of course, you must assume that you may have to ascend the fall line and bring ascenders.

Davis is a caver of great experience from years ago, and was wearing boots equipped with golf spikes, which is good for better footing in caves such as this with mud on rock. Such footwear is reported to have been common among cavers several decades ago.