News

Fwd: New SFBC Guidelines Around Caving with COVID-19

SFBC is proud to announce that with appropriate safety protocols, we’re starting to cave again! Take a look at the guidelines below for details.
———- Forwarded message ——— From: Carly Robison <carly@sfbaycaving.org> Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 9:44 PM Subject: New SFBC Guidelines Around Caving with COVID-19 To: SF Bay Caving <sfbc@sfbaycaving.org>, New Cavers of SFBC < newcavers@sfbaycaving.org>
Please read all the guidelines, especially if you are planning on organizing a trip or event. The key here is communicating expectations and enforcing them, so potential participants can accurately assess risk and choose what opportunities they choose to partake in. Participants, please ask clarification questions!
Best, Carly on behalf of the SFBC Execs
———————– SFBC Policies, in short, in no particular order

Don’t get sued. –
Don’t get sick, but if you do, be able to contact trace. –
Follow public health guidelines –
Make every situation safer –
Communicate expectations {masks, outdoors, distanced, group size, time, vaccinations, any shared equipment}
SFBC policies, in long form
Don’t get sued. Make sure everyone signs an updated liability form.
Don’t get sick. We don’t want our members to get sick, so it’s important to stay vigilant and make every situation as safe as reasonably possible. Don’t cave when sick. Vaccines reduce the risks of being a carrier, getting sick, getting hospitalized, and dying, to the point that the CDC has said it’s fine for vaccinated people to hang out with each other without any safety protocols. Many of our most vulnerable members have been vaccinated for months.
Contact Tracing. Usually this is easy with the email thread you were using to coordinate the trip, and people should be signing waivers so you have a record of who was present. Trip leaders should keep this information for a month.
Follow public health guidelines. Bay Area county departments of health have provided strong guidance for activities, and have adjusted these guidelines based on the present risk. Case rates are an important factor in the risk of any interaction, and local guidelines change to match. By following local, state, and federal guidelines, we can keep our risk to acceptable levels. We must also keep in mind that many of our caves are in different counties, and follow their rules as well.
Make every situation safer. For SFBC-sanctioned gatherings (and ones advertised on the mailing list), we expect participants to be taking applicable precautions, such as a snug two layer mask, small groups, shorter trips, doing orientation and prep outside, and distancing, wherever safe and possible.
Communicate safety protocols. At this moment, trip leaders/hosts can make whatever rules they would like (including about vaccination status), but they must clearly communicate their expectations for each safety layer so that their potential participants can adequately assess risk, and they must use any SFBC resources (including the mailing list) only for trips in compliance with our guidelines (see activities below).
Cater to the most covid-conscious caver. When an activity can be done in a safer way, we should do so. For example, our members’ meetings should continue to be held virtually so that everyone can participate regardless of risk tolerance and vaccination status. SFBC Sanctioned ActivitiesMembers Meetings
Virtual members meetings allow everyone, regardless of health, risk tolerance, or physical location, to attend. We should continue to have purely virtual members meetings at least until the library lets us back.

We can continue to occasionally hold virtual meetings because they allow us to network and get presentations from cavers all over.

We can also continue to provide a virtual option (streaming etc) for members.
Vertical Practices
There is significant benefit to in-person beginner and advanced vertical practices, and we should incorporate these in-person as we have willing hosts/organizers. Hosts and vertical practice organizers should work together to set the expected safety protocols, gathering size, and other expectations.
Risks:

Shared equipment means excellent hand hygiene should be practiced. Participants should bring their own hand sanitizer. –
Typically, vertical practices involve working closely (3ft) with another person. This can be done distanced, but there are certain situations that could necessitate temporarily being closer than 6’ for safety. Participants must be informed of this possibility. Participants will discuss personal risk tolerances at the event so that everyone’s on the same page re: masking etc.
Mitigations:

[State Required] Masks, at least as good as a snug two-layer cotton mask, must be worn within 6 feet of anyone from a different household. –
[Local required] Distance as much as possible. –
[Local recommended] Vertical practices should take place outdoors if possible and potlucks discouraged according to local guidance. Participants should come dressed accordingly. Hosts should figure out if they’re okay with participants briefly using the bathroom. –
[Local recommended] Hosts and organizers should figure out the maximum size. Hosts and organizers should also figure out if vaccination status is a criteria. RSVPs required.
We should continue to offer virtual vertical practices until everyone over 16 who wants to get vaccinated has had the chance (June). If there is subsequent additional interest in virtual vertical practices, we can continue them, or move that content to a members’ meeting.
Typical Mailing List Caving Trips
Trips posted to the mailing list must:

Describe the cave’s nature, trip’s time, group size, and any skills required (as normal) –
Explicitly call out any coronavirus-related risks (will everyone be wearing masks? are the passages tight so you need to be close to each other? Is there water present that would make masking dangerous? are people vaccinated?) –
List any additional expectations about safety protocols for the trip –
Describe any mitigations associated with logistics/getting to-and-from-caves (e.g. car shuttle expectations)
Discussions about COVID-19 protocols should happen prior to the trip/as early as possible.
If you are cross-posting a caving opportunity from another list, make sure the email addresses these risks or the trip leader is prepared to answer these questions. Trustee Trips
Any SFBC trustee trips must additionally follow the guidelines required by the land management. Trip leaders will make every effort to understand all the applicable restrictions and communicate them to participants prior to the trip.

Fwd: Fwd: [MLG] Fwd: WCC Acquires 10+ Caves

———- Forwarded message ——— From: Bill Frantz <frantz@pwpconsult.com> Date: Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 1:43 PM Subject: [SFBC] Fwd: [MLG] Fwd: WCC Acquires 10+ Caves To: SFBC <sfbc@sfbaycaving.org>, SJVG Google < san-joaquin-valley-grotto@googlegroups.com>
====== Forwarded Message ====== From: Steven Johnson <steven@westerncaves.org> Date: Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 11:57 AM Subject: WCC Acquires 10+ Caves To: <NSSwest@yahoogroups.com>, <announce@westerncaves.org>
Exciting News!
The Western Cave Conservancy is acquiring 150 acres of property near Volcano, CA, containing over 10 named caves (including Santa Claus, also known as Pearl, Mushroom, Lulu Bell, and Connie’s), plus acres of karst with sinks, holes and flowstone fragments which whisper of caves yet to be found. This rare opportunity to purchase a large chunk of karst land was made possible thanks to several large pledges from generous donors and money willed to the WCC from the estate of Bill Papke. This purchase will guarantee the preservation and conservation of these wonderful caves for years to come and continue to ensure that cavers can enjoy responsible access to them.
We anticipate that the deal will be closed by Thanksgiving. In the short term, access to these caves will be made available on a basis very similar to Rippled Cave, with no-hassle availability for established caving groups. (Visitation and management plans will be refined over the next 6-12 months; the WCC eagerly welcomes input to these plans.)
The WCC needs to raise $200,000 to cover the loan for this purchase. Please help support the WCC in this endeavor through a tax deductible donation. Just $100 a year for the next 3 years will help the WCC retire the $200k loan with minimal interest.
You can donate in one of two ways:
– The easiest way is just to visit our website at “westerncaves.org”; right there on the home page we have made it simple to make your donation.
– Or, you can write a personal check, made out to the Western Cave Conservancy and send it to P.O. Box 230, Newcastle, CA 95658
Please consider helping us preserve this area permanently for the enjoyment of cavers and the preservation of the unique cave resources that are present on this property. All contributions, in any amount, large or small, will help immensely.
If you’d like to receive future updates and stay informed with our work, please visit our website (www.westerncaves.org) periodically or sign up for our email list ( www.westerncaves.org/western-cave-conservancy-announce-group/).
====== End Forwarded Message ====== ———————————————————————– Bill Frantz | I like the farmers’ market | Periwinkle (408)348-7900 | because I can get fruits and | 150 Rivermead Rd #235 www.pwpconsult.com | vegetables without stickers. | Peterborough, NH 03458

Fwd: [SFBC New Cavers] Members’ Meeting September 22 at 7:30 PM, online

This month’s SFBC Members’ Meeting will take place online on Tuesday September 22 at 7:30 PM PST. The meeting will be held online through Zoom. Please use the meeting link below.
PRESENTATION:
This month’s presentation, beginning at 7:40 PM, will be:
*Great X Expedition August 2020*
Great Expectations Cave is located in the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming and is a cave preserve that is owned by the NSS. It was first discovered in 1977 and it contains the deepest, possibly longest, and almost certainly the most difficult and dangerous through-trip in the US. A group of cavers from across the Rocky Mountain region began resurveying it in 2018 and there appears to be much new exploration left to be done. In August, 2020 the first “Great Xpedition” was held where more than 2.3 miles was surveyed in a week. Derek Bristol, a caver from Denver, organized and led this expedition and he will describe some of the history, objectives of the survey effort, and progress to date.
Presented by Derek Bristol
ELECTIONS ARE IN NOVEMBER – it seems likely that they will be electronic. We are soliciting nominations (self-nominations welcome). We are also welcoming volunteers for the electronic election committee. Please email execs@sfbaycaving.org with any nominations or to volunteer for the election committee.
DIRECTIONS:
The meeting will be held online through zoom. Here are the Zoom instructions:
Topic: SFBC Meetings
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: sjsu.zoom.us/j/91837344895?pwd=ZnZ2VlVZejJTZzhzeFQ3azJ1VXRNQT09
Password: 788933
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,91837344895# or +13462487799,,91837344895#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 918 3734 4895
International numbers available: sjsu.zoom.us/u/agtrAEWyb
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Rafael

Members’ Meeting September 22 at 7:30 PM, online

This month’s SFBC Members’ Meeting will take place online on Tuesday September 22 at 7:30 PM PST. The meeting will be held online through Zoom. Please use the meeting link below.
PRESENTATION:
This month’s presentation, beginning at 7:40 PM, will be:
*Great X Expedition August 2020*
Great Expectations Cave is located in the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming and is a cave preserve that is owned by the NSS. It was first discovered in 1977 and it contains the deepest, possibly longest, and almost certainly the most difficult and dangerous through-trip in the US. A group of cavers from across the Rocky Mountain region began resurveying it in 2018 and there appears to be much new exploration left to be done. In August, 2020 the first “Great Xpedition” was held where more than 2.3 miles was surveyed in a week. Derek Bristol, a caver from Denver, organized and led this expedition and he will describe some of the history, objectives of the survey effort, and progress to date.
Presented by Derek Bristol
ELECTIONS ARE IN NOVEMBER – it seems likely that they will be electronic. We are soliciting nominations (self-nominations welcome). We are also welcoming volunteers for the electronic election committee. Please email execs@sfbaycaving.org with any nominations or to volunteer for the election committee.
DIRECTIONS:
The meeting will be held online through zoom. Here are the Zoom instructions:
Topic: SFBC Meetings
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: sjsu.zoom.us/j/91837344895?pwd=ZnZ2VlVZejJTZzhzeFQ3azJ1VXRNQT09
Password: 788933
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,91837344895# or +13462487799,,91837344895#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 918 3734 4895
International numbers available: sjsu.zoom.us/u/agtrAEWyb
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Rafael

Members’ Meeting August 25 at 7:30 PM, online

This month’s SFBC Members’ Meeting will take place online on Tuesday August 25 at 7:30 PM PST. The meeting will be held online through Zoom. Please use the meeting link below.
PRESENTATION:
This month’s presentation, beginning at 7:40 PM, will be:
*Mapping, Photographing and Exploring Paul Gibson Cave*
Paul Gibson Cave has a surprising history, geology and hydrology and an on-going project has revealed that the cave is much longer than was thought. Join us for a look at the cave’s discovery, early exploration by local people and the Klamath Mountains Conservation Task Force, the current project at PGC and the geology and hydrology of this beautiful and complex cave system. The presentation features photos by Dave Bunnell, Dick Laforge and other skilled cave photographers.
Presented by Joel Despain
DIRECTIONS:
The meeting will be held online through zoom. Here are the Zoom instructions: sjsu.zoom.us/j/93420877267?pwd=UUFHclR3aE1qNnJ6WndNbXJ3eGViQT09 Password: 658605
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Rafael

Fwd: [SFBC New Cavers] SFBC update on caving during quarantimes

We recognize the novel coronavirus pandemic and response to it has evolved significantly since we last commented on the situation. Counties in California are moving through the phases of reopening (and reclosing where needed), and we recognize that people have been making personal risk choices based on their home situations and going caving with people in their “bubbles”.
Caves are small enclosed spaces (especially in California), and the research shows us that this is a more dangerous environment for novel coronavirus to spread. Closing caves is not the answer, and we stand with the NSS on this issue. We recommend our members who choose to cave communicate their personal risk tolerances and minimize the risk of transmission as much as possible by caving in smaller groups and wearing masks. At meetings, members may report on the caving and other related activities that they’ve participated in recently.
Because of the risks caving presents to the spread of this deadly disease, SFBC will continue to have virtual members’ meetings and events for the foreseeable future. We will continue to evaluate this regularly, and as of this time there will be no SFBC-organized trips, and trip leaders should not advertise trips on this email list (as it lends our implicit support to the activity).
We realize that SFBC-led trips and events are an important way for new cavers to get into the sport, and we regret that this decision limits our ability to grow our community through caving. We are committed to fostering better community online, and there are a number of avenues for this:

You can join us and other cavers in the NSS slack ( join.slack.com/t/nsscaves/shared_invite/zt-4wa6m22r-y2KfWUtu9wT~tNRkd1X8jg), channel #grotto-sfbc –
You can attend the NSS Virtual Convention next week ( nsscon2020.org/) –
We have a Facebook group (posts are open to the public, but you must join the group to post) ( www.facebook.com/groups/sanfranciscobaycaving) –
You can continue to attend our regular events which have been moved online, such as our members meetings every 4th Tuesday (next week: Sonia’s presentation on caving in China) and virtual vertical practices (every 1st Tuesday) –
If you have an idea for another event, like our virtual cave trips (watching cave documentaries), or have other ideas of ways to build community, let any of the execs know! We will happily work with you to make these a reality.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, constructive criticism, or gratitude, you can reach us at execs@sfbaycaving.org.
Best,
SFBC Exec Committee
Rafael, Carly, John, Sonia, and Theral

Fall 2020 BOG Meeting – Virtual

Hi all, if you remember, several months ago, I sent out a request asking for couches to crash on and drivers to help drive board members around so that SFBC could host the Fall 2020 board meeting. The summer board meeting was virtual, it went well, and with the COVID situation, they will continue to be virtual.
Thank you everyone who offered a place to stay or a ride from the airport.
Sonia

Members’ Meeting July 28 at 7:30 PM, online

This month’s SFBC Members’ Meeting will take place online tomorrow on Tuesday July 28 at 7:30 PM PST. The meeting will be held online through Zoom. Please use the meeting link below.
PRESENTATION:
This month’s presentation, beginning at 7:40 PM, will be:
*Expedition to Luishuikong Cave in Wulong, Chongqing, China*
In February 2019, Sonia Meyer participated in a Hongmeigui expedition to Luishuikong Cave in Wulong, Chongqing, China. As a half Chinese caver, she will share not only about caving and the expedition, but also the people, culture, and food that she loves. The expedition was two weeks long and a series of day trips in and out of a cave with a 600 ft deep pit entrance series mapping seemingly unending borehole. In this cave and on this expedition, Sonia saw many beautiful cave formations for the first time, and learned about more stringent cave conservation and cave mapping techniques. Check out the NSS News for articles related to this expedition.
Presented by our own Carly Robison
DIRECTIONS:
The meeting will be held online through zoom. Here are the Zoom instructions: sjsu.zoom.us/j/93420877267?pwd=UUFHclR3aE1qNnJ6WndNbXJ3eGViQT09 Password: 658605
We’re also going to try something new for our post-meeting hangout. We’ll be going to Spatial Chat:
Use the following link to enter your space as well as inviting your friends: spatial.chat/s/SFBCpostmeeting <u15680805.ct.sendgrid.net/ls/click?upn=fkNx49oS-2B-2BGByESre0bxk6NEmiLzOnctTrb-2FENx1fj7TShBAATaeuUKL-2Bs-2F9OXoO-E39_5yBq9nootkdIptDjlRfx4vSzhFC-2BSa13PvwfEJ0Ky1Z0opkuF1P0Z-2FFtEJJFM9c3QykF80lv77V…>
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Rafael

Fwd: 2020 NSS Director Election Results

Congratulations to our treasurer, Sonia Meyer, for being elected to the Board of Governors!
———- Forwarded message ——— From: <memberservices@caves.org> Date: Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 1:56 PM Subject: 2020 NSS Director Election Results To: <rafael.langerosuna@gmail.com>
Meet your new Directors <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FResults_2020.shtml/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/h3aMi8g5Czr5mc8QKZdLKMLMqk8=168> *These Are Your NEW NSS Directors* <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FCandidates%25202020%2FStatement_Sonia_Meyer.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/u7…>
*Sonia Meyer* (CA) 1,138 Votes 65.0% 2020-2023 <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FCandidates%25202020%2FStatement_Pete_Johnson.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/v…>
*Pete Johnson* (CO) 1,073 Votes 61.2% 2020-2023 <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FCandidates%25202020%2FStatement_Benjamin_Tobin.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000…>
*Benjamin Tobin* (KY) 1,014 Votes 57.9% 2020-2023 <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FCandidates%25202020%2FStatement_Riley_Drake.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/_L…>
*Riley * *Drake *(MA) 1,009 Votes 57.6% 2020-2023 <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Fcommittee%2Fnominating%2FCandidates%25202020%2FStatement_Nick_Anderson.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/…>
*Nick * *Anderson *(SD) 810 Votes 46.2% Partial Term 2020-2021
These directors will be seated at the summer board meeting at the 2020 NSS Virtual Convention.
There were *7,197* ballots sent out, of which *1,752* were returned (*24.3%*). There were* 16* total abstentions (*0.2%*).
The overall total turnout was up slightly from last year. *Thank you for voting!*
*ARE YOU INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING ON A COMMITTEE? *EMAIL CONTACT@CAVES.ORG <contact@caves.org> TO GET STARTED.
OR VISIT OUR NSS VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES PAGE <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/https:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Finfo%2Fvolunteer.shtml/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/ZFgB5JrGp14ZzojGA0puFcQJ6tM=168>OR LOOK FOR A COMMITTEE THAT INTERESTS YOU HERE <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/https:%2F%2Fcaves.org%2Finfo%2FNSS_Contacts.pdf/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/Zc0bWjND-JMKN_d_mIG7uqSFGpE=168> . <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/https:%2F%2Fmembers.caves.org%2Fwww.caves.org/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/nWXhf6aaUNOddniFuhCJAp4Tntg=168>
The National Speleological Society 6001 Pulaski Pike Huntsville, AL 35810 256.852.1300 caves.org <458rl1jp.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/http:%2F%2Fwww.caves.org/1/0100017301ddfe4b-b750e19e-abe6-4924-ab22-c9101457b9e6-000000/nFOqhSJRbIlm2YD57APlBrAyctg=168> members.caves.org/members/EmailOptPreferences.aspx?id=54504740&e=rafael.langerosuna@gmail.com&amp;h=a743635c77809b7b14800123fa8d97307b5964d0

Fwd: [SFBC New Cavers] June Members’ Meeting (6/23) at 7:30 PM PST meeting ONLINE

This month’s SFBC Members’ Meeting will take place online tomorrow on Tuesday June 23 at 7:30 PM PST. The meeting will be held online through Zoom. Please use the meeting link below.
PRESENTATION:
This month’s presentation, beginning at 7:40 PM, will be:
*Canyoneering and Caving*
Canyoneering! It’s the sport of descending drainages. I’ll give an overview of the sport and groups involved, discuss the similarities and differences between it and caving, show some techniques, and note how to learn more.
Presented by our own Carly Robison
DIRECTIONS:
The meeting will be held online through zoom. Here are the Zoom instructions: sjsu.zoom.us/j/93420877267?pwd=UUFHclR3aE1qNnJ6WndNbXJ3eGViQT09 Password: 658605
We’re also going to try something new for our post-meeting hangout. We’ll be going to Spatial Chat:
Use the following link to enter your space as well as inviting your friends: spatial.chat/s/SFBCpostmeeting <u15680805.ct.sendgrid.net/ls/click?upn=fkNx49oS-2B-2BGByESre0bxk6NEmiLzOnctTrb-2FENx1fj7TShBAATaeuUKL-2Bs-2F9OXoO-E39_5yBq9nootkdIptDjlRfx4vSzhFC-2BSa13PvwfEJ0Ky1Z0opkuF1P0Z-2FFtEJJFM9c3QykF80lv77V…>
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Rafael